Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life


Do you want to stop worrying about money and start having more fun? Do you wish you had more time to spend with family and friends? Do you want to live the life you always envisioned? Then it's time for your Power Years.

The Power Years is your step-by-step guide to repowerment and personal reinvention after forty. In this unique guidebook, world-renowned psychologist and leading authority on aging Ken Dychtwald and award-winning journalist Daniel J. Kadlec combine their decades...

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Do you want to stop worrying about money and start having more fun? Do you wish you had more time to spend with family and friends? Do you want to live the life you always envisioned? Then it's time for your Power Years.

The Power Years is your step-by-step guide to repowerment and personal reinvention after forty. In this unique guidebook, world-renowned psychologist and leading authority on aging Ken Dychtwald and award-winning journalist Daniel J. Kadlec combine their decades of cutting-edge research and reporting to reveal how you can make the Power Years the best years of your life—by far. As we baby boomers move into the next stage of life, we now have the opportunity to experience a mold-shattering period of reinvention and personal growth, career liberation, nourishing relationships, and financial freedom. The Power Years helps us envision and embrace this new chapter of life as we develop a carefully thought-out plan for personal fulfillment.

Sharing the inspiring stories of fascinating people as well as plenty of prescriptive advice, the authors reveal how you can:

  • Rediscover your life's purpose
  • Find a new balance between satisfying work and enjoyable leisure
  • Thrive in the home and location of your dreams
  • Rekindle long-held passions and/or find new interests
  • Rediscover and forge vital relationships
  • Keep your financial life running smoothly
  • Contribute to society and leave a lasting legacy
  • Have fun again!

From staying connected with your kids, family, and friends to going back to school for the fun and challenge of it, from finding new companions to volunteering, from exploring a new career to traveling the world, The Power Years is your complete road map to living your best possible life—right now.

The Power Years is a step-by-step guide to repowerment and personal reinvention after forty. In this unique guidebook, Ken Dychtwald and Daniel J. Kadlec combine their decades of cutting-edge research and reporting to reveal how readers can make the Power Years the best years of their lives. The Power Years helps readers envision and embrace this new chapter of life as they develop a carefully thought-out plan for personal fulfillment. Sharing inspiring stories of fascinating people and plenty of prescriptive advice, the authors reveal how to rediscover life’s purpose, find a balance between work and leisure, rediscover and forge vital relationships, keep finances running smoothly, and more. The Power Years is a complete road map to living the best possible life–right now.

"My life keeps getting better, not just because I've enjoyed success in the business world, but because I wake up every day with a passion for what I do. You can—and should—discover that feeling too. Let Dychtwald and Kadlec show you how. They've written a crisp, actionable guide to a great rest of your life."
—Donald J. Trump, Chairman of Trump Enterprises and author of Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life

"The Power Years, brimming with insights culled from decades of leading-edge research, turns conventional notions of retirement upside down. This upbeat, thoroughly enjoyable book will help you both envision and fund your dreams. Truly, it's a 'user's guide to the rest of your life.'"
—Jane Bryant Quinn, author of Making the Most of Your Money

"Are you going to live longer—or will it just feel like it? The Power Years is a wonderful guidebook that helps us realize our potential by redefining our expectations as we mature and grow more powerful. An exceptional resource for anyone ready for a new view of their coming decades."
—Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., Professor of Surgery at Columbia University and author of YOU: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

“For anyone beginning the second

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
At the beginning of the 20th century, the average 40-year-old could expect to live only 6 more years. Now, with average longevity soaring above 77 years, 40-year-olds are barely past the midpoint of their lives. Psychologist and gerontologist Ken Dychtwald has spent decades researching the possibilities and potential pitfalls of aging. The author of Age Power and Age Wave offers readers specific advice about pursuing dreams, deepening relationships, and achieving financial freedom. Required baby boomer reading.
Library Journal
Helping baby boomers as they age has become a popular subject for writers who are often boomers themselves. The messages are usually upbeat and optimistic, ensuring readers that the best times are ahead. In The Power Years, Dychtwald (Age Power) and Kadlec, a senior writer at Time magazine, focus on the choices and opportunities that are available upon retirement, with more time for friends, family, learning, and fun. They combine inspirational case stories and practical advice to help seniors start new businesses and rekindle the love fires. While all readers will relish the positive message, the book will best suit the affluent. Editor Sellers commissioned experts like Rabbi Harold Kushner, clothing designer Diane Von Furstenberg, and makeup artist Bobbi Brown to write essays dealing with attitude, appearance, fitness, career, money, and fun. Garrison Keillor tells readers to stop complaining, while Harold Bloom advises them to read the classics. Doctors discuss nutrition and life-saving procedures, while financial experts talk about investments. It's a great book to browse or read piecemeal. Highly recommended; sales of the book will be donated to cancer organizations. In The Time of Your Life, Wheeler, a columnist on aging for the Ventura County, CA, STAR, has collected her best work on health, recreation, creative activities, grandparenting, new careers, and relationships; her goal is to help readers grow older with zest and enjoyment. To her credit, she also covers the importance of pets, crimes against seniors, and end-of-life issues-subjects not found in similar books on aging. This is an enjoyable and helpful read, though Wheeler's family anecdotes and pictures detract. For larger libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
* "The Power Years offers an elixir of hope, optimism and can-do spirit." (USA Today, October 3, 2005)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470051320
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/3/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

