Analysts predict a groundswell of opportunity for those who find themselves working past 65. "Our research confirms that there's an interest in doing work that has social significance, offers a degree of flexibility for work-life balance, that leverages and values experience and that offers the level of income needed for financial sustainability," says Phyllis Segal, vice president at Civic Ventures.
In what might be a surprising trend, a Kauffman Foundation report notes that boomers make up a rising share of entrepreneurs.That's not surprising to Detroit-based Purpose Prize winner Randal Charlton. He says said the trend is being driven by people living longer and boomers' genuine interest in civic ventures.
The recession's toll on jobs and retirement savings has kept a lid on the number of people transitioning to socially conscious careers in the second half of life. To make such moves more financially feasible, Civic Ventures supports midlife internships and encore fellowship programs, including a new initiative by Intel. The group also has also started the annual Purpose Prizes, $100,000 awards to five people over 60 who devote their encore careers to social causes.
Experience Matters' centerpiece program is Encore Fellowships, placing highly skilled executive retirees in half-time positions for a year (a $20,000 stipend underlines that it's a serious commitment). Fellows' accomplishments range from strengthening a museum's finances to developing a long-range plan to make senior centers more efficient and effective. (This story also appeared in The Arizona Republic.)
The recent recession has forced boomers to stay employed an average of 2.1 years longer than they planned on before the downturn. Civic Ventures and MetLife Foundation says that around 31 million workers ages 44 to 70 are in the transition between midlife careers and more meaningful jobs, but these people may find themselves struggling financially.
Australia’s remarkable change in life expectancy (25 percent of 65-year-olds will live to 90) has created a new life stage. Far from being a time of inactivity and decline, this stage is increasingly being seen as a time of new opportunity, such as an encore career. Building on previous experience, encore careers involve new skills, growth and renewal. In the United States, the organization Civic Ventures is pioneering the idea of encore careers.
“There’s a big payoff from encore careers, for individuals and for our entire society,” says Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures. The nonprofit organization says that 9 million boomers who are already engaged in encore careers began thinking about encores by age 50. Encore careers can well be the crown jewel of a boomer’s entire career.
With the economy improving, you might be considering a career change. Maybe you'd like to quit your present profession and do something completely different, even start a business. You could be primed for a change but unsure what change to make. These books can help: The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Mid-Life by Marc Freedman, Civic Ventures founder and CEO and One Person/Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Career by Marci Alboher, Civic Ventures vice president.
What is an encore career? That’s the new buzz phrase being used for people reaching the midpoint of their lives who no longer want to be just “doing a job.” They want a job or career that has more meaning for them.
An estimated 31 million people ages 44 to 70 are interested in transitioning to socially oriented encore careers, according to new survey findings from MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures. But respondents’ answers suggest that about 40 percent are staying put because of financial problems.