That’s the question NPR asked a few days ago, in the final segment of a series they called Life in Retirement: The Not-So-Golden Years.

Here’s my answer: Retirements that promise 30 or 40 years of leisure are no longer sustainable for individuals or society. Instead, it’s time we recognize that people in their 50s, 60s and 70s are in a new stage of life and work, an encore stage that provides the chance to make a real difference in the world.

I see signs that the encore stage is starting to catch on.

  • The New York Times ran an article entitled “Teaching as a Second, or Even Third, Career,” which cites our work with community colleges. Brad Jupp, a senior program aide to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, says: “There is an incredible opportunity here for those who are pursuing encore careers.” Read more.
  • ABC News cited Purpose Prize winner Wilma Melville as its Person-of-the-Week on Friday. After retiring from teaching, Melville launched an encore career training rescue dogs to rescue disaster victims. Watch this.
  • And Washington University in St. Louis made news by conducting a survey of MSW students over 40 to determine if they got what they came for mainly, an encore career in social work. “We found that people came, they did well, they went out and accomplished their plans,” says professor Nancy Morrow-Howell. “They got into the careers they wanted and they looked very favorably at their experience.” Check it out.
  • One final reason to celebrate: Tens of thousands more children in urban elementary schools will soon get the benefit of tutors and mentors in search of an encore. This past week, AARP and Experience Corps announced that they are joining forces. Read more here.

Let us know when you see signs that the encore stage of life and work is taking hold. Write us at [email protected]

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