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Retiring: It's Not What's For Dinner

February 10, 2009

Retirement doesn't have to be just about bingo and shuffleboard.

One author revealed the secret that many retirees are choosing to embrace work not because of the economy, but to add meaning to their lives.

"The current version of retirement doesn't work because we are living too long to be satisfied with a life that is focused primarily on leisure," says Mary Lloyd, 62-year-old author of "Super-Charged Retirement. "You have to be jazzed about something bigger than what you're going to have for dinner. Eventually you start to ask yourself, 'Is this all there is?'"

Boomers should start thinking about what they want to do after the working years while they are still working, Lloyd advises.

"Start thinking about this when you're 50 instead of waiting until you walk out the door," she says. "Think about it early to start turning the wheels to make it happen and get things in place. The people that do are more fun , more interesting and don't go to the doctor as often."

Lloyd's advice doesn't come from studies or data, but rather, by walking the walk. By the time she was 47, she was working as a division manager for a Fortune 200 company, and found retirement a financially feasible option. So, in 1993, she left her job to become a fiction writer.

She embarked on a multi-month world cruise and deployed to Texas with the Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, but still wasn't satisfied.

She decided the current approach of retirement doesn't work and offers the following tips to Baby Boomers considering leaving the office:

  • We need some kind of work to thrive once we retire, even if we don't do it for pay. Retiring doesn't mean we have to stop making a difference.
  • By this time in our lives, each of us has a unique set of skills, talents and abilities. We need to mesh that with a personal sense of what's important to define our own individual sense of purpose.
  • Living through our sense of purpose is as essential as breathing. Once we lose that, we lose the ability to make the choices we need to thrive.
  • Much of what we blame on aging is really the result of mindset and lifestyle decisions. It is within our capability to change and alter those elements of our lives, and master our destiny, rather than be a slave to circumstances.
"The RV model might work for some, but most of us need a goal to work toward to feel worthwhile," Lloyd said. "To retire well, we need learn how to include that and still relax and have fun."

Lloyd's book is available at

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