Author, Entertainer

Hi friends! Here's a word to the wise about retirement planning in the 21st Century.

As a proud member of the "Greatest Generation" - with four daughters and 15 grandchildren - I have a vested interest in preparing wisely for their future.

People ask me all the time: "Pat, will you ever retire?"

My answer is simple: Never! Unless someone can show me the word "retirement" in the Good Book!

Truth is, in our second half of life we're free to discover and live our higher purpose. And to leave a legacy based on either shifting ground or a solid foundation of golden rules (and gold coins).

Today Americans' trust in our leadership and institutions seems to be in free-fall. Many Baby Boomers are now fearful they may outlive their savings and become dependent upon family or the kindness of strangers.

But I have good news for Boomers today: Fear not! You are standing on the threshold of a new era of productivity in your life IF you make wise choices. Wise choices create improved habits - healthy habits create an inspiring lifestyle and a fruitful destiny.

Come on Boomers, the Generations X, Y and Z need our help to become all they can be! Let's shift into gear, use our many gifts and move from surviving to THRIVING! We must demonstrate to every generation how to become a NEW Greatest Generation!



"Prime of Life" Boomers Arise!
By Craig R. Smith, Author and Swiss America Chairman

More than three decades ago I began a journey of serving the public with time-tested asset protection strategies amid changing economic and financial trends.

During that time I have financially supported numerous charitable organizations that are dedicated to serving and uplifting young and old alike, from celebrities to the downtrodden.

The time has now come to also focus on serving the purposes of my generation, Baby Boomers, in a new and exciting way: 1) To help Boomers discover their unique calling, dreams and visions and then 2) To help them connect with the resources needed to make these inspired dreams come to fruition.

Webster defines "retire" as: "1: to withdraw from action or danger, 2: to retreat for privacy, 3: to move backward, 4: to withdraw from occupation, conclude working or career."

All four of these "withdrawals" mark the end of a season of life. But where we should go from here is the question millions of Boomers are now asking.

We hope that will help you on your exciting new journey. Our goals, outlined below, include diverse educational tools and resource links to assist in the emotional, mental, spiritual and financial planning for the second season of life. Mission Statement Outline
"Discover Your True Calling in the Second Half of Life"

A non-profit networking resource to help Baby Boomers unlock:
1) Their true passion, purpose and life calling;
2) Self-sustaining income, new job skills, fund raising;
3) Profit & Non-profit networking of resources, time, talent;
4) A bridge over troubled water: from 1st to 2nd season of life;
5) Crisis intervention counseling, suicide prevention resources;
6) Serving the next generation by mentoring and internships;
7) Financial preparation, stewardship & cultural restoration.

Craig R. Smith

Serving the Purposes of Our Generation
By David Bradshaw, Idea Factory Press

Today another 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn sixty. That's over 3 million Boomers a year entering a "new stage" of life - for the next 17 years! I am one of them.

Only a small minority are prepared for their "second half of life" - financially, emotionally or spiritually. This presents a tremendous opportunity for the faith community to demonstrate that - to our generation and the next - love is our soul purpose.

Ready or not, soon one-third of the U.S. population will enter this new season of life - scarcely imagined 50 or 100 years ago - without a rite of passage or road map.

At the dawn of the 20th Century, average life expectancy was age 47. By the 1950s the average was age 68, which, prodded by the Social Security Act in the 1930s, helped give birth to the now-fading 20th Century American "dream" of entering retirement at 60 or 65.

Statisticians report U.S. life expectancy in the 21st Century will be ninety years, or more. This new epoch requires Baby Boomers to begin plotting a new life course, with a fresh road map to help us steward and fulfill our destiny's right destination during our "prime of life."

Author and founder of Marc Freedman, is described by the New York Times as "the voice of aging baby boomers seeking meaningful and sustaining work later in life." His book The Big Shift makes an impassioned call to accept the decades opening up between midlife and old age for what they really are - an entirely new stage of life, which he dubs the "encore" years.

