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May 2022

Retirement Stages and Paths

Harli-marten-M9jrKDXOQoU-unsplash For some time, I've been following the important age-related research conducted by Edward Jones and Age Wave in partnership with The Harris Poll for some time now. The latest edition of their landmark study reveals some interesting observations about retirement "stages" and "paths" that is worth highlighting.

Not surprisingly, today's pre-retirees and retirees have adopted a very different definition of retirement from previous generations. According to the study, "a majority (59%) want to work in some way during their retirement, with 22% looking to work part time, 19% hoping to cycle between work and leisure and 18% wishing to work full time."

The study defines the four new stages of retirement:

  1. Anticipation (0-10 years before retirement)
  2. Liberation/Disorientation (0-2 years after retirement)
  3. Reinvention (3-14 after retirement), and
  4. Reflection/Resolution (15+ years after retirement).

Each stage presents unique expectations, priorities, challenges, hopes and helpful planning for retirement.

The study also identified four distinct retirement "journey paths" as follows:

  • Purposeful Pathfinders: This group enjoys the greatest well-being in retirement and is happy, engaged, productive and contributory. They are best prepared for life in retirement and 78% say they are in great shape financially. They began saving for retirement earlier than all the other groups, on average at age 34.
  • Relaxed Traditionalists: Pursuing a more traditional retirement of rest and relaxation, this group had a smooth transition and are well-prepared. Most (81%) retired when they chose, and while they are the most open to relocating, including to adult-living communities, they have fewer aspirations for personal growth or giving back than Purposeful Pathfinders.
  • Challenged yet Hopefuls: This group leads active lives and have focused on self-improvement, but their lives in retirement are constrained and uncertain due to insufficient financial preparation. Half say they often worry about outliving their money and this taints nearly all their future hopes. They began saving for retirement later than all the other groups, at age 45, and over half with retirement accounts (54%) have made early withdrawals along the way.
  • Regretful Strugglers: The largest of the four groups (31%), these challenged individuals are the least prepared for retirement, are the most unhappy and overall feel the least positive about life. 43% say they are financially worse off in retirement than during their working years. The majority (59%) say they have many regrets in life, and 42% feel that life has dealt them a bad hand.  

The research draws the following key conclusion:

"Retirees who report better quality of life took more steps decades in advance to prepare and plan across all the four pillars of Finances, Purpose, Family, and Health. From saving early and consistently and developing healthy habits to communicating with close family and discovering passions and interests, there are several steps pre-retirees and those early in retirement can take to make the most of their retirement."

This research offers valuable insights for all of us. Learn more about it here:

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog



Discover How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"

Boomers on the Balance Beam

New-york-g88c730c27_1920One of the inherent advantages of being a Boomer is that we know about cycles. The current economic environment is a good example. Boomers have lived through inflation, global conflicts and workplace turmoil. We have cycled through these times before and, hopefully, we came out stronger for it.

Still, sometimes it feels as if we are living on a balance beam, doesn't it? We balance our budget allocations to accommodate rising prices. We balance our aging parents with our grown children and grandchildren. We balance our work lives with travel, volunteering and leisure. We balance our investments and savings with our expenses. If we're over 70, we balance our Social Security income with our RMDs from retirement accounts.

Balance is one of those things that may seem precarious, but the more you become accustomed to what it takes to achieve balance, the more able you are to achieve it. Interestingly, if you have been working full-time or even part-time, the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to a better understanding of balance. If you had to work remotely, that likely made you reorient your work/personal life relationship and find a new definition of balance. 

If you are moving into your next phase of life, you may view work through an entirely different lens. There may be more of a blurring between work and home life. Here are four potential ways to create a better work/life balance as you age, according to Pacific Life:

  • "Embrace new technology and become more tech savvy."
    Using Zoom and other interactive technologies will not only help you in the workplace, it will also ensure you can stay connected with family and friends, regardless of their location.
  • "Reconnect with old pastimes and create new passions."
    It's no accident that happy retirees are those who rediscover pastimes from their childhood or pursue passions they have always wanted to explore but never had the time.
  • "Focus on your health."
    Health issues become more pressing as we age, so it pays to adopt a healthier lifestyle the older we get. That typically includes a healthy diet, exercise, weight maintenance, good sleep habits, no smoking and limited alcohol. It's proven that healthy lifestyles can add significant disease-free years to life.
  • "Make decisions about where and how you want to live."
    According to Pacific Life, "Making more time for family and recreation now can help you make an informed decision about where to spend your future. You’ll have a better idea whether to stay put or make a move for family proximity, financial or healthcare considerations, or lifestyle amenities."

The above is sound advice -- and it just may keep you from falling off that balance beam.

Image: is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog



Discover How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


A Perspective on Ageism from an Industry Insider

Pexels-marcus-aurelius-6787970Kirsten Flanik is the 55-year old CEO of BBDO New York. BBDO Worldwide is a major marketing communications agency with over 200 locations globally. Flanik spoke about ageism in advertising at an "Ad Age Remotely" online session on April 27. As a 50-plus woman in a senior management position in the advertising business, Flanik brings an informed perspective, enhanced by the fact that one of BBDO's clients is AARP.

I attended the session and got to hear Flanik firsthand. She pointed out that, for the first time, five generations are in the workforce, even though the advertising industry "tends to skew young." She believes that age should not be a factor in hiring for industry positions as long as an individual is intellectually and creatively capable. Flanik said senior workers in advertising should be valued because they bring "different experiences and perspectives" to the business. She admitted, however, that ageism is a real issue in hiring for the advertising industry. Despite this, she is encouraged by the fact that the percentage of 50-plus employees in the workforce is higher than ever. She also noted that there are more 55-plus professionals freelancing than ever before and that these freelancers bring valuable experience to agency work.

An interesting point Flanik brought up when it comes to senior employees: Advertising agencies need to acknowledge that, as people get older, they may face health issues. Management needs to be tolerant and not be biased against older workers because of such issues. She used herself as an example, sharing that she had cancer in her early 50s. She felt that agency management and personnel embraced her rather than viewing the illness as a weakness, which is sometimes the case in the workplace. She said one mistaken perception of older workers is that they are in constant need of help. This simply isn't true. She has found older workers to be strong, resilient and self-reliant.

Perception also plays a key role when agencies and their clients think about consumers, Flanik said. She cited the statistic that 56 cents of ever dollar is spent by consumers who are 50-plus in age, yet agencies and clients still seem to follow the myth that the consumer becomes loyal to a brand at a younger age. That is one reason agencies and clients target consumers in the 18 to 49 age group. She believes that perception needs to change to the realization that "you can become brand loyal at any age." She also said 50-plus tropes are a problem. For example, in advertising, the 50-plus consumer is often portrayed as not understanding technology. Another common portrayal is the older couple, walking on the beach in retirement. Such perceptions are not the way 50-plus consumers see themselves, however. These older consumers may be very comfortable with technology, and many of them may still be in the workplace rather than retired.

Flanik was proud of the fact that BBDO recently hired a global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. She said that DE&I includes sensitivity to race, gender and age. She acknowledged the advertising industry is generally behind in diversity and believes a diverse workplace is essential. The goal of BBDO New York is to be "representative of the U.S. population by 2025" and she indicated the agency is 1/3 of the way there.

It was encouraging to hear Flanik's personal commitment to overcoming ageism as a senior executive in the advertising business -- because this is an industry that is often assailed for its orientation toward hiring young and targeting younger demographics. Hopefully Kirsten Flanik is not the only enlightened CEO running the office of a large agency. 

Photo by Marcus Aurelius is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog



Discover How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"