May 5, 2020

Satisfying Retirement In A Changed World


Over the last several weeks it has become painfully obvious that our world has changed. And the upheaval brought about by the coronavirus is not going away anytime soon, regardless of the wishes of many of us.

What changes in how and where we work, dine out, seek entertainment, enjoy live sports, and shop for something other than essentials are yet to be determined.

The turmoil in the financial markets, the unbelievable debt load all levels of government are assuming, the possibility of massive bankruptcies in all sorts of unexpected places is a tsunami that has yet to hit our shores.

With unemployment approaching Great Depression levels, will huge parts of the economy be gutted, and return in very different ways? What will happen to all those out of work with limited prospects to return?

How will the November election will be held if the Postal Service runs out of money so mail-in voting is impossible, and too many of us are still leary of in-person voting?

Because of months without schooling, have our children and grandkids lost parts of their education that may never be made up? Will college entrance standards have to be relaxed or changed? And, will enough people have the money to even pay for tuition?

For me and this blog, the underpinning of its purpose has changed, at least as the virus runs its course. To have a blog stressing the joys of a satisfying retirement when that is the last thing any of us are thinking about, seems tone deaf and out of sync with our current needs.

To that end, I have modified the blog title to reflect what is happening. How will the pandemic affect our retirement? What is a satisfying retirement in such an upside down world?

How long the modified title and direction stays in place is unknown. It will depend on "conditions on the ground," to use a military phrase. It is quite possible that what makes a  satisfying retirement is undergoing a fundamental change. I want to ensure this blog doesn't act as if everything is fine and all the topics that concerned us before continue to be top-of-mind. That everything will snap back to normal at some point. 

Importantly, I will be adding regular posts that focus on good news, uplifting stories, and optimism...not pollyanna in a time of crisis, but a reflection that much good continues in our upside down world. Retirement can remain very satisfying and productive. Setting goals and making plans remain very important.

Many of the posts written about Covid-19 and retirement now appear in a special place on the left sidebar. If you are new to these pages, you might start there to see what readers are thinking and feeling.

I hope the adjusted blog title and a focus on where we are at any given moment will be more in keeping with what is important to you.

So, I look at the blog title change as a better reflection of where we are at the moment as we live through a once-in-a-generation experience together.

The most recent post, The Positive Power of Failure, remains available just below this one.

Thanks for your continued support, reading, and comments. I wish  the very best for you and your loved ones as we journey through uncharted waters together.


26 comments:

  1. Satisfying Retirement in a Changed World' is perfect. Especially for those of us who are retired. I worry about my sons who have both lost their careers, at least for the time being. One is a bartender and the other is a fabulous emcee for charity events. They are both getting some compensation but, for how long? Don't know. I'm praying Biden and his choice of a 'kick-ass woman VP, will start setting things straight as we head into election time.
    Stay safe and healthy, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Barb, for your thumbs up on the name change. I probably should have done so weeks ago, but sometimes an epiphany just happens!

      It would be nice if the blog name could return to just Satisfying Retirement soon, but that is unlikely. Things have shifted under our feet in a way that implies permanent adjustments to our planning and moving forward.

      Delete
    2. Bob, I've not posted in my blog for months. The World is so upside down I don't know how to begin a blog post right now. I'll follow your lead on blog changes and give it a go sometime soon. Thanks! b

      Delete
  2. Your name change makes perfect sense, given the fact it's going to years---not months---before the world gets back to anything like it was before the virus hit our shores days. It will let you be as Pollyanna and/or as flexible as you want without totally ignoring the elephant sitting in the living room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I looking at some upcoming posts and they just seemed so out of sync with what many of us are thinking about. Then, it became clear the blog title had to evolve to better reflect the times.

      I will see how it is received and whether there is any impact on readership!

