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"Retirement" is such a dated term. It conjures images of senior citizens who have worked their whole life, only to retire with nothing to do. What if, instead, people gained financial independence so they could have the option to put their life skills to work and supplement their retirement income, allowing them to "retire" much earlier in life?


* Traditional retirement model
* New retirement model
* The concept of "having enough"
* Introducing the Goldilocks Goal
* The 4% Rule
* Why you should (still) check out Betterment
* Defining financial independence and financial freedom

What is retirement? No really, how do you define it? There are two very different schools of thought when it comes to retirement.

Let's picture a traditional retirement scenario:

* You work hard until you hit 65, 70 or 75, or whenever social security kicks in, if it does at all. You've got your nest egg that you so carefully incubated all these years ready. And, you followed all the traditional advice and saved up enough to live on 80% of your full-time income in retirement.
* You hang up the toolbelt, enjoy your retirement party in the break room, and ride off into the sunset.
* Then what?

In this scenario, you've saved enough to never need to work another day in your life. That's tremendously commendable, but I, along with a rapidly growing minority, find that traditional retirement model not only boring, but also very inefficient.

Let me explain.

Over the course of your life, you'll acquire a number of marketable skills. They could be related to your profession, hobbies and passion areas, and some skills you just learned out of necessity over the years, like how to fix a dryer or build a deck.

Why not leverage those skills in a way that allows you to earn income? It'll allow you to not only keep yourself busy in retirement doing something that interests you, but it creates a supplemental income stream at the same time. Otherwise, it might be an awful long retirement without purpose. That’s not to say that everything needs to be about earning income. There are plenty of opportunities to have purpose when you no longer need to work that don’t involve generating income, like volunteering for a cause that matters to you.

The point I'm trying to make is that if we rethink what it means to retire and start shifting our thinking, we might be able to reach that “retirement” threshold even earlier that we would have thought before.

The traditional retirement model is sunsetting, especially as baby boomers get ready to start retiring, and certainly as Gen Xers and Millennials get older. and start to seek new ways to earn some supplemental income in “retirement,” which means they may not need as much saved up in their retirement account, allowing them to reach that level of financial independence earlier.

That's the first shift in redefining retirement: supplemental income

The second shift is figuring out how much you truly, actually, need to retire. And to answer that question, you need to figure out what kind of retirement you want. Not what an advisor or the internet tells you what type of retirement you should have. Take some ownership of your future and make the decision that's best for you.

Most traditional retirement advice projects what your income will be at retirement based on an assumption that you will want or need more than you make today. Retirement calculators throughout the internet all use different assumptions, but they’re usually basing it off having a nest egg somewhere around 80% of your inc...

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