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Finding Your Booming Encore in Retirement — With Susan Williams

I spend a lot of time helping clients put together financial plans for retirement so they can retire right. But one thing financial plans don’t cover that is often overlooked, is everything else that comes with retirement that isn’t about the money.


That’s why I invited Booming Encore founder Susan Williams to join me for episode 46 of the Retire Right podcast. Booming Encore is a digital media hub dedicated to providing information and inspiration to baby boomers so they can create and live their very best encore. During the episode, Susan shared some great insight on how baby boomers can prepare for the non-money related aspects of retirement, along with how the retirement landscape is changing, and how she’s inspiring boomers over 50 to make the most of their new phase of life. 



Why Plan For The Non-Financial Side of Retirement


When I meet with prospective clients, I often ask them to tell me how they picture their lives five, or 10 years down the road. Apart from having enough money to have the lifestyle you want, what would your days actually look like? 


While a lot of retirement planning may be about the money, it’s still important to plan for the non-financial aspects as well — especially since retirement is changing. As Susan explained, we’re now looking at potential 20- to 30-year retirements, which is almost the length of a career in itself. What are you going to do with all that time? 


Many people just aren’t prepared for what happens with their life once they cross that finish line into retirement. It’s important to stay engaged and active during these years so you can maintain not only your physical but also your mental health — and that’s just not going to happen sitting on the front porch sipping lemonade every day.


According to Susan, a study by Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Centre found that people who had a greater sense of purpose in life also had a substantially reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  That’s why Susan strongly supports the idea of starting to think about how you’re going to spend your time in retirement sooner rather than later. Being proactive is key in making sure you have something that keeps you engaged and networked. It also gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning so you don’t slip into isolation or experience the health problems or depression that can result from not having a sense of purpose.


This Isn’t Your Grandparents’ Retirement


Retirement is changing. It’s no longer like your grandparents’ retirement and is becoming more and more like our second act in life. Since we have more time on our hands, we’re starting now to see more of what Susan calls “encore careers.” We’re no longer exiting the workplace permanently at sixty-five. In fact, Susan states that baby boomers are one of the top demographics who are successful entrepreneurs, and they’re also starting small businesses and buying franchises (you can check out profiles of some of those people and what they’re accomplishing with their encore careers over on Booming Encore). 


In addition, Boomers are increasingly keeping themselves busy with hobbies, volunteering, part-time jobs, and traveling for new experiences. Retirement is no longer about retiring away from the world. It’s now becoming your encore in life where you get to seize all the opportunities you hadn’t before.



Susan’s 4 Steps for Preparing for Retirement


  1. Focus On Your Health. Health is one of those things you don’t miss until you don’t have it. It’s also what’s going to allow you to do all the things you want to do. So, make sure you’re staying healthy by exercising, maintaining your strength, and getting regular check-ups.

  2. Start Building Your Social Networks Before You Retire. For many people, a lot of their social network is built around their workplace. Once they leave, they not only lose the work part of their life but also the social part that comes with it. Start building those social networks now so you have a strong social network when the time comes. Can you name eight people who you will stay socially involved and engaged with during retirement? 

  3. Think About How You’re Going To Fill Your Days. Once you get out of that initial honeymoon stage of retiring, what are you going to do with your time? There are plenty of studies that have shown you need a sense of purpose in life for your health and well-being. The more you have a plan or an idea of the direction you’re going in, the easier your transition into retirement will be.

  4. Talk To Your Significant Other. Communication is key in a relationship, and communicating about retirement is important to make sure you’re aligned with what your plans for retirement are. Sadly, many people assume that their partner has the same view of retirement as they do. What are you going to do? What’s the expectation? Are you expecting to spend all your time together? These are the critical conversations that should be had sooner rather than later.


Finding Your Inspiration

Need help finding inspiration for your second act? One great thing about Booming Encore is its inspiration section. It’s filled with inspiring stories about those who have accomplished great things — and those stories serve as examples of what’s possible if you open your mind to new opportunities. Everybody needs to find out what interests them, and go for it. Your booming encore is a great time in life and is an opportunity for everyone to live their best life.


Some other topics Susan covers on Booming Encore:

  • Technology and how it’s going to help people age

  • Care-giving and how boomers are often care-giving for their parents while also considering that their children will potentially be their caregivers

  • Housing and aging in place

  • Relationships and rising grey divorce rates


Thanks again to Susan for all the great insight she offered on some of the retirement lifestyle considerations we need to be planning for as we approach the retirement finish line. You can learn more about Susan and Booming Encore on the Booming Encore websiteTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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