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What you choose to call it is up to you, just make sure you’re ready for it

2011 saw the first Baby Boomers turn 65 years of age, or what used to be referred to as the standard ‘retirement’ age. The post war baby boom and continuing improvements in health and living standards mean that the number of Australians attaining the standard ‘retirement’ age in the next 20 years will increase exponentially.

But in recent times my direct feedback from many people is that ‘retirement’ is not on the radar – not  at least in the traditional sense – as the stereotypical image of lawn bowls, comfy slippers and hammocks no longer fits the ideals of a great many (not that there is anything wrong with any of those things mind you).

To some in fact the very word ‘retirement’ has become offensive, a suggestion that they are nearly past it or obsolete.

Please Explain…

So I set out on a quest to redefine ‘retirement’ (sorry) for the modern age, my goal being to find a word or phrase that neatly encapsulates retirement… the time after the last pay hits the account. I approached colleagues, clients and even my Old Man (“If someone asks me to go fishing with them I’m retired, if you’re asking me to help paint your house I’m working”).

When I exhausted these avenues I turned to the thesaurus and finally the lazy thinker’s companion, google.

The result? Well I remain unconvinced that a go-to term exists. The obligatory reference to SKI’s came up – Spending the Kids Inheritance – but this has lost some sheen Post GFC.

I thought suggestions of ‘liberation’, ‘Me time’ and ‘the encore years’ all have some merit, and I also found that the Spanish word for retirement is the far more festive ‘jubilada’, which brings visions of tequila, loud music and dancing.

Most people like at least two of those things.

The Final Word?

Ultimately though the prevailing message reaching me is that there is no such thing as standard when it comes to this topic. Everyone has their own aspirations, goals and trepidations – and so they should – they worked too long and too hard not to enjoy the fruits of their labour, something I am forever reminding my clients of.

Regardless of the personal definition I kept hearing one phrase repeated over and over – on my terms. Whether you cheer yourself hoarse at Patersons’ stadium every fortnight, learn scuba diving in exotic waters or simply curl up on the sofa with a crossword puzzle, use your time now to ensure the final decision is yours.

The important piece of the ‘R’ word puzzle is that whatever you envision, whatever you decide to describe this ‘next phase’ as, you should start planning for it sooner rather than later to ensure that you can add ‘on my terms’ at the end.

After all, you deserve to enjoy a most jubilant jubilada.

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