Don’t Retire, Reinvent Your Life by Going to College

Barry Lenson

Don’t Retire, Reinvent Your Life by Going to College

The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Going Back to CollegeIf you’re a member of the baby boomer cohort – born between 1946 and 1964 – retirement probably means something different to you than it meant to your parents.

I’m certainly not aiming to write something bad about your parents or mine, but when you come right down to it...

  • Our parents wanted to relax when they hit retirement age. We baby boomers are looking for new challenges and new experiences.
  • Our parents thought that they already made their greatest contributions by the time they retired. In contrast, we boomers want to find new causes and new ways to “give back” to our country, our society, and the world. Maybe it’s because most of us grew up in the Woodstock era and wanted to change the world.
  • We have better health, and more energy, than most of our parents did at our age. Thanks to some remarkable advances in medical care over the last two decades, there really is some truth to the expressions “60 is the new 40” or, “50 is the new 30.” Plus, exercise and healthy eating have become part of the standard lifestyle for more boomers. The result is that even though many of us boomers are pausing to take stock of where our lives are, we are certainly not slowing down.

So, what are boomers doing as they hit retirement? The answer is, it depends on what they have been dreaming about during the prime working years of their lives. Many boomers are continuing to work at an undiminished pace. (“I mean, why retire?”) Others are volunteering to do charitable work, teach, or travel to parts of the world that they have never seen before.

Then there are the boomers who are going back to college. And there are a lot of them. New statistics are hard to find, but According to a 2007 survey conducted by U.S. News, the number of college students between the ages of 40 and 64 increased almost 20% - to almost two million students – between the years 1997 and 2007.

If you are a member of the boomer bulge, there are many reasons you might want to go back to college. Maybe you want to earn a degree in a new field, like education, so you can begin to teach. Maybe you want to start a company, and need to add some skills. Or maybe you simply want to energize your life by learning more.

If the idea of going back to college – or starting college – strikes you as promising, download your free copy of The StraighterLine Guide: How to Go Back to Collegewith no cost or obligation.


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