KEN DYCHTWALD, Ph.D., a world-renowned psychologist and gerontologist, is the author of numerous bestselling books including Age Wave, Bodymind, and Age Power. He is widely viewed as North America's most original thinker and leading visionary on the longevity revolution. As a sought-after advisor to major global corporations and organizations, he lectures widely and appears frequently in broadcast and print media, including the Today show, 60 Minutes, and Good Morning America. See his Web site, www.agewave.com.

DANIEL J. KADLEC has won multiple writing awards in his nine years as a columnist and senior writer at Time magazine and in previous years while a columnist and editor at USA Today. Author of Masters of the Universe, Kadlec has been a contributing editor to CNN and has appeared on major networks on shows such as Good Morning America, CNBC, and PBS's Wall Street Week, and the Nightly Business Report.

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Read an Excerpt

The Power Years

By Ken Dychtwald Daniel Kadlec

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-67494-X

Chapter One

Welcome to the Power Years

Do you long for a life without work or pressure in which your days are spent baking for the grandchildren or playing eighteen holes of golf in the morning, followed by a leisurely lunch and afternoon of bridge, then cocktails, a delicious early dinner, and a good movie? After all, that's how it worked for our grandparents and parents, isn't it? We grew up surrounded by this model of a leisure-filled later life.

Please forget everything you've been told. It's not your obligation to go away just because you're getting older. Nor is it your birthright to cede all responsibility to your community and mankind so that you may lead a life of leisure in retirement. Of course, you may choose these paths if you wish, but in our view that would be a mistake. Certainly there is no guarantee that you'll be able to afford a carefree romp through later life or even that you'll enjoy it if that's where you can afford to wind up. Reinventing yourself and repowerment-ramping up life where and when you choose and in ways that excite you, not winding down into obscurity-is the mold-shattering, exciting new stage that will come next for our generation.

While we've had our heads down toiling away these past few decades, spending more time than we might have envisioned at work and raising our children, the world has changed enormously. As we all know, theInternet, global trade, medical breakthroughs, and more are speeding up the pace of life even as life itself is being extended, posing new challenges in our careers and families. In this book, we cannot hope to deal with all the changes confronting our lives. Yet it's vitally important for each of us to appreciate just how different things really are and will become as we move into the next stage of life, a stage that we-the eighty-four million North Americans born between 1946 and 1964 as well as hundreds of millions more maturing adults around the world-will redefine as the power years.

Reinventing Retirement

The majority of our parents worked for one company all their lives. When their careers ended at age sixty-five, the norm was that they got a nice party and a gold watch and happily hopped on board a slow cruise into the sunset. Forty years of toil behind and the kids now grown, both Dad and Mom were done. They floated over the horizon, eagerly retreating to a life of leisure.

For their employers, it was a great deal. They got to bring in younger, more energetic, and less expensive labor.

For a lot of reasons, many of us won't have the same options that our parents had. For one thing, government and employee-sponsored entitlements have questionable futures, and the idea of early retirement, or even for many of us the idea of retirement at sixty-five, took a quantum leap backward when the global stock market bubble burst in 2000, eroding much of our savings and more than a few of our dreams.

Demographic trends threaten to foist an unprecedented labor shortage on the world economy. Companies of all sizes and shapes are going to want us to stick around longer and will be willing to provide us with a great deal more flexibility to do so. Meanwhile, our careers have been far more mobile. We've bounced among three, four, five, or more employers, often in as many cities, and we won't have been with any one of them long enough for a gold watch, much less the pension and wall-to-wall retirement health coverage that our parents might have been blessed with.

The slow, lazy cruise that our fathers and mothers eagerly signed up for turned out to be a little too slow and lazy. Look hard enough and you'll see that many of our parents have begun to rebel against the idea that they should fade away; they're going back to school and back to work, taking up writing or painting and otherwise reengaging with a society they had dropped out of. Throughout this book we will lean on the experiences of what we call Ageless Explorers, the growing number of leading-edge adults of our parents' generation and some from even farther back, to illustrate the changing nature of the power years. Our hope is that you'll find these anecdotes inspirational and that the glimmers they provide will meld into a beam of light that helps you navigate to-and through-your power years.

