Customer Reviews: The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life
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on October 18, 2005
If you are looking for a "feel good" book about baby boomer retirement, this book may have some value for you. But if you are looking for specific in-depth how-to, this book isn't the answer. Each segment-work, dreams, travel-is short and doesn't address many relevant issues.

For example, regarding the work chapter, the author postulates that there will be a work shortage and companies will hire baby boomers to fill the gap. Well, that is speculative with globalism. Those jobs may be outsourced. Most are low paying. Many of my highly qualified friends are unable to find jobs despite retraining. Yes, there may be Wal-Mart jobs but is this your retirement dream? The work chapter sounds a lot like most "Do what you love" books. But doing what you love is often best as a hobby not to furnish needed income. These and other issues facing boomers who want meaningful work into their 70s are not addressed. I could pick apart other chapters in the same manner.
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on September 14, 2005
Unless you're in the top 20% income level this book won't help you diddly. It talks of going around the world, a bunch, about sailing around the world, taking adventures, going to adult camps. And a virtual yellow pages for websites to accomplish this. The stories from people interviewed are from the top 20% also. It was a waste of my money and in-between the stories the information was just plain common sense. I had really waited anxiously for this book to be published, too bad it's such a dud.
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I was given this book as a gift, and really didn't know what to expect. The book focuses on the issues facing baby boomers in all facets of their lives, and particularly stresses educational and volunteering opportunities, employment after retirement, and longer life expectancy issues, which of course in turn leads to a discussion of financial planning.

The book is generally good, although a lot of the subject matter is common knowledge (people are living longer, Social Security is in a financial pit, etc.), it does seamlessly blend the social and societal impacts of longer life with the financial issues involved. Although I don't agree with the authors on everything, their points are well taken and worth listening to.

The book is very good at citing websites that contain much valuable information for people interested in business and retirement related lifestyle changes, and is especially strong with the theme of education. Chapter seven concerns financial planning and is a good, but very general overview. If you really want to understand this subject, you will need to buy a separate book. I also urge readers to be very cautious about the recommendations the authors make regarding annuities.

I was born in late 1964, so demographically I get lumped in with the baby boom generation. The friend that gave me this book was also born in 1964, and while we both are technically baby boomers, we both identify far more with the succeeding generation. One of the detractors of this book (and indeed some other books that I have read by boomers) is an occasional smugness about being a boomer. I noted that tendency a couple of times early in the book, but I was pleased when near the end of the book the authors made the following statement during a discussion of volunteerism and legacy: "Unless you find ways to give something back and keep contributing in your later years, you will help cement our generation's reputation as a bunch of narcissists." I was glad that the authors frankly acknowledged this perception, which while it is not applicable to all boomers of course, is widely held, especially by younger generations.

This book is a good summary of some demographic trends in American (and world) population, notably the trend toward working in retirement. The book does offer some insight into the future, but offers no specific planning advice for an individual. The strength of this book is in the resources it points out, most of which are available on the Internet, and in getting the reader to think in unconventional ways about retirement. This book is an interesting place to start, but it must be viewed as just that: a starting point on the map to retirement.
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All too often the thought of "retirement" brings to mind growing old, playing cards, and sitting around waiting to die. But it doesn't have to be that way, nor should it. In The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life by Ken Dychtwald, Ph. D. and Daniel J. Kadlec, you'll see how you can actually look forward to this time of less responsibility and more time to enjoy life.

Contents: Welcome to the Power Years; New Ways to Have Fun; Rediscovering and Forging Vital Relationships; Creating Your New Dream Job; Lifelong Learning Adventures; Where and How to Live; Achieving Financial Freedom; Leaving a Legacy; Author's Note; Notes; Index

Dychtwald and Kadlec explore the time of your life between 55-ish and beyond, referred to as the "Power Years". The kids are out of the house, retirement is looming, and you no longer have the daily demands on your time and attention that you had in your 30s and 40s. Instead of looking at this time period as one of "checking out" and rocking on the porch, they advocate a complete mental shift. You can now explore parts of your personality and interests that were logistically difficult before. Maybe it's going back to school or taking a few classes in an area that interests you. It could be travel or house-swapping with someone else in order to see other parts of the country or world. It may even involve the continuation of your working efforts. But the thought is that you can either work at something else without the demands of advancement, or you can continue what you currently do because you have a passion for it. The key is being able to do something that you *want* to do, not that you *have* to do.

Most of the approaches in the book work much better if you've been planning financially for your power years. If you get to 65 with nothing but Social Security, your options are limited to a degree. But that doesn't mean that you can't volunteer your time to a cause that sparks your interest, nor does it mean you can't start exploring relationships that you've not had time for in the past. In some cases it might be easier said than done, but it's still a choice. The best time to get ahold of this book would be when you're in your late 30s or early 40s, and you have time to plan for the future you want (instead of the future that just happens).

