Sixty years of age is a key milestone for the baby boomer generation. Some say sixty is the new forty with all the advancements in medicine and health consciousness. The fact is, people today are living longer and enjoying a higher standard of living and better health than did their parents and grandparents. According to the 2010 statistics published in The State of Aging and Health in America by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average life expectancy for American citizens has increased to 78.5 years old.
Since people are living longer, the years from age 60-80 have become a very important period in the lives of senior citizens. These are the retirement years. This demographic has fewer career and family responsibilities than other age groups, plus more money and powerful spending potential from investments, and large equities in their homes. They know what activities are fulfilling and have the spare time to learn and do new things. Rather than stay home and watch soap operas, many seniors are now starting new financial enterprises and activities such as stock trading, golf, travel, running a new home based business, volunteering, working in their church, participating in community groups and committees, sports, or joining new social circles such as dance groups, card clubs, fraternal organizations, and country clubs. For those who want to The Lost Book of Herbal reinvent their life, all of these activities and interests are proving that this period of life can be very fruitful, productive, and fulfilling.
Retirement is different for every individual according to their personal situation and when they plan to retire. For many, a lot depends on their social security income and when they elect to receive benefits. The monthly benefit amount varies according to when a person retires. For seniors born during 1943 – 1954, the full retirement age is 66. Some will choose to retire as early as age 62, providing they meet the 40 minimum earned credit requirement, and their benefit amount will be reduced depending on how many months they receive benefits before they reach full retirement age.
Conversely, there are those who plan to delay retirement and work up to age 70, or longer, in order to draw an increased monthly benefit. Those working past age 66 and born during 1941 – 1942, will receive a 7.5% increase, while those born in 1943, or later, will receive an 8% increase up to age 70.
For many seniors, plans for an early retirement went down the drain along with the equities in their homes when the economy slipped into recession and many people lost their retirement nest eggs. Those not forced to extend their career will no doubt retire, however, those who must work until age 70, or longer, will be forced to reinvent themselves, like it or not. Here are some basic guidelines to help those who will have to experience the ordeal of change during their peak retirement years.
Before you can reinvent yourself, however, you need to take an inventory to see where you are now and determine where you want or need to be. This self-evaluation should include as many aspects of your body, mind, and spirit as you can identify. You need to examine your present belief system and determine your values, your ethics, your morals, and your attitude. One of the primary things you need to evaluate is your ability to change and how you handle stress and new circumstances. You will find that there are some things you can change while there are others that you cannot. It is not true that an old dog cannot be taught new tricks. Just because you are sixty or older doesn’t mean you are set in your ways and cannot adapt.
Remember, nothing changes if you change nothing, or cannot change, so for those who are motivated to alter their present lifestyle and situation; here are some suggestions to help you plan your own metamorphosis and get the ball rolling. Change begins with taking the first step and with baby steps thereafter. Change need not be so dramatic and stressful, or traumatic, but rather it can be a very pleasant experience composed of curiosity, discovery, experimentation, and acceptance; resulting in increased self-esteem, pride, and a new feeling of self-worth and renewal.
Reinvent Yourself Socially –
- Get involved with others. Meet new friends. Join clubs, committees, and online dating services to maintain communication and interaction with people with common interests.
- Do more things together with your spouse… take dance lessons, attend a pottery class, play bridge, go swimming, join a health club or country club, golf, browse thrift shops and book stores, watch videos, etc.
- Do more things with your children or grandchildren… attend their functions, help with homework, teach them a craft, go to the zoo or a ball game, bake cookies, tell stories, or go shopping together.
- Volunteer at your church or fraternal organization. Organizations always need organizers and workers and directors. Attend regular city council or town hall meetings and get involved in your community. You can also become a companion to shut-in seniors in nursing homes or visit patients in the hospital. Local government always needs volunteers for voter registration, jury duty, planning committees, advisory boards, and similar positions.
- Get a cell phone. It doesn’t have to cost much. You can use a pre-paid minute phone and learn to text message on it. Texting will keep your fingers nimble and your mind sharp. Just don’t text message while you drive.