Thursday, April 9, 2009


The recession may be making it clear to me that a leisurely retirement is impractical. Some economists say it’s not practical for many people. The majority of baby boomers plan to work in retirement. So say numerous surveys. That is, they want to keep working, even a little. Yet for those who didn’t want to work, the message may now be, ‘Forget Retirement!’ Well I didn’t do that. Retiring seemed a good idea at the time. Knowing what I know now, I might have considered postponing retirement.

The recession isn’t the only factor that compels me to rethink what I will do with some of the years ahead of me. In my mid sixties I don’t want to work full time. But will we have enough resources to fund the next 25 years. My father lived until he was 93. Increased life expectancies must play into my consideration of how I spend these years. And for me it’s not even just about economics. I want to be useful. I have 45-50 years of accumulated wisdom and experience that can benefit emerging leaders, pastors, executives. Whether the experience pays anything now is something I should investigate. Sure I want to paint pictures, but realistically that is not going to garner income to sustain a lifestyle to which we had become accustomed. The fact is, seven months into retirement, we are already realizing many adjustments with a drastically reduced monthly income. We have managed the adjustments well enough. We just bit the bullet.

We have seen some of our hard earned assets disappear in this recession and we will not recover them. Then after our imminent two month international trip which we planned for a long time but which will nonetheless cost us big bucks as the loonie dropped, I may have to come home to new realities. The long touted modern retirement picture of daily rounds at the golf course, buying an RV and spending three months in Arizona, biannual cruises, and luxury condo living will not just be reconsidered, it’s out of the question. The economy of retirement is changing.

Then I suppose there is another consideration. Working is mentally and physically energizing. It stems off dementia I am told. I probably miss the workplace social environment as much as anything.

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