BABY BOOMER BABBLE
CALLING IT QUITS
The baby boomers have started retiring. In fact, the very first baby boomer, born one minute after midnight, January 1, 1946, recently applied for social security benefits. An estimated 10,000 people a day will become eligible for social security benefits over the next two decades. And retirement at age 62 will be the clear favorite.
The average age for retirement has already dropped to age 57. Some have saved enough money; others had retirement thrust upon them by being fired, or their jobs moving to Mexico or China. Still others retire for health reasons. I retired due to health reasons and disgust for where the field and agency I worked for were headed.
So by age 62, IÕll be in line to start my social security payments. Otherwise, I would have to wait until age 65 and 9 months. So do the math. It would be stupid of me to wait. IÕve talked to a lot of boomers who intend on doing the exact same thing. One drawback is having health insurance, between age 62 and the start of Medicare, at age 65. That leaves approximately 3 years of no coverage, unless your spouse is still working, or you have coverage provided by your retirement plan, a concept which is almost extinct. But guess what? We boomers are in control. Hello universal health-care. You can bet the winner of the 2008 election will have a proposal. WeÕll demand it!
Unlike previous generations, retirement is not about quitting anything other that the job(s) you have done over the last 20-30 years. Many of those jobs have disappeared anyway. In my particular case, it had changed so much that I could hardly recognize it. So itÕs out with the old, and in with the new. A liberation. A personal revolution of sorts.
The question becomes: Now what? You may have one day, one year, 10 years, twenty years or more, to plan for. It is almost like another lifetime. A post official job period. It occurs to me that the one thing you donÕt want to do is what you did. So why not try something new? Get rid of the inept managers, the deadline pressures, the alarm clock, the time clock. Kick some butt, the major difference being now you can do it on your own terms.
IÕve been retired for a year already. I still donÕt have it quite figured out. I spend more time writing, which I enjoy. I developed a blog site, which is fun. I spend more time watching and managing our investments, which has been productive. We bought a retirement home, where I spend some time, mainly pulling weeds, cleaning the gutters, and playing golf. I donÕt necessarily feel overly compelled to help other people, since I did that for a living, although I have been giving some thought to starting a restaurant, bakery, soup kitchen, living quarters combination to train the jobless and house the homeless while learning a marketable skill.
So, IÕm floundering a bit. Each day I feel I get a little closer to understanding it-it being retirement, and what to do with for the rest of my life, however long or short that may be. I need whatever it will be to be relevant, idealistic, and above all, contrary to conventional wisdom. ThatÕs the boomer way. We are the dreamers. We stopped a war, put blacks into places and jobs where they had never been, and removed Presidents from office who were not representing our interests. The day after Kent State, a group of us took over the office of the President of SIU. While I was sitting at his desk, I had this overwhelming feeling that we had done something good, something to show the world that we were angry, unhappy with the way things were going. That we were not going to be satisfied with Ōbusiness as usual.Ķ IÕm getting that same feeling about retirement. IÕm getting an itch to sit at that desk again.