      Delete
  3. Marilyn from New YorkTue May 05, 04:52:00 PM MST

    I always say that flexibility and willingness to adapt are hallmarks of youth. So accolades to you on your ability to evolve the blog. While on the subject of change, I read two insightful pieces in the Washington Post on May 4, 2020: "Baby Boomers Are Getting Caught in the Country's Broken Retirement System" and "New Rules for Post-Pandemic Retirement." Perhaps you or your readers will find them of interest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will search for the articles in the Post. Thanks, Marilyn for your reference to hallmarks of youth...I will be 71 a week from Sunday. That is just barely into middle age!

      Delete
  4. I'm hoping we can keep some gains from these challenging times. I like the fact that more people are getting outside with their children and that, when I walk around my neighborhood, people smile and wave and stop to chat (from a safe distance). It would be wonderful if we could retain our realization that we are all in this together and a newfound gratitude for the simple things in life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phoenix is known for having walls around many houses and for people's habit of driving directly into the garage and spending very time outside. I certainly see a lot more folks in our neighborhood, walking dogs, or just enjoying some time outside. It is a refreshing change.

      Delete
  5. Your changes show a lot of courage and integrity and honesty, all related virtues now that I think about it. Life operates on so many levels. Some levels experience more impact than others from these changed circumstances. So much is unknown. Making plans even months down the road is hard to do. How will our progress through and after this pandemic be similar or dissimilar to the 1918 influenza pandemic? You are always a calm and insightful and realistically optimistic voice in the midst of all sorts of changes, so I'm confident that you will guide your readers through this time with your characteristic humor and compassion and wisdom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your words are very much appreciated, Galen. I hope to strike a balance between the effects of our changed world and some glimpses at the goodness humans have inside. Sometimes I feel as if I stepped off a UFO into a world I barely recognize. Then, I see people helping and loving other people and i know exactly where I am.

      Delete
  6. I like the name of your blog...changing with the times! I do have a ? Not sure if this was mentioned in this post or the failure one...

    I have heard it said that the corona virus does not like heat and humidity; both will kill the virus. Well--I live in Naples Florida and since this whole thing started, most of our days have been in the 90 degree range and high humidity---for months now! And we still have cases and deaths. How hot and humid does it need to be???

    Maybe you or your readers have an answer to this conundrum...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the heat and humidity "cure" was a wish, not a fact. Since Covid-19 is a new type of virus nobody really knows what conditions hamper or strengthen it. With Phoenix now around 100 every day (and higher temperatures to come), if the heat prediction has any validity, Arizona should show it. But, as you note your part of Florida has not, so.....

      Delete
  7. Yes, we are all definitely re-evaluating what retirement means going forward. If the aim, as it is for so many, was to travel then this is inevitably going to be put on the slow burner as will be socialising, making new friends etc.. so long as social distancing remains the norm. Some regard it as easier for retired folk to adapt because they stay at home anyway but once you’ve embraced retirement with open arms, you know differently!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Retirement would seem like a time of life when a stay at home situation is no big deal. But, asv you note, that isn't accurate. We miss our social interaction, volunteer work with others, church services, and the chance to take a day trip to the mountains.

      There is also the underlying concern about our age and the increased susceptibility every time we must go food shopping or other necessary chores, not to mention what an unstable economy can do to our investments.

      Delete
  8. The pandemic exposed a lot of weaknesses and I believe traditional retirement will become a thing of the past. We need a new life model that makes sense and will help reduce stress levels which are at an all time high. I'm tracking how much it costs for me to live during the pandemic as there is not a lot of things that I can spend my money on at the moment. It's a pleasant eye opener.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Living more in line with our resources and understanding wants versus needs more completely might make an important adjustment in how much we spend. Except for a higher grocery bill, we are spending quite a bit less than before. Some of that will return; dining out will happen again for us! But, expensive vacations or upgrading the kitchen just because we don't like the color of the countertops might be a thing of the past.

