November 12, 2011

Is This You? Do You "Fit" the Satisfying Retirement Profile?

One of the keys to longterm success in blogging is to know your readers. Not unlike any business or organization, success usually depends on filling a need for a particular niche. Sometimes it is a large one, like home improvement and repair. Home Depot or Lowe's spring to mind. It could be an airline that doesn't charge for luggage. Southwest has that covered. On a local scale, a particular restaurant my wife and I enjoy greets us warmly, seat us at a preferred table, and makes a dish off the menu that my wife likes. They are filling the niche of being  one of our favorite restaurants, beating out hundreds of others with 10 minutes of our home.

Various sources have provided me with a profile of a "typical reader" of  Satisfying Retirement. My question is how this profile fits you. What topics I write about and how I promote this blog are, in part, based on this information. Is it accurate and on-target, or is this profile too narrow?  Does this look anything like you, or is the audience for a blog about building a happy retirement lifestyle broader than this?

Let's take a look:

  • The typical reader is over the age of 50. Based on the subject matter, this makes sense. But, I have received enough comments from those in their 40's to make me question whether I should think of topics that might appeal to a somewhat younger person, too. Most psychological studies say that all of us tend to think of ourselves as being about 9 years younger than our chronological age. Should my mental picture of a reader shift to include those who are a bit younger?

  • There are no children at home. This is an interesting finding. Excluding the situation where an adult child moves back home temporarily due to a job loss, illness or divorce, someone at age 50 could easily still have children at home. Am I missing topics that would serve a need by assuming my readers are in an empty nest, or never had kids?

  • The reader is a college graduate or has been to graduate school. Again, that part of the profile may be limiting me. If I assume this to be true, I am much more likely to write in a certain way, and deal with subjects that are potentially more of interest to a college grad. But, in doing so, I very well might be overlooking the needs of a whole segment of the retirement market that I could serve more completely.

  • Most read this blog at home. This seems to fit since this is a blog focused on having a satisfying retirement. It implies the reader has a bit more time to spend reading a post that interests him or her. If my target was more likely to be reading while on the job, for example, my posts would probably be shorter since less time is available to spend reading what I write. But, with the average person being at home, a post that takes 4-5 minutes to read seems acceptable.


So, there we have it. Now, I really would appreciate your feedback. How close are you to the typical reader the research describes?  Am I limiting myself more than I should, or is the path I am on the correct one?

Rest assured, any adjustment I make based on your feedback and comments will be slight. My only question is if I have a bit more wiggle room in terms of topics and focus. If not, then I am very happy doing what I doing and how I do it. 



59 comments:

  1. i have been reading your blog for about a year or so, will be 60 in January..good so far, have five grown childern who all work and care for themselves with 11 grandchildern and one on the way (no one moved home-i took out the bedrooms)...i do read your blog at home ....there again right with you...now i fall down, i was a blue collar guy for ever, ok i went to big school for a year before i was drafted but got out got married and forty years later...work got slow (carpenter) and i took my retirement and am living happy ever after....ronaldj

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  2. I fit every category on that list. DH is already 65 and collecting SS, so we have one foot in each camp, since I'm still working. But your topics are all very interesting to me. Keep up the good work.

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  3. Ronaldj,

    First, thank you for a year of loyalty. I like to know what I'm writing has an audience.

    No kids moved back home because you took out the bedrooms....so did we, but a daughter had to come home anyway. So, my wife's office went back to being a guest bedroom for the time being. It is working well and we're happy to be able to help her. At some point, the office will return.

    "I took my retirement and am living happy ever after." Big school, no school, carpenter or accountant...no one could ask for more. Thanks, Ron.

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  4. Hope and RJ,

    Thanks for the feedback. This will be interesting to keep track of the results of this informal "poll."

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  5. Yes on all counts. Have been a grateful regular reader since your early days.

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  6. Rick,

    Thank you. Have a great weekend!

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  7. I fit your profile exactly. I enjoy your blog the way you have been doing it-targeted to the interests of retirees. Thanks for all the thoughtful topics.

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  8. Bob,
    I looked everywhere and can't find the camera? How do you know all that about me?

    Yes on all 4 counts.

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  9. I am 4 for 4 on your list. I retired May 1 of this year after a long career as a hospital pharmacist. I had wondered if I would be bored and/or lonely when I retired--HA! Not at all!! I am loving every day of it. I have you on my blogroll and enjoy every one of your posts.

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  10. Donna,

    You are welcome! I wonder if I'll ever run out of things to write about My wife says, No.


    Morrison,

    Not only the government has its eyes on you! Google is everywhere.

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  11. Yep, yep, yep, yep. I just found you last month, but your posts are right on the money for me. Thanks!

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  12. Florence,

    Thank you for the feedback and the blogroll listing. If you check, Time Goes By in now listed on mine. Have a productive weekend..it doesn't sound as if you'll have any problems staying occupied!

