What Does Retirement Mean To You? Part One of A series for Boomers and Beyond

The word retirement is defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life”. The Thesaurus tells us retirement is “an act of moving away especially from something difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable”. The Synonyms for the word retirement are: pullback, pullout, recession, retreat, and withdrawal.

However, for most of us, the word retirement has come to mean no longer needing to work for someone else five days a week and now being able to draw social security checks for part of our livelihood.

We are set free from the one thing that occupied our time, effort, and energy — our day job. Our day job that generated an income to support our family, provided for our housing, and put food on the table.

Retirement Means No More Commute

Having our day job also has meant getting up early every Monday through Friday, out the door for a commute to a day-long task, and then back in the car to drive through traffic and the weather to get to our homes.

Most of us dreamt of the day we could retire. Companies used to make a big deal when one of their long-time employees retired — a gold watch, retirement party, etc. We couldn’t wait to have the free time to do what we have always wanted to do — grandfathering, golfing, fishing, or traveling. What we didn’t dream about was the reality of what retirement will actually mean to us.

Before retirement, someone else filled our time, gave us something to complain about, and forced us to train and work harder. Now, there is no one to do any of that. Our motivation will need to come from within. We get to do it all ourselves. What freedom!

When Social Security was enacted, people were living to the ripe old age of about sixty. Today, more and more of us are living well into our eighties and even nineties. If we retire at age sixty-five and live until eighty-five, that gives us twenty years of high quality life to find something else to do with our time.

If we think back to the first twenty years of your life, it is easy to see that we learned a lot. We couldn’t wait for the next birthday which usually brought with it more and more license to do all those wonderful “adult” activities — driving a car, voting, moving out of our parent’s house, joining the military, going to college, getting a full time job, getting married, and having children.  Basically, “living the life!”

The Bible tells us that we could expect to live to be seventy or eighty years old.

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten [70]; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years [80], yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10 (NKJV)

So, perhaps after working for 40 years providing for our family, we get to put up our feet and take it easy for the last 20-25 years or so, right? Or perhaps retirement in the Christian’s life should be reconsidered. Is it really our time to waste and twiddle away? Oh, it isn’t that you and I don’t deserve, according to our American work ethic and laws, to retire from our day job. There is nothing wrong with working for most of our life for a company, saving for the day we don’t have to work, and then quitting when that day comes. The real problem comes the day after we retire. Now what? What does retirement mean to you? Let’s think about it.

Questions for You to Consider Today

  1. What are you going to do with all those 41,600 hours (40 hours per 52 weeks = 2080 hours X 20 years) that the Lord says you could have awaiting you?
  2. Can you learn more in the last twenty years of your life than you did the first twenty years of your life?
  3. Can you accomplish more for the Lord in the last twenty years of your life than you did the first twenty years of your life?
  4. Do you have a vision for what your life could be?
This is part one of a three-part series designed to help you consider some answers to these questions. Part Two: “Advancement verses Retirement” . Please come back to learn more about planning your next twenty years.