Working wealthy—can you define retirement?

What does retirement even mean? It has myriad different definitions for all walks of life. Oxford defines it as “the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.”

But to say this oversimplifies the concept would be an understatement. Retirement means different things to each of us. In our experience working with people contemplating the biggest move in their adult lives—going from accumulation to consumption—defining what retirement means to you is one of the most critical and most challenging things to do.

Here are the three most common definitions we have come across—we hope they can help you:

  1. Financial Autonomy: Some believe that one’s income is the retentive aspect that might keep a person at a firm or working a certain way. Once that retentive nature of the income goes away—in other words, once you’ve saved enough—one might argue that your job becomes less vital.

    While this definition ignores the emotional or behavioral enjoyment one might achieve through work, it certainly illustrates that one’s paycheck or bonus or stock options might no longer carry the same weight.

  2. Freedom: I just want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Sound familiar? We often hear from clients that their biggest joy in retirement is simply being on their own time. Perhaps it’s that attainment of flexibility that truly feels like retirement for someone.

    They may still be working, but it’s in a consulting role or through boards and volunteering. Whatever the case, choosing to do what is most important to you is a nice place to be.

  3. A New Chapter: Few people start out knowing what they want to be as a professional, become exactly that professional, and then retire. The statistics on how many jobs people will hold today compared to three generations ago are like night and day.

Maybe retirement for you means the ability to start a new career that is only focused on what you want to do. Maybe it involves taking a risk on yourself in starting a small business or working in a totally different field.

However, your new chapter might look, we think it’s important to focus on your plan and understand how to make that happen for you. This is our single most important job for you.

However you define retirement, we hope it’s something that allows you the ability to live your life just as you choose.


BDF LLC is a private wealth management firm. We provide personalized investment management and financial planning. We manage approximately $5.9 billion in assets for business owners, women, individuals and families, and institutions.

We also have Practice Groups that specialize in the unique needs of:

  • Attorneys
  • Divorce
  • Executives
  • Financial Professionals
  • Insurance Brokers and Agency Owners
  • Widows


This information is for educational purposes and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax, insurance, or investment advice. This does not constitute an offer to provide any services, nor a solicitation to purchase securities. The contents are not intended to be advice tailored to any particular person or situation. We believe the information provided is accurate and reliable, but do not warrant it as to completeness or accuracy. This information may include opinions or forecasts, including investment strategies and economic and market conditions; however, there is no guarantee that such opinions or forecasts will prove to be correct, and they also may change without notice. We encourage you to speak with a qualified professional regarding your scenario and the then-current applicable laws and rules.

Different types of investments involve degrees of risk. Future performance of any investment or wealth management strategy, including those recommended by us, may not be profitable, suitable, or prove successful. Past performance is not indicative of future results. One cannot invest directly in an index or benchmark, and those do not reflect the deduction of various fees which would diminish results. Any index or benchmark performance figures are for comparison purposes only, and client account holdings will not directly correspond to any such data.

Advisory services are offered through CI Private Wealth and its affiliates, each being a registered investment adviser (“RIA”) regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The advisory services are only offered in jurisdictions where the RIA is appropriately registered. The use of the term “registered” does not imply any particular level of skill or training and does not imply any approval by the SEC. For a complete discussion of the scope of advisory services offered, fees, and other disclosures, please review the RIA’s Disclosure Brochure (Form ADV Part 2A) and Form CRS, available upon request to the RIA and online at We also encourage you to review the RIA’s Privacy Policy and Code of Ethics, which are available upon request.

Our clients must, in writing, advise us of personal, financial, or investment objective changes and any restrictions desired on our services so that we may re-evaluate any previous recommendations and adjust our advisory services as needed. For current clients, please advise us immediately if you are not receiving monthly account statements from your custodian. We encourage you to compare your custodial statements to any information we provide to you.