Encore Careers

Tab 1

Winter 2012-2013

Many successful executives and entrepreneurs have long dreamed of a different life — launching their own consulting firm, opening a restaurant or building houses in a developing nation.


Photo by Misha Gravenor


If you’re considering a similar move, you’re not alone. An estimated 9 million people ages 44 to 70 are already in encore careers that combine personal meaning, social impact and continued income,

and an estimated 31 million additional people would like to join them, according to a 2011 joint study by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures (now Encore.org, a non-profit that supports individuals in pursuing encore careers in the non-profit world and the public sector).


“Being a beginner again can be very gratifying,” says Marci Alboher, Vice President of Encore.org. “It’s very invigorating to be immersed in a new world and be exposed to new ways of thinking.”


She has witnessed a shift from delaying retirement in order to leave a financial legacy, to remaining engaged and contributing meaningful work. “Now we hear about people wanting to live their legacy and not just leave it,” she says.


Kristen Armstrong, a Senior Wealth Dynamics Coach within Ascent Private Capital Management of U.S. Bank, has helped clients dream big and pursue another career. “It’s about supporting this kind of fearless self-inventory that encourages people to pursue a career about which they’re passionate,” she says.

Tab 2

Winter 2012-2013

Finding the Right Path for You

Reshaping your career trajectory can be intimidating, especially when your previous expectations contradict what you really want to do. “Sometimes people believe that being retired is the cherry on top — that it symbolizes that they’ve done everything they wanted to do,” Armstrong says.


Five Ways to Find the Right Encore Career


As some of her clients have prepared for retirement, they’ve discovered what they really wanted to accomplish is yet to be achieved. The skills they’ve cultivated through years of hard work enable them to launch the second chapter of their careers and, in some cases, write an entirely new story.


For example, a retired accountant might choose to come out of retirement to be a high school economics teacher. “His passion might be to prepare high school students for the increasing complexities of the financial systems today,” Armstrong says. “He knows these complexities.

He’s lived them, breathed them.” This retiree could leverage his experience to help teenagers consider the ramifications of their financial decisions on themselves, their families and society.


“Retirees can feel a sense of some incompleteness — and not in a bad way,” Armstrong says. “For some people it just isn’t enough to enjoy sailing trips and golfing. Some want to use their skills, experience and wisdom in new ways to have a different impact.”


A second career doesn’t have to be dedicated exclusively to public service, says Randal Charlton, who received Encore.org’s Purpose Prize, a national competition that gives $100,000 to five winners to improve their community. He launched his own encore career at TechTown, a business incubator in Detroit supported by Wayne State University. He was its executive director for four years and now leads a new initiative called “BOOM! The New Economy,” which helps people 50 years and older volunteer, change careers and become entrepreneurs.

Tab 3

Winter 2012-2013

Charlton found that 25 percent of the people attracted to TechTown’s business development programs were older adults. With the help of a grant from the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, he spent the past two years designing events to help older adults determine whether a new career in a for-profit industry is for them. He then facilitated that transition. His current career is an example of how to successfully make the change: He transitioned from previous careers in agriculture and biochemistry.

Success After the Spotlight: Notable Encore Careers


“You spend a lot of your days and weeks and life working — and you better enjoy it,” Charlton says. “If you’re not enjoying it, you need to change your job, no matter how much you’re earning.”


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