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Retirement means different things to different people. It can be highly subjective.

The ERE definition simply means having enough money to never need to work for a living again. It follows the FIRE concept which means "Financially Independent/Retired Early". The operating definition is the ability to "do what you want whenever you want within reason". For example, a person who is financially independent and decides to take up employment is no longer retired in this sense because although he presumably does what he wants, he no longer meets the "whenever" criterion.

Generational Understanding of Retirement

The Generational Hypothesis of Retirement says that people will have a different understanding of retirement depending on which generation they are.

  • Lost Generation: Retirement means being too old to work. Work is often seen as a duty to society. Retirement often means sitting in a retirement home.
  • Boomer Generation: Retirement is the award the follows work. Work is seen as making money and having a career. Retirement is seen as spending money. Retirement often means a chance to do the things one wanted to do when one was too busy with one's career.
  • Generation X: Retirement means no longer actively participating in the work-force. Work is seen as surviving and competing for jobs. Retirement is being financially independent. Retirement means freeing oneself from needing to have a job.
  • Generation Y: ?