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Let’s retire the word retirement

I have a confession to make, I hate the word retirement. A big announcement from someone who specialises in retirement planning, but bear with me.

For me, retirement conjures up images of old age. In fact, when I ask people about their thoughts on retirement, often their initial responses are around age. What if we rethink the concept of retirement?

Retirement as a concept has been around since the 18th century. It was originally designed to accommodate those who were unfit to work anymore. Essentially, governments around the world trying to answer the question of what we do with people who aren’t economically useful anymore. What a lovely thought!

How I like to think about retirement is different. I think retirement should be about financial independence and freedom. It should be about doing what you want to do, when you want to do it and looking back with no regrets.

In order to do this, your money needs to deliver enough income and/or capital resources to fund your lifestyle. This will often be made up of different aspects. It might come from financial products (ISA’s, pensions, etc.), property (rental income) or a type of paid work (consultancy, part time work, a ‘portfolio’ career, etc.). Whatever it looks like, the meaning is the same; freedom.

Freedom to choose to spend your time and energy on something you really want to do. The quest for financial freedom is planning to live a life that is aligned with your purpose. It isn’t related to age, it’s related to your ability to generate the income needed for your desired lifestyle.

So really, retirement planning is all about answering a set of questions…

  1. What does a fulfilled life look like to you?
  2. How much will it cost to live that life?
  3. What level of assets do you need to generate that income?

So let’s stop thinking about retirement as an age or a target and let’s figure out what is important to you, how much it costs and when you can do it.

Naturally, if you (or someone you know) would benefit from a discussion about setting up for financial freedom, please do let me know.