Retiring, Retire, Retirement
Last Time I was on the podcast, we discussed how the modern retirement is an age-old game with brand new rules… but the beliefs that surround retirement are still outdated.
When defined, and in context, retiring, retire, and retirement need to be renewed to reflect their modern identity. To star the discussion, we’ll look at the existing definitions and contexts that surround retirement, then we’ll reframe and define the words for their modern form.
re×tire×ment ½ \ ri-ˈtī(-ə)r-mənt \
1a: an act of retiring: (remember that… retiring) the state of being retired
1b: withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.
1c: the age at which one normally retires
2: a place of seclusion or privacy
Definition has 3 core ideas: 1) the termination of a career, 2) withdrawal and seclusion, and 3) aging. Retirement is not off to a good start…
Let’s look closer at the definition… something interesting appears.
In definition 1a, retirement is defined as ‘an act of retiring.’ Retiring. Certainly, if Merriam-Webster references the verb ‘retiring’ while defining retirement, it must also provide a definition for verb tense of retiring… right?
Go online and check for yourself… Merriam-Webster dictionary does not provide a definition for ‘retiring’ as a verb. However, Merriam-Webster does provide a definition for retiring as an adjective. As an adjective, retiring is used describe someone who is recessive, withdrawn, and sheepish CIT WEBSTER-OLD. Unfortunately for retirement’s image, retiring is (once again) synonymous with withdrawal and seclusion. Maybe ‘an act of retiring’ is more positive. To satisfy the verb tense of retiring, Merriam-Webster will direct you to the transitive verb ‘retire.’
retire (transitive verb)
re×tire ½ \ ri-ˈtī(-ə)r
to withdraw from one’s position or occupation: conclude one’s professional career
Withdrawal and conclusion, again.
The definitions of retirement, retiring, and retire are all littered with elements of termination, withdrawal, and seclusion. These outdated definitions of retiring, retire, and retirement only represent a fraction of the modern retirement journey.
As we explore the perception of retirement, perhaps definitions are too academic. Maybe the “R” words have different meanings when used in different contexts.
Retiring for the night means turning out the lights and drifting away into semi-conscious solitude (withdrawal, seclusion).
Retiring a twenty-dollar bill means nullifying its value and shredding the worthless bill (withdrawal, destruction).
Retiring a batter in baseball means ruling him out and forcing him off the playing field (withdrawal, termination).
Three strikes. Retiring is out.
In a final attempt to contextualize retirement, I turned to Google and searched “Use ‘retire’ in a sentence.” Below are the first five sentences my search produced:
1) Most people retire at 65.
2) He is hoping to retire early on medical grounds.
3) He had to retire due to ill health.
4) She was forced to retire early from teaching because of ill health.
5) He has no plans to retire as editor of the magazine.
Once again, we find excessive negativity surrounding the terminal nature of retirement… and now we’ve introduced failing health. In modern context, retiring and retire are synonymous with discouraging endings.
By definition, and in context, retirement, retiring, and retire are synonymous with closure, loss of value/utility, failing health, withdrawal, and seclusion. Retirement is terribly misrepresented by the current definitions and contexts.
Retiring, retire, and retirement must be recontextualized to reflect their place in the modern retirement journey and redefined to represent their modern identity.
The modern retirement journey is defined by three phases. First, the process of retiring occurs as you step down from your career and step into your retirement. Phase two takes place on the day that you retire. The third phase of the retirement journey includes the preliminary years of retirement. Below is a graphic that illustrates the stark difference between the outdated and modern context of retiring, retire, and retirement, followed by the modern definitions.
If you are listening on the podcast, you can go to RM 139 to view the sketches for this concept.
For those of you on Youtube, we’ll put the images up now.
retirement journey (noun)
re×tire×ment jour×ney ½ \ ri-ˈtī(-ə)r-mənt jərnē \
The period that encompasses the process of retiring, the day you retire, and the preliminary years of retirement.
re×tir×ing ½ \ rə’tīriNG \
The process of stepping down from your professional career while simultaneously developing into a personally fulfilling retirement.
re×tire ½ \ ri-ˈtī(-ə)r
The act of leaving a career and entering retirement.
re×tire×ment ½ \ ri-ˈtī(-ə)r-mənt \
The period of life that begins on the day you retire.
Historically, the retirement journey has overlooked the process of retiring, which led to a professional cliff and bewildering personal retirement experience.
In the modern retirement journey, the process of retiring takes place during your final working years, so that the day you retire becomes the final step down in your career and final step up in your personal transition into retirement.
In their modern form, retiring is a positive development of professional closure and personal growth. The day you retire marks the moment when the career ends and uninhibited personal freedoms begin. And retirement is the greatest period of life that offers unbounded opportunities for designing a life filled with purpose and personal satisfaction.
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This article is educational only and is not intended to be investment, legal, or tax advice or recommendations, whether direct or incidental. Again, this is not investment advice. Consult your financial, tax, and legal professionals for specific advice related to your specific situation. Never take investment advice from someone who doesn’t know you and your specific situation. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the people expressing them. Any performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be directly invested in.