Celebrity Retirement Scorecard: Geraldine Ferraro

Who is making it? Who is not? We've concocted retirement scorecards for some showcase retirees in entertainment, politics and sports. See the full list here.

Geraldine Ferraro
Geraldine Ferraro


: Geraldine Ferraro
Former occupation/notable position held: First female candidate for U.S. Vice President; Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Activities during retirement: high-level consultant; political commentator
Retirement Report Card Grade: C-

The last thing Hillary needed at her campaign's crossroads was an honorary fundraising committee member making headlines, invoking race and openly attacking her media-darling opponent. But that is precisely and famously what Geraldine Ferraro did, and why she rates a retirement "C-". The grade goes deeper than knee-jerk, current events-fueled cynicism.

What could the former Congresswoman and groundbreaking Vice Presidential candidate have been thinking? Most likely, it was the bitter taste of two failed bids for the U.S. Senate in 1992 and 1998. Her behavior suggests that her many (and lucrative) activities since leaving public office – media commentator, management consultant, corporate board member among them – were time-markers, not true callings. She may have felt badly wronged by the electorate, and never got past it.

If Ferraro's retirement from politics reveals a person stuck in neutral, she's far from alone among retirees. Far too many leave their careers feeling like they never quite achieved what they should have, and wind up hamstringing what should be a great and fulfilling next chapter. While reinvention may be radical for most, some of the most satisfied retirees are those who worked hard, experimented, and found new passions and pursuits – and got over whatever it was that left a sour taste from work.

For Ferraro in retirement, it's not about the money, as it won't be for many fortunate members of the most asset-rich generation we may see for some time. It's about time, and what choose you do with it.

Michael Burnham is CEO of My Next Phase, a consulting firm offering non-financial retirement planning products and services (www.mynextphase.com).