What Will You Do with the Second Half of Life?

We’re living longer. And longevity comes with its own challenges. Opportunities, too. But as Lisa Gray writes in her article, “The Four Faces of Retirement,” retirement is different today, “… aging doesn’t mean “old.” “Senior” doesn’t mean decrepit and retirement doesn’t mean stagnation.”

Research revisioning retirement conducted by AIG SunAmerica and the Dychtwald Group suggests retirees can be segmented broadly into four groups: Ageless Explorers, Comfortable Contents, Live for Todays and Sick and Tireds. And financial preparedness contributes to the segmentation.

Sick and Tireds are the least prepared financially and thus the least happy in retirement. At the other end of the spectrum, Ageless Explorers are the most content having financial freedom to pursue hobbies, go back to school or start a new enterprise. They want to feel vital and contribute.

Retirement is now viewed as the second half of life and the opportunity to do new things.  Maddy Dychtwald, cofounder of AgeWave and author of Cycles: How We Will Live, Work, and Buy, describes retirement as reinvention, liberation and opportunity. The old norm of birth, education, work, marriage, family, retirement and death is passe. People are now mixing up these life stages – well except for the death part.

Most of us have spent more time on planning for kids’ education than retirement. What are you doing to meet the challenges of retirement and longevity? If you might live decades beyond retirement, what’s next for you? A must read is this Next Avenue article that points to a Stanford research project and tells us to start planning now! Work will be more flexible. Better work and home life balance which we’ve learned a bit about during the COVID pandemic.

Friends and clients ask me how long I plan to work. My standard answer is until 11:00 am on the day of my funeral. It gets the expected laugh. But I don’t have plans to retire. Like the Ageless Explorers, I want to feel vital and contribute.

I think I might be good to 95, but my dad is 101! He’s the Energizer Bunny. I call him every night to be sure he is home, feeling well, discuss the scores of that day’s games and review his plans for the following day. Last night he wasn’t home until after 10:00 pm. He was out doing volunteer work!

Check out www.Livingto100.com and see what the future holds for you. I did. It indicated that with a little less wine and a bit more exercise I could live to 106! Egad!