Briefing Notes: Rethinking Retirement

Published: August 9, 2020

The 34th | a Longevity Edition


Long before 2020, un-retirement has been steadily gaining steam. Led by Baby Boomers who found that life after retirement wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

This “un-retirement” trend continues to build, according to a 2017 Rand Corp. study showing that 39 percent of Americans 65 and older who are currently employed had previously retired. And more than half of those 50 and older who are not working and not searching for work said they would work if the “right opportunity came along,” the study found.

The trend is being driven largely by older folks returning to work not necessarily because they need the money. Un-retirement is about folks going back to work because they want to work. They miss the challenges, the accomplishments, and the collegiality.

Now, with the financial crisis, many Gen Xers are having to reconsider their retirement goals, with plans for future financial security potentially at risk. Though again, the current situation is simply exacerbating what’s already true before.

According to a 2018 survey from TD Ameritrade, 43 percent of Gen Xers say they’re behind on retirement saving and only one-third of 39- to 53-year-olds expressed confidence in being very secure financially once they retire.

We can always look for ways to get back on track of our retirement plans. Though it’s smarter to think of it as building your financial base rather than dreaming of an idle retirement, as suggested by serial entrepreneur and Gen Xer Brian Clark.

Really, the main question is whether we’d want to retire. Yes, we may want to do something different from what we’re doing now. But do we want to completely stop working? (I don’t.)

Here’s where the Baby Boomers are paving the way for us. (Thank you!) They’re redefining what retired life is all about. They’re in great shape. And, they still feel young. Most importantly, many have no desire to stop working. They’re showing us it can be done and how we can do it!

Louise Klaber retired at age 65 from a 20-year career in organizational development. She’s now working again at age 81 — not because she needs the hourly wage but because the work is just as important to her vitality. When asked when she will finally quit working, she said, “God only knows. I’m having way too much fun.”


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  • Three tips for emerging from the pandemic happier and healthier. Dan Buettner has spent the last 20 years researching the places in the world where people live the longest and experience the most happiness. And he believes the pandemic is giving us a unique chance to hit reboot, alter our environment, and live more fulfilling lives.


Celebrate generally refers to an accomplishment, something we had a hand in making. Often, our focus is on the next thing we need to do or on pursuing the next goal that we lose sight of why we’re working in the first place. It helps to simply be grateful and celebrate the small stuff that happened throughout the day, even without your help.” — Rob Hatch

Have you got a project (a new podcast, a new website, a new product, service, artwork, what have you) that you would like to get featured here? Hit ‘reply’ and tell me about it. Let’s support each other!


People around the world are having fewer babies. At least 23 countries are expected to have their populations drop to half of what they are now by the year 2100. (Whut?) A recent study says Earth is headed for a “jaw-dropping” population decline. But aren’t fewer humans better for a world that’s rapidly being drained of its resources? The researchers suggest that any positive consequences for the environment would be offset by the challenges of a rapidly aging population. Much older populations “will create enormous social change,” says Christopher Murray, co-author and researcher at the University of Washington. “Who pays tax in a massively aged world? Who pays for healthcare for the elderly? Who looks after the elderly? Will people still be able to retire from work?” Let’s file this under #nowwhat


… when we went to the theaters, queued up for popcorn, and saw films like The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Sixteen Candles, About Last Night? Ahh. Yes, those were the days my friend. “The Brat Pack” is a term of endearment given to the group of young actors who frequently appeared together in those coming-of-age films in the 80s. The “core” members were Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. Here’s where they are now.


🎙 A year ago, Marie Poulin found herself in an interesting situation. She has accidentally created a new career for herself, simply by sharing what she knew about this app called Notion. It started with a couple of videos on YouTube and before you know it, the CEO of Notion is calling her for collab opportunities. In the first episode of Season 4, we explore how Marie did it – leveraged her know-how and created a new career path (and how you can do it too!). 135. The Digital Workflow Strategist


Briefing Notes is researched, written, and edited by me alone. If you’re finding value in the newsletter, I’d so much appreciate you subsidizing my coffee habit 😊 It helps with the research and the writing!

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This past week, my role model, Joanna Penn, released the 500th episode of her podcast (The Creative Penn). Five hundred. What a milestone. What a body of work. What an inspiration. This is why I don’t want to/can’t retire! 😉

Best wishes for a productive week. Send over any comments, the number of fashion masks you own (fess up!), or your favorite 80s movie.

Stay safe. Stay sane. Wear a mask.

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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