Pauley: It's my observation, based on some of the research we've been doing, that a person's spouse and family are tremendously important in either supporting or moderating a plan. I think Betsy needs to speak about this because, I think, she was the main bread winner when she left her corporate job. Is that correct?
McCarthy: At the time I did make more than my husband, Terry, so I was more the primary breadwinner. [My quitting] pretty much halved our income. But he was on board. His mother was a knitter and he has always been sort of in tune with knitting as something people love to do. I do think family and spousal support can't be emphasized enough. I know there are people whose families don't take knitting seriously. But in my family, Terry and I worked it out together.
Comment from Kathryn: If anyone has any thoughts about how to figure out what to reinvent yourself into, I'd love to hear about the process they went through to "get there." Nothing is lining itself up in front of me.
Pauley: Kathryn, join the club. Millions of us are unclear. I would just advise not to make this the equivalent of finding your soul mate. Just get out there and do things: volunteer, get a part-time job, take a class. It sounds pretty pat, but these are the ways you collect actual data about what makes you happiest. You need to try to find things out. I call these "trying times," and what I mean by that is it's a good time to be trying new things.
McCarthy: I love Jane's label of "trying times" because it emphasizes that you don't need to find, like, the perfect job analogous to the perfect spouse. In retirement or almost retirement, it's important to be open to the right next thing. Someone once told me it was helpful to do some visioning: Try to envision where your coffee cup would be and what you would be doing if you were doing something that you really loved or enjoyed. Honestly look at yourself and decide, "What do I love to do? What would be fun?" The phrase "trying times" is a wonderful label.
Comment from Linda W.: After 40 years, I retired in August 2008, at the age of 62, from the West Hartford, Connecticut, Board of Education, [where I worked] as an administrative assistant. I'm now in a new career working as a sales associate as a home furnishings retailer. I love it. There's no stress, no taking work home with you. It's just enjoyable.
Pauley: AARP research shows that our generation expects to work in retirement, which sounds counterintuitive but for many of us is just a matter of having somewhere to go and people to be with. A person doesn't necessarily have to find a perfect second act. It can just be about finding a way to become involved and engaged.
Comment from Reed: Hi Jane. It was great to see you on the Today show. This is such a great segment at a time when so many people are out of work or are losing their jobs. Could Betsy address how financially set people should be when reinventing themselves? That is, should you have a spouse that makes good money, have the house paid off? What amount of money should you have in a bank account separate form retirement funds?
Pauley: Neither Betsy nor I are financial experts, as you know. That said, I think we both agree that reinvention can be a future goal that you plan and prepare for. It might not be something you do this summer. It might be an idea you would like to launch in the summer of 2012, in which case you have some time to get financial advice and get financially ready to do whatever it is you want to do. One of the points I hope comes through our "Your Life Calling" series is the degree to which successful reinvention is the result of patience and planning.
McCarthy: It's important to be patient and do the planning that's necessary, and really test what it is you want to do before you do it. You need to know yourself and know what you want to do.
Pauley: To follow on that, people might be amused that Jane Pauley's brilliant idea was to return to television. I've been on television for 30 years. But for me, this form of television is quite different than anything I've done before. It takes everything that I liked best, and everything I most enjoy doing, and put it into one job. So to me, "Your Life Calling" is using life experience and an old skills-set in a brand new way.
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