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  13. Linda, aka "bag lady in waiting,"

    I am pleased that for most folks the profile I was provided fits so well. I have added your blog to my blogroll. Keep me entertained and informed...and up-to-date on your book's status!

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  14. Hi Bob. I love your blog. It is a priority to read it when it comes in. I think that the reason your readers do not have children at home is that we can seldom consider retirement as long as we are still supporting children at home. But yes, I am over 50, not yet but soon to take the leap and I have 1 child left at home who will soon be in University. I have advanced degrees and I live in Canada. So generally I fit your profile. Keep writing.

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  15. Kelly,

    Getting ready to make the leap to retirement is both exciting and a little nerve-wracking, isn't it. Thanks for reading on a regular basis.

    By the way, I noticed your blog hasn't been update since last spring. Have you moved on? We are all a work in progress and can use any help available!

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  16. I am 4 for 4 in your description. My suggestion would be to write what you know and find interesting/informative/topical/relevant or all of the above. It sure worked for Andy Rooney!

    My job was eliminated 3 years ago so I retired. I am working part time to put money away to help pay for a parent's long term care at an Alzheimer's facility. I consider myself retired even though I still work. I am not at a stressful job any more (teaching)but drive for a rental car company.

    I am still wondering what total retirement will bring for me and/or what I want from it. I look forward to your posts and find them thought provoking and meaningful.

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  17. 4 for 4 in me.
    I think if you hit money money management topics you might draw in a younger crowd- but that does not seem to be you.
    I enjoy your topics. Deep thinker.
    Exploring options on how to care for elderly parents might engage a different crowd as well. As long as my mom is happy, my retirement is much happier.

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  18. I am 61, husband 65, not a college grade but comfortably retired and squarely in the middle class. Don't feel you have to dumb down your writing for me. What topics do you feel would only apply to college grads?

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  19. I am 4 for 4 on your list. I have been reading your blog for 13 months now, since I retired, and I find that it is the most helpful and interesting one that I have seen on internet so far. I appreciate your authenticity. Keep up the good work.

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  20. Hi Bob,

    I fit the profile 4 for 4 like so many others. I like your blog just the way it is. It is honest, down to earth, and talks about everyday issues that we face. Thank you.

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  21. Susan,

    Being "retired" and working is becoming the norm for many of us. Like you, I worked for 5 years at a part time (mostly seasonable) job but still thought of myself as retired. As you note, the lack of stress makes a huge difference.

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  22. Janette,

    Within the last month I have been asked to write articles for financial-oriented web sites. You are correct: their target is younger. But, each site pays me so I am happy to oblige!

    A little more on caring for elderly parents is a good suggestion. Most of us are, or will have to, deal with that subject at some point.

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  23. Hi Bob, Your profile provides an exact description of me. I admire your writing and the topics you choose. Keep it up! You provide inspiration to many folks who follow your blog.
    Be well, Jeanette

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  24. Anonymous,

    I don't know what an article would look like if I targeted slightly lower on the educational scale. It is possible certain topics would be of more interest, but I hadn't given it much thought. I was waiting to get some feedback before I figured out if any changes were needed. I was taught very early in my writing classes to not use $1 words when a 50 cent word would do. Regardless of readership, I try to follow that rule.

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  25. SnowOwl & Donnine,

    Than you both for the very kind words. If I ever slip and lose my authenticity I expect you to call me on it. If my posts ever get preachy or too full of myself, you are given permission to tell me to cut it out.

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  26. Correct on all four items.... well the kid (19) is away at college, so kinda/sorta empty nest.

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  27. Only the college graduate fits me. I am 30, married, no kids, currently live in Hong Kong. I do write a food/lifestyle/why I became a housewife blog and enjoy reading a variety of blogs. Love your posts!

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  28. Bob, I fit all four categories exactly. Your blog is on my GoogleReader list and I never miss a post. I like your style and your content very much. Your blog is a great counterpoint to the depressing articles in Money magazine and others that make people our age afraid to retire. Those others make folks feel that they should work until they drop dead, unless they have a million dollars bankrolled somewhere. Yours is inspirational and encouraging. Don't change a thing!

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  29. Larry,

    If your 19 year old is away at college, then you get points for empty nestdom!


    Kelly,

    Hello to Hong Kong. Even though you don't fit the profile at all, I am so pleased you find something worthwhile. I just jumped over to your blog..it looks interesting, particularly the title!

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  30. Colette,

    Thank you! I have been accused of being overly optimistic at times. But, I can only go by how my life is turning out and why. Like you, I find way too many articles on the Internet full of bad news. In fact, I have a post coming up in a week or so on that subject.

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  31. Yes on all 4. I just wanted to add that I read your articles through RSS and don't often come directly to your blog.

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  32. Anonymous,

    AS long as you read the articles and enjoy them, I am happy whatever method you use! I'll mark you down as another profile match.

