From the May 2008 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

May 1, 2008

Working and Retirement

His passions for advising his aging clients drew Kirk Greene of Greene Wealth Management in Seattle to psychologist and gerontologist Dr. Ken Dychtwald, author of 14 books on aging-related issues, including the popular Age Wave.

In a seminal article in Harvard Business Review, Dychtwald warned in 2004 that employers need to change their attitude toward hiring older workers. For one, the Bureau of Labor is projecting a shortfall of some 10 million workers in the United States beginning in 2010. Second, many boomers may want to continue working, either out of boredom or necessity, but they'll be selective about who they work for, where they work, and what they do.

Dychtwald and his fellow authors Tamara Erickson and Bob Morison argued that many mature workers want to keep working, but in a less time-consuming and pressured capacity. They called on employers to consider flexible schedules--flex work--for boomers with multiple commitments, such as caring for children, or grandchildren, and elderly parents at the same time. Indeed, several national nonprofits are now tapping into that sentiment with a number of new options, including flexibility, new challenges, and in some cases, nominal pay or a stipend in exchange for retirees' time and expertise.

That innovation resonates with Greene, who regularly corresponds with Dychtwald via e-mail. Greene said very few of his clients want to "retire" in the traditional sense of playing golf two to three days a week. Many like the satisfaction they receive from contributing to an enterprise; others want to give something back by volunteering with a nonprofit; still others desire the social interaction with family, friends, and even meeting new people while traveling the globe.

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