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Baby Boomers Retiring, But Are They Really?

By Tom Anselm

According to The Pew Research Center, as of Jan. 1, 2011, the first Baby Boomers reached 65 years of age.  Then every day thereafter for the next 19 years, 10,000 people will hit that magic number.  All of which brings me to thoughts of the “R” word, retirement.

I dropped out of the rat race, as they used to call it, two years ago this June.  Our fair state’s teacher pension program is a good one, so we took the plunge.  I say we because no one married really retires in isolation, and because the bride is still in the work force, pulling the health coverage for her gang.

But happily she has been able to cut it back to part-time hours,  much to our delight.  We usually get Tuesday’s and Friday’s off together, and that is just peachy.

Now a lot of us in this demographic who retire prior to the mid 60s are re-careering. You know, going back to school, turning that avocation into a vocation, doing something more in line with what they like to do.  And in today’s economy, the extra cash sure can’t hurt.

However, others just can’t seem to leave their main job at all.   They love what they do, are in good health and just keep on keeping on.  Hey, look at Paul Mc Cartney.  (For you younger set, he was in The Beatles. You know, The Fab Four?  John,  Paul, George, Ringo?)  Sir Paul has more shillings than the Queen Mum, but he’s still showing up on stage here and there.  Sure, his voice is pretty much shot and he’s had some work done (no wrinkles at nearly age 70… Please!)  But he can still play.  And I know even older guys and gals who have no intention of calling it quits.  To each their own.

However, the AARP (I still think that sounds like an old geezer clearing phlegm) says that nearly 30% of folks who turn in their resignations don’t plan to do anything.  Work-wise, that is.  What they will do is a lot of traveling and spending of their kid’s inheritance to the tune of $750 billion annually.  So it seems that even with the recent blows to the financial markets, our group has hung in there dollar-wise.

And we’re inarguably the healthiest older generation in world history, being beneficiaries of advanced medical care and a fitness rage that just seems to have no end.  So expect to see us hanging around for awhile.

Once I stopped teaching full time, it was a summer of scratching off some projects around the old homestead.  But nothing like putting on an addition. My garage will never be mistaken for a workshop.  I discovered long ago that any job requiring more than a simple screwdriver or wrench is best left to the certified professionals.

But after cleaning out said garage, a few touch-ups on the paint, and a bit of minor yard work, it became clear that I needed a purpose once I woke up and faced the morning.   So The Big Human Resources Director in the Sky sent me a gig driving people to doctor’s appointments, led me to sign up for home tutoring through my old school district, and I even got on the substitute teacher list.  Yeah, you may be saying “why did he retire from teaching, just to go back to teaching?”  Good question, which I will answer in a future column.  Sorry, you’ll just have to keep reading.

And I got lucky enough to land on my feet with this newspaper.  The publication I used to write for decided to pull out of North County, and I was left high and dry.  But editor and publisher Bob Lindsey gave me a chance, and I’m even able to bring in some ad dollars on occasion.  So, funny how things work out, huh.

You could say that when it comes to post-retirement actions, some of us old dogs can learn new tricks, and are not going quietly into that good night.  Besides, I just heard that the age for Medicare eligibility might be going up.

Which means that those of us with our second wind are going to have to, in the words of the 1973 former Temptation Eddie Kendrick’s song, “just keep on truckin’, baby… we’re gonna keep on… truckin’.”


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