5 November 2012

What’s Stopping Baby Boomers From Retiring

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I don’t see anyone being crushed in the rush to the “retirement” exit gates in professions and trades despite the fact that for the past few decades, there has been a hyped concern surrounding the eventual retirement of the baby boomer generation.

We know that those retiring are in short supply compared to those wishing to buy their business or replace them in the management structure of organisations.

The GFC is currently being blamed as a major factor in people putting off their retirement but is that the only reason? I know of many clients, legal and accounting professionals, entrepreneurs and trades professionals as well, currently in their 60’s that have no intention (or interest) in hanging up their boots.

Then there are the real “clingers-on”, as described by one frustrated 40 something, “Who are in their 70’s and 80’s who feel healthy and remain engaged enough in their field of expertise to get up each day and continue for a few more years”.

Whilst we work closely with clients to transition to retirement while they can do so at their choice rather than as a result of a health issue, there continues to be one significant aspect of their future planning missing that has led men in particular to put off the retirement plan to later. This is what to do with the 8-12 hours a day that they previously spent at their job.

What will you do when you are no longer going to work on a daily basis?

While I enjoy this conversation with female clients who can it seems find more than enough to live an even busier life in retirement than while working, we struggle to speak with many male clients during the retirement planning process about fixing a date for retirement.

The main reason for not fixing a target retirement date

Too few hobbies and interests outside of their work. What women clients extol as the “Joie de vivre” or in English the pure joy of just enjoying retirement lifestyle and doing the things they have promised themselves to do for years when they had time. .

This has become so much of an issue that we deliberately start approaching the subject years out for retirement and quizzing both clients about what hobbies, interests or passions (Ok most men flinch at that one!) they have. We deliberately point the men towards Rotary and Probus as “Mens Sheds”, encouraging them to enquire now rather than later. To look at learning golf, bowls or more adventurous pursuits like off road 4×4 driving skills and one client learned to hang-glide (I did have to swear to his unimpressed wife that it was not my suggestion)

Blokes either do or don’t want to travel while their wives invariably DO! What might sound strange is that men do want to spend time with the grandkids having often missed out on some of their own kids childhood? But they are not really enthusiastic about taking on set days of babysitting grandchildren and this is usually left to Nanna!

It’s essential to grasp the fact that planning your transition to your retirement lifestyle is not only about you, but also involves others around you.

It’s important to talk with loved one and those who will be impacted most to ensure everyone is ready for this next step, not just you. I have seen retirement plans of female clients devastated by the fact their spouse refuses to travel or engage in social pursuits and activities but hovers around them daily looking to accompany them to the shops and the gets impatient and wants to go home.

So, if you are really struggling for ideas of what to do in retirement, think for a moment about your skills and your passions. Are they transferable to post retirement activities within the local community? Check with past colleagues who retired before you to see what they are doing and don’t be afraid to ask for pointers.

Also bear in mind that if you plan to travel internationally that you are far better off to do so in your 60’s and early 70’s while you can still get international travel insurance and you can really enjoy what are often demanding schedules. When your legs become tired more quickly you will find what my father-in-law termed “the ABC syndrome” where by your reaction to another really fabulous historic excursion is “Another Bloody Cathedral , I might just stay on the bus!”

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