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As was expressed in 2004-5 surveys and again in 2014, Boomers want to keep working beyond traditional retirement age. Now there’s evidence they mean it. A recent study by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave of workers over age 50 revealed these findings:

  • 72% say their “retirement” will include some form of working. Obviously we need a new word to label this non-retirement.
  •  Twice as many respondents say the most important reason to work is for the mental stimulation (62%) rather than money (31%).
  • 80& of those working say they are doing it because they want to.
  • 83% say working helps keep them more youthful.
  • Why do they want to work? – Boomer continuing workers fall into 4 categories:

        -       33% are “caring contributors” desiring to give back and make a difference

        -       24% are “life balancers” who want jobs that allow them to keep valued social connections

        -       15% are workaholics – still driven to achieve and feeling in their prime

        -       28% are “earnest earners” who need the income and would not choose to be working otherwise.

  • 58% of those working have transitioned to a different line of work from their major career.
  • Their advice to others;

        -       Be open to trying something new (76%)

        -       To do something you really enjoy, be willing to earn less (73%)

So assume Boomers will be in the work world for some time. Understanding their motivations for working and what they are looking to contribute and get out of their work is valuable in getting the most productive outcomes for both solo work and multi-generational teams. A continuing challenge will be achieving effective cross-generational conversation and collaboration.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com


When senior professionals who are used to being in charge must make way for new leadership, they may be able to stay productive in valuable new roles for the firm.

Here are some that have been developed at our client firms or that we know of, or we suggest:

*  Chief Learning Officer (professional development)

*  Chief Diversity Officer

*  Administrative Partner for a practice group

*  Hiring Partner responsible for lateral recruiting and integration

*  Chief Business Development Officer (to work with the Marketing Department and be able to meet with prospective clients as a firm “partner”)

*  Pro Bono Director (partner level)

Of course, the partners need to be willing to adjust their compensation, but they should be able to cut back hours - a flexibility bonus.

Obviously, in the case of many of these, a firm can only utilize one person in the position. A firm could have several administrative partners (non-equity) and project managers for practice groups and attorneys whose function is business development leads and client relationship management without performing billable work or being a major business generator.

Firms (desperately) need more mentoring, training and coaching for associates and junior partners. It is often not being done diligently and frequently because attorneys are not compensated for these functions and often not even given non-financial rewards, including much praise. Even people who don’t need the money want to feel valued. That is a big issue we find with our clients. Not feeling valued is often more of a source of resentment and poor morale than reduced or lack of financial compensation among transitioning partners.

So, one of our transitioning principles and recommendations is compensation during the transitioning process - compensation at the attorney’s highest level, but rather a figure sufficient to provide an incentive and security for doing transitioning right and helping the heirs apparent and the firm. Firm support of a transitioning process will take away potential stigmas and convey that the individual is valued and is continuing to contribute to the firm.

Transitioning partners also need to develop some excitement for what they can do work-wise after they leave the firm, should they want to keep working - and many Boomers will, in some capacity. So some transitioners will decide they have attractive options and not want to hang on.

(c) Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com

Note: This blog is an excerpt from the 2014 edition of The Rainmaking Machine by Phyllis Weiss Haserot (Thomson Reuters/Westlaw) to be published summer 2014.


This week Maria Bartiromo’s “On the Money” (CNBC, 6/23/13) had a feature on where the Baby Boomers are moving in retirement or whatever passes for their version of the next phase of life with guest Richard Florida, co-founder of “The Atlantic Cities,” reporting on their study. The Boomers’ choices seem like great ones to me and not really surprising given their desire to stay part of the action and pursue continuous learning. The questions center around the impact on Gen Y/Millennials.

The study findings indicate a definite trend of Boomers moving to large cities (New York, San Francisco, and other urban areas such as Portland, Seattle and others). The other growing choice is college towns. Madison WI, Ithaca NY and Ann Arbor MI were cited.

In addition to intellectual stimulation, the Boomers making or contemplating moves are looking for good restaurants, good health care and to be near the action. They also want to be near where their adult children are located to maintain those ties and spend time with grandchildren. And their kids are attracted to big cities where things are happening.

The potential problem for the Gen Yers, who are not trying to get away from their parents in large numbers and also want to maintain close ties, is the economics of this trend. With the usually better economically endowed Boomers buying or renting housing in those desirable urban areas and depleting the supply, the younger generation can have a difficult time affording housing where they want to go for work and an active life.

