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“Retirement” and other things no one wants

Bureaucracy. Another Nickelback Tour. Water chestnuts. And Retirement. All things that no one wants.

Sorry, some people think they want to retire, until they realize what the word means and who invented the concept.

Historians are mixed on who originally gets the credit for moving an entire generation into passivity. A modern assumption has been to credit (or blame) FDR and the creation of Social Security. Roosevelt and his administration devised the genius plan of sequestering money from citizens and only begin paying them back at age 65, when life expectancy in the U.S. hovered around 61. But a longer look at history sometimes ascribes this scheme to Karl Marx, who reportedly wished to move older workers out of the workforce to make room for the younger generation, if only to keep the kids out of trouble. And this is where the true definition of the word comes into play.

The literal definition of the verb to retire is “to be taken out of use.” For example, in 1994, capping George Brett's historic baseball career, the Kansas City Royals retired his jersey. Key concept: no one uses it anymore. That's fine for baseball jerseys, but not for humans. I have yet to meet a client who's life ambition is to be useless. 

So since “retirement” is almost certainly the wrong goal, what is the true target? Well, if you ask our clients, it’s freedom. Freedom of time, money, relationship and purpose. This is the mission of Keating & Associates, and it’s what we and our clients focus on every single day.