Book review: Reimagine Your Retirement

A fresh perspective on retirement

Author Joyce Li is all about planning: plan the work, work the plan


Reimagine_Your_RetirementIn her book, Reimagine Your Retirement, Joyce Li, a project manager and motivational speaker, offers a perspective on retirement that is not at all the traditional full-stop retirement we think of when we see ads from banks and fund companies.

Instead, she views retirement as a sort of spiritual/vocational halfway house between one’s working years and eternity.  This is not dissimilar to my own view of Findependence or semi-retirement. In fact, she credits Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life for inspiring her almost a decade ago: she gave six family members copies of Warren’s book, with personalized inscriptions.

Are you haunted by nagging dreams?

Li spends time a good chunk of time talking about “nagging dreams” that have yet to come true. And who among us does not harbour dreams we’ve not yet been able to manifest in this harsh workaday world and its seeming financial constraints? Li doesn’t make light of the financial side of retirement but seeks a way to reconcile it. And she’s not shy about confessing her own youthful dreams of becoming either a movie star or a pop star.

Spiced liberally with biblical quotes, Li is all about planning: plan the work, work the plan.

In the opening chapters, she reminds us the concept of retirement was non existent in biblical times and throughout most of history. And whether retirement is voluntary, involuntary, or delayed, Li doesn’t shy away from the financial side of it. One reality is that “retirement requires financial support for an unknown time.”

And did you know the Bible  has at least 250 verses that discuss money? Interestingly, she says the Bible has “no direct reference to retirement or retirement planning,” except for one passage in  Numbers 8:23-26. (At the age of 50, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.”)

While she acknowledges that some plan never to retire, some will partially do so, and some will fully retire to disengage from the work world altogether, Li’s personal orientation seems strongly favour reinvention or reimagination, as the book’s title suggests. This may entail going back to school or embarking on a brand new vocation.

The book will find few readers among atheists and agnostics, but will be thought provoking for those who see a spiritual dimension to life, no matter what particular religious affiliation.

A book for writing in

I wouldn’t suggest obtaining a library or ebook version of this book, as Li provides plenty of blanks that she encourages the reader to fill in, with multiple exercises to put self discovery and concrete planning into practice. She’s all about discovering one’s skills, life gifts, spiritual gifts and passions, then encapsulating what you’re discovered into a personal mission statement that will chart your 20 to 30 years of a reimagined retirement. She’s a strong believer in the power of visualization, which of course is exactly what I suggest in my own book: drawing a line in the sand and declaring it your Findependence Day, even if it turns out ultimately to be a moving target.

Jonathan Chevreau is the editor-at-large of MoneySense. He blogs here and at Find him on Twitter @jonchevreau.