Turning 60, the concept and the reality, is a big deal for most of us. Preparing for what it means is not usually understood as the same big deal. I think that’s a mistake.
A Generation’s Retirement Years
A baby boomer is born between 1946-1964. My brothers are older Boomers born in 1949 and 1950. I am a younger Boomer born in 1962. My sister is a Middle Boomer born in 1956.
In the beginning our age differences dramatically impacted our relationships. They were all SO old and I was so far behind them.
During my 20’s, once I was done with school and working, our age differences lessened. We were all working adults. The boys were married with children and my sister and I were single until much later. But essentially we were “all the same age.”
And now it’s happened again. I am 59 and intend to work for many more years. Likely, beyond 65. They are all retired with my oldest brother age 72, then 71 and my sister who is 66.
Here’s Why This Matters
When my friends and family turned 60, I heard a lot of grumbling.
Maybe a more accurate word to describe what I heard was dread. They said, OMG! I turn 60 this year. I’m getting so old. My body is changing so much. The wrinkles are appearing so rapidly. My hair is coming in so gray I have to color it more often. If I go gray, I’ll look so old.
I don’t feel any of that (except the gray). I wonder why? It could be because I don’t have kids. So no one calls me old. For me, my best life began when I was eliminated from my corporate job in 2017 and I made the decision to become my own boss. Since then, I report to the best boss ever and I feel no need to retire from working.
My Point of View on Aging, And Turning 60
As my wise father always said, “having a birthday beats the alternative.”
My life experience so far is that each decade has ALWAYS been better than the one before it. And I know that my 60s will not be any different. It isn’t that 60 is the new 40 or 50, it’s that 60 is the new 60.
I’ll go gray in my 60s, I have started a new business and it will thrive in my 60s, I will buy a second home and spend the winter where it’s warm in my 60s, I’ll start spending my retirement savings in my 60s, I’ll start to work differently in my 60s, I’ll stay active in my 60s, I’ll get my knees replaced in my 60s. And G-d willing, I’ll have my health in my 60s.
Let’s Talk About Retirement Savings
I started doing retirement workshops for the employees of Marshall Fields/Dayton-Hudson in my 20s. This was very progressive. The goal of the company was to prepare our employees for both the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement.
Here I coined the phrase, What will you do with a week full of Saturdays? And I learned that most people plan more for a vacation than they do for all the years they will spend in retirement.
I also learned about the importance of saving for your retirement and put every raise I got into my 401(k) until my company match maximum was met. So, as I approach turning 60, I can’t WAIT to start spending some of that money I started saving in my early 20s.
The Impact of My Dad’s Retirement Depression
My dad worked and played a little golf. Those were his interests. He sold his stores when he was a very young 62. He died when he was 76. He didn’t have a plan for what he was going to do with all his extra time when he was done being a Pharmacist.
He spent the first year in what I saw as clinical depression though he was never diagnosed. Therapy wasn’t a thing back then. Too bad, because that would have been helpful. He had nothing to do. No awareness of his interests and no awareness of how he would identify himself now that he was no longer working.
Eventually he was fine, but it was a waste of that transition year. My dad started to feel sick around 70, really sick around 73 and then died at a very young 76. He didn’t end up having a lot of time to enjoy all those years of hard work and saving for his retirement. I think that’s sad.
Luckily, Most of Us Can Expect to Enjoy 30 Years In Retirement
We are living longer and enjoying many more healthy years in retirement. It’s essentially another lifetime.
First we have our school years until our early to mid 20s. Then we have our working and family raising years from our late 20s to mid 60s. And then we have our retirement years from our mid 60s to, in many cases, our 90s! So planning ahead for all those years is essential to making the healthy years the best years yet. And for making every year count.
Becoming a Retirement Coach
In 2022 my bestie Michelle shared some information about becoming a Certified Professional Retirement Coach. I ignored it at first. I wasn’t interested in one more certification. But with a little gentle prodding I read what she sent me and my world opened up wide.
I have been working toward this my entire life and never knew it. Until now.
Saving the World One Retiree at a Time: Turning 60 is a Beginning
Most of us will retire after working long years to get really good at what we did professionally. It took us 30 or 40 years to get this good at our jobs. Yet, we give little thought to preparing for the non-financial aspects of retirement. Why would we think we will be good at this with no preparation? It took us decades to get great at working. We shouldn’t think that suddenly, upon turning 60, we’ll automatically become retirement pros.
Don’t Waste Time Figuring It Out During Your Go Go Years
You will hopefully be in great shape and in your best health when you turn 60, and when you retire. You will hopefully have plenty of energy to enjoy all things you love when you retire.
Don’t waste a moment of those best years figuring out how to enjoy them. Start planning now so you’re ready to enjoy every moment of the retirement you’ve been saving for.
Your best years are ahead of you. Let’s make sure every year counts.
Barb Mason, Coach
I am a coach and jewelry designer. At UNSTUCK Coaching, I help middle-agers make changes toward the most fulfilling employment experience. As my own first coaching client, I know what it takes to get UNSTUCK.
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