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Balancing Work and Play in Retirement: is “Consulteering” the Answer?

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We recently read an article in the New York Times that seems to reflect the sentiment of more and more of our clients. The title is “Work a Little, Play a Little: a New Retirement Strategy.” Click on the title to read this recent piece, and see if you can relate.

The article spotlights several retirees including a 68 year old man from the northeast, Dane Peters, who retired recently as head of a Montessori school in Brooklyn. Peters coined the term “consulteering” to describe the three-part blend of activities around which he has based his active retirement. As the New York Times puts it, “he has fused a life of consulting, volunteering and leisure time,” or as Peters describes it, “paid work, giving back and relaxation.” That’s what he means by consulteering, which Peters calls his “trifecta.”

The article says that a growing number of retirees are seeking a new kind of equilibrium in their senior years. They’re not interested in working full time, but they’re also not ready for a life of nothing but leisure. They also may need to augment retirement income, and they want to keep using the well-developed professional skills they employed in their career. Mix in a desire to give back through volunteering and you have a perfect blueprint combining paid professional work, unpaid volunteer projects, and time spent relaxing on one’s own or with family.

This balance of work and play is an important idea for several reasons. For one thing, improved health means many retirees will live longer and enjoy greater vitality. They may need the extra cash that part time work generates, and they may also be too active and restless to settle down prematurely into a “classic” leisure-based retirement. At the same time, it’s also true that national surveys report a declining level of satisfaction in retirement. A 15-year study done by the University of Michigan showed a fairly steep decline in the number of people saying they were “very satisfied” with their retirement: the figure was 60 percent in 1999, but in 2012, just 13 years later, it had dropped to 49 percent. This suggests that “traditional retirement no longer satisfies as many older people as it once did,” says the New York Times.

One statement in the New York Times article really jumped off the page at us. It read, “Staving off retirement blues takes preparation.” In the case of the retired school administrator from Brooklyn, he and his wife planned every aspect of their “consulteering” strategy including where they would live. Other retirees, however, find their plans disrupted by the marketplace. According to a report from Transamerica, as many as 60 percent of retirees surveyed last year said “they were pushed out of their jobs before age 65, largely for reasons out of their control,” reports the New York Times.

The point of this important article is clear: you need a plan you can count on if you intend to enjoy a fruitful, active and secure retirement. Your goal should be to protect your assets, to avoid unplanned institutional care and to escape the fate of becoming a burden to your loved ones. We can help you prepare a comprehensive retirement plan, called a LifePlan, that will accomplish all this and more. Are your legal affairs in order? Have you planned for your health care needs? What about financial preparation, family communication and housing options? These will all become part of your LifePlan.

There’s an easy, no-cost way to get started: register to attend a free LifePlanning Seminar. The details are on the Upcoming Events tab on this website. These are highly enjoyable, information-packed sessions designed to acquaint you with the LifePlanning process and to help you get started on the road to a secure retirement. And remember, there’s no cost to attend. We’ll look forward to meeting you soon and to helping you plan for the retirement you’ve always dreamed of – with just the right blend of work, volunteering and pure fun!

(originally reported at

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