Review – Encore Handbook

The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life, by Marci Alboher

You don’t have to feel alone as you plan your retirement. Author Marci Alboher wrote The Encore Handbook to encourage readers to make their personal journey a topic of conversation. If you look around, you’ll find many colleagues planning to find “purpose, passion, and a paycheck” after they retire. Each section of the handbook includes discussion points for group meetings. Appendix E offers complete meeting plans. Ideally, you should read this book as part of a retirement book club. You can use the Encore website (Encore.org) to find an Encore group in your area, if you can’t, create one out of your immediate network of friends and co-workers.

Marci Alboher is the vice president of Encore.org. She refers readers to Encore.org for more help with retirement-planning. Readers are even encouraged to contact Encore with unanswered questions about working during retirement. The Encore Handbook is a great companion to Encoreby Marc Freedman, another Encore.org luminary.

My Take
The Encore Handbook comes with handy PDFs you can download – sample resumes, a financial worksheet to tally up your expenses, and links to useful websites for researching alternative careers. If you’re reading this book on your computer or tablet, you’ll find yourself drawn down other avenues of research as you read.

Alboher’s Handbook offers a nice balance of structure and open-endedness. There is a time for making calls and crunching numbers, but Alboher encourages the reader to keep an open mind: “As you think about your ideal situation, put aside reality for a little while.” Many of the group exercises and worksheets focus on your present retirement situation. This book is a valuable read for career-changers of any age in the midst of evaluating their prospects.

Critique
While the author states that encore careers don’t have to be socially-conscious, the book very much skews in favor of “using business savvy to solve social problems and fix the world.” Appendix A, The Encore Hotlist, lists non-profit, educational, and healthcare positions. Not many of these offer the opportunity for self-employment. If you’re thinking of starting your own business or doing something for-profit, the second half of The Encore Handbook might not add much to your research.

Conclusion
Readers will appreciate Alboher’s realistic approach to starting a new career – acknowledging that your plans could be put on hold because of caretaking responsibilities, or because you may need to save up before making a big change. The Encore Handbook lives up to the handbook concept, relying on a bounty of practical tips rather than inspiring anecdotes. As you begin your research, you’ll greatly benefit from having so many resources in one place.