Session 18 – Jan Cullinane

Recap and Highlights

  • Jan displays her ability to speak backwards and how she almost appeared on the TV show That’s Incredible
  • Jan explains why she started writing about retirement – wanting to help herself and others like her
  • Behavioral economics is a new interest and one that has helped her understand the choices that people make and how people can make adjustments to overcome common psychological challenges
  • How do you know when it’s time to retire? Do I have enough? Have I had enough? And do I have enough to do?
  • Financially speaking, achieving a comparable level of success with our peers takes the emotional stress out of the financial side
  • The non-financial side of retirement may be more challenging. For example, work provides a lot of structure and socialization. How do you replace that?
  • Retirement is very personal. It is important for couples to communicate to ensure that they are on the same page.
  • Secrets for a successful retirement include strong social support, having a purpose to wake up for, being healthy, being open to negotiating roles (couples), good money management and having a good attitude about aging.
  • There are many retirement lifestyle options such as co-housing, fly in communities, new urbanism, RV living
  • There is an organization called the Fellowship for Intentional Communities that can help create a new type of retirement lifestyle community
  • AARP survey shows most people want to age in place. It is important to make sure that the house and community enables you to actually successfully age in place.
  • Many in the media harp on the necessity of working in retirement. The reality is that only 30% end up doing so even though many more plan to. This can be a problem for people who haven’t saved enough and were counting on work to see them through.
  • Jan decided to write about single women and retirement because of feedback she received after presentations most of which were geared to couples.
  • There are more than 25m single women over 40 including never-married, divorced and widowed.
  • Single women are more likely than other groups to end up in poverty. One of the reasons is that women do not negotiate a higher initial salary which can lead to a half-million dollar shortfall compared with men over the course of their careers.
  • Fortunately Jan believes that trend is changing. There are resources available to help including author Linda Babcock.
  • Her book, AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement contains stories (examples), calculators and references to help readers.
  • Some of the things that surprised people when they retired include retiring earlier than planned, having too much time, health issues and changes in social patterns.
  • One of Jan’s unexpected observations runs contrary to the media’s depiction of struggling in retirement. That is, most people say they love it.
  • Biggest regrets include not saving enough (#1) and living in their home too long.


Links and References