How to Plan a Creative Retirement in Uncertain Times;
September Seminar Offered by N.C. Center for Creative Retirement
The North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement at UNC Asheville is offering "Paths to
a Creative Retirement in Uncertain Times," September 3-5, 2004. Designed for people who want to redefine the meaning of retirement to suit their expectations, the seminar was rated "a great way to jump start retirement," by the Wall Street Journal.
"The seminar mainly draws people in their fifties and sixties who are still working," said NCCCR
Director Ron Manheimer. "They see this as a window of opportunity for planning their next steps."
The three-day workshop will include lectures, small group discussion, case studies, informative handouts, and several social events designed to promote interchange among participants. The seminar will be held at Reuter Center, NCCCR's new classroom and conference center on the UNC Asheville campus. Participants stay in local hotels and motels.
NCCCR researchers are following a major new trend as fluctuating retirement portfolios, uncertainties about health care insurance, and a shift in attitudes about how to balance work and play, is altering the meaning and timing of retirement. "Some people are retiring from career jobs, and then un-retiring; taking up a post-retirement employment, sometimes in entirely new fields," said Manheimer.
"I knew one thing for sure about retirement," said Edwin McMullen, 66, a developer from Orlando who attended a previous seminar with his wife Pam, an interior decorator. "I wasn't going to do it the same way as mom and dad. They flat out retired." McMullen admired his parents for their community service projects and he supports many charitable causes. But the seminar convinced him of three things. "One, this is a period in which you can recreate yourself. Two, I have some great ideas for new types of housing developments which I want to explore. And, three, meeting the other people showed me, I'm not the only odd dude out there who wants to continue to work but in new ways."
Besides getting the facts and learning about their options, seminar participants love to hear how others are exploring the challenges of figuring out how to write the next chapter of their lives, said Denise Snodgrass, NCCCR assistant director and one of the workshop leaders.
"I was amazed there would even be a seminar like this," said Sharon Wood, 53.
"It was extremely comforting to meet up with other people our age going through the same struggles. They were terrific. Willing to open up about their fear and fantasies."
Wood and her husband, Barry Silverstein, 54, of Acton, Mass., typify pre-retirees dreaming about the next phase of their lives. Barry, an advertising executive, visited bookstores and got on the Internet while Sharon, who worked with Barry for 15 years when he ran his own advertising firm, was already ahead of him. An animal lover, she had found part-time employment with a dog groomer, aiming to explore a future business of her own.
Sharon and Barry had a financial advisor who was great with numbers and also helped them with possible retirement scenarios. Barry supplemented the advisor's financial planning with useful information in books such as
"Don't Retire, Rewire" and "100 Best Places to Retire." He enjoyed leafing through the AARP Magazine, reading stories of
"older people doing interesting things." Barry Web surfed, getting new ideas from
Web sites like 2young2retire.com and
Sharon tried talking with friends to get their insights. But often the reaction was:
"I can't believe you're already planning for your retirement." Most of them had thought about it casually but weren't actively researching their options.
Like thousands of other pre-retirees unsure of how to turn exciting possibilities into fulfilling realities, Sharon and Barry were overwhelmed by all the choices. Books, magazines and Internet sites offered maps to the future, but they wanted another way to process their decisions. Paths to a Creative Retirement in Uncertain Times appealed to Sharon and Barry because it was about meaning, not money, often the exclusive subject of retirement planning seminars. They wanted to explore the goals and values they could fulfill in these "bonus" years of life. Sharon and Barry were also pleased the seminar had no commercial agenda.
The workshop brought them together with a group of 30 other fellow travelers excited, yet uncertain, about the new life after years of hard work, raising families, and serving their communities.
For Barry, the combination of information sessions on retirement trends, case studies they grappled with in small groups, and planning exercises that got them to think through specific steps for exploring future possibilities, enabled him to "put a lot of things into
As a result of the workshop, Sharon and Barry had a plan. They devised a checklist to evaluate opportunities for post-retirement jobs, lifelong learning, outdoor recreation, good health care, and viable community life.
Judy Stonestreet, 56, of Farmington Hills, Mich., agreed "that one of the great things about the Center's seminar was finding out you weren't alone." The recently retired executive secretary from GM said she welcomed the camaraderie of fellow participants. "Going through case studies, role-playing, and brain storming sessions, we discovered that other people were as confused, excited, and uncertain as we were. That was both comforting and inspiring," said Stonestreet.
"The seminar put us in a great frame of mind," added Judy's husband, Steve, 63, who recently retired from GM where he was an engineering executive. "I appreciated the array of facts and the recommendation that we share our decision making process with family. We've already talked a lot of the issues over with our kids."
The September seminar, said Manheimer, is designed for both couples and singles. They will explore topics such as deciding whether, when and where to retire, considering a post-retirement career, planning for and overcoming the obstacles to a creative retirement, developing fall back plans and a financial security net, balancing family and societal responsibilities with personal goals, dealing with change, and finding sources for renewal.
Manheimer, a national expert on retirement trends and the author of several books including
"The Second Middle Age: Looking Differently at Life After 50," will lead the workshop along with other NCCCR staff and several Center members who have themselves devised creative ways to retire.
Cost is $500 per person. Registration deadline is August 20.
For more information, call the N.C. Center for Creative Retirement at 828/251-6140 or visit NCCCR's
- Dr. Ron Manheimer, NCCCR Director, 828/232-5180
- Merianne Epstein, UNCA Public Information Director, 828/251-6676