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It’s easy to approach the later phases of your career with an All-or-Nothing mindset. Go all-in and work full-time longer? Retire and go off to have fun 24/7? Those options are fine for many people. But some people today are pursuing a customized hybrid version, keeping some work in the mix on their own terms, while preserving the freedom and flexibility retirement offers. It offers many benefits. Richard Eisenberg joins us today to share his experiences and insights from his version of retirement which he calls Unretirement. It may inspire you to create your own version of unretirement.
Richard Eisenberg is a freelance personal finance writer and editor and co-host of the “Friends Talk Money” podcast. Most recently, he was managing editor of the Next Avenue site and editor of its Money & Policy and Work and Purpose channels.
A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Eisenberg has been working in the spheres of work and personal finance for decades. His first job out of college was as a fact-checker with Money magazine. Eisenberg made his way up the ranks, eventually being named executive editor. He remained at Money for 19 years, went on to become the money and special projects editor at Good Housekeeping and then the front-page finance editor for Yahoo!
The author of two books: “How to Avoid a Midlife Financial Crisis” and “The Money Book of Personal Finance,” Eisenberg is an avid reader with interests ranging from novels to nonfiction.
Eisenberg and his wife, Liz Sporkin, live in New Jersey and are parents to two talented sons; Aaron, 31, a screenwriter, actor and comedian, and Will, 29, a director and screenwriter. The pair, who live in Los Angeles, are screenwriting partners.
For More on Richard Eisenberg
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Win The Retirement Game
“Well, the easiest way to do it is to see what the opportunities are in the field that you’ve been working in over the years. And there may be some sort of a program that you can be a part of that’s formal, or maybe it’s informal. Maybe you’re just doing it one-on-one with people that you know who are looking for some guidance and some advice, people that you’ve worked with before, or maybe people who are new to you. Maybe they’re friends of your children or friends of your own family members. There’s lots of different ways to do it. Another mentoring I’m going to be doing this fall is at Columbia University in a program called the Age Boom Academy. And I’ve actually been part of that, a number of times as an Age Boom Fellow, and then as a moderator and this year, I’m helping to run it and moderate it. And that is a program for journalists who write about aging. We bring in experts on the subject, and this year the theme is about caregiving. I’m helping to moderate some of those panels and mentor the students to help them to come up with ideas for articles and shape those articles, that sort of thing. So for me, the mentoring comes out of the work that I’ve done. And I think by and large, that’s probably the easiest way for people to do it. It may be that you just have a skill or talent that others don’t, but they would like to have. And so you can do your mentoring by letting people know, Hey, if anybody would like to learn how to do what I know how to do, I’m happy to help to do it.”
“I would say don’t feel bad if the place you think you want to volunteer doesn’t work out. You may not know until after you start doing it that it’s not what you enjoy doing or what they want you to do is not what you thought they would want you to do. Or they’re not using your skills. Now where I’m doing my volunteering. I don’t really feel like I’m using any of my skills per se, but there are lots of volunteering opportunities where you can. So I would say, it’s trial and error. So you’ll try a place you want to volunteer and maybe you’ll love it. And I hope you do and you’ll stick with it. And maybe you won’t and then you’ll find another place or maybe you’ll find a few different places. And you may want to talk to friends and family members about where they’re volunteering, especially if they have an interest that align with yours, because they may have some ideas for you. Or you can just do a search online at places like Volunteer Match to see where are the volunteering opportunities. You may also just want to volunteer with an organization that you have been a part of, maybe it’s your church or synagogue. Maybe it’s a place that you’ve donated money to in the past, but now you can donate your time. So see what works for you and don’t feel bad if the first one isn’t the right one.”
On Meaning & Purpose
“I think mostly it’s that people often don’t think about where they’re going to find meaning and purpose in this new stage of life. What are they going to retire to? They’re mostly focused on what they’ve retired from and maybe the financial side of Well, can I afford to retire? and Where’s my money going to come from?, but not What’s gonna make me want to get up in the morning every day and where can I find more of that? And I feel like once you do that, you can really make your retirement very special. But if you don’t, it can be extremely sad and possibly very lonely. And I’ve talked to people who didn’t find a new purpose or who knew people who didn’t and they tell very sad stories. And I just feel like it’s so important to think about that. And if you can think about it before you start retiring, and if you don’t, then at least think about it once you do retire and search for ways that you can find meaning and purpose.”
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Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet.