You need a plan for ‘meaningful retirement’

There are 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day. Like every other phase in our lives, we Baby Boomers will change what retirement is.

Previous notions were a period of leisure and travel as a reward for a long career, perhaps with the same employer. However, 42 percent of new retirees said in a recent survey that they plan a phased retirement where they will continue to work part-time or work in a completely different field; 82 percent expect to continue working in some capacity.

With a longer lifespan of perhaps an additional 20 to 30 years after retiring, this phase of life has been called “the third age,” which offers opportunities for creativity and new endeavors after the responsibilities of career and parenting. Some people who want to keep working actually start that business of their dreams they always wanted.

Though these possibilities exist, there are some retirees, especially men, who find themselves having trouble adjusting to this new phase of life after the initial euphoria. Often, men have defined their lives by their careers and suddenly that whole lifestyle and schedule are gone.

For men whose wives are younger and still working, they find themselves alone in the house all day.   That is why retirement planners are available not just for financial advice but for coaching. They can help retirees look at life options that could include leisure as well as continued part-time work, volunteerism, and other community activities.

It is important to think it through and have a plan for this next phase. The plan can include not just activities to keep busy but thinking about inner peace and personal and spiritual development. The plan should also get into the nitty gritty of sketching out a schedule for the week when you will be golfing, working, volunteering, grandparenting, and having social contact to balance all the hours of private time.  

At Community Caregivers, we see many recent retirees who are looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity, helping their neighbors by offering rides to medical appointments or friendly visiting, shopping, and chores.

We offer volunteer orientation sessions, with no obligation to sign up, twice monthly. The next session is Nov. 16 at noon in our office. Please let us know if you would like to attend by calling (518) 456-2898.

Earlier this year, we participated in a workshop on “meaningful retirement.” If we can help you with volunteer placement or referral to other resources regarding retirement options, please feel free to contact our office.

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services, including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New  Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit or call us at (518) 456-2898.

Editor’s note: Michael Burgess is a policy consultant for Community Caregivers Inc.