Can Baby Boomers Cope with Retirement Realities?

Dave Bernard

The tsunami of baby boomers rolling into retirement age will continue for the next twenty years, with approximately 10,000 people daily reaching the age of 65. The journey into the retirement years can be surprisingly emotional. Most baby boomers realize they will soon be forced to confront their retirement preparedness. They will also find out if they are mentally ready to retire.

[See 10 Important Ages for Retirement Planning.]

Retirement can generate a variety of conflicting emotions and new challenges to deal with. Here's a look at some of the emotions that can be part of the retirement mindset:

Anger. Financial losses from the recent recession have taken a bite out of most retirement nest eggs. During the most recent recession, 43 percent of retirees expressed anger at the impact on their retirement plans, and 39 percent remain worried about their financial situation, according to a SunAmerica Financial Group survey. Baby boomers may also experience frustration because they cannot easily make up for lost time and savings. Many people will be forced to continue working and delay retirement beyond their original plans. In addition, many perpetually active baby boomers will need to face their diminishing physical and mental capabilities. It can be frustrating to finally have time to do what you want to do, but not the energy or ability to do it.

[See The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012.]

Fear. Baby boomers have witnessed their parents aging and know there is no avoiding their own journey down that path. They will be forced to deal with health issues and dependency on others. They may also have to struggle with finding a new purpose in life, avoiding boredom, and staying mentally sharp.

Expectation. Over half of baby boomers (54 percent) view retirement as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, SunAmerica found. Whether experimenting with a new career or pursuing a life-long passion, retirement affords baby boomers the time they need to try something new. Most baby boomers can expect to live long and productive lives. Two-thirds of respondents say their goal is to live a productive life to age 100.

[See 7 Misconceptions About Retired Life.]

Opportunity. Demanding careers prevented many driven baby boomers from spending quality time with family. Although they cannot make up for missed opportunities, seniors now have a second chance to renew family ties and build stronger relationships.

Dave Bernard is not yet retired but has begun his due diligence to plan for a satisfying retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only the Beginning.