Technically, Donna and I are part of the baby boomer generation, a label given to anyone born between 1943 and 1964. According to US statistics, Baby Boomers represent approximately 80 million people, or one quarter of the US population, and are facing retirement and end of life issues. Many of them are redefining what it means to age—because we are healthier, more active and living longer than previous generations.
I jokingly call myself “the last boomer” because I was born in the early sixties considered on the cusp of the boomer generation. As such, I don’t identify with the older boomer mindset or values, especially when it comes to retirement, aging and living. And as we observe the models of “retirement living” here in Arizona and elsewhere, such as the perfectly designed gated golf course and age restricted communities located in outlying areas of town, we think, “Is this how or where we want to live the next phase of my life?” We don’t think so.
2027 is the year I turn 65, the traditional retirement age. But I don’t see myself “retiring” at that age based on economics and my disposition to contribute. Over the last several years, careful retirement savings accounts and home equity has dramatically shrunk creating tremendous uncertainty for millions about what lies ahead. According to an AARP report published in April 2009, about 25% of boomers have no savings or investments and about one third or 25M are single. About half of those or 15M don’t have children.
To be honest, I don’t have enough resources to live by myself into old age and since I don’t live anywhere close to family, I wonder about who I could live with and where. I believe there are millions of others like me who are in a similar situation. Elderly women are even more vulnerable, with 3 out of 4 living in poverty. I observe a huge shift occurring in our culture on how we choose to live in the next 25-50 years. These are just some of the topics that our road trip will address.