Capital Investment Advisors

#192 – Reinventing Yourself In Retirement With Steve Tarr

On today’s episode, Wes sits down with Steve Tarr, a Fellow at the Drucker School of Management, to discuss how difficult the retirement transition can be for busy and successful people. Using the SOAR Program as a guide, they analyze the positive effects of discovering new pathways to meaning, community, and purpose and how they can lead to retirement happiness.

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode

(click below to expand and read the full interview)

  • Wes Moss [00:00:00]:
    If you’re listening to this podcast, we’re in this thought process around retiring sooner. And in our years of studying the happiest retirees, we found that they’re often also busier than ever, focused on exploring their core pursuits and their new interests, and continuing their process of finding and expanding their purpose. But we’ve also heard from now happy retirees. Though it doesn’t just happen naturally for everyone, more than two thirds of retirees report that the transition into retirement is much more difficult than they ever thought. Now I see this particularly with high achievers, business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, consultants that have worked so hard for so many years. It’s really tough for them to transition to not working. They haven’t given themselves the time to really explore what’s next because they always feel so guilty. I can’t spend any time on that because it’s all about work.Wes Moss [00:00:59]:
    So they may have totally funded retirement, but they haven’t funded the 2000, 3000 hours a week that they’re going to get back with their time. Then I came across an article from Rich Eisenberg, who was on the podcast last September. The podcast episode was unbelievably unretired with Rich Eisenberg, but the article was about retirement, reinvention programs, and these things can cost a fortune, 70, 80, $90,000 a year. But the article said, wait a minute, here’s an option that costs 90% less. So I immediately asked our team to reach out. Who are these people? Let’s talk to them. So that’s how I found our guest today, Dr. Steve Tarr.Wes Moss [00:01:43]:
    He’s a fellow at the Drucker School of Management in California, where he’s also leading their new program called SoAr, which stands for Seek, Observe, act, and Renew. The program is focused on helping folks discover new pathways to meaning, to community, and to purpose. These are all the things that the retire sooner podcast is all about, and we want more of that in your retiree life. I’m Wes Moss. The prevailing thought in America is that you’ll never have enough money, and it’s almost impossible to retire early. Actually, I think the opposite is true. For more than 20 years, I’ve been researching, studying, and advising american families, including those who started late, on how to retire sooner and happier. So my mission with the retire Sooner podcast is to help a million people retire earlier while enjoying the adventure along the way.

    Wes Moss [00:02:40]:
    I’d love for you to be one of them. Let’s get started. So, Steve, thank you for being here. I read an article that you were featured in recently by another friend of the show, Rich Eisenberg. And it was one of these topics that we would like to cover, but haven’t gotten any real tactical insight around continuing education. Second acts. We’ve talked about second acts here with Nancy Collimmer, the author of that book. But there’s such a difficulty for retirees.

    Wes Moss [00:03:12]:
    Something like 68% of retirees report that they have a really difficult transition when they stop working, going into this 1020, 30, 40 years of not working. And it’s so important to be able to figure out what your next purpose is. We call these core pursuits, or hobbies on steroids. Keep your curiosity up and running. So, I think that continuing education is part of that. Let’s call it pallet of things that we can do to keep learning, but it can be super expensive. So I think I wanted to start with what is a retirement reinvention program. But how did you ultimately land to working with the Drucker stool management? And did you start soar, or are you consulting on soar?

    Steve Tarr [00:04:03]:
    I kind of got roped into it in a good way. So, Len Jessup is the president of Claremont Graduate University, and there’s a Claremont in California. California, right. And there’s a number of universities in a consortium. There are two graduate universities, Claremont graduate being one of them. And Len and I have known each other for years, and I said, so, Len, there’s these life transitions. There’s changes going on in higher education. And so, what can I do to help? And so I had different opportunities to look at.

    Steve Tarr [00:04:38]:
    At the Drucker School of Management, and the dean of the Drucker school, Dave Sprott, I also known him for years. And so I started volunteering on the advisory committee, the external advisory committee that helped shape this program. And mid year, last year, Dave and another professor said, hey, can you jump on a call and talk about Thor for a minute or two? And I said, oh, sure. So we did. And they said, well, Wes, were wondering if you wanted to take over the whole program.

    Wes Moss [00:05:12]:
    Just a benign call. Hey, can you hop on for a quick. Next thing you know, they knew they were going to ask you to run the course.

