What Does Retirement Actually Mean in the 21st Century?

There has been a lot written abaout this century being the "new retirement" in the last 10 to 12 years. However, it is only in this last year the message seems to be starting to mean something to the Boomer generation.

At the beginning of the 21st Century, researchers were saying the extended period of life (possibly 25 to 30 years) would eventually make the view of retirement extinct.

Change of any kind takes time. In the case of retirement, we do not even have a word for this extended period of time. The word “retirement” means “to go off into seclusion, leaving a job and ceasing to work.” It certainly does not fit this next chapter in life.

While it has been difficult for people entering this stage in life to embrace a change that does not even have a name yet, there is mounting evidence the transformation is happening. NPR’s latest information says about three quarters of the people about to retire plan to continue working in some way past the age of 65.

Finally, I am seeing signs that new retirees no longer just think about the freedom from work and the chance to “play” or plan days full of recreational activities. Instead, I am getting asked about how to make this extended period of time in life meaningful and purposeful – not just a time of recreation. I call it developing a freedom-based lifestyle.

In Mid-March, The New York Times Retirement section said since 1994, there has been a 50% increase in the percentage of people over 65 working. Since 2010, people 55 and older became the largest group in our society to become entrepreneurs.

There are more and more stories and opportunities being added to the Encore.org and the AARP.org websites about people doing the opposite of retiring.

Not all of these stories and opportunities are about working in the usual way we think of working. For instance, volunteering or contributing to something meaningful to you – that you are passionate about, is becoming an important part of this gift of time in life.

Why are Boomers embracing this new trend? The most important reasons I’m hearing are:

·       Wanting to supplement income

·       Having a reason for getting out of bed in the morning – purpose

·       Building and sustaining relationships

·       Contributing to something important to that person – giving back

·       Keeping healthy physically and mentally

This new stage in life can be an adventure. While it is different for everyone, studies continue to endorse the importance of having a purpose, living a meaningful life, and vital relationships to longevity.

Just as in other stages in life, planning is key to making informed choices about what you want this time in your life to be like. I believe this stage can be an amazing adventure that offers you the opportunity for exploring who you are and what you want to do to make this gift of time personally rewarding.

Do you know what will make this gift of time meaningful and joy-filled?

Contact me if you want help transforming this stage in your life so you are blessed with a freedom-based lifestyle with passion and meaning.

Until next time,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *