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Message from the executive director

 

Love and Money...As Time Goes By

March 2012

Are the prospects for women fifty and forward brighter than we realize…a doomsday scenario like Thelma and Louise…or something in between?  Two insightful programs in February made me think of “the best of times, the worst of times (in this Dickens bicentennial year).

First the good news. Suzanne Braun Levine spoke to our NYC chapter about second adulthood and the varied types of love we can experience at this stage of life.  Suzanne has been challenging stereotypes since the ‘70s.  As the first editor of Ms., she re-examined the role of women in the workplace and at home.  Now she’s shaking up assumptions about the years from fifty forward as an author, Civic Ventures board member and TTN Advisory Board member.

Suzanne’s latest book, How We Love Now – Sex and the New Intimacy in Second Adulthood, shows that this stage of life can be a time of deeper relationships and greater happiness – not the dried-up period of increasing isolation often associated with our later years.  How We Love Now reveals the multi-faceted types of love at this age, including work, grandchildren and friends who form a “circle of trust” – you can’t imagine life without them.

As Suzanne says, “we aren’t who we were, only older.” We have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, shedding dreams that we’ve outgrown, and building new ones that reflect the person we’ve become.

I encourage all of you to buy How We Love Now for yourself – and a friend.  Long Island and central Ohio members will have the opportunity to hear Suzanne in person this April – her programs are selling out, so sign up early!

Our Long Island chapter offers living proof that women are actively building circles of trust.  Over 400 women have responded to January’s Newsday article signing up for the chapter’s “get to know TTN” programs.  That success moves the needle closer to chapter lead Marlene Gerber’s goal: that every professional woman fifty and forward on Long Island will know about TTN.  Kudos to Marlene and the LI team!

TTN is actively helping people explore what’s next in their professional lives (after all, the largest number of Baby Boomers are only 55 years old).   Board member and NYC chapter co-chair Diane Levine – who’s in her third career at Sotheby’s Real Estate – is speaking at a March program on “the art of networking after 50.”   I have a busy spring coming up, with presentations for the American Society on Aging, the Financial Women’s Association, the University of Chicago Law School and a support group for HR professional in transition.  Those programs get TTN’s name out, position us as a resource and attract new members.  If YOU know of a group interested in a “what’s next” program, please let me know.  I would love to help TTN members across the county develop programs for your own alumni associations, professional groups and networking organizations.

OK, I know you’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop.  My comment about the “worst of times” was triggered by attending a program on “Retirement in the 21st century” featuring Roger Ferguson, TIAA-CREF’s Chief Executive Officer.  Ferguson reviewed the seismic shifts related to retirement financing over the past 40 years: longer lives, zooming health care costs, inadequate savings and fewer predictable sources of retirement income with the decline of defined benefit programs.  TIAA-CREF research on gender differences in handling finances illustrates another risk area, with women being more risk-averse and less likely to work with investment professionals because they perceive a male-dominated environment.

Women are on the wrong side of all of those factors – we need to take ownership of our finances, stay current on financial topics and get help when we need it.  The Transition Network offers a variety of resources to help members educate themselves and achieve financial stability.

Many Transition Network members are planners who understand financial issues and have built retirement portfolios that will let them live comfortably to 100 and beyond.  A recent Bloomberg Business Week article showcased member Pat Snyder as an example of professional women managing their finances effectively so they have lots of options at this stage of life. 

For those who feel on shakier financial ground, TTN offers many resources for education and even some financial peer groups.  Jane Bryant Quinn shared lessons from her book Making the Most of Your Money with the NYC chapter, and the Bay Area chapter offered a program on the psychology of money – helping the audience recognize dysfunctional attitudes that can get in the way of sound finances.  The NYC chapter offers two financial peer groups, where members research and share information on a financial topic at a monthly meeting.  If there isn’t a financial peer group in your chapter – START ONE and use the power of TTN’s network to help yourself and other women!

TTN is a microcosm of trends for women fifty and forward.  We live them – which is why the media want to talk to us – and we band together to educate ourselves, support each other and get ahead of those trends.  That proactive spirit keeps us a growing, vibrant organization.

On a personal note, I’m excited about my early March trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, learning about the culture, business opportunities and financial issues with the Financial Women’s Association.  I look forward to experiencing the 21st century in that parallel universe, and sharing stories in the April newsletter.



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