The outdated notion of retirement as one last long vacation before we die is dead. For proof, browse the shelves of any large bookstore or search online for new titles exploring the emerging trend of post-retirement work.
Here are three we liked:
"Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life" (PublicAffairs Books, $24.95) by Marc Freedman, founder and president of Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based think tank. The author is also co-founder of Experience Corps, the largest not-for-profit national service program engaging Americans over 55, and The Purpose Prize, the nation's first prize for social innovators over 60.
From appeals lawyer to community pastor, health care executive to advocate for the homeless, truant officer to critical-care nurse, Freedman fills the book with "encore stories" of people who found work that mattered in their second half of life. By 2030, he foresees Boomers will provide the "backbone of education, health care, nonprofits, the government and other sectors" essential to our national well-being.
To be sure, not everybody will want to work after retirement and, among those who seek work, many will do it just for the money. "Encore" does provide a list of resources to find new jobs but its main purpose is to inspire, not guide by the hand.
"Don't Retire, REWIRE!" (Alpha Books, $18.95), a revised and expanded second edition of a 2002 book we liked them and like even more now.
Authors Rick Miners and Jeri Sedlar, who are husband wife, share 25 years of executive search and counseling experience. Through hundreds of interviews with pre-retirees and working and non-working retirees, they discovered the happiest are those who knew what they were retiring to, not simply retiring from.
People tend to underestimate the things they like about their work, the authors contend, from the structure work provides to the social and emotional needs that it fills.
As they approach and even enter retirement, many people also have never taken the time to figure out what they want (and couples have not taken the time to talk about what the each person wants). Through real-life stories, self-scoring quizzes and exercises, this smartly-written and logically organized book helps us discover our primary "drivers" or motivators. (A big driver for us, for example, is to have accomplishments).
"Working After Retirement for Dummies" (Wiley, $21.99), a useful reference guide listing numerous resources and chock-full of practical advice (although more real-life examples would have helped). The book is almost four in one - from a discussion of assessing one's talents to a primer on retirement finances (this is the weakest part), another on Medicare and Social Security, and finally on finding or creating your ideal retirement job.