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A New Way to Think About 55-Plus Communities

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A New Way to Think About 55-Plus Communities

Very few of us baby boomers approach retirement with the same definition of our parents’ generation.

We are rarely planning on ditching the 9-5 for a life of complete leisure. Certainly some leisure, but nothing like the solicitations we are continuously getting in the mail for these 55-and-older communities. Goodness, our eyes glaze over with all the “fun” we could expect to find: tennis, golf, day-long excursions, community parties for all occasions, bridge, mahjongg, and lots of other fun-filled activities.  Gyms that would make a lunkhead drool!

So, why not move in and call it a day: play ’til you can’t?

It’s the money. Most of these over-55 communities require a lump-sum up front and monthly dues. So we go back to that nagging question: how can I afford to retire?

Let’s consider a new mind set; one that allows for meaningful activities which provide a sense of giving-back, and part-time employment, or employment at a new job which you have been dying to try.

When we give up doing something meaningful, we give up a purpose in life. The leisure will get old before we do. And then what?

I have preached this before, but it’s worth preaching again: you must plan your life in retirement, not just the money part, before you get there. Most people fear leaving what they know, but they have no idea what they are going to.

There are those who continue to work not because they love it, but because they do not know how to fill up their days if they did not work. They’d miss the familiar: the guy at the local coffee shop, the bus driver, the engineer on the train, the guy from the mail room who pushes around a coffee cart mid morning, the diner around the corner with a seat at the counter with your name on it, the afternoon walk to the Dunkin’ Donuts store, and all the rest. The familiar always trumps the unfamiliar. Unless you greet the unfamiliar before you leave the familiar.

Related: What Does “Successful Retirement” Even Mean?

Try out some things you never thought you could do: join a gym, learn about being a volunteer at the local museum, consider some art classes, or sculpture classes, take some classes for seniors at your local college, visit your alma mater and ask if you can help with recruiting junkets in your region of the world.

So much to do and so little time. Never thought I’d hear that from some of our clients, but I am so happy they feel that way.

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