A high school friend posted recently on Facebook that he and his partner were on a biking trip out west. They both retired from state government years ago and travel extensively. The kicker is that they’re MY age and I’m not in that official retirement age demographic. Personally, I can’t even get my head around the concept of retiring. Are people my age really moving to their dream retirement city, traveling and living la vida loca
? And they’re able to afford living in housing that isn’t a van? Geesh, must be nice!A Lucky Few
The majority of my friends who are my age have no idea when or even if they’ll be able to retire. Some of us are self-employed, some have had personal and professional setbacks and most of us don’t have the healthy retirement savings that would allow the move to the next life phase. I recently bought a book about how to retire overseas
, which now gathers dust, untouched on my coffee table. At the time, I thought it would be inspirational/motivational and jump-start me planning a different path.
Of course it helps if you’ve worked in government and plan to receive those nice retirement packages or your company kicks into a 401 K and pension plan (that isn’t being whisked off to the Caymans…). But I know a lot of people who have left the corporate world, willingly or otherwise and we self-employed folks have to try crafting our own plans. Best Retirement Areas
Many 50+ organizations and publications love to list “The 10 Best Places to Retire.” I enjoy reading those, sometimes for real research, but often for comic relief. Sure, I’ll take that oceanfront condo in Naples, FL. Will that come with cash prizes?
But at least some of these top choice lists are now using different real-world variables like affordability, “green
” towns, college towns, cities for singles, etc. For me, the best retirement areas would be wherever I had choices about how much I worked or whether I had to work to survive comfortably, without constant worry about finances.Restructuring/Relocating
My friends and I often talk about future restructuring of our lives with a better result in that work/personal life balance. We also talk about downsizing, relocating and moving
to wherever. But most of these discussions are not likely to become realities any time soon. So they fall into a fantasy category. We don’t fantasize about living in an Italian villa (okay, I do) or on Maui. We talk longingly about our friends who have made it to retirement. “Wow, what must it be like to be retired?”