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I read an article in Modern Maturity a few years ago on retirement. It reported that the French do not have a word for retirement but instead call it the Third Age. I like that.

Our First Age is one of preparation (education, socialization, just plain growing up to some sort of marturity level). Our Second Age is one of, in general, testing out our new found independence to raise families, try different jobs, create social change, earning hard knocks, and so on. Some of these things are still going on in our Third Age but somehow they seems more tempered and yet more sharply defined, and with a sense of 'let the younger ones have their shot at it now". Been there, done that.

But what I think really separates the Third Age from the Second is financial independence. In the Second Age we needed money to make our lives happen. Some need more than others. We took jobs or owned companies and a certain number of hours were no longer our own. When we achieve financial independence, at what ever physical age, we are given those hours back to fill how ever we want too. Some handle it better than others. For some their job defines them (or so they think) and they keep working. Fine, that's their choice. For me my headstone will NOT say "here lies the greatest analyst this company has even known".

Me, I haven't looked back one day in the year and eight months I took those hours back. I tell everyone that I'm gainfully unemployed. I don't work; even those few hours I put in for a non-profit looking for affordable housing for seniors, I consider it as giving back. I apply those things that I learned about corporate life to make the agency more successful with the few resources it has.

I think in our Third Age we should by now have some knowledge and wisdom, and now should turn around and mentor others through their early ages. God knows we have enough time to do it now. I've got thirty years to fill out and I'm a long term investor in alot of ways.

Best Regards, Mike Noonan
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