Do names matter? According to Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Yet as Romeo and Juliet tragically discover, names can make a big difference – and the wrong one may carry a whiff of something unpleasant.

Take the word “retire.”  If you look it up in the dictionary, you will learn that it means: “to withdraw from action or retreat; to move back or recede; to conclude a professional career”. No wonder retirement makes many of us anxious. It’s the 60’s-something company man in the blue suit leaving his office with a small box of belongings and a new wristwatch. Glaringly absent from this gloomy definition is the part about transitioning to fulfill your dream or passion, the start of a new and exciting chapter in your life – one that you’ve been planning and saving toward for years.

If your vision of retirement is a guy with a watch, I have a few suggestions for reframing – and renaming — it.

Write your story. When I worked with clients, we talked about retirement by painting a picture of what they wanted their life and career transitions to look like. Everybody has a personal story.  Whether it’s starting a business or taking a month long vacation, the first step to preparing for your future goal is knowing what it is. You can try this retirement tool to help you build your vision.

Refocus your emotions and passions. It can be difficult to equate this morning’s skipped latte to something worth a lot more to you a decade from now.  The same goes for tuning out market noise, as I wrote about in a previous Blog post. But focusing on what you’re saving for will make you less likely to be influenced by distractions, and more willing to make sacrifices today for a bigger reward tomorrow.

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