So will this turn out to be another financial obstacle for the Gen Y/Millennials that threatens the future they seek? Or is it an opportunity for the generations living in densely populated areas with so many opportunities to work together on urban issues and create more manageable lives with less commuting and the need to own cars and possessions that are readily available to the public in these areas?

As not only a congenital optimist but also a former urban planner, I am hoping for the latter. Please comment with your thoughts.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com


Enjoy and gain some insights on inter-generational challenges, including the need for knowledge transfer and leadership transfer between and across the generations.

Let me know what you think. I welcome comments, questions and all feedback.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com 




Coach World TV with Terry Yoffe, Featuring Phyllis Weiss Haserot ...
Coach World TV with Terry Yoffe (Phyllis Weiss Haserot - 09/10/12)



Whatever generation you belong to, whatever stage of your business as a trusted advisor, you are more likely to encounter inter-generational challenges than ever in the past. That’s because external forces and formative influences have resulted in greater differences in how the generations view money, lifestyle, investing, philanthropy and relationships.

Money may not be the root of all evil, but it often leads to the primal “fight or flight” response.

Talks about money are often the hardest discussions among work colleagues, family members, friends and even in instances of our own self-talk. It’s an emotional thing tied up with perceptions of our self-worth or somebody else’s. For some people money is more important as a scorecard than the actual value of what they can do with the money. In families it’s tied to how much one is loved compared with others 

So it’s easy to see why money talks are avoided, even before taking such huge steps as marriage, living together and having children. Yet it’s been documented that relationships turn out happier when money conversations do take place before major decisions.

As I work with financial services professionals, I witness the tensions that can occur over money. Advisors often find it difficult to get their clients to talk with family members or business associates about money in order to do estate planning and decide how they would like to donate money philanthropically. And advisor teams may have their own money conflicts when they neglect to discuss in advance their attitudes, expectations, transitioning and exit strategies.

 So, yes, money discussions can be volatile, but it’s worse to avoid them. Instead:

 *    Establish a shared language about money.

 *    Identify and avoid “trigger words.”

 *    Understand what key words connote for each party.

 *    Identify and be aware of your own “trigger words.”

This last point may be the most important for anyone trying to facilitate the discussion, whether among clients or family.

 Phyllia Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com


My guest blogger for this post is Brannon Poe, CPA of Poe Group Advisors in Charleston, SC, who advises accounting practices on practice management and selling their practices and author of Accountant’s Flight Plan.

There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang on to

someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't go?

Danny DeVito, in The War of the Roses

When it comes to practice sales, timing is everything. It’s rare for practice partners to have the same exit timetable. Tensions mount when one partner wants out and the remaining partner either doesn’t want to buy the business or sell to a third party. If partners are the same age, the odds for a smooth dissolution are improved, but even a couple of years’ difference can strain a sale. 

In a small practice, the process of selling or retiring is complicated for both the senior and junior partner in question. Motivations are completely opposed. The senior partner is ready to move on, while the junior member is often very resistant—understandably apprehensive about the changes this will mean for the business’s operation and his or her livelihood. Change is rarely welcome, and taking on a new outside partner can be a frightening prospect, as is the possibility of running the practice without the senior partner. Finding the right replacement partner is far easier said than done—just ask any departing partner who has tried to please an objection-filled remaining partner! Sometimes the junior partner is empowered by this naysayer role, and any perceived previous injustices seem to rise to the surface as negotiations move forward.

Making someone a partner is a significant step, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you feel that partnership is the right path for your practice, great care should be given to selecting an attorney who can help structure your partnership agreement. This contract should clearly address exit strategies by any one or a group of partners. Excellent legal advice at this juncture is one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Spend some time and money on your partnership agreement and make sure the lawyer you use has significant experience in this area. You’ll be glad you did.

Brannon Poe, CPA


The above is an excerpt from Accountant’s Flight Plan, Best Practices for Today’s Firms.



Marc Freedman, Founder and CEO, Civic Ventures / Encore Careers, announced that Encore Fellowships have been established as a retirement benefit by the first company to embrace the idea in a big way, Intel.

Encore Fellowships – paid, part-time, yearlong assignments at local nonprofits – provide a new source of experienced talent to organizations solving social problems, while offering those who have finished midlife careers the chance to transition to encore careers in the nonprofit sector. Intel has become the first company to offer Encore Fellowships to all of its retiring employees in the United States.

