The transition to retirement—rather than being an occasion for scaling back and becoming less engaged—can be the occasion for renewed productivity and creativity.

The inspiration for today’s blog post is Norman Maclean, who at age 74, published his first novel,  A River runs through It.  Maclean said, “I started to write to fill a gap left by my retirement and the death of my wife.”  His identity as a former distinguished faculty member at the University of Chicago was not enough to sustain him.  He needed a new challenge. “The problem of identity is never simply a problem for the young; it endures through one’s life,” he said.  So, at age 70, Norman Maclean started to write. Writing was an essential part of his defense against simply fading away with age.

Research indicates those happiest in retirement discover a sense of purpose.  The idea of shelving your expertise in retirement no longer makes sense.  Retirement is not an end but a beginning, especially for those willing to engage in self-reflection.

The Retirement Problem:  What Will You Do With All That Time?  The questions people ask at earlier stages of life become more profound at later stages. ”Am I living the life I want to live?  What is most important to me?  Who is most important to me?  You see the end, and so you think about what you want to do with the time you have remaining.  There is the question:  Now what?”  Research indicates that those who are happiest in retirement tend to answer that question by “giving back” and discovering a sense of purpose.  Money is not the panacea of a successful retirement. People approaching retirement need more than money; retirees need a plan to stay engaged and productive. Knowledge@ Wharton.  Click here to read the full article


Entrepreneurs Get Better with Age.  According to famed developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, as we grow older, hunger for meaning animates us, making us more alive.  According to Erikson, a later life developmental stage typically centers on generativity, a period not of stagnation, but of productivity and creativity. Creating something new isn’t just a “nice thing to do”—it is a psychological imperative.  The urge to create, to generate a life that counts, impels people to innovate.  Harvard Business Review.  Click here to read the full article


Next-Gen Retirement.  Many executives are now rethinking what it means to retire. Individuals who are able to visualize multiple iterations of their happy retirement, and shift flexibly between potential outcomes, remain happiest throughout retirement  It is important to reflect, to better understand self, and perspectives on work and life.  Many of today’s retirees are making much more than financial contributions to society.  When you expect to live much longer, in better mental and physical health, the idea of shelving your expertise in retirement no longer makes sense.  Retirement is not an end but a beginning—an opportunity to experiment and explore, to engage in pursuits you value, and perhaps to reinvent your legacy.  Click here to read the full article


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