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Introduction – Rewire Don’t Retire

Written by Marianne Heron with Paul Britton

The Oxford dictionary definition of the verb ‘retire’ is ‘to leave office or employment, especially because of age’. This doesn’t say very much about what retirement actually means for anyone today

Look at retirement one way and it involves having an extra 2,000 hours a year to fill. Put in perspective the change in retirement over recent generations means a whopping 40,000 or even 60,000 extra hours to fill in what is effectively a whole new slice of life.

Thanks to the age dividend which has seen European life expectancy stretch by 30 years for men and 40 for women over the previous century, the years following the exit from work can last as long as a traditional career.

Naturally you want to make the most of this precious gift of time to enjoy a third age which is as good as it possibly can be. Yet although there is plenty of advice around about financial planning to make provision for later years, there is a yawning gap when it comes to preparing for the start of this new chapter of life. The sheer pace of working life where retirement may be given little more thought than an annual holiday is one factor and the retirement illusion – where the advertising industry love to portray retirement as one long happily-ever-after walk along a sunny beach or a permanent scenic walk in the mountains – is another.

That gap is exactly what this guide sets out to fill by looking at what to expect from this major life transition, by considering the practical and psychological aspects of retirement and facilitating the realisation of your own special dreams for retirement.

Perhaps we need a new word for this dynamic modern retirement, to replace the outdated cardigan and slippers connotations of retreat from the affairs of the world. And we have one:


During a career, much of your mental circuitry is devoted to the job. Entering a fresh phase of life frees up time and energy to realise your dreams and be who you really want to be. To make changes and discover your potential in this new stage involves adapting your circuitry to new ways of thinking and being.

It means Rewirement – something which we now know, thanks to neuroscience, we are capable of throughout our lives – not retiring.


This excerpt was taken from Rewire Don’t Retire, sponsored by Irish Life and Active Retirement Ireland. You can access the full guide HERE.