Print Edition (Soft Cover)
Authors: Dr. Carolee Duckworth & Dr. Marie Langworthy
Website: https://www.lifeandworkafterretirement.com 
Reviewed for the NABBW by: Anne Holmes

Note: This is a revised and updated soft cover edition of the original book, which we reviewed in 2013.

Thirty years with lots of time and not so much money makes for a VERY long vacation.  So… what’s a 55+ Baby Boomer to do?  Work? Play? Travel? Volunteer? Or what about developing your own scenario which is a combination of all these?  Will you choose to work here at home or abroad? Alone or with a partner? In cyberspace or at home or in the office? Full or part time?

With more than 10,000 adults turning  55+ every day since 2012, everyone is speculating about what the Boomers will be doing for the next 30-50 remaining years of their lives, not least of all we Boomers ourselves. Arguably this next could be our BEST life passage. But first we need to “shift gears,” rediscover our SELVES, then redesign our upcoming lives.

Shifting Gears looks at seven pathways for what comes next. They are:

  • Life of New Work
  • Life of Leisure
  • Life of an Entrepreneur
  • Life of a Volunteer
  • Life as a “Creative”
  • Life of Travel
  • Life of a Student

Should we decided that we’d like to find new work, there are chapters covering the five major “Categories of Possibility” for whatever new work we will choose to engage in. While we may mix and match, the basic options available to Boomers seem to be:

  • Work Online – there are loads of opportunities in the virtual world. And you need not be bound by geography or traditional work hours
  • Work “Out There”  — that is in the traditional workplace, as an employee
  • “Hire Yourself” or Partner Up  — that is, start your own business. According to the Kaufmann Foundation on Entrepreneurship this is something we Boomers do with more frequency than any other demographic
  • Work for “Us” – find ways to generate income via serving the needs of our fellow Boomers (who understands those needs better, after all?)
  • Work for Free (Volunteer) – But on our terms  (of course!)

This book is full of ways to help you do this. Starting with an examination of the Seven Pathways for What Comes Next,” the book next looks at tools to use in reinventing yourself. More specifically, rediscovering yourself — your essence and value. Reference is made to personality types, here. And the authors point out that even if you took a Myers Briggs test years ago, you’ve gained a lot of experience during your lifetime, and you MAY have changed as a result.

In chapter 7, you’re guided to take a fresh look at your work/life options. And the remainder of the book takes an in-depth look at options and opportunities in great detail.

Chapter 8 looks at online work opportunities – which allow you to work from home. (And NOT stuffing envelopes, LOL!)

I specifically liked Chapter 9, which deals with work “out there,” – or offline employment opportunities, with a special set of charts identifying what types of employers are looking for more seasoned and experienced workers.

But the chapter that’s probably closest to my heart is Chapter 10, which deals with hiring yourself, or “partnering up.” Most likely the reason I find this chapter so valuable, is that 20-some years ago, I quite my job cold turkey, because I wasn’t satisfied. I spent a month analyzing my options, and decided to start up my own marketing consulting firm.

This decision freaked out my husband and was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. When I decided to “hire myself,” there weren’t too many affordable options to help me. RSVP existed, but the concept of hiring a business coach to help me figure out what sort of business to start, and how to get set up, was non-existent. And something I heartily recommend, based on my personal experience as a business coach.

Bottom line: This book is a one-source “call to action” addressed to all 55+ Boomers. The message? It’s time for you to act: Time to reinvent “Retirement.”  We Boomers have already reinvented every other life phase we’ve lived through. So why not redesign this lifestage as well?

After all, we have no intention of becoming stereotypical retirees – those blue-haired, bingo-playing, frumpy folks who lineup for bank-sponsored bus trips to touristy place like the Grand Ol’ Opry, and wear sensible shoes to walk the mall.

As any Boomer knows, the combination of our longer anticipated lifespans, entrenched patterns of consumption, losses in retirement funding due to the economy, unforeseen medical costs, the impact of taxes, and family obligations all factor into our cohorts’ decision to remain in the workforce – in some degree or another – well past the traditional retirement age.

In fact, according to a recent Merrill Lynch survey of Boomers, fewer than 20% of us anticipate a complete cessation of work. Most of us will choose to retire in our own way. Which means in our own time, at our own pace, in unconventional configurations and locations.

Other factors that will impact on Boomers’ decisions, according to Duckworth and Langworthy include:

  • The need for money
  • The lure of adventure
  • The challenge of having more to offer
  • The desire for respect and to influence
  • The longing for social engagement
  • The recognition that we have expertise and experience still needed in the workplace
  • Our ongoing search for life’s meaning
  • A wish to be creative
  • An opportunity to give back to the community

Duckworth and Langworthy, Boomers themselves, use this book to alert the world to get ready for the new retirement, which they portray as an onslaught of healthy, somewhat well-heeled Boomers, soon to be numbered more than 77 million, who are not willing to be defined by an age number.  This group is ripe for specific direction, modern resources, and ‘light my fire’ inspiration to help them fashion their last best opus.

And according to the authors, this new opus will be built on roles that have already been redefined, including:

  • Dual professional marriages
  • Late life parenthood
  • Serial singlehood
  • Parenting our parents
  • Parenting our grandchildren

One of the best parts of this highly recommended book is found in the appendix: an extensive Table of URLs, which is essentially a database of relevant websites. This is hugely valuable and quite complete.

Highly recommended Boomer resource.