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?
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.