THE BLOG
09/08/2013 01:16 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2013

Why We Need Encore Careers in Paradise

I am a young-ish Boomer living in paradise. Which of course doesn't make me young, but similar to many of us in the boomer generation, helps me to feel, act and live like I am. We have been noted as the generation who wanted to save the world when young, and who want the world to provide for us as we prepare for our next chapter in life.

In Hawaii, many of us are still buying the myth that we can have a traditional retirement and that we can to relax on the beach, run, hike, paddle an outrigger canoe, or do nothing for years on end if we want to. I'll leave most of the research out for the moment, but suffice it to say that most of us haven't saved enough, are deluded about health care costs, haven't researched the psychological adjustment people need to make once they become "invisible" by retiring, and aren't carrying fixed pensions into our retirements, making us vulnerable to the swings in the stock and bond markets.

The latest census shows that 20% of Hawaii residents are between 50 and 74 years old. Our average life expectancy is the highest in the nation at 81.3 (Measure of America 2013-2014), and in 2011 MoneyRates.com named us the toughest place to make a living considering cost of living, income, taxes, and unemployment rate.

These facts together show that a large percentage of those of us who call Hawaii home are middle age or older, will live an estimated 20-30 more years, and will need to have enough revenue to pay for those years in a comfortable way.

As a career coach I have helped many people successfully change jobs or industries, and as long as the person has courage, planning, talent and perseverance they usually get what they want. In career change there is always some fear to overcome. With many Boomers the fears include facing that we are not so young, becoming incompetent on the job or failing if we strike out on our own. Some are also angry that financial security is so difficult to achieve and that their retirement dream was just that.

I see Encore Careers as a way to maintain control and choice in career through one's 60s to 80s. Encores provide a win-win-win-win experience, because of their flexibility. There is a win because we have valuable skills but could "downsize" the job through a portfolio of interests and methods of working that are less than full time. Projects, half-time work, moving to a not-for-profit, phased retirement and freelancing are some of the options.

There is a win because we retain valuable earnings and delay draw-downs from retirement funds. And there is a win from remaining vital and influential in the world while creating a more balanced life. And there is a spiritual win by making our generation's legacy one of helping the world by mentoring and making a little space for those who come behind.