014: Maybe It's Time to Think About What It Means to "Unretire" (But Before You Freak-Out)...

014: Maybe It's Time to Think About What It Means to "Unretire" (But Before You Freak-Out)...
Photo by Jon Tyson / Unsplash

Get ready, because I want to say the "quiet-part" out loud about retirement and the pending retirement years.

The "quiet-part" you ask?

Essentially, it's all those emotions you have about the second-half of your life - post-employment - that leave you feeling like you've actually made it (or you will in the not to distant future).

But, whether you're a Baby-Boomer (born 1955-1964), part of Gen X (born 1965-1980), or a forward-thinking Millennial (born 1981-1996) there's a disruptive thought you might not be able to deal with as you reach this life and career milestone...

Its answering the nagging question: "what's next...??"

There has to be more to retirement (and preparing for it) than merely not "working"

There's a shift happening regarding how many are thinking about traditional retirement.

Perhaps you're facing it in five or 10 years.

Maybe you're already there - a few months or a year or two into it.

Or maybe you've been in the "retirement" era for awhile but you're restless - feeling there's gotta be more.

It's time to get acquainted with "unretirement" and step back from the traditional view of "retiring."

A new perspective on the post-work years for you will likely look and feel a lot different than it has for previous generations.

  • You have more to do (something more fulfilling than "work")
  • You have more to gain (maxmize your current portfolio of earnings...and available time)
  • You have more to give (it could be the thing you're most remembered for)
"Purpose (or the lack thereof) is driving the current unretirement trend, which will shortly give way to extended careers as healthspan and lifespan continue to expand. But it’s more than work – it’s an exercise is self actualization in our later years; becoming who we want to be."1

Unretire from the notion that not having to work is the ultimate "finish-line"

Imagine having a blank canvas in front of you. That thought could bore you, terrify you, or it could empower you.

What makes the working/career years comfortable and hopefully fulfilling in some way is their predictability.

Routine has a way of protecting you from over-extending your energy, your finances, and your capacity for change.

If you follow the traditional work-life path, retirement arrives or will at some point for you. And when it does viola! there's your blank canvas to do whatever you choose.

On the other hand, the unretirement path creates a new fork-in-the-road!

You can choose to stay in "no-more-work" mode. But the challenge here is what to do when you have the time to do something that's perhaps new and/or more fulfilling.

Unretirement mode creates a mindset shift about your post-work era of life.

This is your time to buckle-down and show-up but for something that creates fulfillment greater than all those years in the workforce.

The finish-line keeps moving (and that's okay) when you untether yourself from believing you gave all you had for "the company" or "the clients."

Personal growth is a more compelling goal to keep moving towards.

Why not create some new "art" on that blank canvas you're facing or will face at some point down the road?

  • Start the business you always wanted to start
  • Write that book or memoir
  • Turn your career or skill knowledge into a course or consulting gigs

Whatever you do keep creating (that's forward movement with meaning).

Unretire from the insecurity of wondering if you have "enough"

Among the challenges of longevity and the projections about aging for this generation is outlasting your financial portfolio.

In some ways, we are more conscious and driven about health, wellness, movement, mindset, staying active, eating better, and anything that helps ensure a better quality of life.

There's also a growing desire to dismiss pharmaceutical industry rhetoric and be open to exploring wholistic, natural approaches to health, wellness, and disease.

And if longevity science is on-track (as many believe it to be) cures, renewed consciousness about health, and applying global blue-zone discoveries will help prolong life expectancies.

That's good news but it comes with a shred of concern:

"Will you have enough resources to sustain your life?"

According to a Randstad article and related study,

"The baby-boomer generation is now 57-75 years old, and many are either due to retire or have already done so. This, in combination with declining fertility rates since the 1970s, means more people are now leaving the working-age bracket (15-64) than entering it."
"70 percent of those surveyed in our latest Workmonitor report said their financial position prevents them from retiring as early as they would like. But employment is more than just a paycheck. Nearly a third of survey respondents in the Workmonitor report said they need work in their lives, be that for the social aspect, to achieve unmet goals, or just to keep busy."

Unretirement planning offers some hope for the longevity inclined. And it can redefine what it means to do fulfilling, creator-centric "work" instead of "paycheck-work."

  • Plan your strategy for how you can earn in alignment with your current financial portfolio.
  • Avoid scarcity thinking.
  • Live in the abundance of using your earned knowledge, marketable skills, and ongoing commitment to wellness.

Unretire from the fear of being irrelevant

However you slice it - there's an unrelenting sense that the second-half era of your life decreases your usefulness.

Ageism in the workplace and traditional media marketing messages to the aging population hasn't helped alleviate those feelings.

An unretirement mindset can begin to change that.

Stop believing that you're aging out of relevance when you reach your 50's and beyond.

What's standing between you and extending your relevant and earned wisdom, experience, perspective, resources, and skills?

  • Keep pace by staying informed about culture, trends, and the "pulse" of your surroundings.
  • Listen, learn, and leverage your discoveries to influence your "corner of the world."
  • Develop a useful (rather than critical) point of view about the-way-things-are.
  • Be a light not a judge - a hope-dispenser not a doom-and-gloomer.

Retirement is a worthy goal - but unretirement could create a more compelling lifestyle

  • Unretirement increases your capacity to do something more fulfilling
  • Unretirement maximizes your resource portfolio (not liimited to your finances)
  • Unretirement enables you to stay relevant through your earned wisdom and experience

Now, why not make the second-half the best-half?!

Press on...



1-Brian Clark, Longevity Gains