This week Baby-Boomer-Retirement is presenting an opportunity for our female readers to be part of an important new book and research project called Voices from the Other Side...of Retirement. If you are already retired, you can contribute your experiences to the authors of this book and your thoughts about retirement may be included. If you have not yet retired, whether you are a woman or you care about a woman who will be retiring in coming years, we hope you will watch for the book to be published and learn from the experiences of those who have already retired. In this way, we can help all women prepare better, not just financially, but also emotionally, physically and psychologically for retirement.
Below is a guest post from one of the authors, Roxanne Jones, who will explain more about their project and how you can participate. By the way, I have already submitted my thoughts on retirement to their website and am personally looking forward to learning more about the experiences of my peers when their book comes out. Just be sure to register BEFORE you begin to answer the questions. I made the mistake of plunging right in without registering first, and had to repeat the process.
Were You Ready—or Not—for the Personal Impact of Retirement?
Tell These Baby Boomers Your Stories!
By Roxanne Jones
A great deal of retirement advice for women focuses on financial planning. But a new book in development looks at the personal impact of leaving work. If you’re a retired woman, your story could be part of it.
My co-author Leslie Inman and I are crowdsourcing content for an important new book entitled Voices from the Other Side…of Retirement. It will be a guide for yet-to-retire women, with insights on what retirement really feels like from women who’ve already left the working world.
“Unlike most retirement resources that deal with finances, Voices will explore the emotional, physical health, spiritual, relationship, and everyday joys and challenges that this stage of life presents us with,” says Inman. “And who better to explain what all that feels like than women who’ve been through it?” she continues. “So we’re inviting retired women to add their voices to this book by telling us about their retirement experience, what they’ve learned—and what they wish they’d known before they left their jobs.”
To add your voice, simply go to www.retirementvoices.com and, after registering, complete a thought-provoking online questionnaire by April 30, 2019. If your submission is accepted (in whole or in part), you’ll receive a free copy of Voices when it’s published.
“The more retired women we can reach, the more powerful and valuable this book can be,” says Inman. “And the idea of women helping women, well, that never gets old.”
How this book idea came about
Inman, 67, first came up with the idea for a book addressing women and retirement when she started her own retirement process—for the third time—in 2017. Armed with an MBA from Boston University, she’d had a successful career in senior management in the insurance and higher education sectors. She also worked as a real estate agent in Florida and New Hampshire, and launched a Guatemalan handicrafts import business.
“I test drove retirement twice, stepping away from my career to fulfill my dream of living on a boat,” she says. “But each time I re-entered the working world for financial reasons, the last time working in management for a nonprofit organization in Maine.
“Then I stepped off the career track for good,” she continues. “As I interacted with female friends and family who had also retired, their feelings and perceptions about the experience surprised and intrigued me.”
She says that their transitions to retirement fell into three basic categories.
“Some had eased into retirement without skipping a beat,” Inman says. “Some struggled with the transition for a while; it took them a few months, even years, to get their retirement sea legs, so to speak. And others just foundered and continued to feel rudderless.”
Inman thought this diversity of women’s retirement experience had potential as a book, so she approached me to help her explore it further. Approaching “traditional” retirement age and wondering what my own transition might look like, I figured this was a serendipitous opportunity to get some inside information from women who’d gotten there before me. So together, we informally interviewed a couple of dozen women who were both pre- and post-retirement.
Both camps said that a book dealing with the non-financial aspects of retirement was needed, particularly if it shared advice on what helped women make a successful transition from the working world. So we felt we had our mandate.
Why focus on women?
Voices focuses on women because retirement is largely uncharted territory, particularly for baby boomers.
“We are the first generation of women to have spent decades in the workplace in big numbers, and we broke new ground when it came to having careers,” says Inman. “We’re also breaking new ground when it comes to retirement—so a road map to guide us to and through this transition makes sense.”
Speaking of numbers, estimates are that there were nearly 29 million retired women in the U.S. in 2017 (the most recent year for which statistics were found), comprising 54.74% of all retirees. And 52% of baby boomers are women, according to the 2014 Census Bureau report’s projected numbers. With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, that adds up to a whole lot of women joining the ranks of the retired.
“The journey is different for each of us,” Inman continues. “We believe a book that explores these differences—and the commonalities—can have real value, especially when it shares the real-life experience and insights of women who’ve been there, done that.”
What the authors are hearing so far
We are delighted with the responses we’ve received to date. We began accepting submissions via our online questionnaire in early February. Three weeks in (at the time of this writing), we have heard from dozens of women in 21 states, Canada, Europe, Australia, and one on a sailboat off Central America.
“The submissions themselves are impressive,” Inman says. “Women’s candor about the positives and negatives of retirement, their self-awareness, and willingness to share what they’ve learned—it’s exactly the kind of honesty and insightfulness we were hoping for.”
But the success of this project hinges on us hearing from hundreds of women from all walks of life.
“To make Voices as valuable as we believe it can be, we want to share the perspectives of many different women,” Inman says. “Whether you were self-employed or worked in the corporate, nonprofit, government or educational world; whether you were a doctor, nurse, engineer, teacher, senior executive, waitress, lawyer, administrative assistant, supervisor, accountant, salesperson, social worker, writer, business owner, pilot, flight attendant—whatever your work was, we want to hear from you.”
Just do it!
So if you are a retired woman, we urge you to add your experience and insights to this important project. Simply go toand complete and submit the online questionnaire by April 30, 2019. Please encourage your retired women friends to do the same.
“Frankly, we can’t do it without you,” Inman says, speaking to Baby Boomer Retirement readers. “So we’re immensely grateful for your willingness to contribute your time and wisdom not only to this project, but also to all the women who are following you into retirement.”
About the author:
Roxanne Jones, 65, is an award-winning freelance writer who specializes in health and medicine, and has been self-employed since 1995. Before that, she held PR and marketing communications positions at organizations as diverse as the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the Massachusetts Medical Society and Boston University. She turned 65 in 2018 and is easing into retirement—what she calls a glide path versus a hard stop—downshifting to three-day workweeks to free up time for the Voices book project.
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Photo credit for picture of Roxanne Jones: retirementvoices.com