The Artificial Finish Line

Doing work we despise or being in circumstances we deplore depletes our spirit. The reason so many find themselves in such scenarios is because they have been sold on an idea about retirement that is flawed to the core: the idea that we should do what we do not enjoy to accumulate the money we need to someday do what we want.

This hope of doing what we want is why the concept of retirement is alluring to so many. Many individuals are not in the race they want to run in. They see getting to the retirement age with a mountain of money as the only way to get out that race. The problem is compounded when we realize that we have been convinced to run toward an artificial finish line in a race that was never meant to end. This artificial finish line is the retirement age, or whatever age you believe you should retire. The race is the employment of our skills and ideas as long as we still enjoy using them. If we truly love what we do, although we may slow down our pace or change the event we run in, we never truly quit the race.

And why have so many people given their life to work they don’t enjoy? The reason is simply because they need the money. Why do they need the money? So they can have enough to retire at a certain age and do what they want. Great! We sacrifice 40 prime productive years so we can have free reign for the autumn and/or winter years.

Although you may not have heard much about it, those who do get to the magic retirement age and drop out of the race are not altogether happy with their decision. They do it, however, because they felt as though they had to. Disillusionment rates are sky-high for retirees. According to one survey, 41 percent say retirement was the most difficult adjustment of their life and lack of intellectual stimulation that traditional retirement offers.

There is a good reason these retirees are not happy – retirement is an unnatural idea. The concept runs contrary to the preservation of the human spirit. Most people don’t want retirement as we know it. What they want is freedom to pursue their own goals and interests. They want to call their own shots. They want to do what they want, when they want, and where they want. They want change from the rut that their life of employment has become. We have been told that the right amount of money alone can buy that emancipation.

And that is why we are so vulnerable to the messages that tell us we need a certain amount of money to set ourselves free. But this simply is not true. This website is full of stories of people who are living the life they want – today – and not all have a lot of money. Because of twisted ideas about retirement, we have put the money cart ahead of the ‘life’ horse. We say we are saving money so that we can someday have a life, but in the process we are delaying having a life so that we can scrounge up enough money. Too many people wait far too long.

With some financial creativity and a new story regarding retirement you can both find and fund the life you really want – if not now, it is entirely possible within the next three to five years. Achieving emancipation from your working life will involve negotiating your lifestyle, philosophy and financial habits, and finding a way to put first things first. First, decide the heroine’s or hero’s journey you must take to do the work you love, and, second, put together a plan to pay for that privilege. We must adopt a much more resourceful approach if we hope to make the transition into a life of doing what we love.

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 


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