    Steve Tarr [00:05:18]:
    Of course. And so I said to the professor, Kat pick. I said, ok, kat, send me your materials, let me look it over and let me size this thing up. And she goes, yeah, I’ll do it today, because I’m leaving tomorrow for a month vacation in the backwoods of Canada. And I said, really? And so, of course, I looked at it, and I talked with David. I said, yeah, I’ll do this. We need to get this off the ground because it fulfills such an important part of what people are looking for right now. So that’s how I got into it.

    Wes Moss [00:05:53]:
    Okay, soar, which stands for seek, observe, act, and renew. In your words, how would you describe programs like this? Before we talk about exactly what soar is, would you call this continuing ed? What would you call.

    Steve Tarr [00:06:10]:
    Well, it’s interesting because what you just said is really yet to be determined because historically, universities, colleges have been for people in the early parts of their lives and careers, post teenage years, but pre adulthood, pre career, and now we’re realizing, well, with people living longer and living healthier, what are you going to do with all this extra time? And so a lot of people, I mean, the numbers, of course, just because demographics are going up, more and more people are retiring. And hopefully if they followed your financial advice, they’re in good shape. So the question is, what do they do with their time? And a lot of them say, they look and say, like, I’m healthy, I’m fairly young, and I’m unfulfilled. So they retire, if you call it that way. They look to reinvent themselves. And a number of universities are looking to transition to fill this void. It’s not just a simple thing. It’s a major societal transition where we’re seeing this huge wave of people in this age group that’s never really been well served.

    Steve Tarr [00:07:24]:
    And that’s what we look to do is help people to say, you’ve had some dreams that you’ve always wished of pursuing, or you just want to do something different. What is that? And it can be a very energizing time of life.

    Wes Moss [00:07:39]:
    So Peter Drucker, he’s a prolific management consultant, author. But I think he said something like, if you talk about working for 50 years or 50 years of working life, you’re going to have to reinvent yourself at some point. And at that point, you’ve got to make something different out of yourself rather than just and re energize yourself. I will say that I have conversations, let’s call it, in the financial planning world, people that really did love their career, that have made a lot of money. But it’s tough when you’re 30 years in or 35 years in as a management consultant for a giant company to have the same vigor in year 35 than you did in year five when you’re trying to make partner. It’s just really hard for humans to continue on that trajectory.

    Steve Tarr [00:08:28]:
    It is.

    Wes Moss [00:08:29]:
    And then I think you start thinking, gosh, I’ve loved this, but I’ve been doing it forever. What else can I do? Is there something else I can do? So for your folks, let’s maybe talk about who’s a candidate for a program like soar. What’s the age range you see this as? And then I want to get to the curriculum. I was able to find your curriculum, at least an overview of the curriculum on the Drucker school of Management websites. I want to talk through the curriculum, too.

    Steve Tarr [00:08:59]:
    So the candidates are kind of like what you just mentioned. People that have had success in their career, however they define it, and for whatever reason, it could be age related or just, I’m done here, and I want to find something new. They want to be thoughtful in that transition, because a lot of people just, well, they don’t plan for it at all. And they fall into, like, what do I do now? And we’ve all heard the funny stories of two, a husband and wife in the same situation, and now they’re both in the same house all day long, and they’re getting on each other’s nerves. Well, they didn’t plan. They didn’t plan what they’re going to do. And I had a real fortunate encounter when I was in my 20s as a software developer. I worked with a really old guy.

    Steve Tarr [00:09:46]:
    He was probably 53 years old, and I thought he was really old, and he was a software developer. And he said one day to me, I bought a couple of acres, and I’m starting to grow rhododendrons. And I looked at him like, and what? That doesn’t make sense at all. And so I said, well, Ernie, why do you want to grow rhododendrons? He says, well, I’m 53 years old. I’m not going to be a software developer forever. And so I’m planning to have something that I enjoy doing for my second act. Well, I was in my 20s. My parents never told me that.

    Steve Tarr [00:10:26]:
    Nobody ever told me that. And here was a guy I was lucky enough to work with that was already doing that. And he said he wanted to run it as a business, didn’t have to make a lot of money, just keep him busy. And it figured it’d take him ten years to get it off the ground. So that by the time he’s in his early to mid 60s, he’s ready to go with his second act. Created a massive impression, obviously, because I’m still telling this story all these years later. But when you look at kind of what society has done to us, wait.

    Wes Moss [00:10:53]:
    Did Ernie end up with a rhododendron company.

