Am I retired yet?

Count on the Baby Boom generation to blur the lines between "work" and "retirement."

Previous generations knew what "retired" meant. You hit 65, and you stopped going to work every day and you stayed home and pruned the roses and drove your spouse crazy. Occasionally, you went on cruises where you overate and got sunburned and drove your spouse crazy.

What you didn't do, as a retiree, was work. It was really the only requirement for membership.

But, no, the Baby Boomers can't have that. Our overworked generation can't just slip the bit and go off to pasture. Surveys find that the majority of Boomers expect to work after they retire.

Sure, that's partly about financial necessity and the fact that many of us invest our retirement savings in undergraduate tuition for ingrates who change their majors four times, but money's only part of the story. Many Boomers say they want to work in retirement, so they can stay "active" and in touch with their community, two things I personally try to avoid.

If you keep working, how can you tell when you retired? Maybe you just changed jobs.

Boomers want to retire from their current hated career, whatever it might be, and take up something altogether different and more wonderful, a vocation that allows flexibility and a home office and plenty of free time to be "active" and stuff. They want to set their own schedules, and not have somebody breathing down their collective necks. It's not the work they want to retire from. It's the boss.

Boomers aren't thinking six-hour stretches on their feet as Wal-Mart greeters, displaying their dentures all day. No, they want a second career that's arty and cool. Something they can do over the Internet, or by turning a beloved hobby into a moneymaker. Maybe something exciting and risky, like online poker or day trading or writing novels.

(Here's what we're all secretly thinking: I'll probably spend my retirement sitting at a computer in my pajamas anyway, playing games and reading blogs, why not find a way to get paid?)

We self-employed types with home offices have pioneered this lifestyle. Sure, we work hard, but only when we must, and the rest of the time we behave like retirees. We take advantage of nice weather and avoid rush hour traffic and futz around the yard. We don't sweat deadlines so much. If we run out of time, we can always work during the hours when any sane person is asleep.

We putter around the house, or go out with friends for long lunches or the flogging of innocent golf balls. We run errands during the workday, when retirees own the roads, and it's a good thing we're in no hurry. Like retirees, we tend to eat at strange hours -- at brunch, for instance, or during the Sunset Special. And, like retirees, we wait anxiously by the mailbox when we're expecting a paycheck.

If you want to know more about starting a "retirement career" in your golden years, just ask us, your experienced home-office professionals. We're here to help.

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