Let's Get Fired Up!

People think about retirement in different ways. New thinking would like to jettison the term itself to something like Refirement.

Robert Conyne

3/1/2021 1 min read

Views of retirement vary.  In a survey of Boomers (those born between 1946-1964) conducted by Age Wave and HSBC Bank headquarters in London and Hong Kong, thousands of people in 20 countries that represented 2/3 of the world's population were asked how they saw it (Dychtwald & Morison, 2020). Four choices given to describe retirement were:

(a) "a time to wind down"

(b) "a time for rest and relaxation"

(c) "a whole new chapter in life"

(d) "the beginning of the end."

Let's pause and give you a chance to respond.  Circle below which option best fits your own idea of retirement:

                            a     b     c     d

Now, provide a few words of explanation:



What were the survey results?  In the United States, Canada, Sweden, France, Germany, Japan, and China "a whole new chapter in life" was the preferred option.  Boomers in those countries apparently view retirement as a time to start over, to fire up and become adventurous.  If you selected option (c) you agree.  If not, then I wonder what you think about the difference?

An increasing number of experts in the area of retirement are wondering if the term is outdated, given results such as we just considered.  The etymology of the word "retire," after all, comes from the French: re (back) and tire (to draw), synonymous with retreat (fall back).  Other words, trying to capture retirement as a time for starting over are bubbling up, such as that from the Spanish, jubilacion--retirement as a time of jublilation.   And "Refirement,"(e.g., Blanchard & Shaevitz, 2015; Gambone, 2000) a minor play on the word of retirement itself, but with gigantic consequences associated with new energy, innovation, experimentation, and creativity. 

Not everyone thinking about retirement is ready to refire for a variety of reasons, including how they view the stage itself.  But for those for whom this concept fits and for those who may be open to entertaining it, we endorse refirement, not retirement.