‘Retirement’ is the wrong word

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored four published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (www.YourRetirementQuest.com).  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives. 

By Alan Spector

Are you thinking about retiring?  Or have you already retired?  I’ve been retired since 2002, but I began studying and practicing retirement well before that.  And I get a chance to discuss retirement with thousands each year.  

What I’ve learned is that most people who are thinking about, making or have already been through this major life transition are unaware of and unprepared for the challenges they may face and the opportunities they have.  Of those few that have done any planning, most think retirement is only about the money.  But while the finances are important, there is so much more to developing a good retirement life plan.

One of the things that troubles me is the word “retirement” itself.  When you hear that word, what comes to mind?  To me, it sounds as if life is ending when in many ways, it is just beginning—the start of a new and exciting chapter.  That being said, as we begin our blogging experience together, I plan to use the word “retirement” anyway.  It is well established in our lexicon, and it serves us well to describe a time in our lives, albeit not the condition of our lives.

So, let’s agree upfront that “retirement” is the wrong word and keep in mind its limitations.  Our mutual intent will be to envision the future such that when we read, hear, or say the word “retirement,” we’ll think not of “withdrawal,” but of “opportunity;” not of “departure,” but of “fulfillment;” not of “retreat,” but of “engagement.”  


I look forward to sharing retirement-relevant blog posts with you and ask that you add your comments, share your perspective and challenge the norms.  We’ll all learn from each other and be better off when we do.