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Why Retirement Isn’t What it Used to Be

Jun 15, 2017, 3:25am EST

Excerpts from a conversation between author and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith and Halftime Institute spokesperson Lloyd ReebCEO of the Halftime Institute Dean Niewolny also shares some thoughts.

Marshall Goldsmith: So why has the idea of moving from success to significance gained such traction and become so popular?

Lloyd Reeb: I think this movement has grown around the world because of three converging factors. The first is longevity. Just a hundred years ago the life expectancy of the average American was 47 or 48. So, you got to the end of that and you were tired, maybe you had multiple kids and perhaps some of them didn’t survive, and you probably had some significant and maybe even debilitating health issues. So, it wasn’t the same. Today, when you reach 50 you have 30 bonus years. That’s a very big thing.

Secondly, this generation has watched the experiment we have done with retirement, and we just don’t like the idea that our best years are behind us and we’re supposed to be out at pasture. And, this is true all over the world. I’ve taught the Halftime message on nearly every continent and it’s the exact same conversation with a different cultural context. We want those 30 bonus years to count.

Third, we are, for the most part, knowledge workers. As a result, that allows us to continue to make a positive contribution for a very long time.

So, here’s what happens: The talent we have remains fairly static throughout our lives. Our wisdom we gain throughout life is linear. Marshall, you are a better coach now than you were twenty years ago, right? Add to that how your influence grows over time from your effective work and all of a sudden the potential contribution soars. That formula is why I believe that the most productive time in our lives these days is between the ages of 50 and 75. That’s captivating for people to realize my best years aren’t behind me, and my best contribution and perhaps my most creative contribution might be ahead…READ MORE