Which Are You: 49% or 51%?

Jennifer Marchetti

Jennifer Marchetti

“A lifestyle is what you pay for; a life is what pays you.” ~ Thomas Leonard

In early 2014, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BH&GRE) conducted a National Survey of baby boomers to learn their retirement strategies, aspirations, and motivations. 49% of the respondents who felt more confident about achieving an ideal retirement lifestyle, cited their top factor for feeling confident as having a retirement lifestyle plan.

This two-minutes video highlights the survey findings.

As a boomer, the 49% figure does not surprise me. In my work with this generational cohort I have learned that many boomers have not substantively planned for their “retirement.” Thus, the post title. Are you part of the 49%, or one of the 51% who don’t yet have a retirement lifestyle plan? As an extension to this finding I find myself thinking, Why not a lifestyle plan for anyone, at any life stage?

Jennifer Marchetti is the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for BH&GRE. She was my guest on this week’s Awakening to Awareness Radio Show. On the program, Jen discussed a wide range of matters significant to boomers including: a new definition for retirement; why boomers are pursuing their passions; two views on empty nesters; how boomers are repurposing their living space and; the amazing optimism of this generation who have served as economic drivers for much of their lives.

Also not surprising, as members of the “sandwich generation,” boomers are strong enablers for following generations. They intend to stay active whether continuing to work, volunteering, returning to school (to learn or teach!), as travelers and/or as emerging Encore Entrepreneurs.

The show podcast is linked here, for those interested in listening.

21 thoughts on “Which Are You: 49% or 51%?

  1. I think a great number of people choose to live for the moment, rather than save for the future. My wife and I are starting to plan for our retirement or at least for the days when we don’t want to work full time. A life overseas where we can really stretch our savings while living quite happily. Cheers, Eric.

    • You are spot on, Mike. By living only in the moment, often extravagantly (or close to one’s means limits), people miss opportunities to save for the future. Kudos to you and your wife for starting to plan now. An impending life overseas, when it materializes, will be a just and appreciated reward.

  2. Pingback: Better Homes and Gardens Survey of Baby Boomers in the USA | Encore Australia

  3. Retirement lifestyle planning is an issue most people cannot imagine however, those who plan are accordingly are disillusioned when their plans are thrown into disarray with life’s unexpected circumstances and become satisfied with living daily, weekly or monthly.

    Planning for retirement takes realistic planning and learning to live within a budget and without the luxuries of their current lifestyle, which for most is asking a lot when they become accustom to a certain lifestyle.

    I was fortunate to have retirement planning forced upon me in my early twenties and it has paid off really well. I can attest to with planning and realistically learning to live within a certain budget, retirement lifestyle planning has really pay off.

    My advice is to plan a retirement based on how you lived as a young twenty year old, before kids, marriage, homes, career and you may enjoy a great retirement, minus the large volumes of alcohol consumption.

    This plan can be tweaked as needed but if you considered how much you desired as a young adult and how you lived with far less at that time of your life before collecting a lot of lifes’ essentials, life in retirement can become a second childhood with money.

    • To your good points, Marty, planning for anything ought to be fluid enough to factor for changing situations. A rigid or inflexible plan is inadvisable for obvious reasons; just as planning for contingencies and unanticipated event is prudent. I often advise people to realize that planning encompasses much more than just financial considerations. A lifestyle plan covers a lot of ground! Appreciate your insights and suggestions.

    • And I know how true this is for and to you, Colleen. Living today what you look forward to experiencing in later years is admirable and optimistic — two qualities you exemplify. Yet, with lifestyle planning, one gives some thought to unanticipated events, positive and less so — the uncertainties that sometimes do present — so as to factor for them. What if you were the recipient of a lottery windfall or you were required to relocate (I know, hypotheticals)? How might you deal with such events? Not lecturing here as I know you have you life together but many don’t which is why some planning makes sense. Okay, I’m done again. 🙂

      • You’re not lecturing. 🙂 And I do think of the “what if’s”. I actually do self defense and safety trainings on occasion still. And I am constantly advocating for people to play the ‘what if’ in all aspects of their lives. I have considered these things. And though we’ve made plans for ‘some’ things I am well aware there is no way to plan for everything. But being aware that things don’t always go according to a plan does keep us a bit more on our toes. Does that make sense?

