The New Retirement--an interview with Author Jan Cullinane

Part 1 of a 3-part Interview with the author of "The New Retirement" book:  the topics are not necessarily ones covered in the book but is an interview on various additional topics of interest to visitors of this website.

To completely enjoy this interview, we suggest you read it in its entirety, but if you are particularly interested in one topic, you can jump to the following subtopics on this page:


Top Reasons to Continue Working

Retirement in the Traditional Sense

Why Do You Want to Retire

Have a Plan B

The Longevity Issue

Retirement Communities or Stay in Home

BestGuide (BG): Book: "The New Retirement--The Ultimate Guide to The Rest of Your Life." I am very pleased to have with us today Jan Cullinane, author, with Cathy Fitzgerald. Jan is an expert on seniors and retirement. 

She is also the retirement expert for the "National Association of Baby Boomer Women," and a frequent guest speaker. And, she lives in Florida, the number one retirement state. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book, "The New Retirement," and can't recommend it enough for the breadth of its information and as an entertaining and enjoyable read as well (in other words, it's not boring, but keeps you turning the pages.) 

BG: Jan, how did you become so interested in the topic of today's seniors. Let me clarify--it is my belief that there are two different topics--first, the topic of seniors and second, the topic of retirement. But just because you are a senior doesn't mean you are retired, and vice versa, of course.

Also, these terms are changing in the landscape, do you agree. So, first, how did you become interested in this subject, and, second, what have you found to be the "landscape," if you will, of seniors today. Also, are they interested in retirement, at what age, and how. All of these topics are of great interest because of the big changes happening today, and now, in the current economy. Bring us up to date on your opinions. 

Jan: Hi Carol, I'm delighted to be here. I became interested in writing a book that explored all the areas of this transition we call retirement

  • working after leaving a primary career
  • the psychological aspects
  • volunteering
  • travel
  • taxes
  • finances
  • relocation
  • and health.

I like being prepared, and I wanted to write a guide that could be helpful for others. 

BG: "The New Retirement" also turned out to be not only a useful resource but enjoyable reading as well.

Among the Top Reasons to Continue Working is to Work for the Pleasure Of It

Jan:As you noted, being older doesn't mean you aren't working. With the current economy, more people will continue to work, mainly for financial reasons, but among the five top reasons to continue working, you'll find the idea of working for pleasure. 

BG:What do we call the older generation - is the word "senior" out.

Jan: The word "senior" is a label many people feel doesn't apply to them. It is interesting that many adult community centers have changed their name or eliminated the word "senior" because people didn't want to attend activities/classes in a place with the word "senior" in the title.

When asked in surveys at what age someone is "old," a term often associated with seniors, "old" is 79! 

BG: So, we are living longer and we want to delay using these labels as long as we can.

Who wants to retire in the Traditional Sense

BG: Do older adults want to retire in the traditional sense.

Jan: Yes, some certainly do. But for many others, they would like to segue into and out of a number of jobs/new careers, try new things, dust off some old hobbies, re-ignite relationships, and see this time of their life as an active, vital third act.

The #1 Answer to the Question: Why do you want to retire

Jan:When people are asked why they want to retire, the #1 answer is "to do other things." People tend to individually know when the time is right.

  • when they want to try new things;
  • when they have enough money to live a lifestyle they want; 
  • when they can get full Social Security benefits;
  • and for some, never!

The New Retirement: Have a Plan B

Jan: However, I always stress it's important to have a "Plan B." About 40% of people who plan to keep on working forever, can't. They are "right-sized," get ill, have to care for an ailing parent or spouse, etc.

BG: I didn't realize that number was so high. This is a good point to remember, Jan. We don't know what the future holds. We all are optimistic for the best to happen, but if our plans don't work out, have a Plan B. I agree with that.

The Longevity Issue

BG: To what do you attribute the longevity of seniors today. 

Jan:There are several studies showing how important social support is to longevity - and it was friends, not family, that made the difference. And, good attitudes about aging have also been shown (scientifically) to prolong life. Of course, better nutrition, strides in medicine, knowledge of the role exercise and food plays in staying healthy are all important, too. As we say in our book, "The New Retirement," it's important to have "something to wake up for" every day - it helps in promoting a longer, healthy life. 

BG: Oh, so true. I think the power of nurturing support of friends and family is underestimated. I'm surprised to hear you say friends, too, because so many of us totally rely on family for that emotional support. So community and friends' support can be included in this as a factor in longevity.

Retirement communities or Stay in Home

BG: Jan, do you think retirement communities are a good idea for seniors. 

Jan: I think it depends on what the particular person (and his or her significant other, if there is one) wants to do. Active adult communities can be absolutely wonderful - lots of programs and amenities, and an easy way to meet new people, since most of them have a full-time Activities Director. 

They are usually very walkable, and most of them are integrating the concepts of universal design. Residences usually emphasize function, and low maintenance. So, yes, I do think they are a very attractive option.

And now, more active adult communities are being built closer to cities, so it's easier for people to take advantage of all that a city has to offer. (By the way, a good website as mentioned in "The New Retirement," is - you put in an address - maybe you're thinking of relocating to an area - and it tells you how far it is to walk to a movie, library, store, etc.)

BG: What a wonderful resource to look into. I will be having an upcoming article on what cities provide for seniors.

Note: Please follow the links below to see the other two parts of this authoritative interview with the author of "The New Retirement-The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life." And go get the book.

Do not miss Part 2 of "The New Retirement" Interview with Jan Cullinane - "Places to Retire" 

Also see Part 3 - "Baby Boomer Women" and Summation of Interview 

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