Entries in Baby Boomers (2)


One Couple, Two Retirements: Baby Boomers Spending Time Apart During Retirement

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- For many couples, marriage may have meant till death do us part, but for others, the parting is coming in retirement. Staying together but spending time apart is fast becoming a trend for retired baby boomers.

"I can't foresee wanting to spend 24 hours straight with someone," said Susan Ross, a retired teacher, who has been married to her husband, Jim, for 31 years.

While Jim stays at home in a suburb of Austin, Texas, and pursues his passions by working at a museum and biking, Susan can be gone for weeks volunteering in Honduras or days helping underprivileged children in San Antonio.

"We are both pretty independent people, and so it really helps us to have our own interests as well as things we do together," Susan told ABC News.

Dorian Mintzer, author of The Couple's Retirement Puzzle, said it's important for couples to openly discuss their desires and goals for retirement, even if it leads to spending more time away from each other. "I do think more pursuits will be done separately," said Mintzer. "We're going to see more living together but apart."

Susan said many of her friends are tired of being with their husbands all day, every day.

Jim has no question he and Susan made the right decision. "I see how happy it makes her," said Jim. "Why would you not want to do that?"

Living together apart is something women push more than men, perhaps reflecting the power they've gained in the past 40 years. "It's a different generation of women that want to have a voice," said Mintzer. "It's no longer just adjusting to the husband's retirement.'"

John Chatfield had planned on retiring to Maine with his wife, Jane. "I have always loved the beautiful scenery," John told ABC News. "We had our first conversations about retiring in Maine sometime before we were married."

But a funny thing happened on the way to full-time existence in vacationland. His wife didn't like it. "I got through the first winter and I felt, 'All right, I can do this.' But that's a sense of a person stranded who says...'I can hold on,'" she said. "People tend to eat supper around 5:30 and go to bed at 8:30. My life isn't over yet!"

One winter after spending time in Cambridge, Mass., caring for her mother, Jane decided to make Cambridge her winter home.

"I realized John was ready to accept my being away for that period," said Jane. "The Charles River, Cambridge, all those young ponytails bobbing up and down as they stay in shape. The rowers on the river, that's gorgeous."

Both say the separation has enriched their relationship; having the courage to pursue different dreams has strengthened their bond.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Retirement Delayed: Baby Boomers Worry About Benefits Cuts 

(WASHINGTON) -- It's possible that Congress, searching for ways to cut the deficit, might extend the age by which Americans can start getting Social Security benefits. 

While David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP, says his members fully support efforts to rein in federal spending, he adds that upping the age for Social Security eligibility isn't the right way to go about it. Raising the wage cap, currently $106,800, would be better, he says.

Right now, most Americans get their full benefits starting at age 62. But under a draft plan floated by the co-chairmen of President Obama's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the retirement age would rise to 67 by 2050 and 69 by 2075.

Social strife in Europe over benefit cuts was one of the factors that prompted Congress to finally deal with Social Security's problems, before they reach a similar crisis stage.

The idea of raising the retirement age dealt a setback in November when the Government Accountability Office issued a report suggesting that such a move might cause more financial harm than good. By 2050, said the GAO, Americans age 65 or older will account for more than 20 percent of the population, up from 13 percent in 2000. Forcing older people to keep working might lead to an increase in the number of people applying for disability.  Increased disability costs could well exceed the savings from delayed retirement.

The AARP's Certner notes that many older Americans lack the two things essential for employment: good health and a job. "Maybe we should work past age 62," he says, "and AARP supports that. But age discrimination is an issue. For people who are older, it's more difficult to find a job, or, if you've been working and get laid off, to get re-hired." Depending on the type of job, says Certner, an older man or woman may physically lack the stamina to do it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio