When people, or even analysts, talk about retirement, they talk about it as being one homogeneous season of life. A time of retreat and diminished capacity is the general characterization.
Nothing could be further from the truth or the reality of retirement.
During each season of life, there are limitations based on knowledge and experience, tied in with the capacity to contribute and make a difference. So it is true with the 4th quarter of life.
Our generalized and often wrong perception is rooted in the historical timeline of longevity. In 1936 when Social Security was introduced, our life expectancy in the US was 63. Today it is closer to 85 or 90. For those currently the age of 7, life expectancy is projected to be 104. Now that there is an expanded period of time for the last season of life there is room for new and important roles for us to play. It is currently the time to identify those new stages of life and to manage our expectations in relation to them.
It is also time that as Christians we realize the roles we can play to build the Kingdom of God here on earth during each of those seasons and life stages.
It is reasonable to suggest that just as there are roles in The Kingdom during our earlier stages of life, there are commensurate roles during the last seasons. As a 75-year-old opined, “God must not be done with me yet because here I stand.”
Just like the rest of life, there are stages in retirement. If there can be meaning and purpose for our lives during early stages, why not during later stages. Those stages are as distinct as the stages bounded by ages 30-40, 40-50, or 50-60. Each stage has unique and identifiable characteristics. Each stage can be filled with meaning and purpose connected to God’s plan for your whole life.
Here is a quick overview of the three stages of retirement. This is the start of another way for us to think about, understand and put in motion, our Future Funded Ministry.
67 -78 "Active Application":
Ability and capacity to put into practice what you have learned up to that point in your life. You can lead, be very productive, and bring energy to all your endeavors.
79-87 "Insightful Stewardship":
Ability and energy to bring wisdom and insight to any opportunity or situation. Leadership roles will be collaborative and marked by the ability to bring perspective and support, and encouragement to those who will lead. You will bring value to any discussion or decision.
87+ "Reflective Sharing":
Ability to reflect on life’s experiences and lay out issues and principles in ways that will be helpful to the next generations. The benefits of longevity will be clear. The contribution to the well-being of those, especially those under 45, will be significant. As health deteriorates, wisdom accelerates.
Each of the three stages referenced above has unique characteristics and bring unique value to building the Kingdom. There is a special call on your life and it plays itself out in different ways during each of those stages.
Thank you for joining us as we walk together on this Journey for a Lifetime.