Yesterday I watched a great Merrill Lynch webcast, Reinventing Retirement: Second Acts. (Thanks for the link Sara.)
Basically, it was an hour-long discussion of the question, “What do I want to be when I retire?” For a growing number of people retirement means starting a new business or career, for others the more traditional retirement job of volunteerism. It was well timed in light of my recent post asking the same question. Charlie Gibson and his panel delved into this topic well.
Anna Quindlen echoed my own thoughts. She talked about how exciting it is for boomers entering retirement to be able to ask, “What is it I always wanted to do and haven’t done yet?” As did Daniel Gilbert as he explained that after all those years of being defined by our jobs, “we have to find a new person to be, not just a new thing to do” in retirement. It’s like they were reading my mind (or my blog.)
Charlie Gibson observed that “life is dynamic, it is not static,” and Sallie Krawcheck covered the need to constantly take our temperature over the years and make adjustments to our plans as we change our desires and circumstances.
One other point I found interesting was the discussion of the difference between men and women when facing this who-do-I-want to-be part of our lives. Quindlen explained that men tend to view the progress of their lives as a ladder. When they get to the top at the end of their careers, the halt of that climb may make it hard to envision what to do next. Because, as Marc Freedman pointed out, you’re at the top of the ladder but it's leaning on the wrong wall now.
Quindlen observed that women have already had more experience reinventing themselves over their lives. Their path has been more like a circle than a ladder, perhaps temporarily exiting a career to be home with small children, maybe reentering it in a different capacity. They may work part-time, they may change careers, all while balancing child-rearing and keeping social networks together. I agree that this might make it easier for women to transition.
Anyway, go see for yourself, I highly recommend the hour of insight.