The Definition of Retirement

We live in modern times where old and conventional definition of retirement is being redefined. Dictionary defines retirement as the act of retirement or the state of being retired, removal or withdrawal from service, office or business. However, with longevity increasing and people wishing to retire as early as possible, the very definition of retirement is evolving.

Some of us tend to look forward to retirement as we believe that we will have more free time and opportunities to play with our grandchildren. However, retirees nowadays especially younger ones are shifting their interests, reinventing their careers and thereby changing the conventional definition of retirement. There is a new face to retirement which is when a person wants to retire in order to have more flexibility and freedom in her schedule to explore other interests. But, then there is the question of evolving identity. For example, a college Professor may want to retire in order to break her regular routine and do other things in her life. She may want to work as an author or a consultant. Such people don’t fit the traditional definition of retirement.

Indeed, the word retirement no longer covers the current generation of older adults. Retirement implies that you are leaving something but it doesn’t reflect that you are going to continue to do something. Perhaps, you will still keep working but in a different career. Retirement means a career change more than anything else nowadays. You are leaving something that has been your main involvement in order to move to something else that has more meaning to you at your current phase in life.

Retirement serves as a motivation to keep you going and getting out of bed every morning. If to retire means to reengage, think about your own definition of retirement. Do you have any retirement dreams that you want to accomplish and how can you make them become your reality sooner? While people are too busy preparing for the financial aspect of their retirement, they often fail to plan for the psychological aspect that is no less important. Psychological aspect of retirement requires thinking about and preparing for how your identity and relationships may be affected during retirement.

Retirement nowadays is no longer looked at as a way to stop working and waiting until death comes around. Some wish to use retirement to start a new business, engage in part-time consulting work or do contract work for their former employer. Others want to travel, spend time with family and friends, take care of grandchildren, and volunteer for charities. In any case, the new definition of retirement has more to do with reengaging than disengaging.