Intel retirees who become Encore Fellows will get a $25,000 stipend and six months of health insurance coverage, both paid by Intel. “Retirement benefits are no longer just about retiring,” said Freedman. “Instead retirement benefits can help cover the costs of transitioning to a new, encore stage of work for the greater good.”

Forbes columnist Kerry Hannon wrote, “The end of corporate retirement benefits is an old story. The rise of retirement benefits, well that’s worth some hoopla.”

Do you think we will see this idea blossom into a real trend?  Should people be seriously thinking about this when they hit 50 or 55?

Do you have a story to tell to www.encore.org?

Phyllis Weiss Haserot     www.pdcounsel.com 



From Alan Weiss’ Monday Morning Memo 6/27/11

Alan Weiss is no relation of mine, but is definitely in tune with the way I feel about the retirement concept. Here is his Monday Morning Memo 6/27/11. http://www.contrarianconsulting.com

This week's focus point: "Retirement" has no real meaning any more. Most productive people, young and old, continually seek out new ways to express their talents and rejoice in life. To foresee an arbitrary age -- when many are at the height of their powers -- as a time to cease being creative and active is merely a form of conscious decline. Producing value and providing happiness are endeavors that should never be "completed."

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved

Reprinted with permission.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com


Marc Freedman, founder of Civic Ventures’ most recent book, “The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife,” deals with the newly defined phase of life between midlife and old age. He calls it the encore phase, rejecting “young old” and “working retired” labels as unsatisfactory and inaccurate.

My side note: Interestingly, another phase of life has been identified in relatively recent years as well between adolescence and adulthood, but it is not referred to in the book. It is known either as emerging adulthood or enduring adolescence. I mention it because together the two phases illustrate how the lifecycle is stretching out not only in years, but also diversifying, presenting complexities, challenges and opportunities we all need to understand. The big shift is even shiftier than Marc Freedman contemplates.

But back to his focus on the post-midlife shift. Freedman does an excellent job of describing the oxymoronic nature of this stage in great detail: “A World Out of Whack,” as one of the chapters is titled…”individuals are thrown into an identity chasm”… “myth of Boomer reinvention.”  Freedman sees the “reinvention fantasy” as part of the problem. He sees the “obsolescence of much of what’s accepted as hard reality by many economists and demographers of today.”

Currently, social entrepreneur Freedman says,” the transition from midlife to this new encore stage is a do-it-yourself project with little guidance, few role models, and scarce resources.” Imagine the windfall of talent that could result, he says, helping carry us toward a new generation of solutions for growing problems in areas like education, the environment and health care.

Freedman advocates for a new map of life and how to navigate it. Boomers will not deal with their 60s and 70s as generations before, both given their fitness and their mindsets. He is optimistic that this encore stage can be characterized by “purpose, contribution, and commitment, particularly to the well being of future generations.” (I am sure the skeptical Gen Xers and Yers will be glad to see that happen.)

Freedman lays out 10 possibilities for translating opportunity to large-scale fruition. The missing piece is where the funding and institutional fortitude to make it a reality will come from. He is hoping his imaginative and inspirational ideas will attract the attention and resources.

Marc Freedman is not only an important and articulate voice, he is a doer. And with a fortunate alignment of the stars and a great deal of effort, it might happen.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot       www.pdcounsel.com




By not retiring on the schedule expected, what affect are Boomers having on the younger generations’ careers? I wrote about this issue at the request of Aging Today, a magazine (March/April 2011) of the American Society on Aging.  Here’s my briefer answer.

In a thriving economy, this question would not even be asked. We’d be challenged by what was expected before the severe recession in 2008 – a labor and talent shortage. Forecasts said that the retiring Boomers couldn’t be replaced with the much smaller Gen X cohort – even with the ambitious Gen Y/Millennials vying for quick promotions. Eventually the supply and demand balance will change to reflect those demographic forecasts.

There shouldn’t be an expectation of a mandatory retirement age for people who are productive, energetic, knowledgeable, connected and willing to be team players. While that’s certainly not all the Boomers, it describes a lot of them. If all the Boomers left with their knowledge, skills, judgment and contacts, the workplace and organizations in general would suffer significantly.

 On the other hand, shifts are in order, and younger people need opportunities to grow, prosper and lead. That means that many boomers need to accept a shift in their roles, a transfer of leadership sooner or later and frequently, situations in which they are reporting to and supporting younger managers. For my thoughts on the last, read http://www.secondact.com/2011/04/how-to-survive-a-kid-boss/

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com



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