COMMENTARY

Reinventing retirement

April 26, 2013 

We’re in the throes of a graying revolution. Every 7.5 seconds, someone is turning 60 years of age, and it will continue for some time to come. The 65-74 age group will grow 49.3 percent over the next 10 years. As a point of reference, the 18-40 year segment will increase just 3 percent over the same period.

The “me” generation of the 1960’s has become today’s “we” generation. Boomers are 10 times more likely to put others first. They share a deep concern for the well-being of their children, grandchildren and community. They are better educated, more independent and are simultaneously juggling more work and family responsibilities and are more financially engaged than any generation in history. This generation is reinventing retirement. A consumer research study reported that 76 percent of boomers intend to keep working after they retire from their careers. It’s not all about the money. It’s primarily about the reward of “mental stimulation” and the “challenge” that staying in the game affords them.

As a targeting tool for the Lee’s Summit Community Brand, we felt the need to grasp the new five-stages of retirement this generation passes through on their road to and through retirement.

1.) 50-59 years of age: “Imagination Stage.” Imagining what they want out of retirement.

2.) 60-64 years of age: “Anticipation Stage.” Retirement is right around the corner and reality begins to set in.

3.) 65-69 years of age: “Liberation Stage.” The Honeymoon period when they begin to experience the idea of their new-found freedom from a lifetime of work related pressures and constraints.

4.) 70-74 years of age: “Revolutionary Stage.” Retirement is challenging or just different than they had imagined.

5.) 75-plus years of age: “Reconciliation Stage.” Sense of contentment as they come to terms with their lives.

Charles Darwin had it right when he said, “It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one who is most responsive to change.”

Chalk one more thing up in the name of baby boomers…We’re reinventing retirement as we know it.

James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at JMcKenna@lschamber. com.

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