Harvard Business Review: A Gap Year for Grown-ups

Harvard Business Review

Thousands of college-bound teenagers take a gap year to rest up and gear up for what’s next. Why not make the same opportunity available for their parents?

That’s the question Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures and author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife, asks in a new Harvard Business Review blog post titled, “A Gap Year for Grown-ups.”

“A gap year,” Freedman writes, “would offer those in their 50s, 60s and 70s a chance to regroup, to find the kind of renewal they need to start a new stage of life. It would provide an opportunity to disrupt familiar patterns (and inertia), to grow personally, to be exposed to new experiences, and to try on future roles. It could help focus efforts on an encore career – one that combines meaning, continued income and social impact.”

A great idea, in theory, but who can afford it? Freedman offers five suggestions for ways to make a gap year more accessible to more people, including more encore fellowships sponsored by employers, more national service options for grown-ups, financial aid for the second half of life, tax-exempt ways to save for gap years, and reforms to make Social Security more useful.

Read the full blog post here: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/07/a_gap_year_for_grown-ups.html.

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