Do Baby Boomers Need to Work to be Fulfilled?

We are the generation for who the 80 hour work week was the norm. Competition for the newest, shiniest car, the biggest house, raged on as Boomers sought that top-of-the-heap recognition that typified our existence. Our generation is known for our unwavering determination to be the best of the best. Type A = Baby Boomer. Now, with impending retirement threatening an end to the work week, what will Boomers do to achieve their feeling of worth? Do we really believe that we can quietly exit the working world and find fulfillment? Or is work so ingrained in us, such an integral part of our lifestyle and feeling of personal worth that we cannot hope to realistically ever stop working?

Del Webb 2010 Baby Boomer Survey reflects that 72% of Boomers plan to keep working in some capacity after retirement. With our recent economic implosion, it seems reasonable that the financial situation could require Boomers to keep bringing in the bacon. However, according to the survey of 64 year olds, the number one reason to continue working after retirement is to ward off boredom and keep busy. Second is financial. Note that number three is self-satisfaction and number four reason is they enjoy working. When asked what aspects of retirement have been disappointing, number one was not being around people and co-workers.

Is there life after the working world? Do Baby Boomers know HOW to retire? To slow down, enjoy each day one at a time, competing for nothing more than the TV remote control. Can we find peace?

Planning NOW for retirement whenever

Retirement life will be different from the working world we have come to know and love over our past 65 years – we know that. But knowing does not make it any easier or better equip us to make the most of these golden years to be. NOW is the time to start preparing mentally and emotionally for what is in store. If you hope to just flip the switch from working one day to being retired the next, I fear many a challenge awaits you. A little preparation can go a long way.

  • Spend time researching retirement and how people respond, adapt and grow. Individual retiree blogs are on the internet sharing personal insights into the reality of being retired. An ever-growing collection can be found at . Talk with other retired folks you know and ask the hard questions. What was your biggest challenge? What do you do to achieve a feeling of accomplishment each day? What do you do to prevent boredom? Are you happy?
  • Accept that the pace of life will be slower and make an effort to enjoy the individual moments. The constant rushing and pushing and competing are now over (unless you are in line for a latte first thing in the morning). You have earned a break from the action but it is up to you to take advantage of it.
  • With many quality years ahead of you, channel your energy and passion into something other than work. Volunteering for a cause you believe in is one way seniors are putting their retired time to good use. Hobbies abound, the world of travel is expansive, so you do have choices.
  • A Satisfying Retirement Lifestyle presents an excellent case for “Re-branding yourself”, positioning retirement as a period of incredible opportunity. Create a vision of how you want to live and set a time-table to make it real (just like back in the working world).
  • If you need to work due to financial considerations, you have to do what you have to do.

In many cases, work is where the majority of our lives and focus have been. Retirement requires a new focus on life and how you choose to live. But with some thoughtful planning and insight today, you can hope to realize the wonders of those golden years they are always telling us about. You only have one chance to do this right.


Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to

8 thoughts on “Do Baby Boomers Need to Work to be Fulfilled?

  1. I appreciate the kind words and link to the Re-branding article. I spent many years re-branding business clients and hadn’t thought about its application to a retired life until recently.

  2. I’ve read a number of pretty good books lately on retirement that have made me face the fact that I actually do want to continue to work in some capacity until I’m physically no longer capable of doing so. (ie. “Don’t Retire – Rewire” was a good one)

    Some part of me has wished that I could be like other retirees that seem content to slow down and focus on families and hobbies but I’m quite happy to realize that many people – like me – don’t find the “hobbies and travel” life fulfilling. I didn’t particularly like travel when I was working and didn’t take much time for hobbies either, so I don’t know why it was a surprise to me that work was deeply fulfilling to me. I haven’t found the right volunteering atmosphere either yet, but will continue to look for it.

    I think work has undeservedly got a bad rap, as has the cubicle type of working. There’s a lot to be said for both.

    My dad is 90 and just retired this year (and it’s made him unhappy to do so even at his age). Maybe it’s genetic. 🙂

    • I believe that a satisfying retirement is based on each of us following our unique and individual passion. For many, the end of work is what they have been waiting for all their life. Now I can do what I want! But if your work is satisfying and you are passionate about your job and you find happiness in work, that may well be your retirement path. Bottom line, do what you are happy doing since you have the option to do what you want. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Those are good suggestions and resources. Retirement should be done just as all the other important steps in life- carefully but with adventure. It is an opportunity to reinvent yourself without the burden of a JOB. Be who you always wanted to be.

  4. I appreciate the link to my post on re-branding.

    In my career I spent many an hour helping radio station clients attempt a re-branding of their image in the mind of the listener. It is not an easy thing to do. If the marketplace believes you are something, that perception becomes their reality.

    For us, a re-branding involves a change in mindset and self-image. It takes commitment and a belief in yourself and your abilities. But, I firmly believe it is worth the effort.

  5. I like this thinking. There is too much acceptance of coasting to the finish line (and we all know what the finish line is). Retirement is when you don’t have to live with the limitations of your career or the obligations of raising your family. You can be outrageous and do the things you always dreamed about. I am not sure that asking your friends will help here because most likely they will want to talk you out of such craziness.

    • You are right on Ralph.

      Without planning ahead of the game you cannot predict how your life will look when you retire. And now is when you can do something about it!



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