When Do You Retire?


Since I’ve become so interested in The Next Stage, or the Third Stage, or what most call Retirement, friends and colleagues have begun sending me their thoughts, including the thoughts of their friends and colleagues. So the conversation is beginning to spread.

I want to share with you one of the most moving statements sent to me recently:

I was thinking about what I want when I finish working and retire and this is the list I made for myself:

1. Financial security

2. Wake every day with a purpose

3. Engage in meaningful work that helps my community

4. Be in good health

5. Have time for and enjoy family and friends

6. Do more of the things I love

And I suddenly realized I could retire today! As long as I have a job, I am financially secure. I wake every day with a sense of purpose and engage in meaningful work because I am privileged to work in a nonprofit that helps women and families escape domestic violence and family homelessness. I am fortunate to be in good health and have time for family and friends. While I do things I love, I recognize that I want to do more of the things I love so I started a list and consciously look for opportunities. And then it hit me: Retirement is a state of mind! So, I retired that day.


What a fantastic view of her life! And what a wonderful way to be mindful about her values and what’s most important to her. Why wait, indeed? If it’s a state of mind, she can have that today!

I’m so excited about that! It moves us so much closer to the goal of living mindfully and being conscious of the choices we can make. I was taught long ago that in the face of extreme stress, Step 1 is to identify what you can control and focus on that. One thing I’m doing to begin to plan and prepare for that stage is to create a community of others at the same stage – to brainstorm, cheer each other on, challenge each other’s assumptions, and provide a place to explore possibilities

What would you most want to have today? What do you want when you retire? And what could you do to bring more of that into your life RIGHT NOW? I’d love to hear your thoughts and expand the conversation. Feel free to add your comments.


4 Responses to When Do You Retire?

  • I think the person who sent you the statement and summary that you’ve shared here has pretty much nailed it for me, too! Retirement, in the traditional sense, doesn’t really apply to me, though. I think I’d like to shoot for financial security alone, then I will truly be free to enjoy living a purposeful life, engaging in meaningful work, good health, abundant time, and plenty of adventure.
    As one who lies on the cusp of being a baby boomer, I don’t get to enjoy the possibility of relying on a pension as that was phased out by most employers by the time I was entering the work force. I never found a career job that fit me well enough for long enough, so don’t have a retirement fund from any source such as that. I’m now facing an identity crisis that is a direct reflection of my earning power, or should I say savings and investment power, that is the cornerstone of everything that follows from here. Financial security is the primary thrust of what I want most for myself right now and I’m making conscious decisions and taking conscious actions each day to create that security for myself.
    Thanks so much for putting this out there, Susan! Loving the shared wisdom to be found here.

  • Susan Braverman:

    Thanks for sharing, Lydia. I know that your concern about financial security is shared by most of us. It’s a huge challenge these days when there is so much uncertainty! Seems to me that consciousness is the first and essential step, though.

  • Jose Luis:

    Susan, if you enjoy with your job, why are you going to stop? When I came back from there, I realized there were a lot of old people working in D.C. It was a surprise for me, because in Spain, when you cross sixties, all people watch you like useless.

    The most important thing is enjoy, anywhere, anytime.

  • Susan Braverman:

    Jose Luis! How nice to hear from you! I guess we’d better stay here rather than moving to Spain! I’d hate to be considered useless!

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This blog is about the many things that are important to me. I hope they will resonate with you as well. My dream is for it to be a conversation, with comments and additions by all of you who read what I – and my guests – write. I hope you will feel free to share your wisdom. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

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