These years present a unique opportunity for us. The notion of staying in the game longer, of not having to step aside at a set age, will liberate us, setting us free to lead the lives we want to lead by staying engaged, vital, and youthful as long as we like. Opening before us is a whole new stage of life squeezed between our primary career years and a steadily retreating old age. Just as we moved from adolescence into adulthood three or four decades ago, we are now pushing into a whole new period of discovery and personal growth-what we call middlescence-as more and more of us make the most of the many fruitful decades that lie ahead.

Our generation is coming to realize that we will have numerous decades to live past the age commonly thought to be the time to stop working. What we do with that time will set us apart from all previous generations.

This book is for people like you who are beginning to contemplate what comes next and how to make the most of it. Make no mistake-this is not a retirement guide. It's about unretiring-about how to shed your dated preconceptions about life after forty, fifty, or sixty and stay in the game in ways you'll find satisfying and invigorating. Money is important, and we'll deal with that critical issue in chapter 7. But that's where this book stops being like anything you've read before. Countless opportunities are developing to let you live all aspects of your life to the fullest-from staying connected with your kids and grandkids (and, eventually, your great-grandkids) to choosing emerging housing designs and lifestyles for a new, active time in your life with fewer responsibilities; from finding love all over again with your spouse (or someone new, should you be searching) to going back to school for the fun of it; from where, how, and why to make new friends to where and why you should pick up stakes and move to a city or town that will let you live and thrive as you always dreamed.

We'll discover new passions and explore long-dormant desires. We'll stay active by working longer or volunteering, by trying our hand at writing or painting or running a small business, and our continued involvement will promote our well-being and prove a vital resource to the communities in which we live.

You are on a far different life track from that of your parents; you just may not fully understand it yet. But you soon will, and this book is meant to help you as you ramp up your learning curve.

On a recent vacation with his family in Orlando, Florida, Dan was staying at a wonderful resort, the Gaylord, where he observed an apparent oddity that both encouraged and, at least initially, dumbfounded him. The hotel had two equally spacious and convenient swimming pools on either side of the grounds. One was designated as a quiet zone for rest-seeking grown-ups and marked "No One under 18 Allowed." That pool area might as well have been a mausoleum-not a single person was in the water. The other pool, by contrast, was overrun with raucous teens and quite a few bawling toddlers. What stunned Dan was that many of the mature adults he would have expected to find at the quiet pool had opted away from that morguelike environ, preferring-even in some cases with no children or grandchildren in sight-the lively atmosphere at the pool bustling with the energy of youth.

Which pool will you choose in the years ahead?

When is the last time you seriously asked yourself what you will do with the rest of your life? Is there a second or a third career you'd like to explore? A small business you want to start? Do you want to study art or open a bed and breakfast? Have you dreamed of taking up acting or going to cooking school? Where should you live for the perfect combination of weather, fun, friendships, family, lovers, intellectual stimulation, and lifestyle? What will all that free time do to our marriages and other relationships? Where and how will we live? What will keep our minds active and our lives relevant? Will this be the worst period of our lives-or could it possibly be the best? Most important: what choices must we make now to ensure the kind of extended life after career that we have always envisioned?

You can't get there if you don't think about it, yet few people ask the key questions. We assume that we can deal with these issues when the time comes, reasoning that as long as we manage to save a lot of money, everything will work out. But this is backward thinking. A big pile of money shouldn't be your primary goal. Who you want to be, what you want to feel, and what you want to do with your power years are the critical considerations, and from those spring the types of choices and trade-offs you'll need to consider.

You wouldn't think of building a house without a plan. You wouldn't go on vacation without thinking through your itinerary and even your wardrobe. So why leave your power years to chance? Even if you're not wealthy, you can enjoy an active, fulfilling, and youthful next stage of life by understanding your goals and creating a carefully thought-out plan that makes those goals possible. In this book, we will guide you through every aspect of this blueprint and show you a wide range of choices and possibilities you may never have considered.

As we step over the threshold into maturity, we will transform the stage of later life known as retirement into something that squares with our generation's desire to work, play, and love on our own terms, staying young in mind and body, and engaging in new pursuits without becoming bogged down with too many numbing obligations. With greater energy and drive, higher expectations for our later years, and a greater willingness to repeatedly reinvent ourselves than any previous generation, perhaps we'll reshape work into something that we can do three days a week, or eight months each year, or seven years per decade. And with extended longevity, why wait until maturity for a long break? Why not take time off along the way? Instead of being stuck on a one-career path for life, why not go back to school, learn some new skills, and reinvent ourselves again and again?

The Baby Boom Becomes the Age Wave

What we're naming the power years has also been called by some our third age, a concept derived from the European tradition of adult education. This view holds that there are three ages of man, each with its own special focus, challenges, and opportunities. In the first age, from birth to about thirty, our primary tasks of life are biological development, learning, and survival. During most of human history, the average life expectancy wasn't much longer than the end of the first age, and as a result, the entire thrust of society was oriented toward these basic drives.

