AskDefine | Define retire

Dictionary Definition



1 go into retirement; stop performing one's work or withdraw from one's position; "He retired at age 68"
2 withdraw from active participation; "He retired from chess" [syn: withdraw]
3 pull back or move away or backward; "The enemy withdrew"; "The limo pulled away from the curb" [syn: withdraw, retreat, pull away, draw back, recede, pull back, move back]
4 move back and away from; "The enemy fell back" [syn: recede, fall back] [ant: advance]
5 withdraw from circulation or from the market, as of bills, shares, and bonds
6 break from a meeting or gathering; "We adjourned for lunch"; "The men retired to the library" [syn: adjourn, withdraw]
7 make (someone) retire; "The director was retired after the scandal"
8 dispose of; as of old clothes; "She finally retired that old coat" [syn: pension off]
9 lose interest; "he retired from life when his wife died" [syn: withdraw]
10 cause to be out on a fielding play [syn: put out]
11 cause to retire; "The pitcher retired three batters"; "the runner was put out at third base" [syn: strike out]
12 go to bed in order to sleep; "I usually turn in at midnight"; "He turns out at the crack of dawn" [syn: go to bed, turn in, bed, crawl in, kip down, hit the hay, hit the sack, sack out, go to sleep] [ant: get up, get up]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Middle French retirer, draw back, from prefix re-, back, + verb tirer, draw or pull.



  1. The act of retiring, or the state of being retired; also, a place to which one retires.
    His retire is by a lake.
  2. A call sounded on a bugle, announcing to skirmishers that they are to retire, or fall back.
    At the retire, the cavalry fell back.


  1. To withdraw; to take away; -- sometimes used reflexively.
    He retired himself from the party.
  2. To withdraw from circulation, or from the market; to take up and pay; as, to retire bonds; to retire a note.
    The central bank retired those notes five years ago.
  3. To cause to retire; specifically, to designate as no longer qualified for active service; to place on the retired list; as, to retire a military or naval officer.
    The board retired the old major.
  4. of a batsman, to voluntarily stop batting so that the next batsman can bat
    Jones retired in favour of Smith.
  5. of a fielder, to make a defensive play which results in a runner or the batter being put out
    Jones retired Smith 6-3.
  6. To go back or return; to draw back or away; to keep aloof; to withdraw or retreat, as from observation; to go into privacy; as, to retire to his home; to retire from the world, or from notice.
    I will retire to the study.
  7. To retreat from action or danger; to withdraw for safety or pleasure; as, to retire from battle.
    The regiment retired from the fray after the Major was killed.
  8. To withdraw from a public station, from working, or from business
    Having made a large fortune, he retired.
    He wants to retire at 55.
  9. To recede; to fall or bend back; as, the shore of the sea retires in bays and gulfs.
    Past the point, the shore retires into a sequence of coves.
  10. To go to bed; as, he usually retires early.
    I will retire for the night.


To go back or return
To retreat from action or danger
To withdraw from a public station, from working, or from business
To recede
To go to bed
Translations to be checked

Related terms



  1. Form of First-person singular present subjunctive, retirer
  2. Form of Third-person singular present subjunctive, retirer
  3. Form of Second-person singular imperative, retirer

Extensive Definition

Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire and keep some sort of retirement job, out of choice rather than necessity. This usually happens upon reaching a determined age, when physical conditions don't allow the person to work any more (by illness or accident), or even for personal choice (usually in the presence of an adequate pension or personal savings). The retirement with a pension is considered a right of the worker in many societies, and hard ideological, social, cultural and political battles have been fought over whether this is a right or not. In many western countries this right is mentioned in national constitutions.
Retirement is also sports jargon for the situation where a team (for example in Football) decides never again to issue the jersey number of a retired or deceased player, as a token of honor.