    Steve Tarr [00:10:55]:
    He did wholesale rhododendron. He really did. Yeah.

    Wes Moss [00:11:00]:
    It’s amazing.

    Steve Tarr [00:11:00]:
    He did.

    Wes Moss [00:11:01]:
    Yeah. When I think rhododendron, I’m thinking Azalea. Is that close?

    Steve Tarr [00:11:08]:
    They are, yeah. Yeah. Rhododendrons are generally bigger with bigger flowers. And they grow all throughout the Pacific Northwest in mountains.

    Wes Moss [00:11:17]:
    So they can be purple. They can be pink and pink and white. Okay. So they do. They remind us of azaleas. The master. So again, I’m in Atlanta. We’re near Augusta and we’re a heavy azalea city.

    Steve Tarr [00:11:33]:
    Yes, they are related to azaleas.

    Wes Moss [00:11:36]:
    And for those who are listening around the country that are maybe not as familiar with azaleas, rhododengens are close. So he ended up with a landscaping, essentially a nursery type, wholesale nursery, which is pretty phenomenal. And he did that for a long time.

    Steve Tarr [00:11:51]:
    Yeah, he did.

    Wes Moss [00:11:53]:
    It’s pretty awesome.

    Steve Tarr [00:11:54]:
    Yeah. And it was. And he was telling me about how this was 30 years ago and Ernie was telling me or 40 years ago now. And Ernie was telling me about planning your future ahead. And then as part of my career, I ran into Peter Drucker’s article titled managing oneself, a book you can get on Amazon. And Drucker himself says, you got to plan for this second half of your life. And when you think about it demographically, back in the early 19 hundreds, our average lifespan was about 53. And then you think about retirement that we perceive nowadays around 65 or 67, whatever it is for you.

    Steve Tarr [00:12:35]:
    And that was established in 1935 in the Social Security Act. A lot has changed. And the average life expectancy was in the early 60s in those days, and now it’s closer to 80. Lumping everybody together and of course a little dip due to Covid. So what are you going to do? And health has improved and what are you going to do with all those years? So we’re really looking for people that want to be thoughtful about how they go about planning the second stage so they don’t end up stuck under one roof or get tired of playing golf every day of the week. A lot of people do that. And then it runs out. What am I going to do now?

    Wes Moss [00:13:18]:
    Well, you’ve had a lot of experience, let’s call it senior living and with senior populations. And in that world, I’m thinking people in their eighty s, ninety s. But what is the age range you’ve worked with? And have you seen this as an area that people fall short dramatically. So for every one, rhododendron, Ernie there are 20 or 100 other people that are just searching for something to do in the 2000 hours extra they have once they stop working. Have you seen that a lot?

    Steve Tarr [00:13:49]:
    And it’s interesting because I have worked in senior living. I was a co founder of an institute for senior living at Washington State University, and it focuses on the senior living communities. And a lot of people are in those communities. Their minds are still sharp. They may have some physical issues or they still may be able to live at home, but their minds are still sharp. My mom is super sharp and she’s in her. And so people ask themselves that question, what am I going to do now? And so you want to be able to take advantage of this where we don’t have role models like Ernie was mine. But I talked to my mom.

    Steve Tarr [00:14:35]:
    My mom asked me one time, what’s it like taking care of us old people? Because she never had that opportunity. Her parents passed away when she was still fairly young. And I told her, oh, sometimes you’re kind of a pain in the rear, but a lot of time it’s joyful, but it is new and it’s kind of cool, mom, because I have experiences working with you as you age that you never had. So I know more about this than you do.

    Wes Moss [00:15:05]:
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    Wes Moss [00:15:38]:
    Let’s talk about soar. So you didn’t necessarily start soar, but when it was a concept, they brought you in and said, we really need your help. And now you’re essentially running this and driving this program. I love the curriculum. The museum of me. Great questions. Transitions, purpose and impact. Design your life.

    Wes Moss [00:15:57]:
    And it sounded like it is over the course of, is it nine months? What are the logistics behind this? Because this is California, but I know you can do some of this online, but some of it in person.

    Steve Tarr [00:16:08]:
    Yeah, and that’s a great question because if anybody looked at the materials a couple of months ago, it was a nine month program and it’s not anymore. We are no surprise being part of the Drucker School of Management. We use product development techniques to figure out what our customers want and design programs to meet the needs of customers. And so when I took it over, I said, we need to do some market research here and figure out what the demand is out there. And there are a number of universities that do put on nine month programs, and they’re expensive. They require nine months of commitment to move to a city to have the time, as well as up to $75,000 for one of these programs. Both the time, the geographic restrictions, and the money are our inhibitors. And this is a growing area for populations.

