By Phil Saylor
Author of Retire To-Not From
Retire is a word I never liked. The word retire, along with dramatic emphasis, sounds like you’re going to die. Of course death is inevitable weather we retire or not. Some people use the word retire when going to bed; “I think I’ll retire for the evening.” My guess is the same person came up with the “now I lay me down to sleep” prayer.
Wisdom satisfies the notion that a lot of times when you don’t like something it’s just a pure case of tough stuff. In other words, the word retire is here to stay. I can’t do anything about it. I think it’s highly over-rated and for sure over used.
Maybe the following dialogue can help make my point: “What do you do?” – “Oh, I’m retired.” – “You’re retired. So does that mean you don’t do anything, or is retired what you do?”
If you’ve ever heard or had this conversation chances are you weren’t talking to a wise guy who confronted you about your “I’m retired” answer. My concern would be how many times you have given that answer. Consider the career military retiree who joined on their eighteenth birthday, did twenty years of service to their country and retired, pension and all. Because they retired at 38 years old they may go to work for someone else or start a business. Two years later when they’re 40 years young and someone asks them what they do, chances are they are not going to say anything about being retired from the military. Most likely they are just going to say, “I own the last chance gas station out in the desert”, or whatever it is they do.
When googling retirement, you will be bombarded with financial stuff and AARP insurance sites. That must mean you have to have money to retire. What a novel idea. Who would have thought? Money is a given. My contention is money is only part of what you need.
If one day you wake up and it happens to be your 65th birthday, you go into the office, they stuff a gold watch in your hand, give you a cake, pat you on the back and send you down the elevator with a cardboard box of personal items from your desk; you’ve just retired. Congratulations!
For fear of sounding like an Andy Rooney monologue, I’m just going to say it straight up, you might be as ready as you’ll ever be to retire financially but if you aren’t ready mentally to retire then you’re in for the hardest time of the rest of your life. Most likely your spouse and friends will share in that misery. This book is to prepare you and begs of you to not just retire from something, retire TO something.
In 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville from France commented on an idea which seemed to be growing, particularly in the young country of the United States. In one of his volumes of Democracy In America (between 1835 & 1840) he states the following: “When both the privileges and the disqualifications of class have been abolished and men have shattered the bonds which once held them immobile, the idea of progress comes naturally into each man’s mind; the desire swells in every heart at once, and all men want to quit their former social position. Ambition becomes a universal feeling.”
How incredible is that and at the time a very liberal and progressive comment considering the era in which it was attributed to. You may not want to quit your social position but because of the retirement culture in America (and elsewhere) you will look around one day and wonder what’s missing. Tocqueville was commenting on the effect of America’s new found freedom after the American Revolution. Because of long life and population demographics, retirees are going to continue to grow in this country. There needs to be a rethinking of retirement or the idea of progress is going to fade after retirement when it should be growing.
It is by far easier to have happen what Tocqueville suggest about ambition than to have had ambition, lose it because of retirement and have to find it again to either survive or be happy. Retirement not only stops people from working, it stops them from being progressive. If you are institutionalized by your job or have never developed interest in anything other than your job, or if you just need to stimulate the vision of growth that you once felt when you graduated and had to live on your own resources, I invite you to prepare.
Revolution may not be an understatement of what may need to happen for the quality of live to continue or progress once you reach retirement age. This revolution isn’t something that is fought on a younger class or imposed upon a government; it is a revolution that is decided on by the individual. It embraces change and once again, ambition becomes a universal feeling.
Legacy is something you build during your work life. Don’t allow your legacy to stop just because you retired. You will always be remembered for your work. If you retire at 65 and live to 85 that means you have 20 years to add to your legacy. The problem is, not many people plan to do that so it doesn’t happen. What they are remembered for is their work and how they raised their family. I plan to not let that happen to my remaining years and invite you to join me.
Phil was born in east Tennessee but grew up in Virginia. After studying Advertising at Va. Commonwealth University he became self employed in the construction industry. Phil has owned a painting company, a remodeling company and in the 90’s built homes with his wife Anna and step-son Taylor Andersen.
In 2002 Phil self published a fiction novel entitled Dreamaire. In 2003 he and his wife founded Tuscan Stone Mantels, to service the building industry manufacturing stone mantels and kitchen hoods. Phil and his wife live in Johns Creek, a suburb north of the Atlanta area. Phil serves on the board of his Home Owners Association and he and his wife are members of Northpoint Community Church.
Retire To – Not From is a self help book for anyone over 40. By being self employed his entire working career; Phil knows what it’s like to be on your own. Retire To – Not From encourages future retirees to rethink retirement and plan on what they are going to do for the 20-40 years after their so called retirement. His book deals with the changing demographics of retirement and builds on the internal question everyone is faced with; what now? Read the introduction by going to www.retiretonotfrom.com where you can buy the book from Tate Publishing and learn more.