Retirement – Are You Ready and Can You Do It?

Some people ease in to retirement. They start working from home doing consulting or a Internet business. People start working part time or take some time off then jump back in for a while. Some people move to a 55 plus community on the edge of a metro area and still work full time. All of these are the transition to retirement and help easy the process.

Retirement – When Does It Begin?

Looking forward to retirement is the current pastime of many of us 50+ years old boomers.  Anticipating our retirement and what it will be like is a pleasant thought.  They say you really don’t know what retirement is until you actually retire.

The expected benefits are many: having more time, doing things we like, making new friends, traveling, experiencing new things, less stressful life and a better balance between work and play.

Using the new definition of retirement as being a better balance between work and play, when do we pull the trigger and consider ourselves being in retirement? When you leave your full time career job?  When you start drawing social security somewhere between age 62 to 66?  Or when you say so?  Many people find it hard to say they are retired, even after they have retired.

Some people ease in to retirement. They start working from home doing consulting or a Internet business.  People start working part time or take some time off then jump back in for a while. Some people move to a 55 plus community on the edge of a metro area and still work full time.  All of these are the transition to retirement and help easy the process. The exciting part is actually starting the process for a better balance of work and play in our life, no matter what you call it.

Robert, age 62 and retired

Rediscovering Passions In Retirement

Retirement Activities

Now that I am retired and have time, I am rediscovering some things I used to like to do that I have not done in say, 25 years.

Retirement Activities

Now that I am retired and have time, I am rediscovering some things I used to like to do that I have not done in say, 25 years.  Once of those things was to attend the European style Formula road races.  I guess it started when in 1972 I was taking leave from the Army (drafted in Jan 1970) while stationed in Germany.  I got my back back and sleeping bag and hit the road for 30 days to see Europe.  Well I just happened to be passing through Le Mans France when I noticed everyone getting off the train at that stop.  I follow them right in to the 24 Hour Le Mans race.  That’s when I got attracted to this type racing.  Back in Atlanta in the 1970s I started going to the same type races at Road Atlanta with my wife Mary Ann.  We even camped in the infield a couple of times.  Those were the days.

Then life happened and I was a professional accountant then real estate broker and didn’t have time for such.  I haven’t even thought about it for some time.  Now that I have more time, my friend Scott and I attended the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta last Fall.  It was great. We went in the paddock area and saw the Peugeots, Audis, and Ferraris up close.

So last weekend when Scott wanted to know if I would go to “The Mitty”, a historic sportscar show and race at Road Atlanta, I said sure.  I found out I was not the only boomer who likes this type racing.   Many of the guys racing were in their 50s and 60s.   They were really enjoying themselves, showing off their cars and then racing them. The gentleman in the photo above is Tony Adamowicz.  He was having his 69th birthday and came in second in his class driving a 1969 Eage MK5 Formula race car that he had won the championship with in 1969.

Many boomers were taking photos at the events.  We assumed one gentleman with several long lens cameras was a photo journalist, but he said was just doing it for himself.  He was not alone.  Then there were the boomer spectators like me, enjoying the sun and fresh air while walk around the massive grounds to see the race from several view points.

Rediscovering this passion from my earlier years is a delight.  I expect to do more rediscovering of the things I used to like to do as well as new adventures.

Libraries Offerring More for Boomers & Retirees

Library for Boomers

Have you checked out your local library lately? These days libraries offer way more than books. For a while now they have been offering other media such as CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, film archives, all kinds of magazines and newsletters, research rooms, voter registration, and tax forms. There are wireless Internet access and computer terminals for your use, which is great when you are away from home.
Some libraries have very interesting web sites with digital content and archives, blogs and photo galleries. These are really virtual libraries where you can check out eBooks, videos and music on line and download for use for a limited period of time.
Now libraries are becoming community centers with free activities, senior programs, exhibitions, lectures by authors, and classes on many subjects.

No wonder about 66% of American 50+ already have a library card. Maybe you have a card but have not kept up with the new services your library is offering.  Now is the time to “check out” your library to get up to date.

Downtowns in Small Towns Make Come Back

Marietta GA small town

Remember in the 60’s and 70’s when mon and pop businesses on main street in most small towns were being driven out of business by big box retailers like Walmart who settled on the outskirts of town on the bypass and near the edge of the freeways and sold at at discounts the Mom and Pops could not match?  In additional to cheaper prices there was plenty of parking and the newness of it.  Then after a while the main street of small towns were ghost towns.

