Integrity Matters
August 22, 2007

It requires good planning to make your retirement a creative transition

Question: (E-305)
What is the "right" way to retire?

If by retirement, one means: "to give up or withdraw from an office, occupation or career, usually because of age" - then those retiring will respond in a certain way. Worn out and ready for a break from "the routine", these retirees are eager to distance themselves from stressful people, organizations and activities. Wanting time to rest, heal and adjust to the unknown aspects of being jobless, many choose to withdraw from the "grind" - even if work activities were mostly pleasant and rewarding. Waiting for the "right" signal to re-enter the fray, some retirees never return.

Others pronounce retire in a hyphenated way, emphasizing the "re" of re-tire. Thinking of themselves more like race car drivers, they stop only briefly around age 60-something, to acquire fresh wheels, additional fuel and a cool drink, almost immediately ready to get out on the track again. Sometimes driving more cautiously, but still eager to discover what four new tires will do for their outlook, especially as they think about ways to capitalize on their decades of experience, they are ready to "re-invent" themselves. Embracing change, these "re-tire-ees" pursue additional learning, continuing to upgrade their skills.

Health, energy, economic circumstances and opportunities affect how individuals choose to live out their "golden" years, but one thing is clear: Attitude determines not only altitude, but also vitality and life expectancy. If age is a state of mind, then the wise elect to "burn out" instead of simply "rust out."

Retirement from work affords creative transition for those who plan ahead. Everyone will face a time to step aside, allowing the next generation to shoulder additional responsibilities. The passing of the baton can be smooth or difficult, depending upon the substantive succession planning of the "retiring" generation. It is not if retirement will happen, but rather simply a matter of when. Proper prior planning prevents pathetically poor performance in and around a healthy and purposeful retirement.

Retire by leveraging well-developed skills, contributing to society, simultaneously minimizing feelings of isolation or irrelevance.

Learn and utilize multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Mandarin, computer, listening, etc.

Read to young people, at home and in and through schools and libraries.

Write your autobiography, sharing it with your stakeholders.

Hunt birds with a camera, enjoying the walk and fresh air.

Submit your thoughts, in writing, to newspapers, magazines and elected officials.

Teach others what you have mastered, adding to your fund of knowledge by appreciating that we teach best what we most need to learn - but already love.

Re-tire by taking more spins around the track, continuously learning and sharing, providing positive impact - for as long as possible.

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