"Millions are already in the midst of inventing a new stage of life and work - the encore years - between the end of midlife and anything resembling old-fashioned retirement," writes Freedman. "We're envisioning this chapter as a time when we make some of our most important contributions, for ourselves, for our world, for the well-being of future generations. Each generation has its task, its opportunity, its moment of truth. Let us be remembered for what survives of us, for living our legacy."

Rather than pitting youth against elder, Freedman explains this second season of 20+ years in a way that makes complete sense. The young bring energy, vitality and genius of conceptual creativity to the culture; while elders bring the genius of experimental creativity born of decades of life experiences.

"Call it a midlife epiphany. After decades of pursuing money, titles and ever more stuff, baby boomers are coming to a big realization: Success and security just aren't enough anymore. They want something more fulfilling out of life, something that feeds their spiritual side and connects them to a bigger purpose. For many, the answer is embracing faith - and devoting their lives to serving others," reports the Wall Street Journal, "Some Second Careers Are a Leap of Faith."

The number of Americans aged 55 and older will nearly double in less than 20 years - from 1 in 5 in 2013 (60 million) to 1 in 3 in 2030 (100 million!). Forty million Baby Boomers will hit this milestone in short order, which provides a huge opportunity as well as an ominous danger.

Helping Boomers Transition

Today we still seem to live in a "first-half-of-life culture," mostly concerned with surviving life successfully. Why? Because that's all our predecessors had time for. Now medical breakthroughs and healthier lifestyles have created a new era of life after midlife (50+) but before old age (80+).

"For many Boomers, the old concept of retirement just doesn't register; experts say most either plan to continue in their current job or envision a new career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21% of the USA's civilian workforce was 55 or older as of April 2013; by 2020, it projects a rise to 25%. In 2000, just 13% of the workforce was age 55 or older. MetLife Mature Market Institute's survey of 1,003 people born in 1946 shows that 52% are retired, 21% are employed full-time and 14% work part-time. Another 4% are self-employed," according to USAToday.

For decades psychologists and futurists have encouraged Baby Boomers to create a vision for this new stage of life between midlife and old age, characterized by directing one's life experience toward service to others.

Most of us have been too busy to listen, often caught up in pursuing our personal-financial dreams to notice this approaching tidal wave of change that leads many to increased government dependency.

Today nearly two-thirds of Americans 65 and older receive at least half of their income from Social Security, and more than 20 percent live on it entirely. Economists warn that Social Security and other 20th Century-lifespan entitlement programs are not sustainable in the future.

"Between inflation and consistently pitiful yields, retirement planning has become a Herculean task," reports CNBC.

But there's a bigger problem on the horizon - "A large majority of Baby Boomers on the cusp of retirement won't have enough assets to last them for the duration. Many will need to work longer in order to accumulate the funds necessary to retire."

"The unemployed and over-50 need help," screams a recent Marketwatch headline. "When the stigma of being unemployed is added to the stigma of being old, the chance of getting a job becomes very, very small. This outcome is not only unfair, but also wasteful from a national perspective as a substantial amount of experience and talent goes unused. We need a jobs corps for these individuals and we need it fast."

Worse yet, "Rising suicide rates among middle-aged Americans is prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm," warns the New York Times.

"The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28 percent in the last decade," reports AP. Trendy online publications Slate and Salon have published articles that, critics say, encourage aging readers to think positively about self-inflicted death as a life option. Over 700 Boomers will commit suicide next year!

Why? "Being unable to find a job or settling for one with lower pay or prestige could add that final weight to a whole chain of events. Some of us think we're facing an upsurge as this generation moves into later life," says Dr. Eric Caine, a suicide researcher at the University of Rochester.

"The good news is that an alternative already exists," writes Susan Boskey, author of The Quality Life Plan(R).

"Retirement's 21st Century extreme make-over is REINSPIREMENT. Reinspirement has been born from the ashes of the exponential loss of purchasing power in a debt-based monetary system. It is an idea whose time has come. Similar to conventional wisdom that tells us to begin retirement saving when we are young, reinspirement offers a similar journey of a lifetime."

