Which category sits with you best?

I recently read an article by the financial planner, Keith Weber, that discusses the social and cultural history of retirement.  He cites the work of the Rethink Retirement Institute and states that four separate versions of retirement have existed in the United States since the inception of Social Security…I quote freely.

When Social Security was instituted in 1935 and retirment became an option, those who retired typically had “one-foot-already-in-the-grave”. Clearly, retirement wasn’t viewed as something to celebrate!  Next came Retirement version 2.0,  the “Rocking Chair Retirement.” In the 1960’s and ‘70’s life  expectancies increased  and retirees did enter this phase of life with better health. However, social attitudes kept many retirees relegated to the sidelines with little to do but pass the time. In the 80’s, version 3.0 saw the birth of retirement as a “20-30 Year Vacation.”  The mantra changed from “He who dies with the most toys, wins!” to “He who retires first, wins!” Early retirement became a sign of personal and professional success. These became the golden years where one’s only objective was to enjoy the luxuries and benefits of a lifetime of hard work.

Now that we’re into the 2000’s retirement has taken on yet another personality––that of people leaving their primary careers with a strong desire to give back and a plan to contribute in a personally meaningful way.  Retirement version 4.0 has become a chance to “Renew” yourself and finally go do what you had always wanted to do.  The study states that, since boomers have impacted everything they’ve touched and every stage of life they’ve gone through, the idea of being relegated to the sidelines is tantamount to a death sentence.

What version of retirement fits you and your mate?  Do you like the idea of enjoying the rocking chair or are you more inclined to the thought of a 20 – 30 year vacation?  Perhaps you’re a “doer” and are eager to give back.

I think the important message in the study is that your retirment life style is your choice––there is no right or wrong.  Nonetheless, I hope that your health is good enough for you to enjoy what matters to you.

Thinking of our retirement options may help us make good choices––as individuals and as couples.  How do you plan to live your version of retirment, and what are you doing to make that happen for you and your mate?  Please share your thoughts.  You may help other couples make good decisions.

For more information on this study of retirment visit Rethinking Retirment.

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