New words needed to describe retirement

16:00, Mar 01 2014

While they say that retirement is the best time of your life, I've found over the years that people have quite mixed feelings about it. I enjoyed reading a piece written by an American retirement planner, suggesting that the people at Webster and Oxford dictionaries consider 15 retirement words that don't exist yet, but should.

Author Joe Hearn noted that every year hundreds of new words are added to dictionaries in an effort to help us all communicate more effectively and to reflect "real life" trends (recent examples being twerking and selfies), so why not add some words that more accurately reflect the idea of retirement.

Among my favourites were: Maximalist - a person who lives life thoroughly and to the full. Similar to how a minimalist structures their life around having minimal possessions, a maximalist will structure their life around maximising experiences. Jobby - a hobby that you enjoy and are passionate about that you turn into a job or second career during retirement;

Some day window - the wonderful window of time in your life when you are retired, healthy and able to do all the things that you've been putting off for "some day".

To Don't List - a list of all the tasks, activities and obligations that you plan to stop doing once you retire . . . because you can.

Boomerboomerang - a person who retires, but misses the challenge and social interaction of their job, so they return to work either full or part-time.


Moneymoon - that period immediately after you retire when you are more concerned about having meaningful experiences than you are about running out of money.

Some of the suggested words were less upbeat, reflecting the different experiences that people have in retirement.

There was Fibflation, a false estimate of the general rise in prices which doesn't reflect the actual increase in the cost of living faced by retirees.

Then there was Benboozle, a verb describing the act of deceiving retirement savers into believing that they have enough money, only to make it incredibly difficult for them to generate retirement income, due to a policy of low interest rates (as introduced by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke). Hearn also suggested an acronym CRLP or Cash Rich, Lifestyle Poor which describes a person who treats retirement solely as a maths problem - they have enough money, but don't use it to enjoy life.

While the article was tongue in cheek, it is certainly true that the reality of retirement is different for everyone - for some, retirement will be better than expected while for others, it will be worse.

There are numerous studies that suggest the primary reason for an unhappy retirement is unpreparedness.

While clearly it is important to have enough money to see out your retirement years, and this can be easier said than done, it is also important to plan how your time will be spent,which itself determines how much money you'll need.

Maybe one other new word should be added: Paidleisure, a noun describing the perfect balance between time and money which allows for a great retirement?

Carmel Fisher is managing director of Fisher Funds, an investment manager and KiwiSaver provider.

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