There are numerous components to a happy retirement:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Sense of purpose and belonging
  • Financial health

You need to have a life plan to truly plan for retirement. What do you plan on doing in your later years? What do you hope to accomplish? Do you and your spouse agree on the plan? Will you have aging parents to support? Once you decide on the lifestyle you wish to lead and where you want to live you will be better able to determine what you need to achieve the goal.

More important than financial security is mental and physical health. Staying mentally active impacts your physical health as well. Eat better food and avoid excesses. Avoid substance abuse. Moderate exercise is important. By taking care of your body today and in the future you can add significant number of years to your life.

The more expensive your lifestyle today and before retirement, the longer you expect to live, the more you will need to have as a nest egg or retirement income to maintain your current lifestyle. It’s probably wise to have a two or three stage retirement plan. Say 60 to 70, 70 to 80 and 80 plus. The needs and wants in these phases are different. High income earners will face the most challenge in maintaining lifestyles, especially if you are without a good defined benefit pension plan. Since these are in decline in the corporate world and people no longer work 40 years for one employer this becoming a big issue. You probably need to save more than you think (often 15 to 30%) of your current income to assure a large enough nest egg.

Ultimately, with longer lives, a desire to continue a productive involvement in the working world and a shortage of enough retirement funds to maintain their current lifestyles, many aging boomers will elect to work longer and phased in retirements will become more popular.

Ultimately, due to the sheer numbers if nothing else, baby boomers are going to be changing retirement and old age.

Boomers are living this change, but non-boomers should understand this topic even more so. After all, its going to impact everyone to some degree.