Boskey adds, "In order to access a comfortable independent life in later years, the willingness to re-tool how we think about money and plan for the future is called for. Reinspirement asserts that you (with the help of friends, colleagues and professionals) can design and implement a work-path to fulfill current and future needs starting simply from where you are and what you have today."

Generations X, Y & Z Need to See Boomers Serving

"Gen Xers May Never Be Able to Retire," warns a recent news headline. "Younger retirement savers face an uphill battle."

This reader comment about the above story reflects the view 80% of Gen Xers (30-48 year-olds) hold that Social Security will not survive long enough for them:

"It's the boomers who left the Xers with the bag, and you know it. Retirement has become a myth due to the malfeasance of the previous generation. I'm not planning on retirement. Hyperinflation is on the way, and will take care of all of us well before I could ever retire." - Joshua

Joshua makes some good points, but also consider this inspiring blog post from another Gen Xer, Sammy, from Nigeria, currently the Young Adult Pastor at NorthPoint Church, and a Food for the Hungry guest speaker:

"Dear Older Generation,

On behalf of my generation, can I just tell you that your retirement plan does not inspire us at all? In fact it bores us. You know what gets us fired up? Passion. Risk. Sacrifice. Selflessness. Vision. All things we need to see from you to be all we can be.

What a tragedy. What a wasted life. Congratulations, you stored up treasure for yourself on earth. You worked your whole life so you could sleep away the last 20. Not me. I'm going down fighting. I'm laying up treasures in heaven where moths cannot destroy. We will give away more [percentage wise] at the end than we ever gave in our prime. We will love, fight and dream.

"I hope at the end, whenever that is, we can say like the Apostle Paul, we have fought the good fight, we have finished the race and now awaits for us a crown. I hope we can say that and I hope you can too.

This is a young man who is already preparing wisely to enter the second half of life and is hoping his elders will lead the way!

"Our parents left us with the legacy of The Greatest Generation. It would be ironic for our generation, which has profoundly influenced social change for the greater good, to leave a legacy of self-centeredness that leads our nation to financial and social ruin. A bit of that self sacrifice that our parents showed would go a long way to ensure a different historical judgment," opines The New Republic

Richard Rohr's important book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life explains, "In my opinion the first half of life task is no more than finding the starting gate...the warmup act, not the full journey."

"The usual crossover points are a kind of 'necessary suffering' and 'homesickness'. Our unique little bit of heaven is installed by the Manufacturer within the product at the beginning! We are given a span of years to discover it, to choose it, and to live our own destiny to the full. If we do not, our True Self will never be offered again."

"The word 'retirement' is not even in the Bible," says pastor and author of "A Purpose Driven Life" Rick Warren. "So it's not a biblical concept. What is taught in Scripture is a transition. You may change jobs, you may change vocations and you may volunteer for free, but there is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years," reports Forbes.

Tommy Barnett, bestselling author and founder of Phoenix First Assembly, puts it this way: "Find a need and fill it!".

A new vision of the future requires a new road map to get there.

PrimeLifers arise! Let the service begin! Need help with a job or skills training? Stay tuned for plenty of resources links.

Modeling a Fruitful Second Half of Life

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God:
see all, nor be afraid!'

-- from "Rabbi Ben Ezra" by Robert Browning

It has been a true joy for me to witness my closest business associate and dear friend Craig Smith making the transition from the first to the second half of life in recent years.

Craig founded Swiss America 30 years ago and served as its CEO for over a quarter century, building the firm into a national leader and model in his industry. But his leadership domain stretched far beyond the boardroom, to include the prayer room - both in his home and business.

In 1986, Craig began hosting twice-weekly prayer meetings open to all employees and brokers. The spiritual cohesion fostered by these meetings and built over the last 25-plus years has helped to mold the firm into a team who serves customers with excellence, integrity and a higher purpose.

