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Why a redefinition of retirement may be in order

Posted September 14

With more and more workers staying on past retirement age, is there a stigma against those who retire? (Deseret Photo)

With older workers staying on creating a stigma against those workers who don't stick around, a redefinition of the term "retirement" may be in order.

“More than ever, retirement is becoming a transition instead of a destination,” wrote Mitch Anthony, a retirement coach and financial planner, for Seeking Alpha, adding that “retirement is a time to break out of your cocoon, not go into one.”

Terence Hurley, 62, found out how negatively retirement can be viewed when he announced his, after 40 years of work at a biotech health company, the Washington Post reported. Instead of the support and congratulations he was expecting, he wrote in a post at CNBC.com, he was met with surprise and disappointment from coworkers, friends and family.

“It was almost as if I became less worthy in their eyes, somehow flawed for wanting to call it quits,” he wrote.

Some people emailed him articles with headlines such as "Why Even Thinking About Retirement Can Be a Bad Idea" and “The Case Against Retirement,” he noted.

“Only 20 years ago, during the dotcom craze, the conversation was about retiring before age 50,” wrote Dan Kadlec for Time.com. “Today, it’s about working until age 80.”

It’s known that “the once-idyllic retirement where you withdraw from society for golf and mahjong doesn’t work for most people” and this non-productivity places pressure on society’s resources, Time.com noted. The boredom and isolation that can come with retirement have been found to contribute to depression and chronic conditions such as heart disease.

There's also the very real financial difficulties in retirement, with one-third of American households lacking retirement savings.

But Hurley argues that people who can afford to retire shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to, and there are ways outside of work to find meaning in life such as volunteering, travel or going back to school.

“And there are countless hours to do all this even if you play a round of golf every day for the rest of your life,” Time.com quipped.

Retirement planning is more complex than just saving money, but also having a plan for how you’ll spend your time, the Seeking Alpha noted.

“While money is a core concern, decisions are becoming more focused on continuing to stay engaged and doing meaningful work, whether that work is paid or not.”

Email: smanderson@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.

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