Retirement age

In most countries, the idea of a fixed retirement age is of recent origin, being introduced during the 19th and 20th centuries - before then, the absence of pension arrangements meant that most workers continued to work until death, or relied on personal savings or the support of family or friends. Nowadays most developed nations have systems to provide pensions on retirement in old age, which may be sponsored by employers or the state. In many poorer countries, support for the old is still mainly provided through the family.
The retirement age varies from country to country but it is generally between 55 and 70. In some countries this age is different for male and females. Sometimes certain jobs, the most dangerous or fatiguing ones in particular, have an earlier retirement age.
In the United States, while most view 65 as normal retirement age, many retire before then, sometimes with contributory causes such as job-loss, disability or wealth. However, the Old Age Survivors Insurance or OASI, better known as the Social Security system has age 62 as the earliest retirement age. Normal retirement age for Social Security has historically been age 65 to receive unreduced benefits, but it is gradually increasing to age 67. For those turning 65 in the year 2008 full benefits will be payable beginning at age 66. Police officers in the United States are typically allowed to retire at half pay after only 20 years of service or three-quarter pay after 30 years, allowing people to retire in their early forties or fifties.
In 2007, retirement age for teachers in France is thirty eight years after employment and age 50 for train engineers on the SNCF, the national railway.
The retirement age in India for public sector employees is enhanced from 58-60 years in July 2007. In Malaysia the retirement age has just recently been raised from 55 years to 56 years.
Many politicians, scientists, lawyers, television anchors, and professors still work well into their 70s, however some actors, models, athletes, and musicians only work until their 30s.
Military members of the US Armed Forces may elect to retire after 20 years of active duty. Their retirement pay (not a pension since they can be involuntarily called back to active duty at any time) is calculated on total number of years on active duty, their final pay grade and the retirement system in place when they entered service. Allowances such as housing and subsistence are not used to calculate a member's retired pay. Members awarded the Medal of Honor qualify for a separate stipend, regardless of the years of service. There is a federally mandated cap of 75% of their final base pay in all cases. Military members in the reserve and US National Guard have their retirement based on a point system.

Support and funds

Retired workers then support themselves either through pensions or savings. In most cases the money is provided by the government, but sometimes granted only by private subscriptions to mutual funds. In this latter case, subscriptions might be compulsory or voluntary. In some countries an additional "bonus" is granted una tantum (once only) in proportion to the years of work and the average wages; this is usually provided by the employer.
The financial weight of provision of pensions on a government's budget is often heavy and is the reason for political debates about the retirement age. The state might be interested in a later retirement age for economic reasons.
The cost of health care in retirement is large, because people tend to be ill more frequently in later life. Increasing numbers of older people, combined with an increase in the cost of healthcare, has led to the funding of post-retirement health care becoming a political issue. There is then pressure to reform healthcare systems to contain costs, or find new sources of funding.
On a personal level, the rising cost of living during retirement is a serious concern to many older adults.
Many individuals use 'retirement calculators' on the Internet to determine the proportion of their pay which they should be saving in a tax advantaged-plan (eg IRA or 401-K in the US, RRSP in Canada, personal pension in the UK). The assumptions keyed into the calculator are critical, especially the assumed rate of real (after inflation) investment return. In 2008, US Treasury inflation-linked bonds (TIPS) are yielding a low 1.5% per annum; the equivalent UK 'indexed' bonds are yielding less than 1%, and Canadian 'Real Return bonds' are yielding about 1.8% per annum.

Early retirement

Early retirement can be at any age, but is generally before the age (or tenure) needed for eligibility for support and funds from government or employer-provided sources. Thus, early-retirees rely on their own savings and investments to be initially self-supporting, until they start receiving such external support. Early retirement is also a euphemistic term for accepting termination of employment before retirement age as part of the employer's labor force rationalization. In this case, a monetary inducement may be involved.

Savings needed for early retirement

While conventional wisdom has it that one can retire and take 7% or more out of a portfolio year after year, this would not have worked very often in the past. When making periodic inflation-adjusted withdrawals from retirement savings, can make meaningless many assumptions that are based on long term average investment returns.
Any spreadsheet or retirement calculator should be able to pass the test of giving the correct savings rate for a simple case. Assume that pay rises roughly as fast as price inflation. Note also that government 20-year inflation-indexed bonds in 2008 are yielding only about 1.0% to 2.0% per year, real, depending on the country. Current United States real yields are available at the site After expenses and any taxes, a reasonable (though arguably pessimistic) long-term assumption for a safe real rate of return is zero. So in real terms, interest doesn't help the savings grow. Each year of work must pay its share of a year of retirement. For someone planning to work for 40 years and to be retired for 20 years, each year of work pays for itself and for half a year of retirement. Hence 33.33% of pay must be saved and 66.67% can be spent when earned. The asset accumulation and use is as shown in the diagram, where the lines are straight in this situation of zero real yield. This is straightforward if one assumes zero inflation and zero investment return: after 40 years of saving 33.33% of pay we have accumulated assets of 13.33 years of pay, as in the graph. Somewhat less obvious is the fact that the graph is also appropriate to any case of zero real investment return.
This graph can be compared with those generated by many retirement calculators, though it should be noticed that if non-zero inflation is specified in using a calculator then the calculator will usually produce a graph in nominal (not 'real') dollars, so the lines will not be straight. A workaround is to, for example, change a '4% return, 4% inflation' assumption to '0% return, 0% inflation' in the calculator. This should give substantially the same results in real terms. The MSN retirement calculator in 2008 cannot be changed from an assumed 3% per annum inflation rate, so one would set an investment return assumption of 3%. The Bloomberg retirement calculator gives the flexibility to specify, for example, zero inflation and zero investment return and to reproduce the graph given here.
Someone wishing to work from age 25 to 55 and to be retired for 30 years till 85 needs to save 50% of pay if government and employment pensions are not a factor, and if it is considered appropriate to assume a zero real investment return. The problem that the lifespan is not known in advance can be reduced in some countries by the purchase at retirement of an inflation-indexed life annuity.
Finally, a newer method for determining the adequacy of a retirement plan is Monte Carlo Simulation. This method has been gaining popularity and is now employed by many financial planners. A Monte Carlo retirement calculator allows users to enter savings, income and expense information and run simulations of retirement scenarios. The simulation results show the probability that the retirement plan will be successful.