    Steve Tarr [00:17:08]:
    So our market feedback said, no, you got to do something that’s more accessible. So the core program, as we have it now, the high level is in three sections, this spring, in the fall, and next winter. But let me only talk about the first chunk right now, because it is just as you described. It’s a hybrid online and on campus. It starts on March 13, is the first online session, and we do introductions with the faculty and all the participants and have some panel discussions, and then you get homework that a month later, April twelveth, 13th and 14th, is on campus in Claremont, California. That’s essential, because a big part of this is not only getting expert advice from the faculty, but your peers. There’s going to be a lot of people kind of like you that you want to develop relationships with and talk with that are going through very similar issues, and you can learn a lot from them. So we didn’t do it totally online.

    Steve Tarr [00:18:12]:
    We said, no, that would be a big miss. That wouldn’t provide value. So then that three day on campus in Claremont is followed up by three more sessions online, and it makes it really accessible. And then the price point, instead of being $75,000, it’s $3,995 for basically a three month program.

    Wes Moss [00:18:34]:
    How many folks do you think you’re going to be able to have in a class in starting this spring?

    Steve Tarr [00:18:39]:
    Our target is 25. Max will be about.

    Wes Moss [00:18:44]:
    You may need to expand that after this podcast goes, because your article, Eisenberg’s article about soar, went all over the place. I mean, I found that on CNBC. Yeah, I would think that you’re going to probably have more than 25 people.

    Steve Tarr [00:18:59]:
    Because that would be a good problem to have this program. I should also mention, we’ve done private sessions of these for companies and organizations. Like, we had an organization of California police chiefs that went through a very similar program. And so a lot of that of the content has been tried and tested. This is the first chance for the general public to be able to access and take advantage of it. And like all good new product developments, we’ve got product development plans. And if we exceed our imaginations with this first one, we’ll run concurrent sessions. We’ll have future ones.

    Steve Tarr [00:19:42]:
    Yeah, sky’s the limit.

    Wes Moss [00:19:44]:
    Let’s go through what you think the curriculum looks like, and it sounds like this has already been taught. It’s a new group that’s being able to consuming it. But let’s go through museum of me. Great questions, transitions, et cetera. I love museum of me. That’s a cool.

    Steve Tarr [00:20:03]:
    It’s really cool. And the professor who leads that, his name is Josh Good. He’s a museum expert and a historian. And he always emphasizes, I am not a techno person. I’m a humanities person. And so for him to kick this off is really cool. The museum of me. We’ve all been to museums, and the way Josh says it is that we’ve all seen what they look like and we appreciate different ones for different reasons, but we never know what it’s like to build one.

    Steve Tarr [00:20:36]:
    And so what he takes the participants through is to develop their own story, like a museum curator would, including artifacts that people can look at. You can look at and say, this tells part of the story of your past. And then what story do you want to tell now? Then what story might you want to tell in the future? He’s also got a great sense of humor. He cracks me up all the time. And so he’s very engaging and entertaining. And that kind of uses that museum paradigm to start getting people to think about, who am I? Where have I been? What am I going to do?

    Wes Moss [00:21:17]:
    And then map out, if I were to be able to look at my entire story, what do the last 20 years or 30 years really want to look?

    Steve Tarr [00:21:25]:
    Right? Yeah. And there’s a lot of paradigms you’ve heard out there. Write your obituary. What do you want your obituary to see? And things.

    Wes Moss [00:21:33]:
    I like the museum story better. I’ve never loved the write your own obituary because it’s kind of a dark narrative. I immediately think of a funeral. I immediately think of the crying people talking about the dead person. Yeah, I mean, it’s a powerful narrative, but I think I like museum. Well, the story of a museum, it.

    Steve Tarr [00:21:56]:
    Is good because, as I said, the past, present and future paradigms, because there are other programs that I know about that say, at this point in your life, it’s about reinventing yourself, who is the new you? So throw away your resume. And I’m not a disciple of that one because there’s a lot of value and strength in that. There may be some things that you’re done with and you want to move on, but you got to base it on that. So Josh does that, and then he transitioned it to a couple of professors, Kat Pick, who is an organizational expert, and then our arts and humanities dean, Lorianne Farrell, and they ask some of the big questions.

