Illusions, Desillusions and Hype

If you were to ask me, ‘Who are the most tragic people you see’? I think my answer would surprise you. They are not the couples in their 50s who are discouraged to find out they will not be able to retire when they thought. They are not the people whose portfolios had had less than spectacular returns and must extend their plans for early retirement. They are the retirees who are bored out of their minds. These individuals feel like they have been removed from the mainstream of life, are watching from the sidelines and are not allowed to get back in.

Yet strangely enough, millions are in a mad rush to get to the place where these despondent people live – on the sidelines. Many of us, however, have already seen enough of our parents and forerunners’ retirement scenario’s to know that this is not the life for us. We have figured out that our life will be one of challenge, relevance, stimulation and occupational adventure. We are not interested in finishing this race!

Once people get the money they need, they are able to better understand what the money is all about – liberty to do what they want when they want. What is the point of using that kind of liberty to do nothing but play golf? It’s hard to convince someone who doesn’t have the money that it really is not about the money. It is about doing what you love, doing what you want. It is about balancing work and relationships.

This point became especially clear to me recently when a friend asked me if I had plans to retire early. I thought about it for a moment and then it dawned on me, I like what I do! I write, I speak, I travel with inspiring professionals about how to create a life and work they love. Why would i quit doing that? If I did quit, I think I would begin to self-destruct. This realization was important because it helped me to realize that I had no longer be concerned with having any specific amount of money at any age. There will always be something for me to do and I will always enjoy doing it. You don’t make plans to retire from your passion in life.

Does this idea cause me to spend away my future and disregard the value of my investment savings? To the contrary!  Because I value freedom so much, I exercise the necessary discipline to maintain it. I know that I am just one foolish purchase or investment away from reattaching the chains of miserable employment to my life. There is wisdom in balance. Just because I love what I do does negate the need to plan for financial freedom. Life can present us wit vicissitudes that can radically alter our course: disability, a death in the family, divorce, and so on. We must plan ahead financially because we change our minds over time. What invigorates me today may bore me a decade from today. Investment savings are necessary to purchase the freedom to change course when we want.

Two types of people should forget their plans for complete retirement at 65 or earlier – those who can’t afford to retire at that age and those who can afford to retire at that age. Any age is an artificial finish line. A modern measure of success seems to be how many years you can retire ahead of age 65. Is accelerating your pace into boredom and despondency really such a good idea? On the other hand a modern measure of failure has been to measure how many years beyond 65 you had to wait so you could retire. The further past 65 you had to wait to retire, the greater failure you were in the context of retirement. Those measures are about to change. If the coming generation of 50+ year professionals has anything to say about it, those perceptions will be turned entirely on their head. Those who have to work will not be the losers, because they are still in the game and they will find that work keeps them vital, involved, and healthier. Those who will be able to drop out entirely will choose not to because they don’t want to enter a slow track of intellectual atrophy, boredom and monotonous leisure.

We are still in the early stages of a New Retirement Story – a modern story about what retirement really means. People are still haunted by the old rules and media hype that bemoan their lack of preparedness to reach the artificial goal line. You just can’t seem to get away from the news stories and the advertisements that beat this sorry old retirement horse to death.

The Hero’s Journey in London:  The New Retirement Story

You need a quest to wake up in the morning and enough money to sleep at night.

More than 10 years ago, Peter started rewriting traditional stories stories of retirement with his groundbreaking Passion Never Retires – the new retirement story. He changed the story about retirement from one focused solely on money on a certain date to one focused on creating a life and work you love and never want to retire from.

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Retirement at age 65 is an artificial finish line that no longer fits our time.

Peter de Kuster will show travelers how ‘Return on Happiness ROH (getting the best life possible with the money you have) is replacing ROI as the core consideration when planning for the future.

This hero’s journey will discuss the confluence of four modern trends that herald the end of retirement thinking as we know it:

  1. The evolving pursuit of fulfillment in our times.
  2. The end of the paternalistic employer.
  3. The advent of dismantling ageism.
  4. Distribution-driven Armageddon for financial services.

Growing old with lots of money is no longer the goal. Dying rich can’t compete with living rich, and making a living doesn’t measure up to making a life. When the idea of retirement was born, people traded physical capital for a paycheck—and it was a practical necessity for people to retire. As a knowledge-based economy, intellectual capital, experiential capital, and relational capital are traded for a paycheck, leaving only one question to answer regarding the appropriate time to retire: What is the expiration date on my intellectual capital and on my experience? What those people still working in their 70s and even 80s will tell you is that they would be dead if they had not continued to engage their intellectual faculties.

Peter will talk about the characteristics of creating a life and work you love and never want to retire from:

  1. Passion: If you don’t use your body or your brain, you lose them.
  2. Purpose: Money can fund purpose, but it cannot create purpose.
  3. Portfolio: There needs to be a balance between vacation and vocation.
  4. Power: Physical, intellectual, and spiritual challenges are the hallmarks of those who continue to thrive as they age.

Peter has been challenging and inspiring people around the world for close to 15 years with his unique insights into creating a passionate life and work. Participants will walk away from this exciting experience with a new story (and vision) of what “The New Retirement Story” is and means for them.

Peter will help participants find answers to the following questions:

  1. How will you spend your time? You have 168 hours a week; how will you make those hours meaningful?
  2. How will you invest yourself? How will you parlay what you know, what you’ve experienced, and who you are into the next phase of your life?

Read on for a detailed breakdown of the “Passion Never Retires – The New Retirement Story”

What Can I Expect?

Here’s an outline of the “Passion Never Retires – The New Retirement Story”

Journey Outline



  • Re-inventing Retirement – New Pathways
  • Passion Never Retires Works
  • The Real Meaning of Work
  • Brain at Work
  • Testdrive Your Dreamjob
  • Invest in Who You Are
  • Collecting a Play Check
  • Bridging the Gap between Means and Meaning
  • The Seven Intangibles
  • Return on Life
  • Your Portfolio Life
  • The Money/Life Puzzle
  • Collecting Income for Life
  • Maslow meets Money (Safety Money, Freedom Money, Money to Give, Dream Money)
  • The Financial Freedom to Have a Creative Life


  • The Premise of your Story. The Purpose of your Life and Art
  • The words on your tombstone
  • Your ultimate mission, out loud
  • Your Story about Working Longer
  • Your Story about Living Longer
  • The Seven Great Plots
  • The Twelve Archetypal Heroines
  • The One Great Story
  • Purpose is Never Forgettable
  • Questioning the Premise
  • Lining up
  • Flawed Alignment, Tragic Ending
  • The Three Rules in Storytelling
  • Write Your New Story
  • Turning your story into action
  • The Story Effect
  • Story Ritualizing
  • The Storyteller and the art of story
  • The Power of Your Story
  • Storyboarding


  • Staying in the Zone
  • Trust the Force
  • The Power of Flow
  • From Success to Purpose
  • Meaningful Pursuits
  • Your Next 100.000 Miles
  • From Aging to S- Aging

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storyteller which helps professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

To book your place in the “The New Retirement Story” mail peter at