Reinvent, Re-inspire, Don’t Retire

Key Takeaways

  • The word retirement came about as a political move in 1889 by then German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck.
  • The definition of retirement is the opposite of what retirement is actually all about, which is reinvention or re-inspiration, and it’s a transition in to a new phase of life, not the end of life.
  • Writing down a vision for your future and what motivates you can help you prepare to be that 90-year-old that lives life to the fullest.

In 1889, Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany, came up with the idea of retirement at age 70 as a political move. A few years later, the retirement age moved to 65. The word retirement had never been used before in a government sense, it was brand new. Prior to that, people kept living on farms and doing their jobs until they died. They just lived their lives.

I look at the definition of the word retire, and it’s not flattering. It means to go away, to be less active, to diminish oneself. That’s not great terminology! Why would anyone look forward to that? It kind of says, “Hey, I retire. I was active, now I’m less active, I’m broken down, then I go in to a nursing home and I die, the end.” Horrible!

I would say retirement is about reinvention or re-inspiration, whatever you’d like to call it, but it’s certainly not about going away. The importance with this however, is you must be somewhat proactive about it. I see some 90+ year-olds that are just living life to the fullest. It’s amazing to watch them do what they do, and I think they learned early on that 65 or 70 is just a number, so they decided to move down the road on their own terms.

It might make sense to write down the vision of your future, what your dreams are, what goals you still have. What motivates you every day? What makes you jump out of bed every morning wanting to get out in to the world for yourself, for your family, and for your community? Whatever it is that gets you excited about life, and to keep living it that way.

Retirement is just a transition in to a new phase of life, where many things can still happen and be accomplished, but it certainly doesn’t fit this definition of the word, retire. It was a politician who defined this word for us, so consider the source!

Until next time, enjoy.


TransformingWealth™ , our proprietary approach, is designed to get your arms around the big picture so you can make informed financial decisions. As part of our process, we use mind mapping – one of the most powerful tools available for bridging the communication gap between different generations. Mind mapping is visual and helps all parties gain a clear picture of all aspects of the financial equation. Ask Gary about mind mapping and Coyle’s TransformingWealth Preview Meeting, and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.

Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, The Wealth Sanctuary and co-author of The Business Battlefield. Whether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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