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The action plan
Here’s my recommended
plan of attack toward the
best elderhood imaginable.
• Develop a personal
vision statement. This
conveys some aspect of the
world, society or your local
community as you would like
it to be or as you envision it.
• Develop a personal
mission statement. Think of it
as a two- or three-sentence
summation of how you hope
to realize your vision.
• Identify your knowledge, skills and abilities.
These are the things you
are good at, your talents,
your expertise or your gifts.
1DON’T CALL IT RETIREMENT
Use them to help meet a
need you care about.
• Set realistic goals.
These should be consistent
with how you plan to realize
your personal mission and
by EDWIN W. SMITH
Retirement is dead!
Yes, you read that right. Traditional
retirement as most people know it, with
all the positive and negative emotions
that the word evokes, is dead. But don’t
worry: As you prepare to leave the workforce, you have an awesome opportunity
to reevaluate, reimagine and redesign
the rest of your life—or completely
reinvent yourself if you so desire.
First and foremost, I urge you to
stop thinking of retirement as the next
stage in your life after leaving the work-
force. The general view is that the three
stages of life are education, career and
retirement. I’m here to advocate that you
start referring to the stage after leaving
the workforce as elderhood, and not
retirement or the golden years or some
other euphemism. Here’s why: If child-
hood prepares us for the second stage of
life, adulthood, then the third stage of our
development after adulthood should logi-
cally be elderhood, and not retirement.
Just enter “retirement” or “retirement
planning” into a search engine and you’ll
find that most results are related to
financial planning, reverse mortgages,
Social Security benefits, ;;;(k) rollovers,
pensions, retirement calculators, wealth
management, etc. These are all good and
necessary, but only up to a point. It
ignores the other ;; percent of our lives—
the biological, psychological and sociological aspects of everyday living.
The many parts of elderhood
Elderhood’s umbrella includes traditional retirement, part-time work, full-time work, volunteer work, mentoring,
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