100th Episode – Melissa Davey, Richard Haiduck and Thelma Reese
To celebrate the 100th episode of The Retirement Wisdom Podcast, we’ve invited three special previous guests for a panel discussion on the challenges retirees face today, how to age wisely, and retire happy. We are grateful for all our guests who’ve shared their insights and wisdom on our retirement podcast – and to you, our listeners.
- What makes retirement so different today
- The biggest challenges today’s retirees face and how to retire happy
- Their favorite stories from the retirees they’ve profiled
- What people who are still working full-time need to know about life in “retirement”
- What should retirement be called now?
- The key ingredients of a life well-lived – that are often overlooked
Ready to design your new life in retirement? Our group program kicks off on September 24th.
It’s limited to 10 participants. Learn more here.
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Melissa Davey is a documentary filmmaker who lives in Valley Forge, PA, and created Beyond Sixty (now available on TV and streaming platforms). She is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother to three young boys. She is a world traveler and curious about everything unknown. She recently retired after more than two decades from GENEX Services Inc., where she was recruited to build and operate the company’s Social Security representation division. GENEX is the largest Managed Care case management organization in the U.S. Prior to GENEX, Melissa had almost twenty years of diversified experience in the field of disability. She held senior leadership and management positions throughout her career. Melissa’s second act is fueled by a lifelong passion for film and story-telling.
Richard Haiduck is a former life sciences executive and mentor and now has an active retirement. He is becoming the Voice of Boomer Retirement Stories. He is immersed in challenging the boundaries of his own retirement, while observing the experiences and areas of curiosity of his fellow retirees.
At age 7, he was sure he wanted to be an author. Now, 66 years later, that dream has become a reality. The inspiration for the book came from hearing about the meaningful journeys in retirement taken by friends and colleagues. They were doing fascinating activities at this stage of their life, and often completely new directions from their prior careers. The idea that these stories could become a book became a driving force for Richard. His 75+ interviews and his frequent social media interactions have developed his perspectives and insights on the retirement activities of the boomer generation. Richard’s prior roles as both a leader and a mentor have been based on his ability to listen and to get people to share their feelings. He uses a style of interviewing with short, open questions to get people to open up about their retirement stories. The result is Shifting Gears: 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in Retirement now available as an audiobook.
He graduated from Miami University and got his MBA from Xavier University. He is happily married to his wife of 52 years and has 2 daughters and 4 grandsons. His own retirement has been hyperactive. He learns new things through weekly interactions at Stanford, formerly via attending lectures and via zoom during the pandemic. Each year he reads about 100 books and bikes more than 3000 miles. He mentors organizations serving refugees and small farmers in Ghana. He combines family time with domestic and international travel.
Previous conversation: Are You Ready to Shift Gears?
Dr. Thelma Reese
Thelma Reese, is the co-author of How Seniors Are Saving The World: Retirement Activism to the Rescue! with BJ Kittredge. She earned B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. degrees, all from Temple University, and began teaching third grade in 1954. When her two daughters were in school, she began her graduate studies in Educational Psychology, was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship and was active first in the field of Reading Psychology and Education. She taught as an adjunct professor at Temple University and Arcadia University. When her children were grown, she became a professor of English and director of special programs at Community College of Philadelphia.
After early retirement at CCP, she created the Advisory Council for Hooked on Phonics and was its spokesperson in the ’90s. In that role, and as director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy for the City of Philadelphia, she appeared frequently on television and hosted a cable show in Philadelphia. She was a founder of Philadelphia Young Playwrights, chaired the Board of Children’s Literacy Initiative, and organized the World Symposium on Family Literacy at UNESCO in Paris in 1994.
She is co-author, with Barbara M. Fleisher, of The New Senior Woman: Reinventing the Years Beyond Mid-Life (Rowman & Littlefield). Their second book, The New Senior Man: Exploring New Horizons, New Opportunities was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2017. Her latest book is How Seniors Are Saving the World: Retirement Activists to the Rescue!, co-authored by BJ Kittredge, published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020. Reese and Fleisher created the blog ElderChicks in 2012, which is ongoing since the passing of Dr. Fleisher in October of 2016.
She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Harvey Reese, who is an artist and the author of several books, including How to License Your Million Dollar Idea (John Wiley, publisher).
Previous conversations: How Seniors Are Saving the World With Activism | The Unique Challenges Men and Women Face in Retirement
On an Intergenerational Retirement
“… start broadening your interests. And I think one of the important things that’s going to help you in whatever you decide you’re going to do, is to make sure you don’t put yourself into a bubble with other people who have just retired. Make sure that you lead an intergenerational life as much as you possibly can. I think that it’s stimulating. It will keep you informed about what’s going on from the very young people. And you’re still going to learn stuff from the very old people. The more your life is not circumscribed just by your age cohort, the more interesting it will be and the more opportunities you’re going to find for things that you really want to focus on and be active in. I think it’s very stimulating. I just read a great quote from somebody very young, who sold it to a tee shirt company. It says: Don’t Believe Everything You Think. I thought, Wow, what a good thing to think about. And it’s coming from somebody in her twenties – and that’s wisdom. So you’re going to find it all over the place. I think that if you stay in this one generational bubble, you miss an awful lot.” – Thelma Reese
“… there is this piece that comes with aging that’s hopefully there when you’re ready to take that detour. And that is self-awareness. And that self-awareness, if you’ve allowed that to grow, brings you to a greater level of fulfillment in every part of your life. And it gives you the guts to try something completely different because you’re truly aware of who you are and what value you have, and what you’re able to give to others, which is so important. And we don’t take time probably to think about that when we’re younger. I think that does come with age, but you talk about a life well lived, I’m feeling that now more at 70. I feel proud of myself and excited for me and what the future holds for me. And I think that that comes from being aware of now who I am and what my limitations are, the good, the bad, the ugly – all of it – and what I’m able to give to the world. So with that comes this great sense of freedom and ability to move forward.” – Melissa Davey
“Each life teaches you something new and what it teaches is something new. It leads you to do the kind of reflection in we’re going to still call retirement because that’s the name of the show. But this period of life that we’re addressing today, provides it for you. And it’s the time. And I think the older you get, if you’re fortunate and you still [are healthy], you’re able to reflect more and more. And that makes you grow more and more. It’s when you stop growing that everything is over. It doesn’t matter. As long as you’re growing and you’re seeing life, and seeing what other people live through, it gives you a whole different perspective on yourself and your own life – and what’s worth complaining about, and what’s worth looking at and thinking, maybe I can fix this. And while you’re fixing something else you’re really fixing yourself.” – Richard Haiduck
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