The Un-Retirement

One of the most popular commercials from my early years was a soft drink commercial for 7-Up. As most excellent marketing campaigns, the messaging was simple; “7-Up, the UN-Cola”; a stark differentiation from its cola competitors. 

7-Up’s message, as I remember, used scenes of a Caribbean beach and focused  only a words such as ‘refreshing’ and ‘fresh’, accompanied by a huge ‘ahhhhhhh’ near the end to imply satisfaction and contentment. Who wouldn’t want that?

Some of the same emotions are often associated with retirement. When I moved to Florida I was often asked “How’s retirement going?”, since many assumed that is the only possible reason for moving there. The pace quickened since the the announcement of my sale of White Oaks to Sharon. Now everyone thinks I’ve retired!! It’s natural for people to project their wishes and dreams for themselves onto others. Yet, it is not the belief of all, and this way of thinking led me to my “Un-Retirement”.

Over the years I have enjoyed great satisfaction from helping others improve their lives and enable them to achieve their dreams for themselves and others. The White Oaks purpose was to enable the freedom, and as an advisor, to find clients the best solutions to help them on their path to financial freedom. My un-retirement enables myself and the White Oaks team to do continue that work.

For many, the concept of retirement seems to be a natural and expected thing to do for oneself and family. Yet, retirement is actually a relatively recent development in the history of the human race.

In the Harvard Business Review article “Why Retirement is a Flawed Concept” the author, Neil Pasricha reminds us that the  “Age of 65” origins go back to the time of Otto von Bismarck in 1889. Then the average age was 47, and the oldest seldom lived beyond age 70. And in the United States, the Social Security system wasn’t signed into law until 1935.

In contemporary life, many will live well beyond the life expectancies of of the 1880’s and 1935. We do not need to be constrained by the visions of those times. Those retiring at age 65 today may live 20, 30, and even 40 years in retirement mode. Some will revel in the idea of life without work. Many will find purpose in other things. The freedom and flexibility to engage in charitable pursuits might be an example. The ability to teach and mentor may be another. Continuing to learn new things and philosophies might keep the curious engaged. More time for leisure activities might also be a big plus.

For me, I am blessed to have choices to continue to work with clients and work together to accomplish their dreams. Seeing this happen is a source of joy and satisfaction. So far un-retirement is working very well for me. I can do all the things above and still use the skills I’ve honed for decades and participate in the joy of dreams being realized.

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