“By 2015, almost 33 percent of our workforce, including 48 percent of our supervisors, will be eligible to retire,” reported the Social Security Administration in 2013. Companies all over the country are facing the same situation. 76 million people, known as the Baby Boomers, were born between 1946 and 1964. Individuals in this age range will retire over a 19 year period, which simple math shows is four million per year—close to 11,000 per day. This has and will continue to drastically alter the landscape of the workforce.
Yet it’s not just the workforce that’s changing. Retirement itself isn’t what it used to be. First of all, not everyone is retiring at the traditional retirement age. And of those who do, they don’t all fall in line with the retirement protocols of yesteryear—living a life of leisure in a paid-off home.
Four Retirement Phases
Merrill Lynch and Age Wave define the new retirement landscape in four different phases:
At this time, an individual is winding down while gearing up for retirement. They are getting a clearer picture of their nest egg (if it exists) and starting to envision what they want this next stage of their life to be like. That includes reaching out to family and friends about the possibility of starting their own businesses.
More than half (52%) of working retirees said they took a break when they first retired. In this phase individuals recharge and retool. Career intermission time varies, but on average lasts 29 months.
After recharging, many retirees are interested in working again, but on their own terms. They don’t want to work as much, and often avoid doing what they were doing before. This is the time when individuals pursue entrepreneurial endeavors (three in five launch a new line of work), or give back to their communities in ways they didn’t have time for before. Retirees are more likely to be self-employed—32% vs. 11%.
This phase of retirement is what we’ve seen in movies since we were kids. It’s time to sit back and relax! And with the longer life expectancy, leisure can be even more fun.
This new landscape gives the pre-retirement and retirement community a lot to think about. And many of you fall into those brackets! Today we have a guest post from Doug Andrew of Live Abundant. His perspective will be helpful at any phase of retirement.
Are You Uncle Rico or Napoleon?
Strike the right balance between looking back and looking forward to retirement
By Doug Andrew
Most people nearing retirement will tell you they’d like to move ahead during their final few decades with continuous growth and abundance, but are they really taking the necessary steps to make that happen?
Two characters from the 2004 cult classic movie Napoleon Dynamite are contrasting examples of growth and abundance. If you recall, Uncle Rico was living in the past: all he could talk about was what would have happened in his life if his high school football coach had “put me in the fourth quarter.” Somehow, winning the championship would have led him to becoming a major NFL star, with the resulting success and wealthy lifestyle that come with it. Instead, he’s resigned to living in his van and selling plastic food storage containers.
His nephew Napoleon, on the other hand, is constantly looking to his future; even while facing daunting challenges for a high school kid, he pursues what he most wants, and supports and uplifts his friends along the way. In the end, he succeeds in his goal to get the girl.
Vastly different ways of approaching life are displayed by these two characters. Can you relate more with Uncle Rico or Napoleon?
What Is The Best Way To Move My Life Forward?
If you can relate more with Napoleon, it’s probably because you are, either consciously or unconsciously, using a technique my friend and strategic coach Dan Sullivan calls the “Quick Thinker.” I’ve found it very useful in determining the best way to move my life forward. Take a few minutes to step through his technique. Identify:
- The life you want in retirement
- Which parts of your past will come along into your retirement
- How to utilize the present to make the best possible progress.
When I outlined what I want in my retirement, here’s what I came up with:
- Build and maintain strong family relationships
- Stay in top physical shape and maintain good nutritional habits
- Continue to teach and empower my family and others to live abundantly in all aspects of our lives.
Then, here are the parts of my past I’d want to come along into my retirement:
- The family traditions we’ve established
- The well-oiled machine of predictable results from our company
- The experiences we’ve learned from—good and not-so-good.
Finally, here’s what I’d do today to get to that life of abundance now and throughout my retirement:
- Focus on what’s going right in my life
- Have and show constant gratitude
- Stay in motion during retirement and add value to the world
- Stick to true principles, use the best possible tools and proven strategies, and continue to grow exponentially.
Though it might seem simplistic, this exercise has consistently helped me clarify where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go during my final decades and years. Decide what you want in your retirement, what parts of your past get to come along, and how to continue moving to a brighter, self-determined future.
Your story, like Napoleon Dynamite’s, deserves a happy ending.
If you’re a Baby Boomer what does retirement look like for you? I’d love to hear. Leave me a comment below, send me an email, or find me on Twitter.
Doug Andrew is the founder of Live Abundant, a company that educates on topics of health, wealth, and life fulfillment. He is the author of multiple books that include “The Last Chance Millionaire,” “Millionaire by Thirty,” (co-authored with sons Emron and Aaron) and “Entitlement Abolition.”