Retirement Is out, the Active Adult Lifestyle Is in
Blame it on the boomer generation if you want, but you must accept that the old notion of retirement has given way to the era of the active adult. Most adults would like a retired life of ease and prosperity. They are no longer willing to work for 80% of their life, for a less than certain shot at a life of splendor and ease awaits them for the last 20% of their allotted days on earth.
The retirement paradigm
The old model of adult life said that you work for x years, typically until you are 65 years old. Then you retire. If you do it correctly, you will save enough during your working years to live comfortably with social security and your pension from your job and your lifetime of savings to provide that level of comfort.That model governed many people's thinking through the 20th century.
Oops, it turns out that the model may have been faulty.
- Some people followed the plan successfully and retired. They looked around and said, "now what?"
- Many people lived lives of denial and kept putting off satisfaction until that magic period of retirement would allow them to stop working and then and only then, enjoy life.
- Many people got to the magic point only to find them self physically or financially incapable of living the good life.
- For some, retirement was just the next to last step. Move into retirement and then die.
- For some, the plan got derailed by changes in business practices. The pension they counted on didn't exist when needed most.
- Health care may not be a God given right, but it sure isn't cheap. For many seniors, the funds available for pleasure, have to be diverted to medical care at some time, and often too soon.
- The last economic downturn, not only trashed retirement funds, it made working, sometimes two jobs, a requirement for many. Dual wage earners are the norm. For too many, it took away their jobs and their retirement funds.
The classic retirement model stopped looking like a good plan years ago. It seems that pleasure delayed, may be pleasure denied.
A new model for senior life was required
The old model didn't really work, a paradigm shift was needed. If you couldn't rely on a magic period of retirement, you needed to redefine retirement. If you couldn't be sure that your savings would be sufficient, you needed a plan that could include working. This raised some good questions for those approaching senior status:
- Why do I have to wait to do some of those fun retirement things?
- My health is good now; how can I keep healthy and avoid the "retire to die" syndrome?
- Why do I have to quit working?
- Can I combine some work and some play?
Enter the active adult and the active adult lifestyle.
The active adult lifestyle
For years, the economic and social impact of the boomers was forecast and debated. What will happen when all those war year babies click into retirement mode. Well the boomers have blossomed into active adults. The new retirement model turns the negatives of the old model into, if not positives, at least into workarounds.
- "I can't quit working", becomes "why can't I continue to work? maybe not as much..."
- Waiting for retirement at 65 or 70 to move, becomes "I'm looking for a place to live an active adult lifestyle, while I'm still working..."
- I may not ever be able to fully retire, becomes "I'm semi retiring now, and we'll see how it plays out..."
- Wait till you retire, becomes "I want the good life now.."
What does retirement mean to you and your family?
Which of these choices fits you or a parent best?
What do boomers want?
The boomers have been studied and surveyed for years. They have different priorities than their parents did. Boomers know what they want to do and where they want to live:
- Fitness Centers are required. Wellness and fitness are important to boomers who want to start living the good life now, and keep on living it for a long, long time.
- Walking trails are high on the list. Jogging has been replaced by hiking and brisk walks in pleasant surroundings.
- Security is important in a new active adult community. They want a relief from the drama of the evening news. Walls and gates do make for good neighbors in the right communities.
- Convenience - they want all their amenities close by, from groceries to golf, from doctors to dining, from movies to malls they want it all within 20 minutes.
- Social outlets - they might not be able to afford to do it every day, but they do want to be able to explore their cultural and social sides.
- Personalized activities - Boomers move into their senior years with a wide variety of interests, so the community that appeals to them will offer variety above all.
- Golf and shuffleboard are still enjoyed by many, just not as many as before. Boomers might prefer walking or running around the golf course to following the little white ball.
Boomers want options and they are on the move.They are called active adults for a reason.