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  33. I know you love to get flattering comments but I just have to say.......education does not mean the same thing as intelligence. A college education does not make someone more intelligent ...just more "formally" educated. Sorry to be so sensitive but give me a break.
    You don't have to edit your posts to a lower level to accomodate the stupid people.

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  34. Anonymous,

    I'm not sure what point your last sentence is trying to make. I agree completely that education does not mean the same thing as intelligence. In fact, I know plenty of people who are school smart and street stupid.

    My question is strictly a hypothetical one based on the research provided to my by a third party. Was I allowing a certain profile to possibly limit my topic choices?

    The fact that the typical reader has no kids at home: should I avoid subjects like saving money for your children's' college education, or putting your young 20's kid on your medical plan?

    I like flattering comments if they are heartfelt, as I imagine you do. But, I don't mind comments that present a different point of view or question something I have said.

    As I mentioned in a comment response above, I am not even sure what I'd do differently with feedback that told me my readers were more varied than the research suggests. But, I spent 20 years of my career in market research and I know serious mistakes are made when someone assumes something to be true without checking it out fully.

    Since I have posted your comment and left in your "stupid people" wording, it should be obvious I am not above taking a shot.

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  35. I fit all four categories on your list, but I certainly wouldn't mind reading topics aimed at retirees who are obliged to cope with more limited incomes, have kids still at home or forced to return there, or don't fit the profile in some other way. I haven't been reading your blog for long, but I'm enjoying what you have to say. Thanks!

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  36. TOJean,

    As you might imagine, thinking of what to write 700 words about 3 times a week sometimes worries me. Will I run out of things to cover? By stretching just a bit I can see some new avenues opening up for some interesting posts.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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  37. I am 4 for 4 on your list, but haven't retired yet. I enjoy your blogs, think they are very informative and interesting.

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  38. Bob

    I am a part time novelist and when I finally retire in a few short years, I will go full time. My only advice is the same that I give and have received from many other sources: write about what you know and about what you are interested in. If you write about what you perceive some unknown group of readers out there might be wanting, then your writing may come across as patronizing and dull.

    Just my $0.02.

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  39. Jim,

    I agree completely, and apparently so do those who have left comments. I did get a few topic suggestions that I will pursue. But, I am comfortable targeting this blog the way I have for the past 18 months and plan on continuing.

    Thanks, Jim, for your input.

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  40. I fit all but the college category. A topic that would interest me would be what people do about cars in retirement. Do couples keep two cars? Do they buy new or used? Do they lease?
    What are some experiences regarding purchasing and repairing cars. This is probably of interest to all ages, but it becomes quite a financial issue in retirement. Just a thought.

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  41. JaneO,

    ..and a good one. In fact, I've had that topic on my list to write about for some time. I will certainly deal with it since I'm in that position of whether one or two cars makes sense for us.

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  42. Wish I could say otherwise, but I too fit. You need to get out more.

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  43. Ralph,

    I just came back from dinner out. Does that count?

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  44. I'm 3 out of 4, with a 20-something college graduate living back at home, and another still in college who comes home for holidays. Our 20-something is apartment hunting, so maybe we'll join the 4 for 4 club pretty soon. But then, who'll help me with my computer problems?!?

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  45. Bob, Also 4 for 4 on your profile. Keep up the great work!

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  46. Sightings,

    Computer help when the kids leave...good question!

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  47. At age 62,I am not yet retired, but may end up retiring a little earlier than I had planned....a minor health issue. I found your blog through the CNN Money article & thoroughly enjoy it. I often read it at work, but have had issues finding it at home (different internet browser, I think)

    Please keep writing --- I really enjoy it!

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  48. Anonymous,

    Glad you found me. If you want to try reading at home the address http://satisfyingretirement.com should work. If not let me know..maybe I need to make some adjustments.

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  49. Almost! I'm over 50, I have a graduate degree, and I read your blog at home. But I still have two kids and one grandkid at home. Still working on that empty nest fantasy!!

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  50. Galen,

    It is great when you have the empty nest, and great when they all come home to visit.

    Thanks for being a regular!

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  51. Yup. I score 100% on this inventory. So much for being a total individual..... :)

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  52. Steve,

    Think of it more like being part of the home team!

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  53. Bob,

    I'm three out of four on your list. I read the blog at work, but I think that's acceptable because I'm a benefits professional.

    I read lots of articles about retirement, but your blog is one of my favorites because it is so personal. I can imagine my own retirement when reading about yours. And I'm sure that makes me more effective in my job.

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  54. CB,

    Thanks for the nice compliment, CB. Imagine away...it can be a glorious stage of life.

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  55. 48 here but really enjoy reading the blog and the learning that comes with it...

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  56. Anonymous,

    48 is close enough to see 50. You qualify! Thanks for being here.

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  57. As a brand new reader, I f it the "criteria" exactly.

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  58. NMPatricia,

    I'm so glad you found the blog. Even if you didn't fit you would be more than welcome! I encourage you to take some time to explore the older posts and make yourself at home.

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