Chris Farrell on reinventing retirement

'Unretirement' by Chris Farrell
Book cover courtesy of publisher

In his latest book, Chris Farrell argues it's time to rethink our vision of the last third of our lives.

From "Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community and the Good Life":

If the popular images of retirement are the golf course and the RV, the defining institutions of unretirement are the workplace and the entrepreneurial start-up. The unretirement movement builds on the insight that a better-educated, healthier work force can continue to earn an income well into the traditional retirement years.

Farrell joined The Daily Circuit to talk about what unretirement would look like for Americans. During their talk, Kerri mentioned a website that spells out the low-cost college resources available to Minnesota residents through the University of Minnesota. Here's that website.

Other highlights from that conversation:

A search for money, meaning and flexibility
"People want to be involved, they want to be engaged, they want to have some money ... Working longer is a search for money, meaning and flexibility. ...

"A big part of being middle-class has been having a job. It's having a place to come to. You might be working-class on the job, but you're middle-class at home, because you might own your own house, or you have your apartment. Having a job and being valued in the workplace, work is a social institution ...

"One of the worst things that happens in our society is when someone doesn't have a job, it's not just about the income. They're excluded. They're lonely. And they don't feel wanted."

Those who work longer help those who can't
"There are two groups of people. One group of people, they just haven't managed to save. They may have worked in a low-income job. Their employer never offered them a retirement savings plan. They never had a health insurance plan. They just don't have much choice, because what they're going to be living off is Social Security. No question.

"There's another group of people who are just simply burned out. Their health has given out on them. Now, health doesn't respect income boundaries, but typically low income is where you had the bigger health problems.

"My argument is, there are people who cannot participate in the money-meaning-flexibility side of things. But as more and more people do ... we create the income, we create the wealth that can support the people who can't. And they do need support. I think that's one of the ways we solve it: We create more wealth by the people who can work longer."

Older workers have networks that can help them
One of the biggest assets that most older workers have is a network. They have colleagues, they have people they have known over the years who know who they are. And age discrimination's not an issue because they know who you are. And 50 percent of all jobs come through someone's network. And older workers have a pretty deep network.

Are you already reinventing that last third of your life? Tell us about it. Leave your comments below.

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