Craig's life is an excellent example of a Primelifer. He began reinventing his life following a one-year sabbatical "retirement" in 2009.

His new, refocused life is already producing fruit, including three excellent new books on geopolitics, economics and business trends - just in the last three years! He plans a new book per year this decade! Fox News now turns to Craig Smith regularly for commonsense commentary and free market analysis of current events.

Both Craig and I believe, as the poet Robert Browning wrote, that "The best is yet to be!"

By Lowell Ponte
Author, former Roving Editor, Reader's Digest

As a leading-edge Baby Boomer conceived during the month of Victory in Europe Day during World War II, I still remember a poster popular during the 1960s.

It featured the drawing of a Renaissance wooden sailing ship like those Columbus captained. The ship was at anchor beside a stone-walled city.

"A ship is safe at harbor," the poster read. "But that is not what a ship is made for."

Many have thought of retirement as a harbor that, if we can just reach it and drop anchor, we will be safe from the gales, travails and burden of life's work.

In this harbor, we thought when young, life will become perpetual vacation - at least until the unrelenting muscle of our heart decides to stop working, too.

With maturity, we discover that our deepest yearning is not to stop but to go - to discover and fulfill what we were made for, exploring new worlds of our heart, dreams and soul.

What most who brave such voyages of self-discovery and sharing find is how true the ancient wisdom is - that if you do what you truly love, you never really "work" a day in your life.

Every day can bring joy, and we are now prepared to savor each day and opportunity. Even without a million dollars to share, you can give a million smiles and uplifting words to brighten the days of others and make the world more joyful for all.

With half a lifetime of experience and perspective, your second half of life can bring freedom from youthful uncertainties and mistakes, as well as the wisdom and caring to reach out to help others in whom you increasingly recognize yourself.

This is your second chance to grab life's golden ring, and now you know the difference between gold and brass. You have learned the importance of preparing for tomorrow, diversifying your ways of saving, and valuing solid reality over spoken or paper promises.

Most of us have avoided or overcome the kinds of misplaced priorities that cause many to spend the first two decades of their working lives sacrificing their health and marriage to make money - and then over the next two decades to spend all that money, and more, trying to regain their health and family.

We have learned the three statements that should never be trusted or believed: (1) The check is in the mail; (2) I WILL respect you in the morning; and (3) We're from the government and are here to help you.

Most of us now understand, for example, how politicians destroy our ability to save for retirement. Politicians print trillions of paper dollars out of thin air that debase the purchasing power of what we work 90,000 precious hours of our lifetimes to earn and save. Such inflation is their secret means of taxing and looting us, as Craig Smith and I have explained in the four books we have co-authored.

The good news is that by returning to fundamental value, we can escape from this hidden inflation tax. Knowing how to do this can be a lifesaver not only for your life savings, but also for your children and grandchildren who could be taught this life-changing information through an enduring special gift from you. Tangible assets create financial confidence, intangible assets must rely on public confidence. See Important Resource #5 in this booklet to find out more.

We have learned in the School of Hard Knocks that the values that have sustained people for thousands of years are the bedrock foundation on which humankind survives - honor, duty, integrity, trustworthiness, community, sound money, self-reliance, respect, honesty, friendship, family, love and faith - and that societies based on cheap, tawdry values, debased currency, and divide-and-conquer polarizing politics soon go morally bankrupt and are swept away.

It's said nowadays that when you reconfigure something or re-give a gift you have received, you are "re-purposing" it.

The Second Half is your God-given chance to re-purpose your life, to share with others the gifts and wisdom you have earned through often-painful experience, and by so doing to enrich (and usually extend) your own life by expanding the love within you to others.

A vast and wondrous ocean stretches before you to be explored. The anchor that once tied you down is lifting, and the tide of opportunity is rising. Raise your sail and let God's wind fill it. This is what you were made for. Your time and purpose are now.

