December Book Talk - Are You Reading Encore Yet?

From: Mary M R.
Sent on: Sunday, November 22, 2009 9:03 PM
Hi everyone - the Thanksgiving holiday is perfect for reading a bit. Pick up Encore by Marc Freedman to glimpse a new development in growth and development for the latter half of your career. Whereas we once thought of the active career being replaced by retirement and leisure pursuits, Freedman suggests we aspire to a new vision, one in which work continues....but supplies money AND meaning. He writes,

"Think back. When millions of soldiers were crossing over from World War II to civilian life, we invented the GI Bill to help them move into a new chapter. Now, with 10,000 boomers crossing over the half-century mark every day, it?s time to tackle their transition not just one at a time, but as a society. At stake is the continued productivity of the largest, healthiest, longest-living, and best-educated generation in American history.

Making the most of this opportunity will require four changes.

We need a collective attitude adjustment. We must recognize that this isn?t merely a vocational shift?it?s not just a transaction (to a new job) but a transition (to a new stage of life stretching between the middle years and true old age). It?s not just about what you?ll do, but who you?ll be, for a period that could last a quarter-century or longer.

We?ll need to invent and adapt a whole range of social institutions, beginning with the two routes we offer young people preparing to start careers?internships and education.

Education may be gained as part of a ?gap year? for adults?the chance to catch their breath, test the waters, and fashion a new chapter of life and work.

We?ll have to invent new ways to finance this transition. Even with more ways to try on and train for new roles, underwriting this shift is a formidable barrier. One solution: Instead of telling boomers to save for an unsustainable 30-year retirement, the financial-services industry would do well to develop and market new products aimed at the midlife transition.

How about IPAs?Individual Purpose Accounts?to go along with the retirement-focused IRAs? IPAs could be set up to provide tax breaks for savings focused on education, training, or fellowships after the age of 50. Vehicles of this sort could help individuals invest in their own future by covering the costs of midlife transitions.

Finally, innovations in public policy will be essential, not only in creating tax incentives for savings mechanisms like IPAs, but for fashioning a midlife transition superhighway to replace the rickety routes that currently exist.

Here we won?t have to start from scratch. The new Serve America Act establishes the prospect of federally funded encore fellowships in all 50 states. That?s a start. But given the size of the boomer generation, we require nothing less than a national human resources strategy and policy agenda for the second half of life, one that includes health coverage for the midlife shift.

If we replace the DIY transition with a sturdy passage that helps boomers find new meaning, continued income, and the chance to use all they have invested in their human capital, we can make a virtue out of longer working lives over the next 50 years just as we made a virtue out of shorter ones in the past 50. In the process, we can turn the demographic wave already washing over us into a new tide of individual and social renewal."

How will this book impact the training you provide at your firm? Moreover, how will it affect your plans for personal growth and development? Come to the December ASTD Alaska Book Talk Wednesday the 9th at 6 PM. Gather near the fireplace at Barnes & Noble and share your margin notes! They have copies available if you wish to get one in advance or as a result of the discussion.ASTD Alaska (American Society for Training & Development)

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