12 words for retirement that are, well, better than retirement

We asked Citro’s community for better words to describe retirement, given it is a negative word that means withdrawing or retreating. Here’s what our members say.  

By Citro’s community

The word ‘retirement’ actually means withdrawing. It’s from an old French word that dates back to the 1560s with ‘re’ meaning ‘back’ and ‘tirer’ meaning ‘to draw’.

People retired from battle, or retired to sleep. Today, the French word for retirement is ‘retraite’, which literally means retreating.

But shouldn’t retirement be positive?

Dame Judi Dench says ‘retire’ is “the rudest word in my dictionary. And ‘old’ is another one”. At 89, she’s sick of people asking her when she will retire.

In an age where we live longer lives and we’re reinventing what it means to retire, it’s time for new words. Positive words. So we asked the Citro community to see what they had to say …


Harry Western, Northern Territory: “Retirement is not a word that bothers me. We aren’t retiring from life, only retiring from all the have-tos. Retirement is about want-tos.” 


Linda Stoggal, Victoria: Rewirement is a better word for retirement. We have to rethink everything from our daily routine to our money to our sense of purpose.”


Cal Logan, South Australia:Flextirement is how I am describing my step away from full-time work to part-time consulting and volunteer work. Retirement sounds like you do nothing but play lawn bowls. I’m as busy as I’ve ever been.”

prime time

Maria Kourania, Tasmania: “It’s my prime time. I’ve never been more free to follow my heart and travel where I want to.” 


Tui James, New South Wales: “I say I’ve thrive-tired, not retired. It better describes what it means to have the time and opportunity to spend more time with my family, especially my grandchildren. We still dabble in seasonal work here and there, which keeps us active and meeting new people


Devon Nambiar, Queensland: “I have unplugged from stress and plugged in to my true purpose, rescuing wildlife and having the time to care for my elderly parents. Full-time work is over-rated. Unplugging is the best way to describe where I have arrived.” 


John Matiakis, Victoria: “I tried to retire 10 years ago and gave up. Now I’ve realised it’s just a series of retirements. Life, like retirements, is a series of one transition to another, so it’s a plural word not a single destination. There’s more than one retirement out there for us now that we live longer.”


Elena Angel Perez, Australian Capital Territory: “My family are Spanish, where the word for retirement is jubilación. Jubilation is how I will feel when I finally have enough money not to have to work every day.”

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