Reinspirement Replaces Retirement

By Susan Boskey
Author, The Quality Life Plan(R)

"Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples." - George Burns, Comedian (1896-1996)

I saw a bumper sticker a while ago that said, "RETIRE: I was tired yesterday and I'm tired again today." It was the most literal definition of the word retire I had ever seen! It struck me as profoundly interesting. Perhaps more importantly, retirement itself may have reached the end of its useful life.

The conventional understanding of retirement rests on the premise that one's earnings will cease when work ends and a new lifestyle will be made from the ingredients of Social Security, company pensions and personal savings to pick up the slack. Once the transition has been made, time and money will at least be sufficient to do many of the things not possible during one's working years.

Like the mouse after the cheese at the end of a tunnel, most Americans work throughout the prime of their lives with one eye looking forward to that magical moment when they can leave it all behind to golf, fish and garden. Even though people might suffer through jobs they hate and spend hours away from their families shouldering stress of professional responsibilities, they persevere towards the reward of their golden years. They hope not to lose their job to outsourcing or downsizing and to finally receive their company pension. That is if they are fortunate enough to have one!

The only problem is, this tried and true retirement formula has come apart before our very eyes and especially since the 2008 economic meltdown.

Millions of Americans are now "maxed out." They find they must increase credit use simply to make ends meet to cover the rise in the cost of living for basics like health insurance, transportation, energy, food and housing costs. Furthermore, the idea of saving more money has become a complete joke for most middle class and formerly middle-class families in the New Normal of the 21st century. According to the Department of Commerce in October 2005, the overall personal saving rate (not including pre-tax saving instruments such as a 401(k) was charted as 0.07% and 8 years later, April 2013, it had risen to a whopping 0.1 percent.

The outcome of all this? Passive earnings, whether from pensions, savings, Social Security, stocks and bonds or some combination thereof, are no longer as reliable as they once were to meet the financial needs of later years. Social Security checks have become insufficient for most anyone to depend on exclusive of other sources of income. Whereas 40% of companies offered pension plans to their employees in 1980, in 2006 only 21% did and in 2013, far less.

Even so, most people hold fast to the very same 40-years employment to retirement model; one that today seems more like a fantasy and less a ticket to later-years security.

You're probably asking what choice do we have? Actually, you do have a choice. As part of the latest transformation of American society, the conventional concept of retirement is in the process of reinventing itself. Reinspirement replaces retirement! REINSPIRE: I was inspired yesterday and I am inspired again today!

Though certainly a transformation of necessity due to economic reality, reinspirement speaks to the overriding value of staying productive and begins the moment you choose it (not just for older folks). Those who choose to be reinspired enjoy the benefits of ongoing, private cash flow to shore up their financial plan. They apply creative thinking to their unique situation in order to make it happen.

Part of the challenge of reinspirement is to learn how to leverage your hard assets (not fantasy digital numbers on a statement) to work for you into the future. Each person's unique talents, interests, assets and skills offer the key to unlock and unfold a customized reinspirement strategy.

A commitment to reinspirement means you will blaze a trail beyond current societal expectations about when to hang up your saddle; i.e. when private monies will stop flowing into your life.

Should you accept this mission, you will lead by example to provide a critically-needed role model for future generations. Since given a central-banking system in 1913, the value of currency will continue to be devalued. That means young people will need viable options for their later years even more than we do.

Change is the way of the world. To stay ahead of how the American economy has changed, and to sustain the quality of our lives, we must also change the way we think and behave regarding financial security and well-being in our later years. It's time to get reinspired!

To learn more and to purchase the book The Quality Life Plan(R): 7 Steps to Uncommon Financial Security by author and alternative financial consultant, Susan Boskey, visit

PrimeLifers News Briefs: PrimeLifer News & Views
Sign up: Weekly PrimeLifers Newsletter - Free "Don't Retire, Get Re-Inspired!" Handbook
PrimeLifer Book Reviews: The Big Shift & Falling Upward
Educational Resource Tools: What Next?
Tangible Financial Alternatives from Swiss America

Disclaimer: All of the information herein is believed to be true, however errors are possible.