Redefinement coach says traditional retirement is extinct

Here’s some advice we like, for baby boomers. It’s from Mike Kiley of Bloomington, Illinois, who calls himself a “Redefinement Coach” for boomers evaluating their readiness for retirement. He calls it, From Retirement to Redefinement.

Something dawned on me three years ago. As I watched fellow boomers retire from our Fortune 500 company, almost no one was transitioning to a traditional retirement. No moving south, no golfing all day, and absolutely no one staying home doing nothing.

Mike Kiley

Mike Kiley

Now, after three additional years of research and experience, I’ve concluded that traditional retirement is extinct!

Yes, extinct. Let me explain.

Traditional retirement has overwhelmingly emphasized saving asmuch money as possible during a thirty-year, backbreaking sprint until suddenly reaching the end, slamming on the brakes, and doing nothing. It’s unrealistic in the Twenty-First Century. There’s more to retirement than pensions, savings accounts, and 401(k)s.

This time last year, a friend returned from visiting a financial planner who evaluated his financials and pronounced him ready to retire. As it turned out, he wasn’t ready— not even close. He hadn’t yet asked himself, What will I do when I don’t have to check in everyday? How will I spend time doing what I enjoy? What about my spouse and family?

After we talked, my friend realized he still wanted to do something meaningful and make a difference, but he was done being an employee. The next chapter of his life had to be lived on his terms.

Many other boomers are making the same discoveries, replacing retirement with a new state of mind. I call it redefinement.

decisions_aheadRedefinement is characterized by striving for the ideal life unique to each of us. Rather than settling for what we think we’re supposed to do, we should do what is right for us on our own terms. Redefinement means transitioning to:

  • More time with friends and family
  • Improved health
  • Enhanced social life and leisure activities
  • Creative pursuits
  • Work, but on your terms

Ahh, working on your terms— another exploding phenomenon.

Mike Kiley is a 55-year-old resident of Bloomington, IL, a 35-year employee of a Fortune 500 company, founder of, and a “Redefinement Coach” for boomers seeking support while evaluating their emotional and mental readiness for retirement. Contact him via or

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. It mirrors exactly how I feel about my looming retirement. Like your friend, I still want to do something meaningful and make a difference. While I don’t want the heap of responsibility that I have at work, I have so many skills that I could still utilise. I’m great at organising, have skills in writing and photography. There’s a whole new world out there waiting for me. Couch potato? Me? Pfft!

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