By the title of this article, you might jump to the conclusion that I am writing about entering retirement after my 25+-year career as an entrepreneur. Or, that I am a shy and introverted.
Okay, both and neither are true. I am 59 years old and I sold my business a couple of years ago. Many consider me to be retired. I do not have to report to a paying job, I am older now, and have had a successful career. If I am not working, doesn’t that mean I am retired?
Like many, I am stigmatized by the word retirement or retiring. It conjures up images that I am an official “senior” (quotation marks intentional). Images emerge that I will soon be playing bridge or golf to while away my afternoons (not that there is anything wrong with either of those things). Or, that my hobby of knitting solidifies visions of retired, old lady syndrome. Many say, “You and your husband can do more traveling, now.” We have already traveled many parts of the world – while we were employed, thank you very much.
What those of you who are not retired do not realize is that there is no such thing as complete retirement for those of us who have recently left active careers. Even my bridge and golf-playing friends are working. Whether working paid jobs, having time to go to the gym, or volunteering at non-profits, trust me – days are often busier than when we were reporting to work.
I have also been fortunate to take an active part in my company’s 401K-retirement program. In fact, I always put in the maximum amount allowed to ensure I would have a comfortable nest egg to fall back on. Unfortunately, that is not the case with too many women in business. There is low participation in these retirement plan programs, and many women suffer with financial issues post retirement.
“Women sometimes leave their finances to the back burner. I encourage women to educate themselves on this topic.”
-Vielka Burey-Jacas, certified financial planner, Women’s Financial Advisory Group
Financial matters notwithstanding, there is a certain beauty about today’s retirement. We now fill our days with tasks that are more meaningful to us. We are finally doing those things that we had hoped one day to do. Some of us are fortunate to retire young – in our 50s and early 60s. Even for those of us who retire later, there seems to be more purpose and meaning to what we do in this next phase of our lives.
I am officially putting a new definition to the word retirement. Here’s the former one: the action of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work. Ceasing to work? I don’t know any of my retired friends who have ceased to work. I believe it is time for a new, official definition:
21st century definition of retirement: The action of leaving one’s job and finding fulfillment in the future work of their lives. The life they have always wished to live and now finally can.