How Do I Get There from Here?

Planning for Retirement When the Old Rules No Longer Apply

 How Do I Get There from Here?

Author: George H. Schofield, Ph.D.
Pub Date: August 2017
Print Edition: $16.95
Print ISBN: 9780814438688
Page Count: 256
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814438695

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The place to begin, as I often say, is where we are. It's fun to imagine the future, and we need to do that, but that imagining frequently fails to become actionable unless we start with and remain candid and well informed about where we really are today. It's too easy to get lost in the joys of possibilities and frequently too painful to look in the mirror and acknowledge where we are. Where are we?

We're generally over age 50 and have some growing level of awareness that we're likely to have a MUCH longer active future in front of us than our grandparents did. If you're age 50 now, that means you could live, have to pay for, and want to find engagement and meaning for another 50 years. Not everyone will live that long, of course, but you should consider this possibility. Those additional 50 years are the equivalent of a lifetime for our ancestors.

Not so long ago, the word "retirement" meant essentially the same thing to everyone. It's as if you said the word "apple." There would be little variation of the apple image across socioeconomic groups and individuals.

Today, on the other hand, if you say the word "retirement," multiple and diverse images spring into mind because while people still aspire to some form of retirement, they're unclear about what is both probable and possible. It's as if you said the word "shoe." There could be endless variations in size, shape, and fit of the shoe image across socioeconomic groups and individuals.

We live in a time in which chronological age is less and less an indicator of who we are. Most of us know old 65-year-olds and young 85-year-olds. What makes the difference in their lives?

We live in an era in which women generate income, participate in building family wealth, and outlive men. They are running households, being caregivers for their own and others' parents, while juggling education, work, and careers. I think they are deserving of special attention and information as we proceed to explore "How Do I Get There From Here?" We also live in an era in which men's lives are much less linear, gender role-driven, and predictable than in the past. This book contains sidebars throughout, some that will resonate more strongly for women and some for men. It's my hope that these sidebars will foster learning for and through each other.

We live in a world in which we still tend to cling to the Four Stage Life Model (1. Childhood, 2. Education, 3. Work and Family, and 4. Retirement) even though there is evidence all around us that for many of us this model is outdated and even dangerous because it leads to expectations and decisions that are no longer realistic.

We struggle with the New Normal vs. the Old Normal. We live in a time of at least as much Disruptive Change as Continuous Change.

We live in a culture that likes short, easy labels and roles that purport to tell the complete story about us at an auditory glance. Dentist. Soccer mom. Plumber. PTA president. Runner. CEO. Straight-A student. Competitive swimmer. World traveler. Voter.

Easy labels are just that: easy. They often aren't particularly true and certainly not complete. There are endless ways we can limit ourselves and our futures by preventing the lights from going on in our heads by allowing others to limit who we are through easy labels and, worse yet, using those same easy labels to establish who we are now and will be in the future.

Excerpted from HOW DO I GET THERE FROM HERE?: Planning for Retirement When the Old Rules No Longer Apply by George H. Schofield, Ph.D. Copyright © 2017 George H. Schofield. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

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