What pops up in your mind when you hear the word “retirement”? We asked the audience at last week’s book launch for Retirement by Design, which was graciously hosted in San Francisco by the fantastic global design firm IDEO. The words that came up ranged from “excitement” and “eagerness” to “dying.” This last word is no surprise. The idea of retirement is loaded with negative imagery that suggest withdrawal, obsolescence and yes, mortality. In fact, the Cambridge English Dictionary defines retirement as “the act of leaving your job and stopping working, usually because you are old.” But what if we turn that thinking around? What if we concentrate on our ability to live longer, healthier lives, and to remain active and vital but in a different way? What if we re-define retirement as a time to create and live a desirable future of our own design?
That’s the philosophy behind my new book, Retirement by Design. It’s a workbook that will help you create the best possible post-career life by deciding what you want that life to look like and then turning that vision into reality. Rather than offering advice on what you should do when you retire, it applies design principles that ask you to determine what would be best for you; after all, what will make you happy in retirement is personal to you. Some people want to relax and enjoy themselves without any outside commitments. Others want to start encore careers or new businesses. Still others want to volunteer for groups or causes they care about. And considering that your retirement can last as long as your career did, you may change your mind – and your plans – once or many times as you move along.
So, let’s drop the association of retirement with death and withdrawal, and embrace it with eagerness and excitement instead. Whether you’re 50 or 75, if you’re wondering about your next act, or have friends and colleagues who are contemplating theirs, Retirement by Design is the place to start. It will soon be available in stores and you can pre-order it now, here or directly from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online sellers.
Retirement by Design is written for a general audience, not just lawyers, but because my practice and consulting careers have been primarily in law, I am especially sensitive to the impact of partner retirement on lawyers and law firms. And because my focus has been on talent management, I am aware that the people with expertise in lawyers’ professional development are particularly well suited to help with retirement issues. The February 2020 issue of NALP’s PD Quarterly includes an article I wrote about how PD can help law firms manage senior partner retirement. You can read the article here.
Los Angeles Program
On Monday, February 24, I’ll be presenting at the LA County Bar Association on “Redefining Retirement: Issues and Solutions for Lawyers and Firms.” If you’re in Los Angeles, please come! Learn more and register here.