Work Wanted: Protect Your Retirement Plans in Uncertain Times

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9780132354646: Work Wanted: Protect Your Retirement Plans in Uncertain Times

 “Work Wanted is a must-read for all boomers who see more than a finish line for their career! Jim Walker and Linda Lewis bring new light to the concepts of aging, work, and retirement in this great book.”

Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

 

“This book was perfect for me, a younger baby boomer. It helped me to create my roadmap to financial independence and addresses many questions I didn’t even know I had!”

Carol A. Gallagher, Ph.D., bestselling author, Going to the Top

 

“The best resource available for professionals interested in planning their older years. Work Wanted makes a persuasive case that we can and should make paid work an important part of our older years. Most of us want to keep some attachment to the work world as we move into the retirement years, and Work Wanted tells us everything you need to know to do so.”

Peter Cappelli, George W. Marshall Professor of Management, The Wharton School, and author, Talent on Demand: Managing Talent in an Age of Uncertainty

 

The Complete Action Plan for Every Baby Boomer Who Wants to Keep Working–and Thriving!

 

This is the definitive handbook for every baby boomer who wants, needs, or expects to keep on working! You’ll find practical, realistic, action-oriented advice for working on your terms, not someone else’s...reinventing yourself for your next stage of life...finding more meaning in the work you choose...protecting your finances and your lifestyle...and a whole lot more!

 

If you’re a baby boomer and a professional, chances are you will live far into your 80s or beyond. That means you’ll have 20+ more years to actively work and pursue your interests. Work Wanted will help you make those years as valuable as you possibly can. Packed with practical checklists, references, and case studies, this book is organized for action, not talk. Drs. James Walker and Linda Lewis first explore the myths, falsehoods, and obsolete “conventional wisdom” about aging and retirement that stand in your way. Drawing on their experience working with companies and individuals facing these issues, Walker and Lewis help you realistically assess the challenges you’ll actually face–from your real income needs to your changing goals. Discover why a growing shortage of experienced people will give you more workplace leverage than ever before. Then, learn how to implement an action plan to keep working on your own terms at your current company, if that’s what you want. Ready to move on? Work Wanted will support you in reinventing yourself, pursuing more meaningful work, acquiring new skills, and even mentoring your new younger colleagues. Whatever you want to do, this book will help you stay vital, happy, and healthy while you’re doing it...not just for years, but decades!

 

· Boomers without boundaries!

Transform the landscape of work and retirement, one choice at a time

· Chart your own future–and make it happen

Define the value you will add and the difference you will make...then do it!

· No more “Wal-Mart greeter” syndrome

Find professional work that is fulfilling, motivating, satisfying, and meaningful

· Choose the right options at the right times

Keep working, go part-time, phase into retirement, switch careers, return to school, or become a “free agent”

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About the Author:

James W. Walker, Ph.D. is a leading consultant, speaker, and author on HR strategy and workforce management; former leader of The Walker Group HR consultancy; and former VP/Director of Towers Perrin’s HR planning consulting practice. He authored the award-winning text Human Resource Planning, coauthored The End of Mandatory Retirement, and founded the Human Resource Planning Society. He chairs the Board of Directors of The Friends of The Riford Center, La Jolla, California, which is redefining the traditional senior center to meet the radically different needs of baby boomers.

 

Linda H. Lewis, Ed.D., recently retired as a professor at Fielding Graduate University, specializes in human and organization development, management and leadership, and adult learning. Lewis was a senior executive in the corporate sector, heading corporate universities and human resources for Charles Schwab & Co., Kaiser Permanente, and The Travelers Companies. Her business experience is complemented by her ten-year tenure as a professor in the field of higher education at the University of Connecticut. Linda is an active partner and consultant in Alliance for Excellence, an international leadership development consulting firm.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

0132354640_0

Introduction

Old Myths, New Realities

As a baby boomer, born between 1946 and 1964, you are likely to think differently about your future than did past generations. You are poised to enjoy a healthy active life for two or three decades after age 50 and live well into your 80s or 90s. You can look forward to many active years and a variety of unprecedented opportunities and choices for work and leisure.

You will likely want to make your own choices. This requires you to challenge attitudes and practices among employers and in society that do not serve you well. As a boomer in a managerial, professional, or technical occupation, you have strengths, capabilities, and opportunities that you can leverage to advantage. Even though you may have the income to “drop out” and play golf, travel, or simply retire, you may instead want to continue your lifestyle, continue to earn income, grow your retirement assets, and sustain your fitness in order to work and enjoy other activities. You may continue working, gradually phase into retirement, switch to another company or different type of work, go back to college, or become a free agent professional (consultant, contractor, volunteer, or entrepreneur).

Everyone has his or her own situations and stories to tell. Bruce and Carolyn reflect circumstances that many boomers share:

Bruce is thinking about his future plans but has near-term priorities. He and his wife, Carolyn, have three children. He has been an electronics engineer with a high-tech company for 20 years and at age 55 is a highly respected expert at the top of the company’s technical career ladder. However, his salary is topped out and he expects only modest increases from here on. His annual bonuses have dropped because his division’s profits are not growing as fast as other divisions. He has thought about retiring, but the company has reduced its pension and retirement health care benefits. He has accumulated about $1 million in the savings plan (401k), but has recently seen the balances decline as the stock market has wavered. It is difficult to put away more money into savings. Carolyn has been working part time as a book keeper for a local medical practice.

