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- Why he wrote Shifting Gears:50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in Retirement.
- The themes that emerged from his interviews – and what surprised him
- Insights people shared about deciding when to retire
- Lessons learned from retirees on choosing where to live in retirement
- One of the many compelling stories in the book – and what it taught him
- How the stories he heard have influenced his own retirement
- What’s on his recommended reading list
Richard Haiduck is the author of the new book Richard is a former life sciences executive and mentor and now has an active retirement. He is becoming the Voice of Boomer Retirement Stories. He is immersed in challenging the boundaries of his own retirement while observing the experiences and areas of curiosity of his fellow retirees.
At age 7, he was sure he wanted to be an author. Now, 66 years later, that dream has become a reality. The inspiration for the book came from hearing about the meaningful journeys in retirement taken by friends and colleagues. They were doing fascinating activities at this stage of their life, and often completely new directions from their prior careers. The idea that these stories could become a book became a driving force for Richard. His 75+ interviews and his frequent social media interactions have developed his perspectives and insights on the retirement activities of the boomer generation. Richard’s prior roles as both a leader and a mentor have been based on his ability to listen and to get people to share their feelings. He uses a style of interviewing with short, open questions to get people to open up about their retirement stories. The result is Shifting Gears; 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in Retirement.
He graduated from Miami University and got his MBA from Xavier University. He is happily married to his wife of 52 years and has 2 daughters and 4 grandsons.
His own retirement has been hyperactive. He learns new things through weekly interactions at Stanford, formerly via attending lectures and via Zoom during the pandemic. Each year he reads about 100 books and bikes more than 3000 miles. He mentors organizations serving refugees and small farmers in Ghana. He combines family time with domestic and international travel.
On the Freedom to Retire – and Trial & Error
“While you’re working, there are things that you don’t have the time to do, but you want to do. And they may be things from when you were seven years old. This guy who was fishing, my guess is he may have been fishing when he was seven years old and always wanted to do more. And I think through some of the other stories as well, people decided to go back to an earlier passion, an earlier hobby, an earlier goal – and rejuvenated it in retirement. You get to do whatever you want in retirement if you can deal with the health and wealth challenges. If you’re not broke, and you’re not sick, then you get to do whatever you want. And that means if you’ve got a passion for something, then go do it. And that passion can be whatever is important to you, but you’ve got the freedom and you’ve got the freedom of trial and error too. You can try something. One of the guys in the book said, ‘I know I’ve got certain wishes, but I don’t know exactly how to do it. I’m going to do trial and error until I get this right.’ And in his case, he was looking for the ideal volunteering opportunity. And he went through four different ones in a fairly short period of time until he found the one that was perfect for him. Because he says, ‘That’s what I get to do. I’m retired. I get to do trial and error. And if I don’t like something, I move on and do something else.”
On Baby Boomer Retirement
“There’s a generational theme. That’s probably not surprising, but it’s more pronounced than I thought. And that is Baby Boomers are going to continue to be Baby Boomers in retirement. You know, we’ve been an active generation. We were protesting in the sixties. We were inventing things in the seventies. We were doing all sorts of things that were breaking new ground. So, you know, some would think, well, this generation has accomplished a lot. It’s been an interesting generation when it retires, it will just slow down and relax wrong. That isn’t the way it’s been at all. This generation has continued to innovate, continue to have new passions, continued to do things, to have a retirement that isn’t like our parents’ retirement or retirement that has. And they’re not all earth-shattering kinds of things. So of the things are, are more personal and what’s something someone wanted to do all their lives. One of the guys moved to a place near Yellowstone national park. He’s within an hour’s drive of four great rivers. And he goes fishing every day. He said, and he said, well, once in a while, I’ll miss a day if the event, but he says, Oh, I love it. And I, that is my passion. And it’s just neat to see how much joy he gets from that and how important that is to him and what it means to him in terms of his own satisfaction.”
On How the Stories Have Influenced His Retirement
“I like to think of myself as open-minded and listening and all that sort of thing. But you hear a story like the one about Bruce and Jill and you say, Wow, they’re out there doing something really amazing! And asking myself, what can I do differently? What influence does this have on my behavior? I think it’s given me a stronger sense of wanting to give back. And I do mentoring of social enterprises that are trying to solve major social problems, mostly in the developing world. And I think I’ve gotten a lot of reinforcement from the interviews that I’ve had with people who are doing similar kinds of things.”
On Work in Retirement
“Work in retirement? I don’t think is an oxymoron. I think work can do a lot of things for people. It can provide income if that’s necessary or income to do special things – like I’ll work a little bit so I can take that special vacation or I can go out to dinner to a fancy place on Saturday night. So it’s almost financing a luxury. I think it provides mental stimulation or physical activity that is important to some people. But I think the thing that there are two stories [in the book] that I just was really very gratified to hear about working in a way that the job looks like a hobby, but the job is like I’d do this even if I wasn’t getting paid for it.”
For More on Richard Haiduck
Buy Shifting Gears: 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in Retirement – Available now
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