Now many of small towns have their main streets and downtown section back in business with more mom and pop businesses like restaurants, clubs, music stories, antique shops, restored move theaters and more. There are town greens, town squares, bandstands, free concerts, art shows and people walking around taking it all in.  A stroll around on main street of many small towns making you feel good and enjoy their comebacks.    Some housing is even taking place in or near these walkable down towns with lofts being made from old buildings that were hotels or above store fronts or even new construction for people who like living in a walkable community.  The buy local movement plays right in to these down towns with some having weekly farmers markets and seasonal festivals featuring local craftsman.  Then there are new communities on the outskirts that try to bring this small town feel to lifestyle with a town square and walking trails, and some retail.

Some downtown in small towns are going beyond and becoming quite trendy and artsy sporting boutiques and tasty unique restaurants.  Many times local governments have helped bring these downtown back by making improvements including building city centers to get things started.  I am writing this post tonight after spending the day in Marietta Georgia, strolling around their town square, vising museums, antique shops, having lunch at a nice restaurant, stopping by the visitors center and buying tickets for a future concert on the square.   There were many people strolling around and enjoying the Spring weather and this beautiful small town. It is good to see small towns across America make a come back.

Boomer Lunch Retirement Style

Boomer Lunch retirement style

I have always been a fast eater and could finish a lunch at work in time to do errands and be back at my desk on time.  But it was no pleasure and was fast, crowded and many times expensive.

Now that I am retired, at home and flexible, I have discovered a simple pleasure that I frequently look forward to: going out for lunch.  No I am not talking about the retirement lunch when you are leaving a company.  I am talking about going out for lunch after you have retired.

There are several pleasures / benefits of lunch retirement lifestyle.

It is an opportunity to get out of the house and to socialize, even if it’s only with the waiter. Inviting friends to lunch is a pleasure that I look forward to.  Meeting friends who you used to work with is a great way to keep in touch. Meeting other retirees for lunch is especially nice since you can meet any time any where and take as long as you want to really have an extended social visit.

Lunch retirement style is leisurely not rushed nor crowed.  You can lunch at after 1 pm when others are returning to their offices.

Lunch at a nice restaurant is often way cheaper than the dinner. In addition, many restaurants offer small plates or you can share an entree.

Lunch retirement style allows you to try different restaurants. You don’t have to be back at a set time so you can wonder a few miles away without worrying you will be late.  You can become a restaurant critic of sorts, advising your working friends of places they should try.

So reclaiming your lunch retirement style is a small but rewarding benefit I have noticed about the retirement lifestyle.

Robert Fowler

Retirement Media Inc.

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Griffin GA – Sun City Peachtree

Griffin GA

I visited Griffin GA for a couple of days recently and got a feel for what it might be like living there.  It seems to be the all American small town, formerly a textile mill town, it is only 40 to 50 miles south of Atlanta but quite a bit more in lifestyle differences.

Griffin has quite a few good amenities that would make it desirable for retirement.  It has a lovely downtown with Hill street running down the middle. The City Hall and the Court Courthouse are right there also.  Tim’s or Louise’s are southern food restaurants with affordable prices and good food. They are quite packed on Sundays after church lets out. All the chain restaurants are there too.
Griffin also always had a good high school football team. The people are real people who are sincere, hard working and humble. A lot of people do commute to the Atlanta area since there are not a lot of high paying jobs in Griffin.  But there are sufficient stores and services, a large regional Griffin Spalding hospital, an experiment station of the University of Georgia, Elk Club, Moose Club and other clubs you would normally find in a small towns.

Prices seems to be very reasonable on services like auto repairs, yard work, handyman services, etc. The housing is very affordable. I called about a 3 bedroom brick ranch with fenced yard in a nice subdivision. It was a HUD foreclosure listing for only $55,000.  Anther person was renting a similar 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick ranch with fenced yard for only $650 month.

Getting around is easy. The traffic is light. To get across town takes 5 to 10 minutes.

So what is the catch?  Well I think Griffin is a very local place.  Many talk about Atlanta as another state even though it is very close.  Many people live their whole lives in Griffin, some move to Atlanta and become professionals to move far away, but many stay put and work blue collar jobs.  There is nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of people retiring in Griffin, but there have not been many moving to Griffin to retire. Until now.
On the outskirts of Griffin toward I-75 that leads to Atlanta, Del Webb has built an active adult community, Sun City Peachtree it is called.  It will have 3400 homes on 1,726 acres, a large golf coarse and a huge activities center that is already built.  Last year I attend the Grand Opening and there were some very excited people there, a few from Griffin, and many from all over.  As Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a changing.

More 55+ Georgia retirement communities   Griffin Spalding Chamber of Commerce