Leaving Life to Chance? Don’t!

In her New York Times article, Training to be Old, Claudia Deutsch interviews experts on the subject of how well, or badly, many of us are preparing for a span of years roughly equivalent to those spent building family and career. Here’s a comment that is worth your attention: “With the first wave of baby boomers already in their 60s, gerontologists are bracing for a tsunami of disgruntled postretirees who have left the psychic and physical aspects of aging to chance.”

If this describes you, don’t panic. Help with transition is available, although given the numbers — 78 million baby boomers alone — we have a long way to go to meet the need. Programs are beginning to turn up at local JCCs, YM/Ws and other social services groups. Look for a Next Chapter group or Transition Network (for women 50+) in your area. A lot of authors are jumping on the later life advice bandwagon. That’s not a bad place to start your inquiry.

You can expect financial planners to continue to focus on what they are trained to do — help you to manage your tangible assets so they will last as long as you do. But many have begun to adopt and train for a more comprehensive approach, perhaps because clients are demanding it. In our neck of the woods, 2young2retire has already certified one financial planner to facilitate the 2young2retire course and another is currently enrolled in the training. Facilitator Training is open only to people who have professional credentials, e.g. life/career/transition coaches, career counselors, social workers.

The 2young2retire course itself is a good model for what is possible. It asks a six (or eight) week commitment from participants to inquire into the important issues we’ll all face in a longer life span: staying healthy, smarter money management, ‘encore’ careers, entrepreneurial opportunities, community service, and intelligent travel. You reflect, you explore, you plan, you write down your plans. Good things happen.

Hungry for a ‘purpose-driven job’ in the second half of life? The MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Community College Encore Career Grants of $25,000 are designed to encourage community colleges to develop programs that help boomers transition into encore careers in healthcare, education and the social services where the jobs are many and qualified people few. Do good. Do well.