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Why People Make a Career Change with Purpose Top of Mind – Chris Farrell

In this new episode of our retirement podcast, we are joined by Chris Farrell to discuss his new book Purpose and a Paycheck. Podcasts about retirement and books on retirement primarily focus on financial planning. Chris’ new book is different. In our conversation, he shares his observations on why more people are making a career change toward work with greater purpose and meaning. Chris explains why he thinks “There has never been a better time to be in the second half of life in America” and offers his insights on why the choice of working in retirement can be beneficial. We also discuss why he thinks entrepreneurship and self-employment are attractive options for a midlife career change and the multigenerational dimensions of retirement today. You’ll also hear the ageist phrases that he thinks should be retired, and his advice for planning your next chapter with purpose top of mind. If you’re thinking about a career change at 50 or older, you’ll benefit from listening to this conversation. It just might just give you inspiring ideas for a second career after retirement with greater purpose.

Wise Quotes

On Innovative Ways of Working Longer

“…At our core we all want to be useful, we all want to be helpful. And one way that we’re useful and helpful is to tap into our knowledge and our experience. So, there’s a lot of experimentation that’s going on right now. Flexible work, part-time work, starting your own business, self-employment, phased retirement, encore careers. And we don’t really know how this is going to shake out.”

On Emerging Multigenerational Trends

“A lot of people don’t like age segregation anymore. …it’s the Boomer parents going into business with their Millennial or Gen-X or children. Or it’s a boomer going into business with a Millennial or a Gen-Xer. Typically, what the Boomer’s providing is some capital, knowledge, experience and contacts. And what the younger person is providing is that ambition, that hustle, a little tech-savvy – and their burden of student loans. So, they don’t have that much capital. And so, that’s a real win-win situation for both generations. And that’s a really heartening trend.”

“The other place where you’re seeing it is in housing. There’s a great deal of interest in intergenerational housing. (There’s) not a whole lot of choice out there yet. We can come up, there are lots of, intriguing examples of music conservatories that are nearby a continuing care community and the students are invited to live there for free, or a nominal price, and just to be part of the community to be engaged with the community. And you are seeing a sort of deliberate building of multigenerational communities.”


Chris Farrell is considered a leading expert on the trend toward working longer in the second half of life. He writes a biweekly column for Next Avenue, an online PBS magazine for the 50-plus demographic, and hosts a Minnesota Public Radio Program, Conversations on the Creative Economy, which is now entering its sixth season. He speaks across the country on the topic of unretirement. Chris earned his BA from Stanford and his Master’s from the London School of Economics.

Books by Chris Farrell Referenced in this Retirement Podcast episode:

Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money & Happiness in the Second Half of Life

Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life


Follow Chris Farrell:

Conversations on the Creative Economy – MPR News
Next Avenue


Our Brief Review of Purpose and a Paycheck


Related Retirement Podcast Episodes:

If You’re Planning on Working Longer, How Do You Best Prepare – Kerry Hannon

Will You Be an Entrepreneur in Your Second Act Career? – Dorie Clark


Related Post:

Why Settle for Happiness? 


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