One Baby Boomer’s Guide to Retirement
Starting at the beginning is always a good thing—especially when you’re starting a blog. I mean, after all, I’m not quite of the “blogging generation” and social media is, I must admit, a bit of a mystery to me. So… why in heavens name am I writing a blog? That’s a pretty legitimate question. Trust me, I ask myself that every day as I sit down at my computer.
So, to start out, let me explain to you (and to me, I think as well) why I decided to write this blog.
I am the quintessential beginning of the Baby Boomer Generation and so as the calendar ticks by, the question of To Retire or Not Retire is supposed to be front and center in my (if I believe the scientists) aging brain. It’s no mystery now that I did decide to retire at the end of 2016…and you know that because I am writing this blog. Who would have had time to do this if I were still gainfully employed?
In mid-December, when I finally was facing the fact that I had only two more weeks of work, I have to admit to a bit of a panic attack. What had I done? Was I a total lunatic to have opted independently and without provocation to leave a lucrative and rewarding financial services career? I started thinking that I had followed classically horrific decision making—I’d made a monster decision without the slightest idea whether I had made the right choice—or a disastrous one. Clearly, I knew very well what work looked like and I had absolutely not the foggiest notion of what retirement would look like.
In a fit of self justification, I figured I’d Google Retirement to see what others said about making the decision and what worked and what didn’t. BUT, low and behold, that search yielded all sorts of information about health care after retirement, investing …blah blah blah. Yeah of course, we all need to be concerned with all of those things. But what I was interested in (and obviously still am) is the emotional side of this path up to and after retirement. It’s that soft fuzzy….sit on the couch…sort of stuff.
So, I defaulted to my normal way of dealing with panic…which is to write. For some reason, I think more clearly with fingers on a keyboard (or years ago, with pen to paper). So I sat down to calm myself down and figure out what I had done.
“To Retire or Not To Retire: That is the Question” were my first words. As my fingers criss-crossed the keyboard, the words really helped me to understand why I had made the decision and made me feel so much calmer about it. To be brutally honest and modest too…I just loved the piece I wrote. I was, in fact, so proud of it that I forwarded it to family and friends as a reality check. All agreed with me and nodded when I asked whether perhaps my thoughts could help others work through this crazy mixed up emotional roller coaster ride to the dark side of the unknown. And so, that’s why I decided to write this blog.
Here’s a bit of background to put this all into some context….I FINALLY decided to retire from my pretty successful financial services career in June, 2016. I say finally……because I have been threatening to do this for years and none of my friends believed me this time when I told them that I was actually going to stop working. You’re spouting another vapid threat, they sneered. “But no…seriously, this time it’s REAL” I assured them…(any myself too).
But even those who knew it was real still couldn’t quite get their arms around it. When I finally wrote an email to people in my firm talking about my decision, the CEO, who clearly knew my plans, wrote back…”WAIT…WHAT!???” Quite frankly, to me and everyone who knows me well…The Unthinkable had happened…and just how did we get to this place? What is she thinking????? And why would she do this???
After all…I have worked my entire life…close to 50 years of pretty stressful and high powered stuff. Don’t get carried away here…. while I went to Wellesley with Hillary and with Diane Sawyer, I am hardly in their league. But I was pretty accomplished in my career, and being a successful business woman filled a lot of needs…..and not just the monetary rewards of a career in finance…which if you’re a single Mom with pretty expensive tastes is a big plus.
So…I asked, and maybe you are too, what happened in 2016 to make me change course? Being the analytical and literal person that I am, I put together one of those two column analyses—One labeled Retirement Pluses and the other Retirement Negatives: To Retire or Not to Retire—That is the question.
Stay tuned to follow my journey…and you’ll soon see… the paths of others. WELCOME TO THE EMOTIONAL GUIDE TO RETIREMENT—WHATEVER THAT IS?!