Old Messages, New Realities

For many these stories and messages inspire urgency and thrift; for many others they inspire only fear, self – loathing, and hopelessness. Such messages as ‘You won’t have enough’ or ‘if you would have bought this fund 30 years ago it would be worth x million euros today’ create a sense of dread and failure in those listeners who were buying more ice creams and travels abroad with their disposable income 30 years ago.

For the millions of professionals who don’t own a fat nest egg these messages stir feelings of hopelessness because they are convinced that they will arrive at the age 65 economic leap with no safety net or precious metals parachute based on their current income and level of savings. They know they will never be able to amass the small fortune that ‘retirement experts’ tell them they must hoard to have anything but a beggar’s sunset in their life. The modern retirement portrait, as painted by the financial services industry, is truly a doubleheaded dragon, because the vision that has been promoted for the last 50 years is not only an illusion but is also unrealistic.

The illusion has been that of sipping tropical drinks on a beach and setting tee times for the rest of your waking life.  “All this is yours” once you retire, and the earlier you retire the better. Possibly you’ve met some people who swalled this illusion and are living with the hangover of boredom and purposelessness in their life. I have met many such people and the look in their eyes inspired me to create Passion Never retires. Many who bought the story of retiring from the race find themselves bored with not being in the race. Many have found that this boredom has led them to self-destructive patterns of behavior. Many have accelerated their aging process as the chains of disenfranchised habits grew heavier and weighed on their health. It all adds up to one inescapable conclusion: retirement is an unnatural condition! Even if you can afford to retire, the worst thing you can do is withdraw completely from the race.

When you ask retirees how they’re doing, they often reply, ‘I’m keeping busy’. This is an acknowledgment of the activity void that retirement has brought. They are truly happy when they are busy doing what they love. If they are not busy, they are most likely not very happy.

The image of retirement that we have been sold has simply been untrue. According to recent surveys 40% of the retirees report that retirement was a difficult adjustment. The reason the adjustment to retirement is so difficult to so many is simple: retirement as it has been defined for us was never meant to be. Retirement is an illusion because those who can afford the illusion are disillusioned by it and those who cannot afford the illusion are haunted by it.

Which brings us to the dragon’s other head; many people cannot afford to retire in the manner that has been promoted by the retirement savings industry. It is simply unrealistic for many to find a way to put away enough money every month to have a million euros waiting to serve them at age 65 or at any other age for that matter. True, many people could save more as well as exercise more financial discipline. But why should the one-third of our population that is doing its best with what it has walk around feeling bad about today because it cannot reach a tomorrow that somebody else has defined for it?

Two problems are apparent with these pervasive and frequently reported scare tactics in the media. First, they can be easily disputed and disproven. Second these arguments are founded on a fabricated and now crumbling foundation – that is,  we should retire at age 65 or even earlier if possible. Most of us will not completely retire at 65 or any other age for that matter. We, as a generation, are not interested in artificial finish lines.

The New Retirement Story Challenge  

Quest-ion:  Is the goal to be invested and well, or well and invested?

What is your story?  Should I review my own story about retirement?

Research it:  What am I saving? Where am I saving?

Decide and take action:

  • Talk to my spouse or significant other about retirement.
  • Collect and organize my financial information

The Hero’s Journey in London:  Passion Never Retires – 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?

Practical Info

The price of this three day Hero’s Journey is Euro 2.850 excluding VAT per person.  There are special prices when you want to attend with two or more people.

You can reach Peter for questions about dates and the program by mailing him at theherojourneyquestionnaires@gmail.com 


09.40    Tea & Coffee on arrival

10.00     Morning Session

13.00     Lunch Break

14.00     Afternoon Session

17.00     Drinks


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

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 theherojourneyquestionnaires@gmail.com