Thursday, January 31, 2008

Current literature tells us that the Baby Boomer age begins with those born after 1945 and lasts until 1964. Obviously there is some overlap, but I was born in 1944, and I am right on the cusp. Writers discussing the Millennial Generation say that those on the cusp exhibit the traits of both generations. For me I guess that means the generations of the Mature Worker and the Boomer. I am an old Boomer or a young Mature, what the hell! My parents did not plan for, nor did they get to enjoy retirement together. My Dad lost his business at age 64, moved to Milwaukee and started over pumping gas in a station on the Midnight shift. My Mother worked as a Salad Girl for a private tennis club in the Milwaukee area but passed away at age 66 from breast cancer. She was employed when she passed away. My Dad continued to work full time until age 85 when he did retire he lived another 9 years until he succumbed to prostrate cancer some 12 years ago.

My parents never saved much, they raised four children over a span of 40 years. Neither worked for employers that contributed to a pension. They never owned a home. Dad did not invest in the stock market although he talked about it. For part of his adult life he owned his own Real Estate and Insurance company that provided a living but not much.

I have a small pension from J I Case. I have saved money, I have an investment portfolio of mutual funds with one stock I purchased 23 years ago. We do own property, we live in a log cabin on five acres of land and own an additional five acres adjacent to our property with a home we rent out. Our home will be paid off within the next 14 months, we may pay off the rent property, or the note will be substantially reduced. We have no debt other than a home equity loan and the two notes on our property. We have over one years worth of expenses in a saving account. So we are substantially better off than my parents. Yet I worry, a life threatening illness could wipe out or savings, inflation could eat up our retirement. However, those things existed for my parents. While my Mother did not live to a ripe old age, my Dad did and enjoyed his years.

Social Security will comprise about 50% of our retirement income. The projected demise of Social Security will probably occur after we are gone. So, there may be some advantages to being an old Boomer. Time will tell. In the meantime, I continue to work. I have thoughts of working until I am 68, perhaps 72, who knows. There is some time in the future when I do want to change careers. I would like to write. I would like to spend some time fishing and hunting. I have a great desire to spend time near my childhood home. I want to spend time with my lovely wife and partner these past 16 years. So there is another career awaiting me, one of my own making and imagination.

I don't long for it. It simply means that I will be getting older and giving in to the aging of my body. However, it will be liberating because any commitments I feel tied to will fall away and days will be at my whim. So, I am an aging boomer with years to go before I sleep, and miles to go before my keep. Hope I make it.

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