For instance, a retirement survey of boomers, recently
conducted by Merrill Lynch, states that, "Yesterday's retirement
model of decades of entitled leisure is being rejected. Boomers
aspire to a new retirement that includes work, albeit with a new
Buried in the prose about how boomers
will reinvent themselves in this next phase of their lives is this
revelation: Boomers don't want to "make the financial sacrifices
today that a traditional leisure retirement requires."
So boomers will revolutionize retirement by ... continuing
to work! How's that for an awesome retirement strategy?
We have so many options. We don't have to retire at
65! We can work longer if we don't have enough money. Because we
have so many choices!
It might be noted that this survey about boomers reinventing
themselves concludes rather predictably that it's important to contact
a financial adviser. "These survey findings tell us that now,
more than ever, there is value in having an ongoing relationship
with a financial adviser who knows you and the goals you have for
yourself and your family."
Still, the concept that boomers are transforming retirement seems
to have taken hold like wildfire in a drought. In a recent issue
of The ASPPA Journal, a trade publication for retirement-plan professionals,
the editor wrote that boomers "will likely redefine retirement.
Many of my contemporaries talk about 'slowing down' someday, hoping
to work part-time at something -- perhaps a new career or a passionate
interest. Some dream of a 'cyclical semi-retirement,' rotating periods
of work, travel, education and leisure time. Don't expect these
boomers to just sit back and grow old!" she says.
In a way, it does seem to have certain appeal: to be productive,
to see the world, to learn, to remain mentally challenged. Why not
romanticize our predicament and delude ourselves into believing
that this is what we choose to do?
And as if on cue, a new book just came out called
"Get Inspired to Retire," co-written by two VPs of Van
Kampen Investments. It's not really a financial book, though it
does address money issues in various ways. The book purports to
offer a "holistic approach to retirement needs." The introduction
sets the tone:
"Age 65 no longer means mandatory retirement,
out to pasture and into a retirement home. Studies show that many
Americans actually choose not to retire, whether for financial or
other reasons. ... 'Get Inspired to Retire' will help you see what
some of your options are and the role they might play in fulfilling
the next adventure in your life. Armed with such insight, you can
learn how to make the choices that are right for you."
Actually, this book is a rather clever concept
with no obvious agenda. It's a combination how-to, self-help, travel-guide,
catalog of life. It's just the perfect book for boomers to contemplate
the last stage of their life -- the one that comes right after figuring
out what we want to be when we grow up. That's something that, I
confess, I have yet to figure out.