    Wes Moss [00:22:38]:
    So that’s the second question, the second.

    Steve Tarr [00:22:40]:
    Part of this three day, part of this three day. It’s the second part. So you’ll first start out with Josh and the museum of me, and then you go into the great questions and they use books and poems and things like that. Ask all the big questions like what’s truth? How do you know it? What’s forgiveness, what’s loss, what’s joy? What does it mean to be a person? What is a life well lived? And you have to struggle with some of those. You got to roll up your sleeves and put some thought in.

    Wes Moss [00:23:09]:
    I was going to say, if you put me on the spot, I don’t know. Those are hard to answer right off the. They are tip of your brain.

    Steve Tarr [00:23:16]:
    That’s why if you read these same things in a book and say, I’m going to figure this out myself, some people can do it, but if you have experts that facilitate this, guide you through it, and you have peers in the same room and you get to go off in a small group for a half hour or so and kicking around a little bit and learn from other people and share your ideas, it’s really powerful.

    Wes Moss [00:23:41]:
    I think about over the years, I’ve done a variety of different executive leadership classes and courses, and getting to know the milieu that you’re with is actually probably the biggest, is the most memorable part of these.

    Steve Tarr [00:23:56]:

    Wes Moss [00:23:57]:
    So I think that any leadership training program or leadership course that you go through, and there’s obviously lots of different versions of this in cities all over the country and for companies, but the takeaway is a remembrance of what you’re learning from your peers. And this is the same thing, is that you’re going to probably get your first group of 25 is going to probably be a pretty cool group of people.

    Steve Tarr [00:24:23]:
    Yes, I think you’re right, because they’re.

    Wes Moss [00:24:26]:
    Also a curious group. I think it’s going to be a really interesting person that wants to do that.

    Steve Tarr [00:24:31]:
    Yes, you’re right. And your touch point about the courses that you’ve personally led in seeing the value of the cohort goes back to the early stage of college education, like we know now. I always believed that more than half of what I learned in undergraduate college was the experience, not the content of the courses. And you look at people now that get together with their friends from college 2030, 40, 50 years later, they’re all talking about the good times. They had an experience of that. They’re not talking about what they learned in chemistry 101 or something like that that may have launched them to their career. But it’s the cohort, it’s the people, the experience, and that’s what’s really valuable.

    Wes Moss [00:25:18]:
    Okay, how about transitions?

    Steve Tarr [00:25:20]:
    So Jeremy Hunter, the professor, leads this. He travels the world teaching mindfulness, judgment, clarity in relationships, quality of life and things like that. And transitions is a big part of it. So when you get this foundation of your museum, of me, and you think you have a handle on some of the great questions, so how do you transition from where you are now to where you want to be? And there’s all sorts of unpredictable emotions that come through these change. There are books out there on transitions, and you can read those, and they talk about all of these different thoughts and feelings. We’re pretty good at it because we’ve all transitioned from grade school to middle school to high school to college to getting a job. We know about transitions, but a lot of us do it implicitly because we have to do it. I was never taught, and most of us are not taught how to really do transitions effectively.

    Steve Tarr [00:26:18]:
    So Jeremy Hunter kind of teaches you what those techniques are to transition successfully. And the strange thing is, all those transitions I mentioned earlier, yeah, we’ve all done that at a certain point in life. But as we were talking earlier, very few have transitioned from, I’m now 60 years old and have another 30 to 40 years to go. That’s a transition that society has not prepared us for very well. And that’s what this transition is. Taking those foundational things and figuring what the rest of your life is based on what you have already done.

    Wes Moss [00:27:02]:
    How about purpose and impact?

    Steve Tarr [00:27:05]:
    This is really an interesting one because it tries to get at what are you good at? What do you care about? What does the world need and what do you want to contribute to that? This is widely varied, and this is another differentiation point from our program to others, that some of them, they actually are very structured, that when you come through this transition program, you will have the blueprint for starting your own nonprofit. It’s very explicit. And that’s not this program.

    Wes Moss [00:27:38]:
    This program is, oh, you’re saying some of these other programs. By the way, what are some of the other big schools that do this? What are some of the big universities.

    Steve Tarr [00:27:45]:
    Stanford, Chicago, Harvard, Cambridge, University of Texas, Arizona State University. And there’s a consortium of about 30 universities worldwide, of which we are a member. And we get together periodically and share notes.

