What is Your Retirement Path?

BooksIn her new book, Too Young to be Old, Nancy Schlossberg researched and identifies six different paths to retirement. She writes about them in an excerpt on NextAvenue.org. While she reminds us that paths are not completely linear, and retirees choose paths in their own unique ways, the six paths she details are worthy of consideration. They are:

  1. Continuers
  2. Adventurers
  3. Easy Gliders
  4. Involved Spectators
  5. Searchers
  6. Retreaters

Continuers, writes Schlossberg, continue on a path similar to pre-retirement but make modifications, while Adventurers see retirement as an opportunity to do something brand new. Easy Gliders take a more laid back approach, while Involved Spectators stay involved with their previous careers. Searchers continue to seek their niche, while Retreaters either disengage before finding out what's next or become depressed and unmotivated.

Has Nancy identified a retirement path that resonates with you? Are you on a path that is really a combination of the above paths, or have you discovered a path of your own? Read Nancy's NextAvenue article here, and consider buying her book here:

Too Young to Be Old: Love, Learn, Work, and Play as You Age (Lifetools: Books for the General Public Series)

Will Self-Driving Cars Help Reduce the Loss of Independence?

MusingsAccording to a recent article in The New York Times, "Nearly 16 million people 65 and older live in communities where public transportation is poor or nonexistent. That number is expected to grow rapidly as baby boomers remain outside of cities." The article went on to discuss why self-driving cars may be the answer for such aging Boomers. Joseph Coughlin, the director of the MIT AgeLab, was quoted in the article, saying, “The aging of the population converging with autonomous vehicles might close the coming mobility gap for an aging society.” Coughlin also said that 92 percent of older people want to age in place.

Reading this article got me thinking about the larger issue for aging Boomers: the loss of independence. I lived through the loss of independence with my mother over fifteen years ago. When she broke her hip in her late eighties, her independence became a thing of the past. It also led to a quick decline. Coupled with the onset of dementia, her physical and mental infirmities made it impossible for her to age in place. After trying to maintain her independence in her condominium with the help of home health care aides, I had to make the decision to move her to a nursing home. She died not long after the relocation.

Today, my wife is the primary caretaker for her 93-year old mother. While her mother is in excellent health and lives independently, she can no longer drive. Whether it's shopping, day trips, or short outings, my wife and I take responsibility for the transportation.

Caring for older parents is increasingly common among Boomers, even as they age themselves. It offers a look into our own future as we see first-hand what it would be like to lose our independence. For some of us, aging in place may be a viable option. For others with means, an assisted living facility or continuing care retirement community may be the answer. Today, there's always Uber and Lyft, but tomorrow, it sure would be nice to know that such things as self-driving cars could extend our independence as long as possible.  

MacLaine Shines in "The Last Word"

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 3.34.40 PM MediaEvery once in a while, I like to talk about a movie that I think has special relevance to Boomers. "The Last Word" starring Shirley MacLaine is a quirky movie that may have slipped under your radar since it had a limited release and didn't get stellar reviews (which usually means it's worth seeing!). My wife and I are likely to see any movie that features Shirley MacLaine (now a spry 82 years old), and we were not disappointed in this one.

MacLaine plays Harriet Lauler, a retired adwoman who is brash, strong willed and at times irascible. Lauler applies her knack for selling products during her career to an unusual desire: She wants to have her obituary created before she dies. This leads to her enlisting Anne Sherman, a young journalist played by Amanda Seyfried, to write the obituary. It would be accurate to define the movie as a dark comedy.

I'd rather not share more of the plot since it will give away too much. Suffice it to say that MacLaine shines like a very bright light, somehow acting the part with gruffness and warmth at the same time. She turns Lauler into a fascinating character study of a very successful businesswoman who has a giant hole in her personal life. One of the more interesting aspects of the movie is Lauler's mother-like relationship with Sherman and grandmother-like relationship with an adorable waif.

There are many messages in this movie about life, love, relationships, and redemption lost and found. MacLaine's tour de force is reason enough to see it. My wife and I, however, rate movies on the basis of whether or not we have something to talk about when we leave the theater, and "The Last Word" prompted a lively discussion.  

Looking for a Second Career? Start with Questions

OnYourOwnPursuing a second career can be equal parts rewarding and scary. It may make sense to work in a field you're most familiar with, but it also might be that your goal is to do something completely different with your life during your "second act."

