My older readers may not understand this crazy title, but the younger ones probably do. We’re in the process of totally redefining the word “retirement” – it no longer means what our parents and grandparents thought.
For some, the idea of retirement is irrelevant.
Fifty years ago, you would work 40 hours a week until your 65th birthday. With visions of being on permanent vacation for the rest of your life, you spent your days camped out on the couch, with a good chance you’d die within a year or two.
People don’t see that as a sign of a fulfilling life anymore. When you can realistically expect to live to 80 or 90, why would you want to spend a significant amount of that being bored and doing nothing that anybody cares about?
The new model is that you have several phases to your life. Childhood and adolescence probably counts for a couple, perhaps with college being a third.
Here’s where it starts getting interesting, because your family, career, and spiritual development can interweave in strange ways. There’s no particular timetable, except for the parts that are linked to your kids’ development.
But there’s no need for ages such as 65 or 70 to be particularly important, especially if you don’t expect Social Security and Medicare to be major factors. Generally, you’ll be slowing down, and if you’ve accumulated decent savings over the last 40+ years, you’ll have the freedom to switch from wealth-accumulation to something else.
And it can be a great time of your life. If you had decent health, and didn’t have to spend all your time amassing as much money as possible, what would you do? For some, it can be a great time for spiritual exploration. For others, it can mean giving back to the community through volunteering or social causes. Some even go out and start new business ventures, as I have.
But whatever you do, don’t call it “retirement.” That sounds like you’re no longer being of value to society, and waiting to die. No way!
by Carl Dierschow