• Monday, September 23rd, 2019

Because of more than 50 years of working with people, and particularly because of my coaching work and my work with Encore Palm Beach County, I am aware that many retired people do not have a sense of purpose in their lives. They may be busy playing golf or cards and feel no need for a feeling of purpose. I certainly don’t feel everyone MUST be involved with purposeful activity, but many studies have shown that having purpose and being engaged with that purpose, is a key to healthy aging. But don’t take my word for it. Read what Paul Irving, Chair of the Milken Institute for the Future of Aging, has to say about it: https://www.milkeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/reports-pdf/PAS-16.pdf

• Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

When working with clients as a financial advisor, I found most people knew they had to save and invest for retirement, but had no idea of what kind of life they wanted in that retirement. Many thought they had years till retirement, but as the Great Recession of 2008 showed us, many people found themselves prematurely retired. And there are always those who never want to retire, but can’t know how realistic that desire will be. Most people are not planners. They are too immersed in the challenges of everyday life. That is why they need to work with someone who can help them create a vision for the life they want and a game plan for how to achieve it. This article does a good job describing some of the challenges in making this transition: https://www.nextavenue.org/retirement-bad-fit/?fbclid=IwAR1UdUgb6NadBZpIiZsSZuQF7Eorex0wVd6XHPf_i8Lt7Ea4-4PNpDq_BbQ. Rather than “retirement”, with its negative connotations, let’s call it the “What’s Next?” stage!

• Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Since I retired in 2010, retirement coaching and heading up Encore Palm Beach County have filled my life. Yes, I still make time for my daily swim, fund with friends, attendance at plays, films, operas, dance performances, and a steady stream of books on my Kindle from the local library.

The real excitement is with Encore. In the course of providing workshops, Meetups and special events, my volunteer staff and I have met many people over 50 looking to be engaged with new work and volunteer opportunities. This has led Encore in many new directions and to many collaborations in the community. Encore’s focus on helping people find new work led me to add coaching and workshops on creating new work after 50. What we have discovered is that people are not successful in finding new work with online job boards. The algorithims used by them routinely screen out older workers. The personal connection is missing. I teach people the forgotten art of networking to find the hidden opportunities. In a county of 1.4 million people, 40% of whom are over 50, and more moving here every day, it is hard for people new to the area to have the personal connections that can lead to new work.

• Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Thirty-Four years ago when I was contemplating a change of careers, I learned that the best way to find a new job was to network through personal contacts. I began with 5 people I knew and using certain information interviewing techniques, I was offered jobs in fields I never would have known about. Today we have LinkedIn, job boards and placement services. But my clients over 50 tell me that they send out hundreds of resumes, and respond to many job postings and never get a response. I work with them to figure out what they really have to offer in the way of skills and experiences and then help them develop an approach to find the work that’s right for them. Otherwise they are wasting their time trying to fit into other people’s boxes rather than creating their own box. Sometimes actually no box at all!

Recently Chris Farrell of Market Place Money spoke to the Encore event here in Delray Beach about how baby boomers are changing the way we think about work. In this article for Forbes magazine he confirms that the method I teach still is the most productive way of finding new work: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/04/10/the-problem-with-job-boards-for-older-job-seekers.

• Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

I have written before about the fact that creativity doesn’t decrease with age as long as one continues to use your mind in creative ways. This has been documented in various scientific studies, but a recent article in the New York Times by Pagan Kennedy, author of “Inventology, How We Dream Up Things That Change The World” she told of John Goodenough, 94, who has just filed a patent on a new kind of battery that could revolutionize electric cars. She cited studies that show that in the U.S. the highest value patents often come from the oldest inventors, over 55. While there is certainly plenty of creativity among the young, a study of Nobel physics laureates found that most made their discoveries after 50 and the peak of creativity for Nobel winners is getting higher age-wise every year. As Mr. Goodenough said “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together.” When I work with retirement planning clients I remind them that they have the power to create what they want in their lives and to create new things using their life experiences. This is something people tend not to believe and need to be reminded of. To read the article in full: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/opinion/sunday/to-be-a-genius-think-like-a-94-year-old.html?

• Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Over the past two years I have been going in several new directions. In addition to retirement planning, coaching and workshops, I created and copyrighted a program for a healthy approach to lifetime financial planning for people early in their careers and am preparing to launch it as an e-book. I am also exploring offering it to employers as a benefit for younger employees to help retain them. Retirement planning is more than savings and investing. It should be a plan to include the six key areas of life planning: career and work, health and wellness, family and relationships, leisure and social, personal development as well as finance and insurance. Finally, with a group of dedicated volunteers, we have created Encore Palm Beach County, a new nonprofit focused on helping people over 50 connect with new work, paid and volunteer. We have a new website: www.encorepbc.org. And we are sponsoring a great program on February 16 with Chris Farrell, Economics Editor of MarketPlace Money and author of “Unretirement: How Boomers are Changing How We View Work, Community, and the Good Life”, as speaker. Chris believes that our aging population has much to contribute economically to our society rather than being a drain on it, as many believe who paint pictures of financial doom and gloom. You can register to join us at www.encorepbc.org/event!

