Retiring with Purpose

Preparing for retirement means asking and answering these two important questions:

  1. How will you fund your retirement?
  2. What will you do with your time in retirement?

At Modera Wealth Management, we work tirelessly to help our clients answer question number one: how to fund their retirement. How do you know whether you have the financial freedom to retire and leave the workforce? We help our clients find the answer to this question.

How Will You Spend Your Time in Retirement?

For many, this is an equally challenging question to answer. People have different plans for their time in retirement. Many want simply to relax and not have a daily agenda, some just no longer want to work. Others say they plan to spend more time with friends and family or travel.

Realistically, retirement today is not the same experience as it was for our parents and grandparents. Today, a retiree can expect to spend over 30 years in their retirement, and do so with better health and capability than previous generations. With many of our clients wanting to retire as early as age 55 or 60, planning to spend a third of your life retired takes planning.

Research now is showing that retiring early and living a “low stress” lifestyle can actually have a negative effect on your health and longevity. In fact, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that delaying retirement may delay the onset of age-related ailments, both physical and mental. This was shown even in those who retired for reasons relating to poor health. Another study at Oregon State found that earlier retirement negatively affects longevity in most people. In the study, the participants retired fully and did not seek out a purposeful retirement– pursuing a passion that gives meaning to life beyond work.

Why is a Purposeful Retirement Important?

People have different views on what it means to be a “successful retiree”, including author and speaker Mitch Anthony (The New Retirementality). His assertion is that a successful retiree retires to something rather than from something. They find a balance between relaxation and the pursuit of something meaningful. For most people, he recommends instead of retiring early, taking a “gap year”, so to speak. A temporary retirement that helps you accomplish lifelong goals, then beginning to search for meaningful work. This can mean volunteering, seeking employment in an area of personal interest, or even starting a business. Feeling a sense of purpose and maintaining acuity by challenging your brain can help you live longer and better in retirement, Anthony says. He also recommends maintaining a positive outlook instead of joining the “moan and groan” club.

Research now shows that more retirees are seeking purpose in their retirements. A third of retirees will eventually reverse their retirement and return to work in either a full time or part time capacity. Necessity is not always the reason retirees are choosing to return to work. People are also interested in other benefits of work, like mental stimulation and socializing with other people.

Marc Freedman, founder of, aims to help those looking for purpose in their retirements. Drawing inspiration from Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs, he now matches volunteer mentors with young people from challenging or difficult situations, causing the kids to become more successful and extending the lives of both the kids and the adults.

The world’s elite often find causes to contribute to. For instance, Bill Gates, Jimmy Carter, and Michael Bloomberg have all engaged in secondary careers despite not having a financial necessity to do so. They do so because they want to make a difference in the world.

But having a purposeful retirement doesn’t mean that you have to change the world. Retiring to volunteer for a cause you believe in, taking up a new hobby, or taking an active role in the lives of your grandchildren can give you purpose in your retirement. It can mean working at a job that during your career you wouldn’t have taken because the pay wasn’t what you needed. The ultimate goal of a purposeful retirement is to transition from freedom work to freedom to work– it means having a choice in how you spend your days.

Content contributed by Modera Wealth Management in Charlotte, NC.

Modera Wealth Management., LLC (“Modera”) is an SEC-registered investment advisor with places of business in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. SEC registration does not imply any level of skill or training. Modera may only transact business in those states in which it is registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration requirements. SEC registration does not imply any level of skill or training.  For information pertaining to our registration status, fees and services, please contact us or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure web site ( to obtain a copy of our disclosure statement set forth in Form ADV Part 2A. Please read the disclosure statement carefully before you invest or send money.

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