I'll admit there were a few times I sorta wished I could fast-forward my life and get to the power years a bit sooner. But I'm much more encouraged now that my power years will be valuable and full, and not just marking time until the obituary gets written up...
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on July 29, 2006
Yes, I'm one of those baby-boomers contemplating moving into the "third-age" - when the kids have left the nest, the mortgage is paid off, the college accounts have been funded, the husband is semi-retired, but I'm still working, contributing the max to the 401K, and starting to wonder "what next"? No more ladders to climb career-wise, finally the time to think about pursuing hobbies, traveling and the freedom to "re-invent" myself. But, as what? I still haven't figured that out, but I'm sure it will evolve over time. The answers weren't laid out in the book, however, it definitely gave food for thought, and it is a good starting place for those contemplating such a life passage.

Much of the content of Dychtwald's book validated what I already knew about the "third-age" - we'll be living longer and healthier, we'll have new freedoms, we'll have clout in the marketplace (as members of the largest population bubble - the boomers), we'll be open to change, we can't depend on Social Security, etc. Some of the chapters gave me something to look forward to "See, Feel, Taste and Touch the World", "Lifelong Learning Adventures". The chapter on "Achieving Financial Freedom" wasn't particularly helpful, but maybe that's because I've already spent a considerable amount of time researching and considering that topic already.

If you're entering your "Power Years", hoping to rediscover life's purposes, find a balance between work and leisure, find new interests, leave a legacy or any of the latent desires and wishes we hold for our later years, the book is a good primer, will provide plenty of food for thought and ideas, and will kick-start your journey into the "power years".
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on September 9, 2005
My wife and I just finished reading (together) Ken Dychtwald and Daniel Kadlec's new book The Power Years. I started reading it and was so entertained by many of the anecdotes and insights that my wife got sick of hearing me, so we took turns reading it each night. It soon became the centerpiece of our morning coffee talk (between strapping up our youngest daughters diaper and doing 3 rounds of pony tails for the 4 year old.) So much of what the book discusses is what I believe Gen Xers (perhaps even more than Boomers) want and seek from life, the power to have flexibilty. Spending time with family while also having a successful career; refining our talents while exploring new skills; forging new relationships while remaining committed to the ones we have; making the most of the precious things we own and keeping our desires (and debt) real not material. Most importantly, Dychtwald and Kadlec offer REAL insights and strategies on how to achieve your dreams in a funny, personal and VERY readable context. I HIGHLY recommed this book and it will be even more enjoyable when read with your partner, friend, or whomever you have that first cup of coffe with.
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on September 19, 2005
I have spent a lot of time considering the subjects that Ken Dychtwald so appropriately summarizes in his new book. I have spent my career in the financial services industry. I find his conclusions and advice to be on the mark.

If you are concerned about or interested in the aging process (how it impacts your own life, your investments and your family) as well as the paradigm shifts that have occurred from times when wealth, longevity and health were significantly different) this book should be of significant assistance. In addition, the book is written in an easy to read, conversational style.
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Dychwald's Power Years is a first rate, highly informative and immensely important book for anyone who intends on thriving in retirement. As a futurist I am always trying to get people to think more intelligently about predicting their future--this book does an excellent job at getting that important message out. Dychtwald has provided a clear set of suggestions that anyone can follow in preparing today to meet the retirement challenges of their future. I have personally gained from this book's insight and will take action to better my future--I strongly recommend you do the same.

James Canton [...]
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on September 9, 2005
"The Power Years" is an incredible book that really opened my eyes to the myriad

of possibilities available in later life. Why not travel the world? Learn a

new skill? Start a completely new career? The real-life examples were

particularly inspiring, as was the "Leaving a Legacy" chapter. Highly

recommended for anyone over 40!!!
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on April 24, 2013
This book frames most of the ideas of how to break out and break free in terms that were true for a brief period in 2005 and 2006. The book's enormous misses take away all credibility from their fantasy-like "zen" lifestyle recommendations. Two prime examples. First, it states that job opportunities will multiply as the baby boomers age, and we'll become so valuable that we can take sabbaticals to travel the world and return to be in high demand for attractive, high paying, flex-time jobs. Nothing is now further from the truth with so many 50+ having dropped out of the labor force due to being discouraged for the last 5 years. Second, the author states that he is not a believer in the idea that there's a housing bubble - Wrong ! I wish I had looked at the publication date on this book because it's not relevant in today's economy.
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