I am often asked how Encore Palm Beach County got started. I spent many years as a Financial Advisor helping people to plan for retirement. While people knew they needed to save and invest for retirement, most had no idea of what they wanted that retirement to look like. When I retired in 2010, I really had no idea what I wanted to do next. I had already done most of the things people hope to do in retirement: I had travelled extensively, played golf and tennis and bridge, wrote my memoirs, etc. But I needed something more.
I happened to read a book called “Encore” by Marc Freedman. He said something I had not read before: that 10,000 people turn 65 every day in this country and would for many years, that it was the largest generation of retirees in our history, the best educated, the healthiest, and experienced in many careers, but the biggest thing was many of us could expect to live 30 years in retirement, longer than any previous generation and, finally, many did not want a retirement of leisure like their parents and grandparents. They wanted more for their lives in retirement. In fact, many did not want to retire at all, but wanted to stay actively engaged in life, whether it was learning, work or volunteering. Wow, that was the first time I realized that there were many people like me out there!
So I became certified as a retirement coach and began working with people to plan all the non-financial aspects of retirement. Then I discovered there was a national Encore program started by Marc Freedman with a network of programs around the country. I thought we should have an Encore program here in Palm Beach County. I wrote a position paper on the needs of our County for volunteers and the need of many older persons for work, passed it around and organized a small group of interested supporters. A year and a half ago, we became a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization offering work, volunteer and educational opportunities to people over 50.
My vision for Encore Palm Beach County is that we become the one place people over 50 can go to find what they need to contribute to their continued engagement with life and purpose.