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Choosing a Retirement Category - You Have Options!

Living through the pandemic has been tough, although there have been some silver linings in the proverbial clouds. One of these is that some who saw retirement as a distant vision and years away, are now realizing that it can be a reality much sooner. Diligent investors who stayed in the market through the initial economic downturn in the Spring of 2020 have seen their discipline pay off in the form of returns that swelled their portfolios, as well as seen increased savings due to months of curtailed spending while in lockdown. What this means for a lot of Baby Boomers and even some Generation X’ers, is that they now have more choices about their participation in the workforce, and the numbers are reflecting what those choices are. In addition to the Great Resignation, we’re also now starting to hear about what Forbes has referred to as, The Great Retirement, with nearly 30 million Baby Boomers leaving the job market and retiring. (1)

If you’re one of those who has stepped into retirement earlier than expected or are contemplating doing so, it pays to spend some deliberate time reflecting on what retirement looks like to you. Many retirees find that there is only so much travel or so much golf, and that life calls for something more. The good news here is that there are choices here as well!

In their book, “Retirement Your Way,” authors Gail McDonald and Marilyn Bushey highlight six general categories of retirement. They urge those recently retired or contemplating retirement to think about which of those six categories they’re mostly likely to identify with, even if it’s a combination of two or more. As you think about what are hopefully decades of retirement ahead, which of these categories sound most like you? (2)

Traditionalist – Those who stop working and engage in a ‘traditional’ retirement of non-paid, mostly leisure activities.
Altruist – Those who stop working and instead volunteer as board members or in other roles.
Lifelong Learner – Those who stop working and pursue non-paid activities that require significant practice or continued learning.
Stair Stepper – Those who continue to work in the same career while gradually cutting back.
Boomeranger – Those who take a break and then return to work.
Reinventor – Those who continue to work in a new career or another role.

If you struggled to come up with an answer, or perhaps realized you’ve never even thought about what you’ll do in retirement, it’s ok! Talking with your partner and possibly a professional coach can help you gain clarity on what your best future looks like. The good news is, you have options and can always change your mind as you learn & grow.


1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/10/01/baby-boomers-are-leaving-the-workforce-to-live-their-best-lives-in-a-silver-tsunami-great-retirement-trend/?sh=607153ea260b
2. McDonald, G. M., & Bushey, M. L. (2019). Retirement your way: The no stress roadmap for designing your next chapter and Loving your future. Choices Next.

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