Phased Retirement: What’s in a Name?


I started publishing articles on a phased approach to retirement by calling my blog “Retire by Degrees.”  That’s still the name and still feels like the best, most accurate descriptor of what I’m after.

But it doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

Even with the first posts I wrote, I used the tagline “Retire Slowly.”  My first post was about thinking about a plane landing and bringing your career in for a smooth, gradual landing.  My mentor who demonstrated that notion to me over 10 years ago said after he read it that, “It’s better than being forced to parachute out of the plane!”

But ‘Retire Slowly’ sounds a bit, well, lethargic?

So in a LinkedIn poll I asked people what they felt was the best descriptor of this gradual approach.

The clear winner with 73% of the votes is “Phased Retirement.”  It’s simple and it makes sense.  I’ve used it here in my title.

15% chose “Retire Gradually,” only 9% picked my original “Retire by Degrees,” and just 3% said “Retire Slowly” resonated with them.

There were a couple of write-in votes as well; one outlined an approach to a “Staged Retirement” by slowly reducing days worked…but never fully retiring.  Another suggested “Retiring Gracefully,” which has a certain poignance to it.  And one used a longer description, but one that I like: “Faith, family, fun…and work when you choose to.”

Great insights that show me people are thinking about this, but I’ll go with the clear poll winner and use the “Phased Retirement” banner.

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