New Directions, Inc.

Active Retirement:

Planning Your Post-Career Bliss Leads to a Smoother Transition


Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/08/2006 --The U.S. Census Bureau’s newest study of the aging population confirms that we can expect to be healthy, and live longer, than ever before. In fact, Oxford University scientists report that, due to biomedical advances, people may soon routinely live beyond 120 years. According to David D. Corbett, chief executive officer of New Directions, Inc.(a Boston, Massachusetts-based firm that helps executives and professionals develop new career and post-career opportunities that also help them achieve their life goals) and author of Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion After 50 (Jossey-Bass, a John Wiley & Sons imprint, November 2006), “If you have not worked out a creative alternative to retirement, these extra years could lead to a very long game of canasta.”

Corbett encourages people to think about what they want out of the time bonus they’ll get in later midlife. While older Americans typically have limited roles and options, Corbett believes that they deserve more employment options such as phased retirement and flexible schedules. But, although those changes would be good for corporate America as well as older Americans, Corbett points out that corporations and social institutions are too slow to adapt to new ideas. Therefore, individuals must take the initiative.

Younger generations, Corbett finds, have new ideas about work and how to balance it with other important things in life, such as family and community service. Corbett believes that we can learn from this approach, because many of us will find ourselves with three or four decades to fill after our initial careers have concluded.

“This new stage of life is made more meaningful when people create a balance of part-time work, learning, leisure time, family time, giving back, and whatever else has been simmering on the back burner of their hearts and souls during their careers,” Corbett offers. “The balance can be tailored to one’s personality and situation. I call this a life portfolio, because it holds an intentional combination of passions and pursuits.”

Those who make the smoothest transition into active retirement, Corbett finds, are those who step back from their careers early on, question whatever they may have learned about “retirement,” envision new possibilities, and plan ahead. In Portfolio Life, Corbett offers a step-by-step process by which we enter into a life portfolio. “It is really about having the right attitude,” he says. “Forget about what we think we should do. Assessment is about finding clues to our real selves and knowing how to develop them.” He explores long- and short-term portfolio planning in some detail, and he also examines some of the pockets of emotional turbulence that people may encounter.

Corbett calls for whole new mindsets about our post career lives. Life portfolio is not an end in itself but should serve the larger goal of fulfilling our human potential, of embracing life with joy and a sense of purpose. “Medical science can slow the aging of your body, but only you can choose to keep your mind and spirit young,” Corbett concludes.

Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion After 50
By David D. Corbett with Richard Higgins
Jossey-Bass (a John Wiley & Sons imprint)
November 2006
ISBN: 078798356X
Price: $24.95
Format: Hardcover