• B - Beginnings and Baloney

    #AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

    B is for Beginnings
    and Baloney! 
    (definition:  The word Baloney comes from the sandwich meat called bologna,
     which is typically made of leftover scraps of meat.  Briefly 'baloney' means "nonsense."


    Retirement means different things to different people.  In my parents generation, retirement was seen an end of work, trading activity for inactivity.

    I am of the Baby Boomer Generation.  I think the definition of retirement is changing.  Certainly there are the 'sit-in-the-chair' types among my peers, but just as many are so active ... catching up with them is hard.

    My own Beginnings in retirement were at the early age of 59 - not exactly elderly by today's definitions.  Holding down a full time job outside the home and a full time job inside the home as a caregiver for my mother proved too much for me.  But true 'retirement' - my time - free time - sit-in-the-chair time - was not really mine until 8 years later, at my mom's death.

    True retirement came at age 67.  There was no announcement in a company newsletter or big send-off party or 'gold watch' or anything like most folks get when stepping out of a full time job.  Just a quiet transition from total dedication to another person's welfare to ... well ... it was a mystery for me at the time.


    Within a new short months of true retirement I discovered that some commonly held belief were ... Baloney!

    I heard a number of opinions on retirement from those in my 55+ community - ranging from the 'sit-in-your-chair' version to 'dropping-dead-at-work' version.  I think there should a happy middle ground.

    So ... what is 'retirement baloney' in my opinion!

    BALONEY #1

    I won't be able to fill my time when retired.  What the heck will I do?
    There is a measure of truth in this statement if you are 'married' to a demanding profession with no hobbies or external interests.  When mom died, I worried about that as well.  My focus in retirement was gone. It certainly was a 'job' that did demand ALL of me.  So I get it when I hear that excuse.  But it is not a balanced life - all work!  You are capable of having so much more!

    My Truth:
    Retirement might be the time to seek out that "so much more" for yourself.  If a life absorbing profession had been your experience, now is the time to balance out that deficiency.  Don't waste another minute being married to a job - a job that would replace you in a nano-second if you died tomorrow.  NOBODY should be all about a job ALL of their life.  Almost without exception, once folks step into retirement they fill their time with no effort - nature abhors a vacuum - and before you know it, you hear "Gosh, how did I ever fit a job into my day?"  And, if this isn't your truth - after trying the retired life  - return to work, by all means.

    BALONEY #2

    I love to work.  Why would I stop working if I love to work?
    There is truth in this statement, as well.  Some folks just love the routine of work.   But most folks over 65 admit maybe working a professionally demanding job would eventually be too much to sustain physically after a certain age, regardless of desire.

    My Truth: 
    In my own case, I always thought I would return to some sort of job after mom died.  And then she died.  I started thinking.  I had been tied down with a profession for tons of years, then I was tied down with caregiving for 8 years ... and honestly, at age 67 I was ready for a little freedom.  I was ready for retirement.  But that is my story.   If you aren't ready for that freedom, you should work. It  still feels, however, like you are cheating yourself.  Why give that late-in-life energy to a job when you could give it to a person, or a hobby, or a cause?  Opportunities abound in fun jobs or rewarding volunteer opportunities if you find yourself falling into Baloney #2 thinking.

    BALONEY #3

    I can't afford to retire!
    Hmm... here, sadly, is a a lot of truth.  It is scary to hear the statistics about what is needed in resources for retirement and how many people are running short in that area.  Yes, they probably will be forced to work well into their senior years.  At some point no matter if you can afford it or not - many seniors will be unemployable due to any number of failing physical or mental conditions that beyond their control.

    My Truth:
    If you are many years away from retirement - prepare now.  I am no financial advisor, but it is basic good sense to live carefully and below your means at all stages of life.  My husband and I started planning for retirement in our 40s - late by some standards.  But we buckled down and started plowing funds into our nest egg - we lived far below our means, abhorring all kinds of debt.  It can be hard to take that backward step in spending during the high earning years - after all the Jones' are living the high life and you can afford that too (at least now).  After years of simple and careful living to save that retirement nest egg - the transfer to a relatively frugal retirement was possible and easy for us - we still live careful and below our means, and we live a 'smaller life' than some of our peers, but we didn't have to say - We can't afford to retire.

    Wonder if the Jones' can afford to retire?

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