Lessons from the megatrend, the Graying of the American Economy
The “Graying of America” in general is a familiar megatrend: seniors are steadily dominating more of the US population. One startling statistic shares that on average, 10,000 baby boomers reach the average retirement age every day (SeniorLiving.org).
In 2020, a record seventy million joined the ranks of the retired, enough to dub this year, the Great Resignation (NOTE: 70% of these were voluntary). In this unique year, there were some notable stats:
- After less than 12 months, 68% reported they “would consider re-entering the workforce.” (CNBC’s 2022 All-America Workforce Survey).
- Over half of these noted that finances were their primary motivation.
- However, many noted deeper life reasons: like “work-life balance” (39%) and “fulfillment” (30%).
(NOTE: It is interesting to note that the trend of “Reinvention” of oneself in life is not a new concept but is gaining momentum. Retirees and those gainfully “employed” have both thought about the importance of their life having “meaning” and “making an impact.” The difference between retirees and those still working is that retirees have “unlimited discretionary time” to pursue the day-to-day activities they choose.)
A WAY FORWARD
In addition to the financial realities of being able to “afford to retire,” retirees need to experience both satisfying enjoyment and fulfillment for their retirement to be as amazing as they would like. Enjoying retirement is the obvious pursuit of every retiree, but fulfillment could be elusive—to the point that some retirees feel they are missing something. Many don’t recognize that what they need is not more pleasure, but more meaning in their lives. Sure, work could have been stressful and consuming …or “not too bad.” And it could have been interesting, enjoyable, meaningful, and even fulfilling…or not so much. Regardless, it took a lot of effort over many years, and it also became a big part of many lives. For some, work also provided a lot of fulfillment that many struggle to find upon retiring. During one’s working years, the demands and obligations of family life also provided fulfillment that may be missing once there’s an “empty nest.”
After many years filled with beautiful and trying experiences (both personal and professional), individuals “grab the golden ring” called retirement. At this point, a common desire is to experience MORE in life. Many retirees seek enjoyment and hope it all works out. Often this haphazard approach does not serve as well as planned and may end in disappointment. There is an alternative: adopting a strategic, contemporary view that reinvents retirement. In a nutshell, retirement can be more than enjoyable; it can be a deeply fulfilling journey one travels for the rest of their life, intentionally pursuing whatever is most important to them.
In closing, retirees are poised at the beginning of a journey. Dig in, a day at a time, to plan the best next steps for an amazingly fulfilling retirement:
1) Enjoyment: not all fun activities provide the same level of enjoyment and not are all equally satisfying. Retirees can maximize their enjoyment by doing the things they enjoy most with those they love the most.
2) Fulfillment: deep, meaningful fulfillment is experienced when retirees meet their Core Soul Needs:
- Identity, where one feels secure about who they are,
- Life Purpose, where one’s life has meaning to them and others,
- Love, where one is surrounded by people they have beautiful relationships with, and
- Peace, where one has an abiding sense of wellbeing.
Certainly, sufficient personal resources need to be structured to supplement income from “outside sources” like Social Security and pensions. With a secure financial foundation, retirees can be empowered to live their Life Goals, Hopes, and Dreams. However, retirees may be able to achieve more meaning with less expenditure if they clearly identify the underlying needs that they long to fulfill, then strategize towards those (for example, realizing a need to make an impact, then choosing to give of time, connections and experience in place of monetary gifts).
Taking time to reflect and plan goes a long way towards helping retirees make the most of this hard-earned stage of life.
Len, the Delaware Retiree Advisor, is the founder of The Delaware Retiree Connection, and the CEO and owner of Dedicated Financial Services. As a fiduciary and Certified Financial Planner™, Len offers his wealth of experience to guide others through the mire of Financial and Retirement Planning. As a Certified Life Coach, he pairs his financial expertise with a heart to help others who want to make the most of their retirement plan. Len’s International Best Seller, MaxAMAZING™ Your Retirement, combines both his financial and life coaching expertise into free resources to help guide retirees into a more enjoyable and fulfilling season of life. For more free, helpful resources, Len offers both his websites for public access: www.DedicatedFinancialServices.com | www.MaxAMAZING.com.
Investment Advisory services offered through SGL Financial, LLC.