They have a daughter about to go to college, an older daughter attending fashion design school, and a son who recently left the Army. All three are living at home and relying on their parents for support. Mark, at age 23, returned from service in Iraq a year ago. He has found it difficult to find and keep jobs or to take college courses because of the adverse effects of prescription drugs he must take to alleviate pain resulting from injuries received. Bruce isn’t sure what their futures hold, but he knows that he’s being counted on for encouragement and financial support.

Bruce enjoys his work, and especially the challenge of staying abreast of new technical advances that may enhance the company’s products. He is old enough to be looking ahead to retirement, but is expecting to stay at work in his current job, as long as he can. He was invited to join several colleagues in forming an independent engineering consulting business, but felt the financial risk was too great. He enjoys hiking and fishing in the nearby mountains with friends and maintaining his classic Ford “woodie” wagon. With his family, he devotes considerable time in church-related activities. “In five years or so, I’d like to make some changes. Carolyn and I want time to do new things together. I’ll probably keep working, but maybe part time in a smaller business. In the meantime, we’re both going to keep working and help our kids get out on their own.”

The Boomer Generation

Boomers feel responsible for shaping their futures. Overall, boomers have been forceful in shaping their destiny in the past and are likely to shape the nature of work and retirement to meet their new goals. Accordingly, you will not be alone in pursuing opportunities to continue working, learning, and growing. In the next twenty years, boomers will swell the ranks of older workers as well as retirees. Many will blend work and leisure to find the desired personal balance. With the pressure from boomers, combined with the demand for managerial, professional, and technical skills, employers will learn to attract and retain older talent. This will become the norm, not the exception. The landscape will change.

Over the decades, boomers have been described as having unique characteristics as a generation. They are known to

  • Work hard to get ahead and to feel needed and valued.
  • Pursue work that is meaningful and that makes a difference.
  • Value relationships at work, teamwork, and participatory leadership.
  • Pursue self development and learning.
  • Contribute time and money to nonprofit causes, often champion causes.

As they grow older, these characteristics are expected to lead boomers to return to school, pursue new jobs or even new careers, start businesses, and be engaged in nonprofit endeavors. Boomers are not likely to sit idly by. They will pursue new, meaningful activities.

Within the generation, which has been defined (somewhat arbitrarily) as spanning 18 years, there are important distinctions. The first wave of the generation, persons born between 1946 and 1955, had different experiences and thus different attitudes and expectations than the second wave of the boomers, persons born from 1955–1964. Because the conditions in American society changed during these times, the experiences of boomers influenced their concerns, aspirations, and how they faced choices.

Early boomers experienced the space race, the death of two Kennedys, race riots, and the rise of rock and roll (including the Beatles and Woodstock), and parents who followed the guidance of Dr. Spock. Although many of these boomers were the cusp of the generation and followed the paths and attitudes of their parents (the silent generation), a great many actively changed the face of American culture, as discussed in Chapter 8, “Engage Younger Generations.” As teenagers through the sixties, they protested the Vietnam war, ­experimented with new lifestyles, and set new patterns for conspicuous consumption. As adults, they have worked hard to achieve career and financial success. Women entered the workforce in growing numbers and many pursued professional and managerial careers. Today these boomers are considering their opportunities to retire, to work, to start a new career, or create a portfolio of roles. Their children are typically on their own or in transition. They are considering pursuing unfulfilled interests in careers, travel, leisure, hobbies, or community service that are important to them.

Second-wave boomers were typically less proactive and more content to be observers of changes around them. They did not know John F. Kennedy, and instead grew up in the seventies in the tumultuous decade with Nixon, Ford, and Carter as presidents. They challenged the authority of institutions, including businesses and government. They railed at the consumption behaviors of older boomers whom they considered excessive. They gave more attention to their families—parenting and engaging with their children and pursuing work-life balance. Today most are in the peak of their earning careers and years away from making significant choices about work and retirement. Younger boomers will also likely be greatly influenced by the state of the economy during the decade ahead—affecting their work opportunities, their income and savings, and the circumstances affecting their families. They face greater uncertainties than the first wave boomers.

About This Book

This book will help you consider your opportunities and formulate plans for your active years ahead. We present eight persistent myths about aging, work, and retirement and their implications for you as a boomer. We encourage you to challenge outmoded notions of aging and retirement and determine your own vision and plan for your future. New realities, such as changing attitudes toward aging and retirement and emerging talent shortages, are opening up new opportunities for work and for transforming retirement into a blend of work and other meaningful activities. Our discussion will help you ­explore and reflect on the choices available to you and to think creatively about your future.

There is a large and growing body of research and data on aging and adult development, workforce issues, age bias, work, and careers that is not discussed in most retirement and life-planning books. This book is fact-based, drawing on this body of research. Further, we provide references to the information upon which we have relied to enable you to consider the facts and to draw your own conclusions. You can draw upon research studies, others’ experiences, interpretations of boomers’ unique characteristics, and emerging practices and trends reported in news, business, and social science publications to inform your decision-making.

Challenging Myths

You may have read warnings of a coming workforce crisis—a shortfall of talent resulting from the mass retirement of baby boomers, particularly gaps in managerial, professional, and technical occupations. At the same time, you and many other boomers may feel that you enjoy working, like earning money (and spending it), and are not likely to retire any time soon. Current attitudes and trends indicate that boomer professionals are very likel...

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