In this issue we’ll take a look at what has changed in the information available for retirees since the Baby Boomers first headed into retirement. It’s gone from merely finance focused retirement preparation information to a bona fide smorgasbord of choice in just ten years.
Being an educator, if you have any thoughts about retirement, you most likely will start doing some research and preparation ahead of time. What you’ll find when you head to your local library or favourite bookstore to search the “Retirement” category, are plenty of books on how to arrange your finances. Equally, when you search the Internet, you’ll see that financial institutions and insurance companies offer a lot of information on how to arrange your finances. Digging a bit deeper, you’ll come across a few enterprising websites that take a more encompassing approach to retirement beyond the financial aspect. Having said that, there still doesn’t seem to be much out there dealing with the personal aspect of retirement—the “you” in the whole picture.
With the world-wide financial turbulence of the last few years with which we are still coping, there now seems to be some confusion about retirement. Is retirement possible or necessary? Has retirement become a thing of the past now that people live longer, or have lost their retirement nest-egg, or need to provide for unemployed adult children/grandchildren, or aging parents? Once the personal transition from work to retirement has taken place, then what? Am I old or am I young in today’s world?
The answers, it would appear, to these and many other questions are enthusiastically and overwhelmingly offered in the myriad of material to be found under the “Baby Boomer” heading. There is a veritable treasure trove of information for boomers on everything from dating to dying, new careers to caregivers, spiritual explorations to adventure expeditions.
The leading edge of the boomer generation plodded through the morass of retirement mores left by their parents and grandparents. Not liking what they saw ahead, they set about updating things to better reflect who they were and what they felt about themselves and their future. Now it would seem many of the early boomer cohort are jumping on to the Boomer Bandwagon and providing all sorts of previously unsought information about the age group that is recently retired and soon to be retired. Currently, there is an enthusiasm for embracing the third age, or second age, depending on the author’s preference; but suffice it to say, they mean the period of time just after middle age. The fuzzy slippers and rocking chairs that the vanguard of retiring boomers envisioned are well out of focus. The thirst for self-knowledge that has been the hallmark of the boomer generation is going to be well sated now that it is generally recognized that the boomers are here now and in big numbers. So much so, that the word “retirement” is undergoing scrutiny as never before and many are wondering whether it is a useful or appropriate word today. Just as words such as “boomer” have been created to encompass a generation, various acronyms are now being created to describe boomers. One is NYNO— Not Young, Not Old—which was coined by Star Weiss for the title of her CBC Radio segment which deals with all things of interest to those people who are not young, not old.
As boomers move into retirement and beyond they will rewrite and rework the image of the older adult, and their influence will be felt in all aspects of life. As an example, look at some of the latest book titles which reflect a more optimistic tone as retirement becomes the buzzword of the day.
Stayin’ Alive: How Canadian Baby Boomers Will Work, Play, and Find Meaning in the second half of their adult lives
The Laughing Boomer: Retire from Work – Gear up for Living!
Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation
Not only are the books reflecting a new look at retirement, but there are myriad websites of the same optimistic, choice-driven genre. Magazines, such as Zoomer, cater to today’s retired and older adults, and CBC radio has produced nationwide programming on this topic.
If you are contemplating retirement and want to do some research, you are doing it at a good time because your pathway into this next part of life has been swept clean of old ideas and perceptions by the leading edge of the boomer demographic. Take advantage of their work; after all, it is what they want for you and you will want for yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Carol Baird-Krul & Enise Olding
Carol and Enise (firstname.lastname@example.org) are the creators of a series of pre-retirement and post-retirement planning workshops: Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course©, Recently Retired: Charting a New Course© and Ideas… Enhanced and Advanced©, and authors of Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course. Previous articles on retirement may be by Enise Olding and Carol Baird-Krul viewed in back issues at CanadianTeacherMagazine.com.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Sept/Oct 2012 issue.