      Delete
  9. I try not to be concerned about what lies ahead but it is in my mind. My husband plans to retire later this year and for the first time, I wonder if we’ll have to make spending changes. And will we get our two winter months in Florida? These concerns are all trivial compared to what some are going through and I feel for them. Here’s to hoping our world will settle into place again and you can change your title once more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our "problems" or complaints are not even worth mentioning compared to the horrible toll the virus has taken on hundreds of millions around the world. Still, this is our life and we must figure out how to make the most of it.

      Delete
  10. You are right Bob, it's a changed world and retirement may not be what we had thought it would be only a few months ago. We had planned regular travel for the first 10 years of our retirement. The early years of retirement will be when we have the best health and the most energy so to me that was the time to travel. As I've said before: If not now then when?

    Initially, for the first 5 years, it worked exactly as planned but now all travel has been cancelled for 2020 and 2021 is looking increasingly doubtful. We even bought a modest winter vacation home in Mexico last summer and now we only hope that we can use it for the upcoming winter season.

    It is indeed a changed world. We'll all have to adjust and it will be interesting to see that "new normal" reflected in your renamed blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For us, travel plans have suffered the biggest impact. Two major trips this year, including a dream trip to the South Pacific and New Zealand, are gone. At the moment we are hoping to reschedule that one for the fall of 2021, but if there is a major second wave of the disease then our International travel days may be over.

      June will mark 19 years of retirement. We have had a great time and done most of what has been important to us. If the big trips are done, we will be disappointed but not devastated. Our focus will shift back to the U.S., maybe with another RV and train trips (if Amtrak survives!).

      Delete
  11. I think your modified name is just right. I recently began a post about how the name of my blog, RetirementallyChallenged, has suddenly become more descriptive of our current situation. I hope you don't mind if I add a link to this post since you have addressed the same issue. Like you, our troubles pale in comparison to what others are dealing with, but they still feel like losses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely...link away! We are all sharing our experiences. And, yes, your blog name seems very apropo.

      Delete
  12. Hi Bob! Another great observation and decision about your blog. Things are different and likely to be that way going forward. Maybe the sooner we get used to that rather than just hoping things will return to normal is the most proactive thing we can be doing for ourselves.

    On the heels of that, it seems fairly obvious that retirement for most of us will be changing. What will that look like? No one knows for sure. But as an optimist myself I do believe that people are extremely resilient and that most of us will learn to adapt and find our way. Like so many others I am hoping that in the days to come we remember what is truly important (like our relationships, kindness, protecting our planet, providing education and healthcare to everyone, etc) and come out of this likely better than when it all started.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like you, I hope that from this experience all of us understand the importance of family, friends, and relationships in general. The economy and thing like viruses are out of our control; how we interact with and value others is not.

      If that is the fundamental change for retirement, then we will be so much better off.

      Delete
  13. I think those of us with grandchildren might be called on far more often for help. The Maryland's blue print for reopening schools is that only half the children attend at a time. Children are, then, expected to be home on a computer. Since our society, in general, has single parent or dual working households, that means the retired work force would be needed to watch the children at home. The multigenerational household will come fully into play, as it did in our farming past. Are we going back to 19th European century education- only the upper classes get an education? Will oldest children be required to stay home to watch youngers? I wonder what this plan will look like in the inner city? Maybe it is time to drive people out of cities?
    i've lived before with someone knowing where I was at all times in Saudi. It was a lot of work. If we continue with severe contact tracing, it might be easier to hire a minder for myself. Will my phone keep my exact track of where I am and who I encountered? I learned where I was not allowed to go before....
    Means testing for Social Security has long been bantered about. With the debt and many more people applying for long term help, that might finally come about. Does that mean that everyone gets a set amount from SS no matter what they put in? Maybe. $1000 is put up as a number. Not sure what will happen with pensions either. Once you print enough money to pay for everything, I think assets will be key for a satisfying retirement.
    So many unknowns.
    I do know that I am very resilient as long as I can move about. It is going to be an amazing five years for sure. I am glad to live through it as a person who can sit, largely, on the sidelines.

    ReplyDelete

Inappropriate comments will be deleted