Transitioning from Success in Career to Significance in Retirement: Enjoying Travel, Service and Family

Barbara Rogers is now several years into her retirement and her schedule is full. As a retiree, Barbara spends her free time traveling and being an outdoorswoman, a country line dancer and devoted mom, grandmother and great-grandmother. “I don’t get bored,” she said. Barbara faced a few challenges as she prepared for retirement, but her perseverance and partnerships helped her reach her goals.

Barbara worked as a technical writer and researcher for several companies in Alabama until she was 70 years old. Initially, Barbara shared plans for retirement with her husband, J.D. Holland. The couple planned to travel in their motorhome, but in 2009 J.D. passed away and just 19 days later, Barbara’s son died. “I retired much later in life than I’d hoped to,” Barbara said.

In the four years that followed those devastating losses, Barbara joined a support group and sought advice from a financial advisor. “I didn’t know if there was enough for me to be retired and still do the things I enjoy,” Barbara said. “The companies where I’d worked did match retirement, which did help me get started, but I was apprehensive about retiring because I didn’t know how much I needed or what I needed to do.”

Working with her financial advisor, Barbara made a plan for her retirement life. “I’d raised my children and given them land so I wasn’t worried about leaving them anything financially,” Barbara said. “When a person retires, he should have something to enjoy. I’ve seen friends retire, sit down and not live long afterwards,” she said. “For me, traveling was important; I wanted to be able to go where I wanted and for as long as I wanted.”

A year after she retired, Barbara purchased a small A-liner camper and traveled for two months around the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. She also joined a camping community that allows her to stay on properties in parts of the Southeast and Southwest. “I’m familiar with the people there,” she said. “I get to enjoy fishing, hiking and taking day trips.”

When she’s not traveling, Barbara country line dances three times a week and participates with her church Bible study group. She also volunteers at a local cancer center where she helps patients who are there to receive chemotherapy. “I’m there as a comfort for the patients and to help make the nurses’ lives easier. I give the patients blankets and snacks, disinfect the linens and keep the rooms neat,” Barbara said.

Although her days and evenings are full, Barbara always has time for her family. She also shares what she’s learned about preparing for retirement with her relatives and friends. “I tell my grandchildren to make smart choices and to put as much (money) back as they can and get someone to help them manage it,” Barbara said. “I want them to prepare for retirement early and to make good choices and they will be able do everything they enjoy later in life.”

After working with her financial advisor, Barbara’s busy and balanced lifestyle is a reality. She hopes her example will positively impact future generations of her family.

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