Friday, March 14, 2008

Renaming Early Retirement

Smart Money recently held a contest to rename "retirement." In my experience, the term retirement generally connotes an ending rather than a beginning. Although, the Smart Money chose "Life 2.0" as the replacement for "retirement," their term doesn't quite work for me.

At this point, I think of life in three parts defined by the primary activity of the segment- Learning, Earning and Enjoying. Of course, no phase is exclusively one activity and each phase contains a bit of all three activities. Here's how I would define the phases:

Learning - Birth to 27. This is the phase that includes formal education and socialization. During this phase, one acquires knowledge and develops skill needed for the earning phase. Of course, there is time and effort invested in recreational activities and may be some time spent working.

Earning - 16 to 65. This is the phase where people spend the most their time working to earn money to support themselves and their family. During this phase people also save for future retirement.

Enjoying - 50 to death. This is the phase where people leave regular employment, typically living on a pension, Social Security or other retirement savings. During this phase, people can enjoy doing their preferred activities, provided they have good health and sufficient retirement income.

For me, early retirement could appropriately be called an Earning phase sabbatical, with a high likelihood of transitioning to the Enjoying phase. During the sabbatical, I will attempt to find or create my dream job, since I do have a passion for making a difference in these jobs. If the dream job ideas should fail, I will be happy to move into the Enjoying phase full time.

For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday for a new segment.

This is not financial or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


Matt said...

It's odd to me that you list learning as stopping at 27.

Super Saver said...

@ Matt,

I agree with you that learning doesn't stop at 27 :-) The age range shown is intended to indicate the time when the phase is the main focus. So from birth to 27, the main activity for many is "learning," which would be pre-school through PhD. Of course, the actual age range will vary by individual. Also, some elements of the other phases (e.g. earning and playing) will overlap with the birth to 27 age range.