Phased Retirement: Throwback Thursday

I started writing about phased retirement over one year ago. One of my first posts was on LinkedIn and was titled, “Retire Slowly: Land the Plane.”  I hadn’t yet surveyed people – both informally and on platforms like LinkedIn – for what the best term to describe a gradual retirement might be.  ‘Phased Retirement’ was the eventual winner.

That post introduced the concept and was followed by over 30 more posts from me here on my blog and on the HumbleDollar blog:

So, on Throwback Thursday, I’m re-sharing the post from 12/20/21…with just one edit.  Because even though my thinking and writing have matured (I hope) on the topic as a result of conversations, comments and feedback, the concept still rings true.  One area where I’ve personally improved is actually creating my own timeline; what would I like to have happen, when.  For now, I’m giving my career full attention, but I’m also planning for what the coming years look like.  Where we’ll live, travel, etc.  What activities I’ll engage in. It’s exciting to see it physically exist and anticipate the coming years.

So, enjoy!


Over the past 18 months or so (edit: now 30 months!) it seems we’ve heard a lot more about retirement. Some workers were forced into a sooner-than-planned retirement due to Covid furloughs and then layoffs. Others chose out of the workplace for a variety of personal reasons.

And, of course, the Great Resignation has gotten plenty of press and emphasized that the conversation isn’t 100% a financial one.

I started thinking more about my future retirement plans and goals over 10 years ago while watching a mentor of mine navigate the process.

He was a seasoned professional who had held leadership roles as a full-time employee at several large companies. His first step was to ‘retire’ from a large company to join a consulting company that could market his skills. It was okay if he didn’t always have work – in fact that was a part of his plan to wind down his working hours and begin to explore other interests. Eventually he only took on certain projects, and near the end of many years of transition he only worked for one specific client!

As I watched what he did, my visual for that type of retirement became “landing the plane.” Most of your career flight cruises along at around 36,000 feet (perhaps with pockets of turbulence!). Then, in an orderly fashion you begin a ‘gradual descent’ towards your goal…and land the plane.

Everyone’s situation is different, but perhaps you should spend some time over the holiday break envisioning what your retirement timeline might look like. 

And remember to include the plans for what you’ll do after you deplane and head through the terminal and out into the world at your destination!

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