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The Big Bad Boomers

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In sports we often see the sad tale of our heroes unable to walk away from the game, adding an extra inning to their legacy that we’d all just as soon forget. Baseball historians point to the great Willie Mays slipping and sliding around as a Mets outfielder.

The one that resonates with me is Broadway Joe Namath in a Rams uniform with busted knees, almost needing a walker to get back in the pocket. Out of respect for Joe or fearful they might kill him, hard-charging defensive lineman would pull up and play patty-cake with Namath instead of taking his head off, giving the game an air of flag football instead of the violent collisions we’ve grown accustomed to in the National Football League.

But forget about Broadway Joe for a minute, what about the regular Joes—Joe the Plumber and Joe the Baker and Joe the Candlestick maker? When should they hang up the proverbial tools of their trade? It’s a question that perplexes those hitting retirement age and is cause for endless research with such outfits as the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the Insured Retirement Institute, who provide boomer studies in this special issue.

In addition, we conducted our own survey with hundreds of financial advisors to find out what they’re doing to prepare their boomer-age clients for retirement.

And, with so many boomers peering at the career cliff, the question becomes one of choices: Do we continue to work? Do we jump off the cliff and move to the golf course or putter around the countryside in an RV? Or do we look for a second career, an encore career where, perhaps, we’ve made our nest egg and now it’s time to give back.

For all boomer stories and the survey, click here.

How much do you know about the baby boomer generation? Take our quiz.