Living a Life of Purpose after Retirement: 3 Action Steps to Take

When someone asks about what you do, the answer shouldn’t be, “I’m retired.” There is more to the second half of your life … a lot more.

An older hiker holds her hands outstretched to the horizon.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When I talk about my definition of retirement, I think it sometimes catches people off guard. In my mind, retirement is not who you are or where you’re at in life, rather it is the transition of your time and money. In other words, it is a process you go through … not your identity.

The transition for money is a transition from accumulating money to utilizing it. For time, it is a transition of reallocating the 40-plus hours per week you spent working.

This distinction of what retirement means is an important one to make, because many people identify themselves with their work — but when someone is no longer working, they default to labeling themselves as “retired.”

Here is the problem: This default “I’m retired” mindset leaves people stuck, and they never really progress toward reinventing themselves. In essence, they have made retirement their new identity, which just seems odd considering when you say something is “retired” it often infers that it has outlived its usefulness.

But I don’t think this is an accurate description for most successful people who have lived a life of purpose, who have gained valuable insight and wisdom from their life experiences and who have refined their talents and unique abilities over decades.

Therefore, retirement should not be a label used to describe who someone is — it’s not their identity — rather, retirement is a term used to describe the transition a person is going through from one phase of life to another. This is important, because the success of your retirement transition is predicated on how well you grasp this distinction and your ability to shift your mindset in the following three key areas.

If done successfully, you can emerge on the other side of your retirement transition living a life of abundance.


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Securities offered only by duly registered individuals through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC. (MAS), Member FINRA & SIPC. Advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management (“AEWM”), a registered investment adviser. Skrobonja Financial Group, LLC, Skrobonja Insurance Services, LLC, AEWM and MAS are not affiliated entities. The article and opinions in this publication are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. We suggest that you consult your accountant, tax or legal adviser with regard to your individual situation.


This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Brian Skrobonja, Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®)
Founder & President, Skrobonja Financial Group LLC and Skrobonja Wealth Management, LLC

Brian Skrobonja is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) and Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®), as well as an author, blogger, podcaster and speaker. He is the founder and president of a St. Louis, Mo.-based wealth management firm. His goal is to help his audience discover the root of their beliefs about money and challenge them to think differently to reach their goals. Brian is the author of three books, and his Common Sense podcast was named one of the Top 10 podcasts by Forbes. In 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, Brian was awarded Best Wealth Manager. In 2021, he received Best in Business and the Future 50 in 2018 from St. Louis Small Business.