Almost everyone in the room was fully or partially retired. I learned that the four generations around these days have totally different ideas about retirement, what it is and how it will play out. First, the pre-Boomers (born 1900-1945). That's me! The 75 million of us are loyal, used to scarcity, have faith in our institutions, and are patriotic.
Next come the 80 million Baby Boomers (and there were some in the seminar), born 1946-1964. Many hard-working, career-driven Boomers are in management positions today. They believe anything is possible. Following them are the Generation Xers (1965-1980): only 46 million of them, but they distrust institutions and personal relationships and have introduced a challenging dynamic into today's work place. And the final group, the Generation Yers (or Millennials, born 1981-1999) are smart, pragmatic, realistic, optimistic, idealistic, and techno-savvy. And there are 76 million of them.
Every generation has a different idea of what retirement is (or will be for them). The pre-Boomers thought that if they played by the rules, everything would be okay and they would be taken care of in retirement. The Boomers wanted to fix the world, since they were the first generation to grow up with TV and saw Watergate, Vietnam, and the human rights movements develop. They believe anything is possible. But the Gen-Xers don't think they will ever be able to retire, while the Gen-Yers think they'd better start saving for retirement, since they've already turned 16.
In the room I heard from people who were forced into retirement and hated it, those who were voluntarily retired, some who wished they could have more meaning to their everyday lives, and those who LOVE retirement. Helen showed us that successful retirement contains a few constants:
- Having a reason to get up every day.
- Having a healthy spouse. :-) :-)
- Maintaining or developing meaningful relationships.
- Having a sense of humor.
Have you read it? Are you happy in retirement? Or will you even be ABLE to retire?