    Wes Moss [00:28:02]:
    What is the consortium called? What is the umbrella name for this.

    Steve Tarr [00:28:06]:
    Called the Nexl, Nexel Nexl collaborative, hosted by Stanford. We all pay dues to be members of it, and we get together periodically and share ideas. And we’re really all these different ones. We’re trying to complement each other because we think the demand is going to be so high and there’s going to be different people of different walks of life that need different things. And so we’re all complementing what each other does.

    Wes Moss [00:28:34]:
    I think we’re getting to the peak of 65 year old birthdays. We’ve heard of the 10,000 people a day turning 65. I think that 2024, early 2024, is this the peak, peak, peak of those birthdays happening every single day. So you’re right. The demand. I mean, there’s three dozen programs that are teaching retirement, reinvention. There probably could be 300 programs doing it. And they’re not.

    Steve Tarr [00:29:00]:
    Yes. So we’re not trying to core the market here. We can’t, we don’t have the resources we want to share and expand. Okay.

    Wes Moss [00:29:07]:
    So some of them are a little bit more focused. I. E. Hey, you’re going to have a business plan when you leave here. You’re going to have a nonprofit plan when you leave here. Yours is a little this purpose and impact. And by the way, I think that purpose. I write a lot about retirement and happiness, and this is the title of my latest book, what the happiest retirees habits.

    Wes Moss [00:29:31]:
    But really it is an ongoing life process of feeding your purpose. It’s finding it, modifying it, adding to it, and then funding it.

    Steve Tarr [00:29:43]:
    Yes. Right.

    Wes Moss [00:29:43]:
    So I’m modifying it, identifying it, feeding it, funding it. And the purpose process to me is a really important real life thing to talk about happiness. A little harder just to talk about, hey, what makes you happy? That’s a harder question for people to answer, but it’s easier for people to say. If I really were to think about the purpose, what is my purpose? People can answer that question. And so I love this purpose and impact. And then it sounds like you close up the course with design of life.

    Steve Tarr [00:30:17]:

    Wes Moss [00:30:18]:
    What’s that like?

    Steve Tarr [00:30:20]:
    So what you end up with out of here is of your own choosing. Something you just mentioned about constantly redefining this as you progress through your life. That’s the important part of a program like this. Too, that you just brought out that in a program like this, just like in an educational setting, you learn tools to navigate through different things in life. We all know how to add and subtract and multiply, and we can use them the rest of our lives. So part of this program is to give you the tools to continue that cycle that you just described. That was a very important point. When you get to establishing your foundation, the purpose and impact, what do you do with it then? And like we just said, we’re not prescribing that you come out of here with a product, but if you do, that’s fine.

    Steve Tarr [00:31:11]:
    There are professors that we have faculty, there are other people that we can connect people with through our networks to say, if you want to go to this, we know some people that can help you, and you want to come up with a specific result. Some people just want to have a better, more holistic life. And a good friend of mine went through the Stanford program and is more satisfied than ever with what he is doing because he understands himself and what’s important to him. And having another big fancy title or the corner office or even spending every day on the golf course, that just wasn’t him, and he was able to discover that. So when you take that, how do you go about bringing that into fruition and actually living that now, that one’s.

    Wes Moss [00:31:57]:
    Probably a little bit more expensive than soar. That one is more Stanford.

    Steve Tarr [00:32:00]:
    Yes, the Stanford one is more expensive, and it’s a nine month residential one, so it targets a specific market in this design your life session, that is on the third day, the Sunday, April 14, applies design thinking tools and approaches as you generate ideas based on everything you’ve done up to that point in the first two and a half days. And so we have Jane Nakamura. She’s the director of the quality of Life Research Center. I love that name, the quality of life research center. So she helps people know and understand your quality of life and how you define it. Jeremy Hutter, who I mentioned earlier, he helps with that one, too, because it’s part of the transition. And then we have a design thinking and strategy expert, Hideki Yamawaki. And Hideki, he’s a professor at the drucker school, and he teaches courses on design principles in the business school, and he brings that into the soar program.

    Steve Tarr [00:33:09]:
    There’s a lot going on in those three days.

    Wes Moss [00:33:12]:
    Okay. So that really, we just talked about the first three days, and then you’ve come back to the campus for the next phase of soar throughout the year.

