Re-Imagining Retirement: Longevity planning

Sharon Rolph

Longevity planning, I feel, is the answer to the extensive debate and controversy about the need for a new perspective and language on aging. Today’s Boomer retirement is certainly not going to follow  “our parents’ idea of retirement.” Like the rocking chair or couch potato images just don’t fit anymore.

Should we be called senior, oldster, elder, mature, prime timer, veteran, geezer, old timer, wrinkled, master, coach, professor or seasoned with age? Northwest Prime Time paper’s recent front-page article is about Dr Levitin’s new Successful Aging book: yet another new description!

Longevity planning is what we need, in addition to financial planning, in retirement! It’s the perfect term for the millions of us who have the potential of turning 100-plus. It’s the right term for planning our freedom of time in constructive, decisive and intentional ways. Charting our next two or three decades of contribution and activities can make a difference that strengthens our neighborhoods and communities. Exploring. Learning. Giving back. Meeting a need. Being your best because you want to. It’s a gift!

We are the generation who responded to the novel idea of the Peace Corps. Could we be drawn to invest months and years to the good of the world again? I think so! When I viewed Paul Long’s Emmy Award-winning documentary called A Passing of the Torch, it struck a chord with me: a possibility for good. Aren’t we ready to turn our disenchantment into a Force for Change, again?

Those of us without kids and grandkids especially need a longevity plan: weigh the vast and many options available to us. What strikes a chord with you? What issues do your values pull you toward?  Vets, soup kitchens, community events volunteer, travel with a purpose, comfort kits for homeless or hospitals, random acts of kindness, special Olympics, youth sports coaching, the park service, debt counseling, tax season, music, service dogs or grant writing?

This is the time to be deliberate and focused on things that need to be improved, developed, organized, etc. Your awareness is important: It’s a significant first step in fixing it. Could be your DNA matches their need! I’d lay a bet on it.

I’ll never forget reading about an older man who worked alone for years on creating a road near his house in the county. The writer was blown away at how this man worked with a shovel and ax day after day, year after year. When asked why he did it, his simple answer was, “It needed to be done.”

Or, could you help someone else with their dream? My dad wanted to build a Grandfather clock. Create a community garden? Build a habitat house or furnish one?

Remember figuring out What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles? We could use that same process for “changing jobs” now. He says, “The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.” Now, our dream career is Longevity!

Ready to get started? My two-page Longevity Preparation GiveAway can help you with that. Email me to request it at I am a retirement/longevity coach and my website is My Fresh Courage podcast is on FB Live on Mondays at noon and on Transformational Talk Radio. Apple Podcast, iHear, speaker and castbox also carry the archived shows. Sponsors and partners are welcome.

— By Sharon Rolph


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