Protirement: Life After Retirement

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What is Protirement?

The notion of "Protirement" is a relatively new phenomenon and has replaced traditional notions of retirement. The idea of working for one company for 45 years, retiring at 65 years of age with a gold statue and a watch, and then relaxing in a world of visiting grandchildren and playing golf seems to have dissipated in American culture. As technology improves and medical advances increase lifespan and "healthy longevity", both men and women in the United States are living longer and having opportunities to explore and invest in more than one career in their lifetimes.

Protirement is the concept that, contrary to traditional views of retirement, one can see retirement as an opportunity to pursue another career, pursue dreams previously put on hold, work for charitable causes, and otherwise continue as creative, productive members of another field.

Protirement: The New Life After Retirement

Protirement is simply the new life after retirement. Rather than move automatically into retirement mode, today people are rethinking retirement and opting instead for protirement. Both men and women are now reinventing themselves professionally, sometimes two and three times. Further, they want, expect, and demand more from themselves professionally well into what used to be considered "the golden years." Even as recently as one or two decades ago, the standard was to invest in education to become skilled in one area of expertise (e.g. law, medicine, teaching, electrician, mechanic, etc.) and then spend on average of fifteen to twenty-five years working within that profession. It was also typical to spend your entire career working for one company, then retire at age 60 or 65 years to go off into the sunset and play golf, travel, visit and/or care for grandchildren, and prepare for the inevitable end of one's life. Within the past two decades we have seen a complete reversal in what retirement is and what it means to be retired. What used to be referred to as retirement has been replaced by a proactive and progressive approach to creating a stimulating, interesting and often lucrative lifestyle well into one's 70's and 80's--if not 90's. This is the essence of protirement.

Retirement in the Modern Era

Research conducted by Peoplevoyage LLC, a human capital consulting firm, reveals that highly educated individuals (those with a minimum of a bachelors degree) who have been gainfully employed throughout most of their lives will continue to work well beyond the age of 65. In fact, most professionals interviewed will either continue working in a full-time capacity within the same firm and same profession well beyond the age of 65 or continue in the same line of work in either some form of a consulting capacity or non-profit venue. A significant percentage of people interviewed not only continued working but actually completely changed careers between the ages of 55 and 65 years of age. This "early retirement" from their first profession or trade allows the pursuit of new careers, hobbies and businesses.

Examples of New Careers After Retirement

Some examples of protirement follow:
  • an investment banker for over 20 years retires early ("protires") to launch a successful internet business
  • a career human resources professional takes early retirement to lead a not-for-profit organization geared toward helping children
  • an insurance agent retires from the insurance industry to become a full-time artist, displaying works in local galleries and selling art through the Internet
  • a teacher retires from the teaching profession and creates a travel business guiding tours throughout Europe and East Asia
And so on. Protirement is the new life after retirement.

Benefits of Protirement

What is very clear is that the notion of retiring to relax and prepare for the end of life has been replaced by the notion of protiring - proactively reinventing oneself and getting in touch with a genuine passion and interest. The result is often a great benefit to society. People continue to want to be challenged and reinvent themselves personally as well as professional well into their eighties and protirement helps them fulfill these desires. This also presents a number of opportunities for employers, including the possibility of hiring from an excellent source of "new" talented personnel. The "protirees" are often highly-educated, experienced individuals who may not have been interested or able to work in their field in the past. Further, it provides the economy with an increased source of individual businesses and sole proprietorships that may not have existed in the past. There are even mentoring groups being formed, consisting of successful retirees who want to help others new to business and careers, often for no compensation other than goodwill and the satisfaction of helping others.

Protirement and What It Means for Our Society

The new concept of protirement often provides renewed vigor and passion to an individual's professional life well past the age of retirement. In addition, protirement provides our society with an intellectually, emotionally and culturally rich and vibrant workforce and, further, potential for revenues that heretofore had not existed.
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