Struggling with the Traditional Concept of Retirement

For many years I have struggled with the concept of ‘retirement’. As I work with my clients, I can’t help but feel that the idea of it being the end of things and the time to wind it down didn’t fit what I was seeing in some of my clients.

Maybe it’s time to put a fresh face on our elder years and change the way that we think about what happens and who we are “after work.” Perhaps the planning that I have done with my clients over time focused more on the financial and workplace issues associated with retirement and less on the life issues.

I didn’t have to look any further than my own father for an example. He is still a very engaged, vibrant man who is in his early seventies and shows no sign of slowing down. I see this vibrancy in many of my other clients who are in their seventies, eighties and beyond. For them, “retirement” isn’t a concept that they consider as they go about leading very rewarding lives.

In fact, a study from the American National Academy of Sciences (2011) found that happiness peaks for most Americans at age 85! People who are still active and engaged in life at that age have discarded the notion that retirement is a thirty-year-long weekend and is meant to be prolonged leisure. Instead, they are actively engaged in their lives and are positive about the future.

Some of the other traits of these “modern elders” are that they value their friends and family and focus on living a life of purpose. These are the people who still feel relevant in the world and contribute to the society they live in. They haven’t quit or retired but are living happy lives on their own terms!

Science tells us that the keys to happiness in later life are:

  • Being optimistic
  • Engaging in life
  • Having positive and impactful relationships
  • Believing that life has meaning, regardless of how old they are
  • Continuing to have a sense of achievement

That’s why I like the concept of the “modern elder” and I am focusing my life-base financial planning and wealth management approach on how my clients can best use their financial resources to enhance their lives even further.

As for my father, I can see him still being an active modern elder even now that he has the time to do all the things he still wants to do!

Joseph F. Falbo, CFP®, AIF®, CRC® is an independent LPL financial advisor that helps grow and preserve clients’ wealth using cutting edge, customized, and comprehensive strategies. With over two decades of experience, Joe helps clients to pursue and retain the lifestyle they want in retirement. To discuss your retirement goals or any financial topic you want, schedule a 20-minute complimentary call. To learn more about Joe, please visit

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.