Life after retirement

Retirement might coincide with important life changes; a retired worker might move to a new location, for example a retirement community, thereby having less frequent contact with their previous social context and adopting a new lifestyle. Often retirees volunteer for charities and other community organisations. Tourism is a common marker of retirement and for some becomes a way of life, such as for so called grey nomads.Often retirees are called upon to care for grandchildren and occasionally aged parents. For many it gives them the more time to devote to a hobby or sport such as golf or sailing.
In some countries, retired workers will continue to participate in the life of their family and their society, often following ancient ethnic roles. Some countries are sponsoring initiatives to help retired workers keep contributing to social and cultural life.
Many people in the later years of their lives, due to failing health, require assistance, the highest degree of assistance - in some countries - being provided in a nursing home. Those who need care, but are not in need of constant assistance, may choose to live in a retirement home. This is a facility giving the retired person some degree of freedom, yet with close-by medical assistance to handle emergencies.
Retirement ceases if the retiree decides to go back to work. A retiree may go back to work for a number of reasons, ranging from financial hardship, to the simple desire for activity or new social interactions. New careers where the 'retired' return to work is an increasing phenomenon in Industrialised countries where inflation has reduced the value of available Pension income below that required to maintain a reasonable standard of living. Many corporations are now explicitly recruiting retired workers for their experience, attitude and loyalty.
Old-age pensions are usually not reduced because of other income, so the latter comes on top of the former. This may be different in the case of a disability pension.
retire in German: Ruhestand
retire in Spanish: Jubilación
retire in Persian: بازنشستگی
retire in French: Retraite (économie)
retire in Italian: Pensione
retire in Japanese: 退職
retire in Simple English: Retirement

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abandon, abdicate, abscond, amortize, avoid the limelight, back down, back out, be pensioned, be superannuated, beat a retreat, bed, bed down, blush unseen, boot, bounce, bow out, bowl, break, bump, bust, can, cashier, clear, cop out, count sheep, cup, decline, deconsecrate, defrock, degrade, demit, demote, depart, deplume, depose, deprive, dethrone, die away, diminish, disappear, disbar, discharge, discrown, disemploy, disengage, disenthrone, dish, dismiss, displace, displume, doss down, draw back, draw off, drift away, drop, drum out, dwindle, ebb, evacuate, excommunicate, exit, expel, fade, fade away, fall back, fire, flop, forsake the world, furlough, get away, get off, give back, give ground, give place, give the ax, give the gate, give up, go, go away, go back, go beddy-bye, go into retirement, go night-night, go off, go to bed, go to sleep, hibernate, hit the hay, hit the sack, hollow, honor, incurve, junk, keep secret, kick, kick upstairs, kip, lay off, leave, let go, let out, lie down, lift, liquidate, live alone, live apart, live in retirement, make accounts square, make redundant, move away, move back, move off, oust, overthrow, pay in full, pay off, pay the bill, pay the shot, pay up, pension, pension off, pile in, pull away, pull back, pull out, purge, quit, read out of, recede, redeem, refuse comment, release, relinquish, remain incommunicado, remove, remove from office, renounce the throne, replace, resign, retire from office, retreat, retrocede, roll in, run along, run back, rusticate, sack, sack out, satisfy, scrap, separate forcibly, settle, shrink, shun companionship, sink, snooze, square, square accounts, stand aloof, stand aside, stand back, stand down, stand mute, stand off, stay at home, step aside, strike a balance, strip, strip of office, strip of rank, superannuate, surplus, surrender, suspend, take a nap, take forty winks, take it easy, take off, take the veil, take up, terminate, turn in, turn off, turn out, unchurch, unfrock, unsaddle, unseat, unthrone, vacate, vanish, wane, waste no words, widen the distance, withdraw, withdraw from, yield
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