As with any research project (and that's what finding a second career really is), you won't have all the information you need to make a well-considered decision without asking the right questions. My retirement colleague Nancy Collamer, who I've quoted numerous times in the past, can help with that. Her article for U.S. News, "10 Questions to Help You Discover a Fulfilling Second-Act Career," is the perfect starting point.

Nancy says that the transition to a second-act career will be easier "when you build on at least a small piece of what you currently do." That was my experience: After I sold the direct marketing agency I started, I briefly worked for an ad agency in a senior marketing position. When I decided to retire from the agency, I leveraged my writing skill to become a freelance marketing writer and book reviewer. It was a relatively easy transition for me since I always loved to write. I also used my skills from starting and running a business to help my wife launch her own small business. (You can read the story of that business in our book, Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business.)

These are a few of the ten questions Nancy suggests asking yourself before striking out on your own.

1. What opportunities, services or products are currently being overlooked in your industry? 

2. Which of your skills could you market on a freelance and flexible basis? 

3. Do you have technology-related expertise that could help someone become more efficient or profitable? 

4. What tools can you create to make it easier for people to do their job, accomplish their goals or enjoy their hobbies? 

See the other six questions, along with some additional helpful advice, in the complete article, which you can read here:

The Longer Arc of Working

OntheClock ID-10088137It seems to be an unavoidable topic of aging these days: More people over the age of 65 continue to work. Whether it is full-time or part-time, the arc of working life for many Boomers is lengthening. Statistical research from numerous sources suggests that as much as one-third of the over-65 age group could be working in the next five years.

A recent article by John Hanc in The New York Times reports on some of the reasons older workers continue to work. In it, Hanc discusses Boomers who are 79, 75, 71, and 72, all of whom are still working and enjoying it.

Working longer works for any number of reasons. Jacquelyn B. James, co-director of the Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, tells Hanc, "This is one of the most educated generations in history. A lot of the jobs people are continuing in are fields in which you use the mind, not the body." She adds, "By the time you're in your 60s and 70s, you've probably worked yourself into something you enjoy doing. Others have been able to let go of things that they don't like about their job."

Michael D. Hurd, director of the RAND Corporation Center for the Study of Aging, thinks work is beneficial for older people. He tells Hanc, "You're forced to interact with people and forced to engage your brain. It's also good in terms of people's financial fitness. Just one year's salary keeps you from drawing down on your savings, and may even allow you to add to your savings."

An encouraging factor for older workers is a changing workplace. There are more part-time positions available, and there are more "gigs" -- work engagements that are essentially project-based. These types of work opportunities may involve being an independent contractor. The downside may be lack of benefits, but the upside is often a flexible work schedule and self-employment.

Boomers have been credited with generational change, and they have certainly changed the attitude toward retirement. Employers are slowly catching up to the "Booming" phenomenon of Boomers who want to work past the traditional retirement age of 65. The more Boomers who work into their later years, the more we are likely to reshape the way Americans think about work. Hopefully, this will also lead to a reduction in discrimination against older workers. 

Image: Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net

5 Good Retirement Tips for Boomers

MediaA special section on Retirement appeared in the Sunday, March 5 edition of The New York Times. In it were a number of informative articles, including making a retirement plan, when and how to save, reinventing careers and repurposing skills, working past the age of 65, and a perspective on Baby Boomer farmers in Iowa who see the land as their retirement plan.

Also in that section, retirement expert Kerry Hannon shares five good retirement tips to implement if you are in your 60s and beyond. You can read more detail on each of these tips in the article here:

1. Get a grip on your retirement income sources

2. Take control of fixed monthly costs

3. Consider working beyond your official retirement age

4. Shift your investments to a more conservative asset mix

5. Plan your withdrawal rates.


Think Creatively about Supplementing Your Income

OnaWhimSome Boomers on the way to retirement want to earn supplemental income, but they aren't sure just how to do it. One way is to think creatively about how to leverage your experience and passions and turn them into income opportunities. For instance, I live in an area known for its arts and crafts community. An acquaintance of mine retired from the software business and always had an interest in woodcraft. He took some classes, practiced for awhile, and now sells wooden pens, pendants, and ornaments at local shows. Another retiree did the same thing with handcrafted jewelry.

