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Everyone Should Adopt This Alternative Definition Of 'Retirement'

Libby Kane
reading coffee shop winter
reading coffee shop winter

Flickr / gordonplant

Retirement looms.

Knowing that years of playing Sudoku and barraging acquaintances with photos of your grandchildren will have to be supported by a career's worth of savings means the pleasure of picturing the day-to-day often gets overshadowed by the urgency of saving money.

How much should we save? What's the best way to do it? When should we retire? Suddenly, retirement sounds like a lot of work.

Certified financial planner Eric D. Brotman, author of "Retire Wealthy: The Tools You Need To Help Build Lasting Wealth — On Your Own Or With Your Financial Adviser," gives a nice dose of perspective when he writes:

When you have achieved enough financial wherewithal to eschew any and all income-producing activities other than those you want to pursue, in my mind you are "retired." In other words, it is the absence of needing to work, not the absence of working that defines retirement.

Brotman's definition is brilliant because it positions retirement as a state of freedom, not an impending deadline you must hustle to accommodate. Wouldn't it be nice not to need to work? Don't you want that?

Viewing post-career years as an opportunity to revel in financial freedom is much more motivational than making a mad rush to squirrel away every possible cent before meekly bowing out of the workforce.

It sure makes those 401(k) contributions more palatable, anyway.



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