We’re still us! Study results reported last week by SunAmerica suggest that Americans in or approaching retirement are “resetting” how they see and want to experience that stage of life.
In other words, the boomers are going to chart their own course yet again. This is good news for everyone, not just those born between 1946 and 1964.
As the largest generation to enter it looks at retirement, we’re starting to see it as a real stage of life instead of just “play time.” According to the study, two thirds of us want to include work in some way. This is not new. The Met Life Foundation found similar results in 2005. But this reality needs all the attention we can find for it because finding that way to work is going to take some personal effort.
According to the study, we are more interested in family relationships now than acquiring wealth. This is also good news. The “wealth” thing is where greed gets into the mix, and that poisons the economic well for all of us.
We now want financial security rather than just having a lot of money. That fits a whole lot better with living a long and happy life. “Having a lot of money” creates issues about keeping a lot of money. Having the financial security to do the things you want–or need–to do puts the focus on living your life well instead.
The study also notes that we can see we might be called upon to help someone we love financially–and we are no longer just talking about our parents. This is a return to caring and a departure from “getting mine.” More good news for society.
Last, according to the study, we are now more intent on getting the retirement planning right by enlisting professional help (but do bear in mind who sponsored the study). Preparing for this stage of your life on your own doesn’t seem like such a slam dunk anymore.
SunAmerica and Age Wave have done a great job of highlighting how Americans are seeing the potential and the risks of this stage of life differently. But how you set it up for yourself is still up to you.
There are a lot more pieces to this puzzle than “wealth” or even “financial security.” Take the time to understand and include all of them. What do you want to do next? What gets you jazzed enough to give you a sense of purpose? How do you want to live and who do you want with you? You get to decide on all of this–but only if you make those decisions.
A good retirement requires a lot more than just a magic number in your investment portfolio or pension account. To keep yourself healthy and happy, you need to know a lot about yourself, your spouse if you have one, and what’s going to make you want to get up every morning once you’ve finished the career years.