    Steve Tarr [00:33:20]:
    Well, there’s something before that, because you’ve been through three days of very immersive stuff, and usually when you leave you’re pretty well exhausted and you’ve got a lot going on in your head, a lot that you figured out that’s not in your head anymore because it’s now been replaced by other things. So we give people a couple of weeks to digest that, and then we have another online session as part of this, and this will be probably late April. And it’s Jeremy Hunter again, taking the group through a process called letting go. And it’s letting go of the past and helping move to your new vision. And then a couple of weeks after that, we have another online session again with Professor Yamawaki again, and he goes back to your design, your life plan. And we do a tune up of that design so you feel really confident that you got your design down and you can go off and execute that. And then we have a last online session, which is an open cohort discussion, facilitated by faculty to bring everybody together again and have the last hurrah for the Soar one session. And then if you choose, there’s soar two in the fall and the soar three next winter.

    Wes Moss [00:34:36]:
    Soar two is not the same. It’s an evolution of that.

    Steve Tarr [00:34:40]:
    Yeah, so there’s a transition on this Sunday in soar one that kind of is all inclusive. So here you got the whole story. And then soar two actually takes you into other topics, and it builds on some of the things you did in soar one. And so there’s a transition there, and that’s slated for October of 2024. And then in 25, usually early January, a capstone experience, which is a separate event by itself. You can choose to join or not, but it’s probably going to be an international travel trip to be immersive with students of all ages. So it’s going to be people from sewer, probably students from the colleges. So we’re going to get older people and younger people.

    Steve Tarr [00:35:33]:
    It’s pretty powerful stuff when you see these different perspectives.

    Wes Moss [00:35:38]:
    How new is soar? Because you mentioned that you’ve seen successes and you’ve seen people go through this. Is this because of soar or the same curriculum in slightly different venues?

    Steve Tarr [00:35:50]:
    It’s the same curriculum in slightly different venue. It’s actually called Soar. But since we do it for an organization, we do it at the pace that organization wants.

    Wes Moss [00:36:01]:
    So it just hadn’t gotten to the Drucker school management yet.

    Steve Tarr [00:36:05]:
    It actually wasn’t the drucker school. But let’s say when the police chiefs associate want to do it, if they wanted to do a full week session, then take a month off and do another full week session, that’s the way we would do it.

    Wes Moss [00:36:16]:
    It was just more customized. Yeah. What about maybe some stories of some results or just some stories of folks that came through that and how that impacted them?

    Steve Tarr [00:36:27]:
    Yeah, it’s really interesting because I looked into some of those and some people continued on their present trajectory, but they had a newfound confidence that they were on the right path, which was unexpected. Yeah. And other people said, well, I’m going to transition into my version of retirement as they defined it, on their own terms. And they were very happy with that. So I know a couple of police chiefs that decided they didn’t really want to be the face of the city’s police chief anymore, but they really knew a lot and wanted to share that, and so they became consultants and it’s a common route for people, but, man, they’re sharing a lot of good experience and knowledge.

    Wes Moss [00:37:12]:
    And what do you think your favorite piece of advice is on second act or reinvention? What have you seen work the best. What is your favorite part about what you all are teaching at? Soar?

    Steve Tarr [00:37:25]:
    Well, my single piece of advice is that at this stage in life, most of us, if not all of us, have had many years of meeting many demands from the world. Here is your chance for you to work on.

    Wes Moss [00:37:44]:
    You take know with your background. This is not out of left field, because I think about it all the time, but I always follow up Gallup and they do a workplace engagement study and they do it every, I think they update it every year. And the latest one shows workplace engagement really in different geographical representative in Europe, in Asia, in North America and Canada. And I’ve looked at these engagement studies for 20 some years and they still to this day, have a similar ratio of people that actually are engaged or really like working. And the latest one, at least in the US and Canada, is about 31% engagement. So a third of folks, a little less than a third of Americans and Canadians really love work. That’s how I interpret it. It’s purposeful work.

    Wes Moss [00:38:39]:
    And then you have a really big chunk of people that Gallup actually calls it quiet quitting, which means they don’t really want to be there. So they’re just doing the bare minimum. I really don’t want to be here, so I’m kind of quiet quitting. And then there’s another, it’s about another fifth. So again, this group makes up 69% of all people who work in America that are actively, I think they call it loud quitting, which, again, I interpret that as they really dislike their job. So they’re actively almost, they’d like to see the company not do well, their department do well, their boss get fired. So think about that. Less than a third of Americans are really loving work, and the other more than two thirds of America just doesn’t like it or hates it.

