Portfolio Life: An Interview with Author David Corbett.
Arecent book About the stage of life between career and later retirement has gained international attention among baby boomers and new retirees. the book, “Portfolio Life: the new Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion After 50,” describes an alternative to full-time retirement for people who want to lead a post-career life of greater fulfllment. the author, David corbett, an occasional visitor to the hilton head Island area, spoke with Monthly contributing Writer Jack Wilson and answered some questions about the book and its message.
Q: Dave, regarding the title of your book, “Portfolio Life,” how do you defne it?
A: “We ‘borrowed’ life portfolio from fnancial portfolio. As asset managers rebalance fnancial portfolios, new Directions rebalances life portfolios to fit changing needs. ‘Port’ means it travels with me forever; ‘folio:’ it’s a book of all of my life. Also, a typical life portfolio is made up of fve parts: (1) continue to earn some income; (2) more family time; (3) more leisure/hobby time; (4) life-long learning; and (5) giving back. Many have encouraged us to add a sixth part, a re-grounding in a spiritual way, which we touch on, but don’t develop.”
Q: Who is it written for? What kind of person will fnd the book most helpful?
A: “three kinds of readers: (1) older baby boomers (i.e., over 50) anticipating retirement in the next 5-to-10 years, but dreading the prospects; (2) recent retirees who are golfed-out, bored, spending too much time at home with not enough to do; (3) as I wrote the book, a third reader emerged: since most careers have a shelf life, the concept of ever-evolving life portfolios are ageless. In fact, Joe coughlin, executive director of the MIt Age Lab, said, ‘Students graduating from colleges and universities in their early 20s should start to think about life portfolios all through life and weave careers in and out of life portfolios.’ Careers are driven through an economic lens (as they should be), and life portfolios are more driven by a values lens.”
Q: What motivated you to write it?
A: “Because of our work at new Directions, we were witnessing increasing numbers of clients in their 50s and 60s who were not doing well with full retirement. But they had no place to go to seek alternatives. I was also motivated by the sad realities that the gap between rich and poor was widening, so lower-income people were becoming more needy and upper-income people were sitting around watching 47 hours of TV a week (from AARP survey). By the way, AARP surveys show that over 50 percent of retirees are bored. So, I thought to myself, let’s get these people with time on their hands to give back to those deserving and in needy situations.”
Q: What sort of reactions have you had to it?
A: “The book is in its third printing and has recently been published in South Korean and Taiwan. Also, many major university business schools continue to seek me out as a speaker on the book, and we have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Ki-plinger’s, CBS and FOX news.”
Q: Is there a sequel or a follow-on book in your future?
A: “Ugh! Interesting idea, but not likely at the moment.”
Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting a Portfolio Life?
A: “Read the book. Ensure that your family is aboard; create a personal board of advisors as an outside support group; be flexible – developing a portfolio life is a constant work-in-process; it’s ever-changing and needs to be modifed as new realities set in. The people who do best creating portfolio lifestyles are those that plan ahead. the plans can be somewhat vague, but they do point the way toward ultimately developing one’s legacy.”
Corbett adds that the Hilton Head area represents an ideal venue for a pre-retirement plan, because of its many opportunities to develop a complete portfolio in an environment ofering a great quality of life.