Those in Mission mode rarely see themselves as just "having a job" or "going to work." They often "feel fortunate" to be paid, and for being appreciated in doing nothing more than "following their inner compass."

An irrefutable fact of our times is the potential life crisis at the junction of life where retirement intersects with our need/want/desire for work. I have had the privilege of participating in this meaningful discussion with literally thousands of advisors and their clients with the publication of my book, The New Retirementality (Wiley, 2008). The discussion continues to expand in our culture. I believe that this discussion will become the key discussion regarding retirement in the decade ahead. Retirement specialists must strive to become sub-specialists in work theory and be able to provide some direction and education in this specific arena, which is key to one's fulfillment in life.

One group at the leading edge of this discussion is Civic Ventures, founded by Mark Freedman of San Francisco and their Web site,, which promotes the idea of combining purpose, passion and a paycheck (what I like to call "collecting a playcheck"). will help you: learn by finding out more about purpose-filled careers in the second half of life, work by starting your journey to a meaningful encore career, and finally connect by meeting the people and organizations making encore careers a reality.

Mark Freedman makes the compelling case that the longevity revolution-pushing life expectancies closer to 100-is not adding to the end of our lives as much as adding to the "late middle" of our lives. Freedman says that a new stage of life is emerging-the working retired-as millions of Americans are finding themselves in a state of "suspended identity" and are being forced to "un-retire."

Midlife is expanding like never before and is pregnant with possibilities for fulfillment for all of us. Work is a central discussion in this expansion.

In the industrial age era, "work" became a four-letter word, saddled with the baggage of soulless tasks and exploitive industrialists. In the modern age, where the majority of us trade intellectual and relational capital for a paycheck, the very definition of work is going through a revival. We are truly in a Renaissance period in the evolution of what work means to our lives. In many ways we find ourselves in our work. We discover who we are and who we are not. We not only discover our strengths and weaknesses, but also, at a deeper level, we discover affirmation of our purpose on this planet and of our potential to positively impact others.

I'm reminded of a terrific analogy offered by Victor Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning), who stated that each of our lives resembles the work of a sculptor who chips away everything that is not, to reveal what is.

In many respects, our work is a process of chipping away at the things that we are not to discover who it is that we are. We are literally "hammering out our values" to someday reveal the absolute best form that we can become.

We can no longer afford to gloss over or ignore this core discussion for the next generation of "retirees" (what they have been called for lack of a better term). They are, in fact, "searchees" or "remodelers" of their own lives more than anything else. Becoming educated and conversant in the discussion regarding the "retirement that works" is quickly becoming a linchpin in the successful retirement planning practice.

©2010 Mitch Anthony. All rights reserved. Mitch is the president of the Financial Life Planning Institute and Advisor Insights Inc. He is an industry leader in training advisors on building life-centered relationships. He can be reached at [email protected] or 507.282.2723.

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