“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” ~ Alan Cohen
A new study of Americans aged 45+ found that instead of slowing down, 57% view retirement as a time of new beginnings, and half want to launch a whole new career!
Retirement is about new beginnings (and lots of uncertainty) for baby boomers. A January 2013 study of 6,300 Americans conducted by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave found that individuals preferred “reinvention” over traditional retirement, peace of mind over wealth accumulation, and view longer life expectancies as a chance to explore new options and/or pursue old dreams.
From a financial planning perspective, one of the more eye-opening findings was that achieving peace of mind was seven times more important to respondents that accumulating wealth (88% versus 12% respectively). The more than 70 million baby boomers that will begin to retire in the next decade will transform the notion of retirement. Their very numbers will force a rethinking of what retirement means and how people will live their lives. These numbers force us to identify those critical factors that will define a “healthy” retirement.
But don’t tell Baby Boomers that they are old (because I’m not 🙂 ). According to a Pew Research Survey, the typical boomer believes that old age does not begin until age 72. Also, while about half of all adults say they feel younger than their actual age, fully 61% of boomers are feeling more spry than their age would imply. In fact, the typical boomer feels nine years younger than his or her chronological age.
If you’re a boomer, you probably know a thing or two about reinvention. For college professors, the mantra has been “publish or perish.” For boomers, it’s “reinvent and survive.” As boomers move through life, they are tempted to want to have everything under control. Unfortunately, that strategy is a straight road to boredom. Being a beginner until the day you die is an important aspect of creating an interesting and invigorating life. Besides, beginnings are rarely controlled situations.
As you entertain new beginnings, keep the following in mind:
- Beginnings involve going in the wrong direction. When you start something new, even if you have a full set of instructions (like comparable life experience), you make mistakes because the whole idea is new and a challenge to grasp. Wrong turns help define the context of what you’re doing and help make it work well.
- Beginnings usually involve a few restarts. Thinking that it’s going to be smooth sailing from the get-go invites frustration. Redirects are inevitable. Sometimes you don’t even know where you are trying to go when you start out. Don’t get torqued about it. Starting something new takes courage. Seeing something through takes patience and tolerance. 🙂
- Beginnings often don’t look like beginnings. Starting in a new direction is often disguised as something old ending. What you had worked hard for was not something you wanted to change. The old reliable version of life was…well…yours. Letting go and stepping into the unknown of a new start is the only way to begin the next chapter of your life.