Monday, April 28, 2008

Retirement: time to do what you haven’t done yet

Older Americans are generally happy and more socially active than the stereotype of the lonely senior.

That’s the key finding of a massive study done over 26 years by University of Chicago sociologist Yang Yang.

The study, based on periodic face-to-face interviews with 28,000 people from 1972 to 2004, found that older Americans have learned to be more content with what they have than younger adults, Yang said. His study was published in the April issue of American Sociological Review.

However, get ready for the next group of people about to become “older Americans:” the baby boomers. According to the study, baby boomers are the least happy.

Linda George, Duke University aging expert, said that while older people have learned to lower their expectations and accept their achievements, baby boomers aren’t lowering their aspirations at the same rate earlier generations did.

“They still seem to believe that they should have it all,” George said in a New York Times article about Yang’s study. “They’re still thinking about having a retirement that’s going to let them do everything they haven’t done yet.”

My translation: the boomers are going to be rebooters!

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