Nancy Collamer, a wise coach who specializes in retirement careers, offers some creative ideas in an article published in the March 5th edition of Woman's World. She says the experience you gained in a previous work setting can be applied to a new role. "You may have been an office manager," says Nancy, "but what you really loved doing was organizing the company picnic every year. Maybe now you can work part-time as an event planner!"

Other ideas: Become a tour guide in your own city, rent out your driveway for parking if you live near an event venue, or even rent out yourself as a baby or pet sitter. And if you like to drive, there are services such as Uber and Lyft just for you. "Uber, for example, is making a concerted effort to hire people over 50 because they're seen as more reliable," says Collamer.

Collamer also suggests checking out websites that help you learn about and find new jobs, such as Fabjob.com ( a site that you can use as an idea starter to explore new career directions) and Flexjobs.com (a site that lists a wide variety of flexible, part-time positions).

Be sure to sign up for Nancy's excellent email "Second-Act Newsletter" at her website, MyLifestyleCareer.com.

Done with Your Career? Consider Consulting

OnYourOwnAs Boomers transition from a full-time career to part-time work in retirement, they have a real opportunity to be a consultant, at least for a period of time. Depending on their field, some Boomers can even make consulting a long-term business. I can tell you from personal experience that consulting is a good way to ease out of a full-time professional career into part-time work during retirement. 

"Consultant" is a term that used to mean a professional with a consulting firm, but nowadays, a consultant can be anyone with professional expertise. Respected retirement expert Kerry Hannon shares these four tips for individuals who want to consider becoming a consultant when their primary career ends: 

  1. Become a member of a local industry association or organization. Join industry groups on LinkedIn. Attend industry and professional meetings and conferences. Keep an eye on the association job boards and let other members know you’re seeking consulting assignments.

  2. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to help you reach small businesses in your town. These organizations often don’t have funds to hire someone full-time, but may need your expertise and experience. Also check out temporary agencies that specialize in placing experienced professionals in short-term gigs.

  3. Know your rates. Research what other consultants in your field charge. Many consultants have websites where they publish set rates or a range. You might also ask fellow consultants straight out what they charge. Whatever your source, set your rates accordingly based on your experience and skill set.

  4. Market your services to nonprofits which have a mission that resonates with you. They often hire project-based or contract professionals. Consider offering your services pro bono to develop your relationship and gain references for future jobs.

This is excellent advice, part of a longer article about "Working in Retirement" that you can access on Kerry's blog here: http://kerryhannon.com/?p=6125

Buy the eBook Edition of "Let's Make Money, Honey" at Half Price, March 5 - 11

LMMH book cover-jpg BooksMarch 5 through 11 is "Read an eBook Week." To celebrate, Happily Rewired is offering the eBook edition of Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business at half price -- just $3.50 -- if you order it through Smashwords. You can get the book in any format for any device, including a PDF. 

If you've ever thought about going into business with your spouse, this is the book for you. It tells the story of how my wife and I started a small service business and sold it seven years later. You'll find plenty of advice about what to do and what not to do when starting a business with your spouse. It has received excellent reviews and I know you will find it helpful.

To get your copy at half-price, simply go to: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/568837  When you place your order, enter the code RAE50 and you'll pay just $3.50 instead of the regular price of $6.99. This offer is only good from March 5 through 11 at Smashwords so order today!

The Good News and Bad News About Longevity

MusingsYou've probably seen news about current actuarial reports projecting increased longevity. For men and women who reach the age of 65, their life expectancy is now over 85 years of age (86.6 for men and 88.8 for women).

This is both good and bad news for Boomers. The good news is we'll live a lot longer past what was once the traditional retirement age of 65. The bad news is some of us could very well run out of money.

That's why you might want to read retirement expert Mark Miller's excellent article in The New York Times, "How to Make Your Money Last as Long as You Do." In it, Miller discusses a number of steps Boomers can take for "mitigating longevity risk," among them:

  1. Create a budget projection that accounts for non-discretionary expenses
  2. Recognize when it is wise to begin drawing Social Security benefits
  3. Consider continuing to work full-time or part-time
  4. Consider an annuity.

Miller's article includes specific information about each of the above steps. It also includes an interesting table that shows three scenarios for the possibility of a retirement plan failing.

This kind of information is essential for Boomers to consider and digest. It also reinforces the fact that most Boomers would do well to work with a financial advisor who can help plan the best retirement savings and lifestyle strategies so you won't run out of money in your later years.