Leslie S. Garske // Next Chapter Wealth Strategies

Carve Your Own Path & Create Your Dream Retirement

How often do you think about retirement?

Most of us think about it a lot — at least four times a week.1

We think about when we'll retire and how we'll spend our time in retirement.2,3

As exciting as that can be, it can also be nerve-racking to think about trying to fill up all of that free time.

And no matter what we dream of, the reality of retirement doesn't always match our expectations.1

In fact, nearly half of us miss the mark on when we expect to retire. Most folks who get it wrong end up retiring years earlier than they expected.2

And that's just one miscalculation...

We also tend to underestimate our psychological needs and our options for enjoying our retirement.4

That can make it more difficult to adjust to retirement. It can also leave us feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with the retired life we worked so hard for.

So, how can we make better plans and enjoy a truly rewarding retirement?

We can start by stepping outside of the box of convention and considering some alternatives to traditional retirement.

These novel approaches can open up new paths to growth, happiness, and deeper satisfaction in our next phase of life.

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6 Creative Paths to Retiring on Your Own Terms

Phased Retirement

Ease into life as a retiree instead of abruptly ending your career. With phased retirement, you can scale back your hours, limit your work to certain projects, or work as a consultant. You can also become a mentor and pass on your knowledge to the next generation.5 Not all employers offer phased retirement options. However, more and more are considering it because they're enjoying benefits such as lower training costs.6

Is it right for me?

Phased retirement can be ideal if you are passionate about your career and you want to stay connected to an industry or business. You may also want to consider this alternative if you want to keep earning some income or retain certain benefits from an employer while transitioning into retirement.

Part-Time or Seasonal Work in Retirement

Pick up a part-time job to explore new interests and learn new skills. Like phased retirement, part-time retirement gives you the chance to continue earning while releasing you from the stress of the 9-to-5 grind. It can involve gig work, seasonal jobs, and even consulting work. Part-time retirement is popular these days, and there are plenty of opportunities for older workers to pick up part-time jobs.7 In fact, more than 2 in 5 folks say they plan to work part-time when they retire.8

Is it right for me?

If you want to get out of the house or earn a little money doing something you enjoy, part-time retirement could be a good fit for you. This is also a nice alternative when an employer doesn't offer phased retirement, but you still want to work a bit while easing into full retirement.

Sabbaticals & Mini-Retirements

Take a sabbatical from your career to test out retirement. Give yourself a few months or even a few years to step away from your job and totally immerse yourself in something new and exciting. Whether you try it once or several times during your career, a sabbatical can give you the chance to get some healthy distance from the day-to-day of your job while nourishing other interests.

Is it right for me?

If you're looking for new adventures and opportunities in retirement, a sabbatical can give you a taste of what's to come. In fact, this route can offer a preview of what a new career, business, or educational experience could be like when you retire.

Passion Projects in Retirement

Embrace the pursuits you deeply care about by taking up passion projects in retirement. You can volunteer to support causes or organizations. You can also learn new skills or join social groups related to the things you care most about. With this alternative, your personal interests replace your career, and they can keep your time filled with purpose. Most retirees can start a passion project as soon as they know what they want to do or turn a hobby into a full-time activity. There aren't any rules here, and you may only be limited by your imagination.

Is it right for me?

Any retiree can focus some of their time on activities or projects they're passionate about. The great thing about passion projects is that they can be as active, social, or personal as you want.

Encore Career in Retirement

Not ready to leave full-time work? Stage the next act of your career by leaving your old job behind for something totally new. With an encore career, you can focus on work that gives you a true sense of purpose, instead of just a paycheck. You may also want to work for yourself and start your own business. Some fields are better suited for encore careers than others. In fact, it's usually easier to start a new career when you choose something related to your skill set or you find an option with a fast-tracked training program.

Is it right for me?

An encore career can be a smart choice if you love to learn or if there's something you've always wanted to do but never had the chance. This route may also be good for folks who want to keep working but not necessarily in the same way or in the same industry as they did previously.

School Dreams in Retirement

Enroll in college, a university, or a trade school and start taking classes that excite you. You can go the traditional education route, but there are also programs fully dedicated to learners over 50.9 Plus, you can explore in-person and online courses, and you don't have to commit to semester- or year-long options. Going to seminars and taking fast-track courses can be other options for living out your school dreams in retirement.

Is it right for me?

You may want to live out your school dreams in your golden years if you love to learn, you want to earn a new degree, or you want to take a step towards an encore career. This is also a good option for folks who never got the chance to experience or finish college.

"Retirement isn't about crossing some imaginary finish line. It's about carving your own path for the future."


Tailor Your Retirement to Fit Your Needs & Live Out Your Dreams

Retiring is a goal most folks share.1 It’s baked into the American dream, and most of us dream about it for years, maybe even decades.1,10

As common as that goal is, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to share the same vision for retirement.

The truth is retirement isn’t about crossing some imaginary finish line or closing the door on work for the rest of your life.

It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing venture. And it doesn’t have to follow the same path as anyone else. In fact, you don’t even have to go with the same program year after year.

It can be easy to forget all that and get tunnel vision with conventional thinking about retirement.

But that just offers one option, and it’s not always the ideal path to fulfillment.

When we’re able to look past convention, we can start to see some better alternatives. They could help us transition into retirement more easily and adjust to it better.11

And may even help us discover more meaningful ways to invest our time and stay connected to the things we love when we retire. If we can do that, our next phase can be deeply enriching and far more satisfying than we may have ever imagined.12


Leslie S. Garske
Next Chapter Wealth Strategies
(303) 489-3740

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Leslie S. Garske

Next Chapter Wealth Strategies

Not receiving our newsletter?
Get insightful info on finances and more in your inbox every month with the


By submitting your personal information, you consent to be contacted by a financial professional regarding your financial strategy for retirement.