In the second age, from about thirty to sixty, our concerns focus on forming a family, parenting, and work. We apply the lessons we learned during the first age to these responsibilities. Until very recently, most people didn't live much beyond the second age. But with today's longer life expectancies, new generations of youthful, open-minded, and high-spirited men and women are not interested in fading into the sunset at sixty.

A third age, which spans the period from sixty to ninety (and longer), is unfolding ahead of us. This is a less-pressured period in which we can further develop our intellect, imagination, emotional maturity, and wisdom. This is also a period when we can give something back to society based on the lessons, resources, and experiences we have accumulated over a lifetime. We need not be social outcasts, but instead can assume the role of a living bridge between yesterday and tomorrow, and in this way play a critical role that no other group is as well suited to perform.

In recent decades, a small but growing number of older adults have been rejecting the social pressure to "act their age." They have been rebelling against ageist stereotypes and seeking to remain productive, involved, and late blooming well into their mature years. They are everywhere-within our families, among our friends, and in our communities: the executive who becomes a high school teacher; the grandmother who goes back to college or who writes her first book; the accountant who becomes an artist. Ask them when they think they'll start to feel elderly inside, and they'll probably say never!

In his book The Virtues of Aging, Jimmy Carter lit the repowerment path in a single phrase at the end of this telling passage: "In one of her hour-long special interviews, Barbara Walters covered all the aspects of my life, from the farm to submarines, from business to the governor's mansion, service in the White House, and from president back home to Plains. Then she asked me a question that required some serious thought: 'Mr. President, you have had a number of exciting and challenging careers. What have been your best years?' After a few moments I responded with absolute certainty: 'Now is the best time of all.'"

If the past fifty years of boomer evolution have taught us anything, it is this: as we enter each new life stage we keep what we like and replace the rest, like remodeling a house.

We'll be moving and experimenting with new lifestyles. As we stay in the game longer both socially and economically, we'll reshape family and community life. One breathtaking finding from the Merrill Lynch New Retirement Survey surfaced when we asked boomers how they would describe themselves. Ten times as many survey respondents said they "put others first" as said "put themselves first." A far cry from our rambunctious teenage years and our swinging single period, we're now focused on keeping our marriages strong, on trying our best to raise healthy and happy children, and on caregiving our parents (the average boomer now has more parents than children to care for). The me generation has grown up to be a we generation. This attitude shift will reshape philanthropy and volunteerism and may very well be the cornerstone of the new retirement values. Today's retirees have the lowest volunteer rate in the country, while those our age who are actively helping out in our kids' schools and in community churches/synagogues through various philanthropic activities actually have the highest volunteer rate. If this desire to make a difference continues into retirement, we may see a huge change in the role of retirees overall-from taking to giving.

With the right insight and planning, we'll be able to merge what we most enjoy in our youth-energy, freedom, flexibility, health, and personal growth-with the good things that come with age, things such as experience, perspective, wisdom, and depth. One thing is clear: as our massive numbers ultimately catch the wave, the ripples will stretch far and wide.

The Seven Reasons These Are the Power Years

Why are these becoming the power years? Here are seven reasons why the rest of your life has more potential than you may have considered:

1. We'll Be Living Longer and Healthier

In 1800, the average life expectancy was less than forty years. By 1900, when one in five babies didn't make it to their fifth birthday and common causes of death were diarrhea, influenza, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, life expectancy at birth was just forty-seven years. Thanks to advances in public health, nutrition, and wellness-oriented lifestyles, today the average lifetime has stretched to more than seventy-seven years in all of the modernized nations of the world. Japan has one of the highest expectancies: seventy-eight years for men and eighty-four for women, for an overall average of eighty-one years. The tiny nation of Andorra, squeezed between France and Spain, tops the world charts in this regard with newborn boys likely to reach eighty-one and newborn girls expected to make it to eighty-seven, for an overall average of eighty-four years. The United States is far down the list, with an overall life expectancy of seventy-seven-behind Singapore (eighty-two), Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, and Italy (all of which have expected average life spans at birth of eighty years). If you've already made it to fifty, you can expect to live at least until your mid-eighties, and thanks to impending scientific breakthroughs, these numbers will keep increasing.


Excerpted from The Power Years by Ken Dychtwald Daniel Kadlec Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
Welcome to the Power Years     5
New Ways to Have Fun
Rediscovering and Forging Vital Relationships     49
Creating Your New Dream Job     81
Lifelong Learning Adventures     115
Where and How to Live     147
Achieving Financial Freedom     179
Leaving a Legacy     211
Authors'Note     237
Notes     239
Index     243
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