    • Interestingly enough, Randy, in some of what I’ve read about the Millennials, a chunk of them are actually aware of the value in doing this. Whether they opt to, remains to be seen. I think back to when I was younger and invincible… these ideas were more of what an older generation was babbling about… in between yelling “Get off my lawn.”

  4. Planning for the distant future is difficult to focus on when you’re young and it feels like the present is all you have time for. I often panic a little when I think of retirement and all the extra expenses that come with getting older (kids in college, medical bills, etc). We contribute to our retirement, but haven’t thought beyond that. Thanks for bringing this up, Eric! I obviously needed a reminder.

    Also, the Awakening to Awareness Radio Show!?! Where have I been!? That is awesome!

    • We each deal with retirement planning differently, Kaela. The fact that you are living fully in the present is wonderful. Coupling that view with awareness about the future sounds like you have it somewhere in your family’s radar screen, even if it has yet to become a priority focus. Appreciate your thoughtful perspective.

      As for the radio show, it’s been ‘on air’ for almost one year. Tune in “live” some time or consider downloading a past show podcast to listen to at your convenience — with all the spare time you have. 🙂

  5. I have never had a set plan for any aspect of my life as they are nothing but aspirations, as life is unpredictable. Truly ‘Living in the Moment’ is far healthier than pretending to live the moment whilst wishfully anticipating a future that may never ever materialise.
    What is a lifestyle plan anyway and why would anyone really want one? Is not life, more than a list of social achievements for others to admire or even emulate. What is the point in accumulating wealth if it creates a sense of fear that it is not enough or that someone might steal it from you, or traveling the world ticking off the countries visited, if you have never journeyed into your soul?

    I’ve posted this comment on my own blog and linked back to this post, I hope you do not mind. Paul

    • Thanks for your substantive comment, Paul. One of many observations I’ve made about the blogging community is the richness and diversity of opinions. With topics seen through so many different lenses, we cannot help but heighten awareness and understanding through varied points of view.

      Of many life facets, one that I have come to appreciate is the fact that all of us live at choice. And it is within the choices that people make that reflects in how they live their lives. You, obviously, have a keen desire to live in the present moment, for reasons that align with your beliefs. Others choose to live their lives differently. And between myriad views is considerable landscape, across which individual choices can be appreciated.

      To your question about a lifestyle plan, you could ask ten people approaching retirement or recently retired and you may well receive ten different answers. A plan to you will vary from plans of others. You have chosen to never have a set plan for any aspect of your life. Bravo! That is what works for you. Others create and work with plans that serve their unique visions and choices.

      To clarify, planning is far from a financial exercise, exclusively. It may not address social achievements or world travel at all. One’s plan could be about their spiritual growth and development, or how they intend to align their life with personal values, meaning, and/or significance. A plan can simply be a passive compass that helps guide one as they awaken to each new day. So, in an optimistic vein, a plan can be of considerable use to one person and have no bearing or influence on another.

      And yes, a plan can also be a vision about or an intention for how one wants to journey into their essence, their core, and/or their soul. The beauty in many plans is an element of fluidity that gives one permission to regularly shift and be in flow with life, concurrent with their unique choices.

      Thank you, also, for choosing to share the post and your thoughtful reply with those who follow your blog. Ours is an open communication forum. Cheers!

      • Eric, I fully understand everything you are saying and I even agree; it is just I do not have this ‘Planning Gene’ to give it a tittle. I was thinking more about your post today and came to the conclusion I am somehow responsibly, immature, but after reading your reply I now know not to worry; although I seldom worry, but that’s another story.
        This is why I like reading your post because I find them academically challenging on an individual, inquisitive level.


        PS. I just checked with my wife and she agrees, ‘responsibly, immature’ is a good depiction of me.

      • All is good, Paul, including respectful expressions of differing opinions. I think we could all probably identify with a piece or two of DNA that goes missing (or surpressed) in us. 🙂

        I am pleased that you like reading these posts. The fact that I can engage people and possibly elicit additional thought/reflection, makes crafting the messages worthwhile. Cheers, returned!

  6. Pingback: A comment I wrote but wanted to share with you | Amongst the crowd

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