Revitalizing Retirement: Reshaping Your Identity, Relationships, and Purpose.

Book Review by Aricia LaFrance

In her new book Revitalizing Retirement (2009, APA), counseling psychologist Nancy Schlossberg asserts "The most outstanding characteristic of the boomers is their diversity."  They are from all walks of life with different motivations and interests and Schlossberg does a beautiful job of finding commonalities to reach retirees where they are.

She neatly tackles this complex and difficult issue by dividing boomers into several groups - continuers still identify with their previous work, easy gliders take things a day at a time, adventurers like to try new things, searchers are looking for something meaningful, involved spectators are on the side-lines of their previous work and retreaters  are taking a break.  She explores the positives and concerns for each group and goes on to provide ideas for each group in a well-organized, common sense fashion.

Need to Matter

Her assertion throughout the book is that we have one thing in common - we need to matter.  Schlossberg presents an intelligent, insightful, relevant and tightly written 241 page book around this idea.

She makes her case through quotes, resources and statistics but not to the extent of making the work dry.  In fact, the book seems to carry a warmth with it.  Complete with descriptions, exercises and resources, reading it is a bit like having a personal coach who offers sage advice and powerful questions.

Packed with information from good, reliable sources and experts, Schlossberg expands on these ideas around mattering and then provides easy, straight-forward, useful and quick exercises.

While many retirement books focus on financial issues, this book does not.  Instead, it takes a holistic approach reflected in the subtitle: "reshaping your identity, relationships and purpose."  She talks more about the psychology of retirement than the nuts and bolts.  She discusses building structure and creating your retirement path and then provides exercises to help the reader do just that.

The book includes a workbook divided throughout to provide exercises after each relevant topic is discussed, allowing the reader to move through understanding each concept, seeing examples, adapting the ideas to their own needs and then completing exercises so they finish the book with a clear, whole life retirement plan.

She sees retirement as a phase more than a stage and focuses on the importance of self-awareness and being prepared in order to transition gracefully and happily into retirement.  Just as financial planning isn't suddenly relevant at 65, so it is with all other aspects of retirement.  Planning helps things go more smoothly.

A Time of Revolution

This book is timely.  People are starting to wake up to the idea that there is no specific prescription for retirement.  There's no right or wrong.  It's about doing what works for you.This idea is sweeping through and revolutionizing career development industry and Schlossberg expertly translates the idea into retirement.

It is ideal for clients who are retiring, but beyond that - it is also good for anyone looking to change their lifestyle.  I've recommended this book to people in their 20's and 30's who want to live life with greater purpose and mattering.  I feel the book can also be used in conjunction with coaching - as a tool to help people get a good start to their retirement.  Nearly everyone will find something new and useful as Schlossberg addresses retirement as a multi-faceted issue

Aricia LaFranceAricia E. LaFrance, MSE, is a certified career and retirement coach as well as a professional parenting coach.  Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Family Circle and Mothering magazine.  She currently runs a free online community at www.dynamicfamilycoachingsolutions.com to provide support and encouragement to all parents.

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