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It's not "Retirement", it's the "Harvesting Phase"

Aug 30, 2007
I propose that we throw out the term "retirement" and replace it with "The Harvesting Phase". For Baby Boomers who have no intention of sitting down and"retiring", The Harvesting Phase is a time of lively engagement in life with an enhanced sense of choice about how we will use our time and energy.

John and Sally came to their financial planner for advice: They were both 55 years old and thinking through the whole issue of retirement. He is a self-employed psychologist and she is a university professor. The questions in front of them were: what do we want out of retirement and can we afford what we want?

As they talked about retirement they began to clarify what it they really want from it. They want to stay active. They want to work. They want to be socially and politically involved. So - what does retirement mean for them? Mostly, it means that they want CHOICE. They don't want to feel that they will have to work out of necessity any more. They want to CHOOSE their work and community involvement not based on need for money, but on what is most meaningful to them at this of stage of life.

In thinking about people like John and Sally, it is clear that the word "retirement" just doesn't fit. Today, people of the Baby Boom generation are harvesting the fruits of lives well lived and continuing to express themselves in the word in a multitude of ways. They were not entering retirement - they are entering the "Harvesting Phase" of life, in which they are living fully and with an enhanced sense of choice about their work and how they spend their time.

At the Harvesting Phase, work for money should be optional. It is a time when we dedicate ourselves to pursuits we have put off at earlier phases of life in order to meet life's responsibities, but are now able to give attention to. One client of mine got very involved in local politics in the city of Oakland in her Harvesting Phase. Another joined a Bluegrass group. Another devoted herself to the care of her grandchildren so that her son and daughter-in-law could pursue their dreams. Yet another is busy working on his memoirs and intends to self-publish them for his family.

The Harvesting Phase is a time when we take stock of our dreams, great and small. We let passions that may have been in the background arise into the foreground so that we continue to live with engagement and passion.
About the Author
Peter Cole ChFC, LCSW, Holistic financial planning. Author: True Self True Wealth. Peter Cole is a representative of Securities America, a registered Broker/Dealer member NASD/SIPC and Securities America Advisors an SEC registered investment advisor. FREE newsletter at http://www.trueselftruewealth.com
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