Transitioning to Retirement: Guide for Boomers

The baby boomer generation is entering retirement age. While some are choosing to leave the workforce, others are being asked to retire as companies continue downsizing. However we get there, retirement is no longer the pension-secured lifestyle it once was, and retirees are often fit and healthy and far from eyeing the easy chair. In 2005, at the age of 46, I abandoned the 9 to 5 grind for a semi-retired lifestyle in order to enjoy my children before they were all grown and gone. Here is how I made the transition without throwing my family into a financial tailspin.

Consider Relocation

The first major decision I made in preparing for an early retirement was moving from our Tampa home and its high cost of living to a suburb of Atlanta. Not only did I buy nearly three times the house for less than the cost of my Tampa home, my real estate taxes and insurance rates were substantially less. We also saved on our utilities; I saved $144 annually in garbage service alone. Even with a 3% county tax on groceries, our food bill dropped significantly as well.

Part-Time Employment

While I knew that savings alone would keep us afloat for the first five years, I wanted to supplement my retirement savings in order to make the money last longer. I continued freelance writing and began substitute teaching. The hours are reasonable (no nights, weekends or holidays like some other part-time jobs), the pay is above minimum wage, and I have the flexibility to decline a job if I have something else I would rather be doing.

Volunteer Opportunities

I have always enjoyed the theatre and some sports events. Our local theatre nearly always has openings for ushers, and I get to see the performance for free. My children have followed my example. My two oldest daughters often volunteer to usher at local concerts in order to catch one of their favorite artists.

Combine Work and Travel

Most people do not want to spend their retirement at home all the time. I am no exception. Since I do freelance writing, I try to tie a story into a place I would like to visit. I have been able to mix work and pleasure with trips to Colonial Williamsburg, Walt Disney World, and San Antonio. Many resort locations, like the YMCA of the Rockies, offer summer lodging, food, and stipends to retirees who will work during the height of the tourist season.

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