(Note: This article originally appeared in July of 2011, but was inadvertently deleted. We are now adding it back to the Blog)
This is Part 2 in our series exploring different retirement lifestyles. Part 1 profiled “The Snowbirding Innkeepers“, don’t miss it! If you know a boomer retirement we should learn about use the Contact Us link to tell us about it.
Retired in Connecticut
Jane and Jack are a most interesting couple, retired or not. Although they were both born a few years too early to be official baby boomers, this vibrant pair is young enough at heart to wear out anyone from the 1946-1964 generation.
What They Did Before Retirement
Jane has an MSW. She was a clinical social worker for many years in the Hamden, CT school system and in part-time private practice. Jack has his Ph.D. in Psychology. he spent much of his successful career as head … of the School Psychology program at Southern CT State University. Both loved their careers very much, and each had mixed feelings about retiring.
Initial Plans and Preconceptions
The couple has been married just over 23 years. Strong individuals, each had their own ideas about what retirement might bring. Both had extensive hobbies prior to retirement, and it is clear that both saw themselves enjoying those activities after they stopped working. Jack, in fact, has more hobbies than he has time to practice. He had thousands of old jazz LPs and CDs – just listening to them could be a full-time job. He also reads thrillers, enjoys the movies, and can’t get enough of watching his beloved Yankees, the Knicks, the UCONN Huskies, WNBA games, and professional tennis. As a former top-ranked tennis player in New England, even in his mid 80?s he gets on the tennis court 2-3 times per week.
Jane is an avid reader, skilled New York Times Crossword solver, and highly talented potter. She knew that her pottery was going to be a major factor in any retirement plans. Although Jane is a fine tennis player, multiple knee operations and her full-time pottery business now keep her from enjoying the game as in years past.
The couple thought they might buy a second home for retirement – or maybe not. Travel would be an important part of any plans, however.
Some of their top priorities included:- Time for travel, lots of it! – Visit their children, particularly the grandchildren in California- Practice their hobbies- Go to New York City often for cultural outings – Enjoy the time shares they own in different parts of the country- Escape New England’s winters, at least for some of the time
The couple entered retirement unsure about how it might unfold. There were pulled in many directions – Jane’s grandchildren lived in Los Angeles, Jack’s were in Israel. They love the New Haven area and have many activities to keep them busy, particularly Jane’s successful pottery studio. On the other hand the allure of a retirement place in a warmer clime was appealing for at least part of the winter, but it never seemed to gain traction.
Jane and Jack thought about moving to south Florida for the winter, where they have many friends who live in either Miami or in nearby active communities. They liked to visit Florida, but… They also have a time-share in Puerto Rico that they have used for years. Spending more than a few weeks there, though, didn’t seem appealing. They thought about moving to California to be near the grandchildren, but couldn’t make the break from CT. One thing was clear: they definitely didn’t want to spend all winter in Connecticut.
Their Retirement Lifestyle
The best way to describe this couple’s retirement lifestyle is very unique and very busy. It’s a hybrid, and an appealing model for folks who don’t want to give up their roots, yet also don’t want to stand still.
As the couple retired they made a very smart decision. They sold their single family home in New Haven and moved to a more manageable condo. It is definitely a “lock and leave” situation they have now. Most of the year they live in their spacious condo. It is in a small but appealing community association, where most of the people are 55+ and many are snowbirds. While in CT the couple stays very busy. Jane goes to the studio most days and creates new pots and art for her many customers and shows. Just keeping up with her orders is taxing. Jack plays tennis several times a week – outside on clay in the summer and inside at Yale during colder weather. He thinks nothing of dashing into New York City for a day trip to visit museums or take in a concert. They also subscribe to the New Haven Symphony and attend plays in New Haven. They both enjoy watching all kinds of sports on TV, particularly the UCONN Huskies. And they read, listen to music, visit friends, and enjoy meals prepared by the skilled cook in the family, Jane.
From their Shoreline condo they sally forth on a host of trips – they are probably on the road at least 3 months of the year. It is almost exhausting to list them all. They have visited almost every top sightseeing destination, from China to Europe. They have some favorite wine tours they enjoy. They go on cruises to all parts of the world. They visit the grandchildren for extended stays in Los Angeles, and they have been to Israel multiple times to attend weddings and big family celebrations. They use their time-shares to go to Puerto Rico for a couple of weeks in winter, on which they might tack on some other vacation to visit friends in Florida or Hilton Head. Or they might head into New York City for a few days to attend plays, concerts, museums, and dine out.
Their retirement lifestyle is a hybrid – they are not snowbirds, but they are not full-time northerners either. They travel frequently, and enjoy an extremely active lifestyle.
If You Choose This Lifestyle
There are several keys to Jane and Jack’s retirement success that are applicable to anyone who chooses to follow this hybrid retirement lifestyle.
One, they both brought many interests and hobbies from their working days to retirement. This couple would not be casting about looking for something to keep busy with. Very important, they stay youthful because they are willing to get out and do new and favorite things.
Two, they saved for retirement,invested it wisely, and were fortunate to have good pensions from their careers in education. Their resources allow them to enjoy the nicer things of life, and unlike many folks, they are willing to part with them (As an editorial aside, we heard this from a travel agent lately: If it bothers you to travel first class, don’t worry – your children will – with your money).
Three, you have to like to travel. Lots of retired folks say they are going to travel when they retire, but after a couple of trips inertia takes over. This couple has taken the travel strategy as their alternative to the active adult community – they love the freedom, flexibility, and variety that spending much of the year away from home gives them.
Comments? Please use the Comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions about this lifestyle, and whether it might be right for you. What will you do to keep busy in retirement? Do you and your significant other have similar goals and plans?
More Boomer Retirement Profiles
Sandy’s 8 Year Adventure with Active Adult Communities
The Snowbirding Innkeepers
The Seafaring Couple Start an International Literacy Non-Profit