Encore! - Second Career Anyone?

As promised, we're moving over to the "life planning" side of "helping you get the best out of the rest of your life."

I've shared with you in the past the high percentage of boomers, 80% or so, who plan to "work" after retirement. In many cases, for the more financially secure, it may be volunteer work.

Tonight I found a great resource for volunteerism that will help you explore volunteer work. Especially valuable is the article on common myths about online volunteerism. After you familiarize yourself a little, you might check a couple of actual volunteerism sites. Here are two individual sites to give you the flavor of what's out there. The first is called the Experience Corps, which is in about fifteen cities, and the second is an agency called getinvolved.gov.

On the money making side, I'm pleased to find someone who sees the tremendous opportunity in Boomers' "encore careers," so despite the rather pessimistic title, I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to read "No Country for Old People," an article from the Washington Post that appeared on January 27th. Here are a couple of paragraphs to whet your appetites:

When only the supremely determined or plain lucky are able to act on their aspiration for work that we need them to do, it's a loss for us all. Making the most of this opportunity will require a round of rethinking and reform commensurate with the demographic transformation unfolding before us. We need, first of all, a vision for longer working lives that's as appealing as the golden-years dream of shorter ones (and ever-longer retirements) was for earlier generations. That means going beyond such oxymoronic concepts as "retirement jobs" or "the working retired." We need an ideal that swaps the old notion of the freedom from work for a new freedom to work -- in new ways, on new terms, to new ends.

Today's circumstances call for a new social compact: In return for working longer in areas of high national priority and social need, boomers should get help making the transition. Policymakers need to get rid of vestiges of the old deal, the barriers and disincentives that discourage work and penalize individuals for continuing to contribute. This means changes in Social Security, pension rules, health coverage and other areas.

The author, Marc Freedman, has written a book entitled Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, which, by virtue of the Washington Post article, has just vaulted to the top of my reading list. Don't be surprised if it pops up on my Amazon recommended reading list in the very near future.

I have written on this topic at least twice since November, most recently on December 20, 2007 in an article entitled "We Can't Let This Happen." Then there was another linked article entitled "60? Must be Time for a Career Change."

But I have a whole chapter devoted to this topic in my book-in-process, Platinum Living, which basically says, as Marc Freedman does, that the solution to the social security "crisis" is staring us right in the face, when 80% of us expect to "keep working." And the status of the current social security system is such that over 50% of boomers are taking social security at age 62. I am on record in several articles in the past month as saying this is almost surely a mistake for most of them.

Let me restate this for emphasis - 80% of boomers expect to keep working at something, while over 50% of us are signing up for social security, often to our detriment, at the earliest possible moment.

There is a huge logical disconnect in the decision making of boomers on this issue, a disconnect that threatens our country with an intergenerational battle over the next 20-30 years. Marc Freedman has articulated a solution to this problem better than I ever have, and better than I have seen anywhere.

I will update you again after I read his book... I will probably setting out to make disciples... :-) Bob

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