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On Business: Are Baby Boomers prepared for their second act?

The first wave of baby boomers reached retirement age in 2011. AARP magazine reports that since the onset of their “coming of age” for the next 18 years, 8,000 boomers will turn 65 each day. Financial concerns will take center stage in the retirement planning process. But aside from finances, are they really prepared for this new phase?


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Many prospective retirees imagine they will be happier once released from the daily grind. Melissa Knoll, a research analyst with the office of retirement and disability policy, Social Security Administration says, “A necessary prerequisite of the retirement decision, is the accurate prediction of one’s future emotions. Unfortunately, previous research has demonstrated that individuals do not make accurate affective forecasts.” This underscores the fact that the retirement decision is complex and requires a great deal of contemplation. The average life expectancy for a 62-year old retiree is approximately 22 years, a significant life chapter. Delayed retirement is monetarily beneficial in most cases but, even so, it’s not necessarily the right choice. Your current health status is often a deciding factor as well as future health concerns and the health of your loved ones. Knoll reports that individuals in lower socioeconomic groups tend to retire earlier than those in higher brackets. This is mainly due to added stress caused by a lack of control over their work environments with a higher proportion of workers in physically demanding jobs.

Phasing out of work is becoming popular among the boomers. Workers slowly exit the workforce by working part-time for a year or two before taking their final bow. According to HR firm Hewett Associates, only 5 percent of employers offer this program; however, over the next several years more plan to get on board, perhaps as many as 60 percent.

Lastly, it’s imperative to maintain your passion and keep your mind sharp. There are many ways to do this. Some retirees donate time in support of humanitarian organizations; others travel. Retirees often take up hobbies they’ve put on the back burner for years. Diana, a former co-worker and animal advocate, launched a dog-sitting service when she retired. My Subaru dealer told me he plans to flip houses. Learn a new language; embrace lifelong learning and take classes at the college or design your own phase-out program and consult. Whatever you choose, do it enthusiastically and with joy each day.

62 year olds are expected to live to 84?! Holy smokes!

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