The question above was answered by friends, members of this site and on my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life, last week. Baby Boomers are spending their lives following many different paths. They may be still working, semi-retired or fully retired, but most have changed the way they live due to more limited funds, extra free time, becoming a caretaker, illness or a myriad of other reasons.
One reader is living with a partner to create a “smaller footprint”. Baby Boomers have always been conscious of leaving the planet in better or at least the same condition it was in when they were born. That includes downsizing living arrangements from big family homes to condos, townhouses, and apartments or living in cooperative housing. There many options out there such as The Villages, where Boomers and seniors can live in a small town-like setting with stores, a movie theater, college classes, churches, shopping, and dining. While some of us cannot afford that or feel we do not want to accept the fact that we are old enough to reside in this type of community, others are embracing the idea at a younger age while they are still working so they can have a comfortable lifestyle in their later years. For those who plan to retire solely on social security, life can be a struggle, so many Baby Boomers have opted to continue to work and live in smaller spaces or embrace communal living. “Communal living can take different forms, including a landlord-tenant model- a cohousing type in which a group rents or buys a house together, and a version in which an older person rents out rooms at a reduced rate in exchange for companionship and household help.” See “A new generation of ‘Golden Girls’ embrace communal living as they get older” by Tara Bahrampour from The Washington Post on my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life. Sites have sprung up like Roommates for Boomers, roommates4boomers.com, and many others. With some research, alternative ways to live and socialize abound. If they do not exist in your community there are online sites that can even help you start one.
Baby Boomer tended to stay at their jobs for many years often due to the security of a good insurance plan and a pension. Men who entered the military often reenlisted and started new careers after they retired, usually at a fairly young age. Men most often started businesses, worked for large companies, in medicine, law, engineering, civil service or service industries. Women tended to feel that they had fewer options with teacher, nurse, secretary or homemaker heading the list. These people who cared for our children, sick and elderly are going to be hard to replace in the numbers needed today. Younger people have so many options that entering the low paying helping professions is not attractive or even viable in order to meet today’s cost of living. Statistics show that when Baby Boomers were graduating from college, the cream of the crop went into these professions, but now they are not always attracting our high achievers.
Newly retired people can sometimes get depressed because they are so used to being active and productive. Not to fear though-Meetup groups, volunteer organizations, singles travel groups and many entrepreneurs are tapping into this new market. We are a generation of healthy, energetic people looking for ways to spend our hard-earned money. If you keep your eyes open and search online you can find hobbies that range from Parajetting (my next adventure) to painting. I have so many items on my “Bucket List”, but like most, I wish I had the money now that I have the time. Even though I hesitate to admit it, for fear of being labeled a “crazy cat lady”, I do have a cat. Pets can be soothing and fill the void of not having another person in the house. They’re not too demanding. I’d rather clean a cat box or take a dog for a potty walk than clean up after or cook for another person.
Visiting Seville, Spain
Single Baby Boomers are learning to embrace “me time” and the blessed solitude and freedom to lounge in our P.J.s all day, watch what we want on T.V., eat the foods we crave and take trips to places we want to visit. Yes, there are lonely times, but most of us feel that being alone is not the same as being lonely. All you have to do is step outside and you would be surprised how many people want to talk to you. I have had conversations with strangers from all over the world, some mainly consisting of my version of sign language. If you approach someone with a question or even just smile and look approachable, you will be surprised how many people want to talk and share things about cities you are visiting and even their life. I do not think I have to warn you about dark streets and “stranger danger”. You are smart enough to make good decisions, just get out of your homes. Go out and experience life to the fullest even if it has to be on a budget.
I will continue to share your answers, thoughts, and questions in future articles. We have a lot of ground to cover. Now for my next question which was inspired by a comment on this blog.
How do we or did we plan to save enough money for our retirement?
Be creative and think outside of the box. Our financial advisors are not the only ones with ideas on how to save. Many of you are implementing innovative ideas right now. Share them with us less imaginative Baby Boomers.
Keep up the good work, my friends!