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The New Retirementality

by Mitch Anthony (2014-John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 4th edition)

In Short

The “New Retirementality” takes the reader on an educational and thought-provoking journey combining research, real-life stories, do-it-yourself exercises and concepts to help one understand what this “new retirement” is really about. This book is a must-read for those who are looking forward to years of productive retirement and want to consider a way to re-write how they retire that can affect generations to come. There is something for every reader and way too much to do justice to in this brief review, but I will provide you with a glimpse.

Starting with a history of retirement you will learn how this traditional concept started in the US.   Many of us are familiar with the Social Security Act of 1935 but Anthony’s perspective on how government helped shape and define what retirement is today, provides an interesting backdrop on the traditional retirement mindset.

Following from the history the book cover three main areas:

The early chapters help the reader discover some potential bias’ or thinking such as:

  • Retirement being an artificial finish line - retirement is, in many ways, it is an “unnatural” idea and is counter to how we have led our lives to this point. Most of our lives have followed pathways filled with goals, achievements, challenges and learning – why should retirement end all of that?
  • Introducing the New IRA “Individual Retirement Attitude” stressing the importance of a positive mindset and that we are each responsible for our own retirement planning and actions.
  • Addressing straight on the importance of Money in retirement but that Money is only part of the equation. Filled with mini- assessments on vision, balance, working in retirement and successful aging – the author provides you an opportunity to engage yourself in some powerful self –discovery.

The middle chapters depict how retirement is, indeed, being re-invented – moving from one of leisure and rest to activity and engagement. The author reminds us of the importance of balancing work and play (he calls it vocation and vacation – easy to remember).   For many reasons we view retirement as a “running away from work” - perhaps work that is unfulfilling or just plain boring. However, the benefits of staying engaged in meaningful work are far reaching in providing health benefits, social engagement and challenge.   The news is full of examples of this – from the Rolling Stones to the every day person volunteering, teaching or working in a local store.   We are reminded that core to this is having a strong purpose and an all-important attitude!   Many people have refused to be defined by age. In fact one of the more memorable quotes from the book for me was by Carlos Santana: “the only thing that has ever made me feel old is those few times where I allow myself to be predictable – Routine is death”. Carlos has the benefit of his music but in all of us is something that brings meaning to our lives.

After taking the reader through some very thought provoking stories and concepts on things any potential retiree would find important: work, purpose and myths of aging, Anthony makes the connection that, in my view, makes this book most practical – by tackling the money issue in a way that is not a pure numbers exercise. This best summed up by a quote from the book: “How can I get the most meaning from my means?” He bridges this concept nicely into the last part of the book.

I applaud Anthony for not ignoring the “elephant in the room” for most people when it comes to retirement – money. He discusses Social Security and helps the reader think about money in a different way using the concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which he has altered in a clever chapter called “Maslow Meets Retirement”. I couldn’t help but think of the lessons learned from this – the balance of between being well invested and well being; and how to calculate income for “life”.   He reminds us that the money journey is not something we should do alone – having the right partner/support here – as with most things in life are well worth it.

Using a clever play-on-words, by combining Retirement with Mentality, Mitch Anthony has delivered a great book that will provoke personal insights and something you will want to give to others.

Food for Thought

  • Attitude is a significant factor at this stage of life
    • Yesterday is irreversible – tomorrow hinges on our attitude today
  • Much of the aging process hinges on choices we make regarding activity, involvement and attitude
  • Remaining relevant and being flexible are areas to focus on for a successful retirement
  • Work redefined = meaningful pursuits with a purpose at the core
  • Happiness is wanting what you already have

Takeaways

  • We are traditionally focused on the financial aspects of retirement – yet without a focus on purpose, meaning, social interaction, health and “meaningful” work of some kind, we are selling our future years and generations way short.
  • The New Retirement is truly a Mentality and – we it starts with each one of us!

Kickstarter

  • Read the book!
  • Talk to 3 people you know you are having a happy and fulfilled retirement. Ask them about importance of mindset!

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