Paying It Forward With the Wisdom You’ve Gained

Key Takeaways

  • Retirement provides an opportunity to take the years of wisdom you’ve gained in the workforce and apply it to almost every aspect of life.
  • Wisdom transcends knowledge and information. You can implement it in situations far removed from the workplace setting.
  • Countless people, especially those who are relatively young, can greatly benefit from your hard-earned wisdom.
  • Mindfully and purposefully sharing your wisdom with others, no matter what you happen to be doing, can give you great enjoyment and provide a sense of fulfillment to all involved.

Back in 2000, a movie came out called Pay It Forward. It starred young actor Haley Joel Osment, who went on to play a leading role in the movie Sixth Sense as well. The Pay It Forward story shows how Osment’s character, Trevor McKinney, tries to make the world a better place. The movie made quite an impact, even serving as the impetus for a “pay it forward” movement that lasted a while afterward.

I like to think of paying it forward rather than giving back; I think it can be especially powerful for those who are leaving the workplace and entering into their retirement years. I think of people approaching retirement, or those already there, as wisdom workers rather than knowledge or information workers. Knowledge and information involve collecting facts and are comprised of specialized information, whereas wisdom is integrated and can transcend the situation in which a person gained it.

Think about it. You’ve spent about 2,000 hours a year, or more, for 40-something years gaining a lot of wisdom in the workplace. Certainly you have a lot of knowledge about your career, but it’s the wisdom you’ve gained that you can take with you—upon retirement—to share with a wide variety of people in countless settings. You can share it in a way you haven’t been able to do, other than within the constraints of your career. It makes for a very interesting life shift and I’ve seen many make that move.

There are so many people out there who can benefit from the wisdom you’ve gained over the years. We typically think of mentoring when talking about wisdom-sharing, but it doesn’t have to be that formal. You will find opportunities to pass along your collected wisdom in numerous situations: volunteer activities, club meetings, engaging in hobbies, traveling, and many more than it’s practical to list.

It takes a long time and years of experience to gain that hard-earned wisdom. If you think about it, it’s an easy transition to keep doing what you’re really good at after retirement. You can now implement the wisdom that made a huge difference in the workplace in a home setting, or wherever you happen to be at any given time. Be purposeful about it, be mindful about truly enjoying it and pay it forward in a meaningful way.

There’s a lot of untapped enjoyment and fulfillment wrapped up in helping others by paying it forward with your wisdom. It gives an even deeper meaning to all those years in the workforce and allows you to continue to grow in the same way, but now across all aspects of your life. Until next time, enjoy.


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, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether 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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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting, but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions.



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