I was in conversation last weekend with an acquaintance we will call Sally in her late 50’s or early 60’s. As I described The 3rd Act, she was very interested and then she said. “When I can finally retire, I will sign up.” I asked her when she was planning to retire? She flushed with embarrassment and said she really didn’t know; she needed to figure out if her savings would even enable her to ever retire. “I am afraid if I go to a financial planner, I’ll find out I have to work until I am 80 years old!” she exclaimed.
Sally is not alone. Boomers are behind in saving for retirement. Only slightly over one-third of older boomers, 55-65, say they have achieved, or are on track to achieve, their retirement savings goals. Many don’t even know how much income their savings will generate or what is the amount they will need for the future. They are afraid to find out because they fear it won’t be positive. See the studies by Met Life which are loaded with information about boomer retirement (http://www.metlife.com/mmi/publications/research-studies/index.html).
Over half of the oldest boomers 55-65 are still working and another 20% are working part-time or are self-employed. Many of those who are still working plan to make a career change after they retire. In the Age Wave and Harris Interactive Poll in 2009 5% of workers envisioned that they would continue to work full time in their retirement years. 43% saw themselves going back and forth between periods of work and periods of leisure; while 22% saw themselves working part time. Only 30% saw themselves as never having to work again.
Do you fall into any of these categories? Are you behind in your savings and afraid to find out what number you need to retire? Are you still working because you think you need to or because you don’t know what else to do? Do you think about making a career change after you retire? Have you thought about planning for that change before you retire?
How about taking The 3rd Act approach? Start planning for your next stage focused on what brings you meaning and purpose; what brings passion to your life; how you can make a contribution to your community and your world. Having a sense of meaning and purpose is the most important ingredient for successful positive aging. Research suggests that if you plan for your next stage, what we call the 3rd Act, you will be more likely to be satisfied, as well as happy and healthy. With a vision of where you want to go, it is so much easier to figure out the resources you need and how you can get there.
Many of us begin to shift our focus as we approach or reach 60 or 65 even while we continue to work. As our focus shifts we begin to think about what is left for me to do…what is my legacy…or to dream about more free time to pursue favorite activities. Sometimes we don’t even recognize our perspectives are shifting so we keep on working and doing the same things in the same “2nd act” way. Yet our lives are not in sync because it is time to move into our 3rd act. That may be part of what was happening with my friend Sally and why she was embarrassed….She is out of alignment with herself.
Sign up for coaching with a supportive coach and/or purchase The 3rd Act Workbook to guide you through the process at www.the3rdact.com.