About Me

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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. Her functional experience includes a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 30 years. She is currently in Consulting & Analytics Business Development for a health care firm. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires a strategy. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Early Retirement Myth, Part Two

Early feedback from part one of this series was clear, retiring early is a myth of youth. The more years we work either as an employee or an entrepreneur, adults realize retiring at forty or fifty-five years-old is an illusion. An e-mail I received this week summed up the myth, it read:

“...if you have the smarts, passion, energy and focus
to achieve the financial resources needed to retire at 45 or 55
and live another forty years; you are by definition a driven person.
The same goal-oriented, successful individual is not going to be
satisfied with what you term a “3-G” retirement...”

Many times “early retirement” is a euphemism for trading in an unsatisfying job or career for work that is more meaningful and rewarding. It is not about ending employment to spend forty years on the beach relaxing; it is about reinventing yourself and discovering happiness in the second half of your life. Life after fifty looks different for everyone and the options are endless. You can continue to work if you like your job and the company values the expertise of mature employees. There are more options to work from home as technology improves or to have a flexible work schedule if you must go into an employer’s building. All of these changes make it easier to continue working into your 60s and 70s if you choose.

Over the years, I began to view the retirement life stage more  holistically including health, financial well-being, satisfying relationships, meaningful activities whether they are paid or unpaid, physical activity and spirituality. As the global economy sputters towards recovery, the financial impact of retiring early cannot be ignored. According to the Census Bureau in 2010 nine percent of U. S. senior citizens lived in poverty. A global income study, Elder Poverty in an Ageing World, by a team of researchers (Smeedling et. al) was published in 2008. In their study, the United States had 25% of seniors over age 65 in poverty leading Australia, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Canada with 6 percent based on 2000 data.

I know many workers experienced forced “early retirement” through a lay-off, company shut-down and unexpectedly being terminated from employment in their 40s and 50s. “The element of surprise is the worse feeling,” according to one 50+ blog reader that emailed me about their small town plant closing last summer. The human resources professional did not see it coming. New owners acquired the manufacturing plant two years ago and assured the senior management team their operation was performing satisfactorily two weeks before filing the WARN Act (impending plant closing) paperwork. Recently I received an e-mail through LinkedIn. The 54-year-old former HR Director found work at a higher salary after a four month job search, lots of networking and earning certification in her HR specialty. In the past few months, more experienced workers are finding good jobs again. One blog reader recently purchased a franchise after reading the post in July, performing their research and contacting Jim Gleason.

Maybe early retirement is an oxymoron. What is your plan for your life after work? Retiring early? Share your views in the comments section anonymously if you prefer.  I'm interested in hearing from you.

 You have 168 hours, make it a great week!


  1. I'm already 45 and the idea of retiring at 55 when my two kids are in college never entered my mind. Fred sounds like he doesn't like his job. If he has millions of dollars to retire, then good for him. As you say, he may need it to stop working at 55.

  2. Hi there! great stuff here, I'm glad that I drop by your page and found this very interesting. Thanks for posting. Hoping to read something like this in the future!

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