Retired and Happy

Are you Retired and Happy – or still trying to get there?

Joan's Book
Joan's Book

I had the recent opportunity to ask a few questions of Joan Fitting Scott , Author of “Skinning the Cat: A Baby Boomer's Guide to the New Retiree Lifestyles” on happy fulfilling retirement.

Joan: In researching the book I spoke to numerous people who fashioned fulfilling retirements with continued work, full or part-time, volunteerism, education and/or travel--and sometimes interesting combinations of all of these. The key was to dream and then to plan.

Wendy: In today's economy, so many boomers are losing their jobs and opting for early retirement (simply because there are few jobs). They didn't plan, and they have lost their working identity... what now?

Joan: Boomers need to begin to think about what will comprise their new identity. Perhaps it will be that of a volunteer or philanthropist (on a small scale is fine). Or maybe it's taking some of those educational courses that have intrigued you over the years; "student" is a good new identity. Or, maybe a different full or part-time job will help forge a new identity; again, small in scale is fine. The key is to be creative.

Wendy: In your email, you said: "The key was to dream and then to plan." Would you explain this a bit to readers? They've worked for 20 - 30 years - then reality hits: no job, retirement is here, and they freeze...

Joan: A few years ago a financial planning firm did a large study of Boomers. Their findings showed that people who took the time to envision retirement--and even try some non-work interests on for size prior to retirement--were much happier when they finally retired. There are some legitimate weekend conferences out there that enable people to explore retirement from a "what-do-I-do" angle before leaving work. This is all covered in my book.

Wendy: Do you have an example of some really great retirement ideas? How does a retiree start dreaming? How to discover how to turn that dream into a reality?

Joan: A man I interviewed left an executive position thinking he would be happy to golf all day. Being a golfer, pretty soon he saw that his favorite golf course had some management problems. He was spending a little time working in the pro shop when he was approached to coach the course manager and help him get things right; thus he had a new part-time job. This man was also involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters and so had an active volunteer life. In other words, begin with your non-work interest and let it take you purposeful places.

Thank you, Joan!