Not Your Parents Retirement – Did They Do it Better?

The Orlando Sentinal published an article by Jane Glass Haas,citing Sandra Timmerman’s research on aging Boomers. Haas says that many of them are ill-prepared and feel that they will not fare as well as their parents. She points out that the world is more complex now – although others have argued that we simply may have distorted memories of our parents, retirement. Stop and think about your parents – or grandparents – when they were your age. First of all, since you were very young, they probably seemed a lot older than they were.

Chances are, their career trajectories were more straightforward. White collar workers and factory workers put in their years and retired. Women were more likely to stay home. People in sales or construction, seasonal work, housekeepers, service providers, independent professionals and business owners might work indefinitely. In fact, their pattern is probably closest to what we’re seeing today. Chances are, they were more likely to stay in one place. Maybe they traveled after retirement, then came home. Maybe they went to Florida or some other sunny spot. Maybe they spent more time at the summer home.

Timmerman suggests that everyone contemplating retirement should think about working with a life coach to figure out what they want to do with the next 30 or so years and a financial advisor to figure out how to afford it. Some of us have been ants and amassed stores for winter. Some of us have been grasshoppers and have had a really good time spending perhaps somewhat faster than we earned. Some of us simply never earned enough – or never thought we earned enough – to save.

I took a quick survey of my retired friends and found a high income of $15,000 a month to a low of $2,400. And people at every point in between. If you find yourself at the low end, it’s never too late. Go find yourself a financial advisor. NOW. Go to a retirement organization website and use all the wonderful forms there. It’s possible to start to save past 60 and, with good budgeting but not undue pain, stash away enough to add $1,500 a month to your retirement income.

You still have some good earning years ahead of you. Do it now!

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