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Don't Retire - REWIRE - a perspective on continuing to work vs retirement 

by Jeri Sedlar & Rick Miners, Authors, Don’t Retire, REWIRE!

Jeri Sedlar - Rick Miners, Don't Retire, REWIREIn 1999 we began research on the concept of retirement for our book, DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! Since then we have helped audiences and readers address the questions: What is retirement? Where did it come from? Why does it have to be re-defined? And will it eventually just go away and become known as the “future,” or as we call it rewirement®?

We won’t take up space here to tell you the history of retirement but if you’re interested check out how Otto Von Bismarck, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and a man named Del Webb all created this man-made concept of the traditional model of retirement, defined as “the end of paid work and a life of leisure!” That model is broken for a variety of reasons and a new model is evolving.  The new model includes rewiring® yourself and creating a new life plan that leads to greater personal fulfillment, learning new things, the potential for new work experiences, continuing to make money,  and having fun.   The good news is that a person has the potential to rewire® as many times as they can imagine.  

Why is rewiring® important?  First and foremost, we are living longer, healthier and overall younger lives with the capacity to have many more experiences.   The “longevity bonus” is real.  Today there are over 200,000 centenarians worldwide and growing. Three million Boomers are expected to live to 100 or older.  There are no guarantees on who will live to be 100, but our belief is we should all plan for it--- financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially, as best we can.  

The five step rewiring process we developed allows people to discover what makes them tick through the identification of their personal drivers, or motivators for why they work beyond the money. The 85 different drivers we discovered through our research are like our personal DNA.  They are the foundation upon which people should build their next act.

Examples of the 85 drivers include:  

  • to belong, to make a difference
  • to be a problem solver
  • for the recognition
  • to be a leader

If you like the work you do, (that is paid, volunteer, part or full time, entrepreneurial or corporate) and the driver fulfillment you get from that work, why would you want to stop doing it? If you want to try something different you can use your drivers to help select it.  Most people have 5 particularly strong drivers.  Identifying which five is the key to future success.

AARP, MERRILL LYNCH, and MetLife have all conducted studies that revealed that people want to “work in retirement.”  Financial reasons are a big factor today, but so is receiving driver fulfillment at work. The reality is that if you want to stay engaged and keep yourself in the game, you need to identify your drivers and keep up on your skills--technology, communication, management, etc.  You will also need to stay relevant in terms of fitness and appearance. It may sound like work, but the payoff is worth it.

If you are ready for your next act, go for it.  But go for it after you have identified your drivers. People who don’t understand their drivers often end up selecting the wrong type of work or committing to the wrong kind of volunteer activities.  It won’t take that long to do, and it will help save you from making some big mistakes.  It also helps to take stock of what interests you—review prior accomplishments that really made you feel great, create a new rewired® vision and an action plan. These key steps on the rewiring® journey should lead you to a life you that will be more fulfilling.

Finally, don’t view the future as one big chunk of time, but rather in four year increments. It makes planning easier and life more fun!   And tell yourself everyday that it’s your functional age not your chronological age that matters.


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