• Monday, October 19th, 2015

For the last several months, I have been chairing a committee interested in creating a new non-profit dedicated to helping the over-50 person create new careers, paid and unpaid, that have social impact. It will be called Encore Palm Beach County and the focus will be helping people discover their interests in making a difference and matching them with the needs of non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County. We have studied similar programs like this around the country, all of which are inspired by the Encore movement, “a movement to tap into the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world”. This has been an outgrowth of my work with Create Your Best Retirement. We are in the initial stages, but hope over the next few years to develop funding and staffing. A long way to go yet, but exciting!

• Friday, April 17th, 2015

Everyone will face this decision eventually.  Some will have a mandatory retirement date, some will lose their jobs, some will have spouses who have already retired and want the other to retire also, and some will never retire.  But that’s not most people.  You can take tests online to estimate how long you will live.  You can uses various calculators to decide when to take Social Security.  And, of course, financial advisors can help you plan financially so you won’t run out of money, hopefully, before you die.  After spending the last 6 months talking with people about working with me to develop a retirement plan for how they want to live in retirement, it has become clear to me that people are still focused only on financial planning.  But they have it backwards.  Instead of plucking numbers out of the air, wouldn’t it be better to give some thought to how you want to live in retirement:  where you want to live, what activities you want to enjoy, how much travel you want to do, whether you want a new career or to develop a new skill, etc., and then put a number on what that scenario would require financially?  If you did, perhaps then, your financial advisor could do a better job of helping you create the resources needed.  Here is a good link to a recent article in Investment News that discusses the reality experienced by many of those already retired.

• Monday, March 16th, 2015

All over the country retiring baby boomers are creating new careers, new businesses, new volunteer ventures to solve social problems.  You can read their stories on Encore.org. 

• Friday, August 22nd, 2014

It seems that everyone is offering advice on how to plan for retirement, where to live, what to do, how to pay for it.  But I’m noticing that many of those offering the advice, are younger and not yet retired.  I have no problem with younger people.  In fact, I make it my business to have younger friends, and to be active where I can be among younger people.   I like to think that it keeps me youthful.  But there’s nothing like experience to back up your advice.  So I started thinking about what I have experienced in the 10 years since I thought I had retired.  I made a list, and, looking it over, I’m pretty pleased at what I see.  For one thing, I have been very busy!

In 2005, I sold my accounts at Ameriprise to a younger advisor and am I glad I did!  The real estate and stock market declines beginning in 2007 would have made it very hard to do so later.  But retirement wasn’t really planned.  In fact, I thought I had retired in 1994 when I moved to Florida after a career in commercial banking.  I thought I’d play tennis, bridge and golf, maybe sell a little real estate.  That’s not how it worked out.  Within two years, I could see that selling real estate was not really my thing, and while I loved tennis, I couldn’t play it all day every day, and golf was boring.  Fortunately, a friend referred me to Dean Witter, and at 56 I got my insurance and securities licenses and started a new career, eventually shifting to Ameriprise.  With the lessons learned from my “early retirement”, why did I retire again?  Well, it was opportunity meeting need.  I was in the middle of a major renovation of my home due to termites and wood rot, and I guess I was tired and frustrated, and in the middle of it all we had Hurricane Wilma.  I had a dream one night that a person asked me what I really wanted, and I responded “Less responsibility and more adventures!”  Two days later an experienced advisor offered me a decent price for my accounts.  I accepted and spent the next three years working part-time in a familiar environment until the Great Recession hit.

OK, what now?  Based on my “retirement” experiences and my work at Ameriprise, I had already decided to start a business coaching people about the non-financial aspects of planning for retirement and obtained certification to become a Retirement Coach.  But then, I was invited to join another agency to do financial planning, investments, and insurance once again.  It was a great experience working with bright younger people and I saw, once again, that I really like working with people to help them achieve their goals.  So, I resigned to focus on creating my new business.

I’ve also done most things pre-retirees are encouraged to do.  In fact, I think I am a poster child for the “New Retirement“!  I continued to play tennis, travelled extensively, wrote my memoirs, continued enjoying the arts, film, theatre, and opera.  I sold two properties and downsized to a small villa, became a certified Toastmaster, focused on my spiritual development as a member of Unity church, experienced the mysteries of Medicare with two operations, have lost old friends to death and disability but have made new friends, replaced tennis with water aerobics and swimming when I started to have injuries.  I’ve experimented with living in another country (Panama where my son has a house) and even obtained a pensionado visa to live there, but have decided to stay in the U.S.  I’ve been a community activist, leading residents in a nine year fight against the development of a golf course, defeating it twice.  I taught a course in financial planning at my church.  Recently, I created an online course in lifetime financial planning for a university to offer to alumni.  Having to learn how to create Power Point presentations in order to do that, I’ve gone on to create additional presentations to offer in workshops locally, and am currently thinking about offering an online course for the public on a new website.

I have written in earlier posts on how the ability to create new things in your life continues into your later years.  Recently, I remembered that this has always been an interest in my life:  how to create what we want to experience.  I realized that this interest goes back to the 70’s when I took consciousness-raising courses at Yale, EST training in the 80’s, study at the Center for Creative Leadership in No. Carolina, and a course called Technologies in Creating with Peter Senge at MIT.  One of the techniques in retirement planning is to unearth those patterns in your past life which speak to your true interests.  Obviously, creating new things is something I enjoy.  So, all my workshops are based on the premise that we have the ability to create what we want in our lives, even into the later years.