    Wes Moss [00:39:25]:
    So I guess from all of your experience, and there’s no perfect answer here, but what do you think that is? Why is it so difficult to find meaningful work in America?

    Steve Tarr [00:39:40]:
    Well, that’s a big question, one that I’ve pondered throughout my career as I’ve searched.

    Wes Moss [00:39:45]:
    Maybe we’ll add it to great questions. Course number two at soar, that’s a.

    Steve Tarr [00:39:51]:
    Great idea, but a lot of it is the mindset that I think people have and that I actually was in a workshop with the Soar faculty yesterday and there were some messy little tasks that are required to put on a program of this magnitude that everybody was kind of like not enthused about. And I said, okay, I will do it. And they go, like, why you? And I said, so here’s my philosophy. If the floors need to be swept or the garbage needs to be taken out, I’ll do it because it needs to be done. And I see value in doing tasks just because it needed to be done. But it took me a lot of time in my career because like everybody else when I was in my twenty s, I thought that I was pretty close to being qualified to be the CEO in another week or two. I knew so much coming out of college and all that. And so I think that a lot of the work, to your point, is fairly routine.

    Steve Tarr [00:40:48]:
    I worked in a grocery store and I stocked shelves, and the next week the shelves are empty and I got to put cans right back on the shelf. And I thought, wow, this just seems like I’m going nowhere. But then I realized one of the people said that I worked with another wisdom. Point is, like, people come into this store to get food and products that they need for their lives. So by putting these on the shelves, you’re actually helping people live their lives. And there’s meaning, I think, in a lot of work that people don’t look for. But when we go around thinking like, oh, I want to get a bunch of stock options and quit working and do all that, that’s absolutely the wrong approach to finding meaning in whatever work you do.

    Wes Moss [00:41:30]:
    Great answer. I put you on the spot with one of the great questions that I think about all the time in America. And it’s juxtaposed because we have such a productive workforce. So I believe I call it the army of american productivity, which is a 24 7365 machine that’s always moving forward. It is innovation, entrepreneurship. It’s always moving forward. Now, the fuel, I think, can be slightly different. There’s part of the fuel that’s, again, never ending.

    Wes Moss [00:41:58]:
    It’s a bottomless supply of fuel for that army of american productivity fueled by part of it’s fear. I’ve just got to work. Yeah. Part of it is optimism, and then part of it is purpose. And I think that’s the noblest of the three, but it’s kind of this three cylinder tank that’s always. That is bottomless, because these are our human emotions that will never go away as long as we’re human, unless we’re replaced by artificial intelligence. So what is one thing that our audience can maybe do now if they’re considering a second act career?

    Steve Tarr [00:42:34]:
    Yes. In your bottomless source of motivations for the american workforce, the middle one you mentioned, optimism, I think, is extremely powerful. And you don’t get optimism by staying on social media and reading the news every day. That’s something that comes in, really what we do every day that’s away from those things and that optimistic approach. I think that we have every right to be optimistic. There’s so many good things that can be done. So the one thing that you can do is figure out how to tap into your own optimism for this stage of your life. And I go back to the old phrase, carpe diem.

    Steve Tarr [00:43:18]:
    When you finish listening to this podcast, go immediately look for programs to help your journey. Do some research. I mean, ours is easy to find. CGU soar. S-O-A-R. CGU soar. If you just put that in the search engine, it’ll pop right up as the number one. And then do your due diligence.

    Steve Tarr [00:43:37]:
    Look at other programs and what they might offer and find the one that works for you. And you bring that optimism and that desire for reinventing yourself, your renewal, to a program like this, it’s going to be fantastic. It’s just such a great, energizing time of life. If you decide to go do that, and it’s there.

    Wes Moss [00:44:00]:
    I’m on my phone right now. CGU sor. I’m signing up right now. I’ve been thinking about this the whole time we’re talking. Like, it’d be so fun to do this. I do already have kind of two main jobs. So I don’t know if I can do this just now, but maybe somebody from our team can do this, take notes. But I just want to do it for fun.

    Wes Moss [00:44:26]:
    This is awesome. Steve, I’m so glad we found you, and it’s a great discussion about a big question that we all need to answer. We’re not great at it. Two thirds of Americans have a really tough transition, and then this is what is not always easy to find on the podcast, is some just actionable things we can do, right? And you’ve given us that we can actionably look at programs like soar. It doesn’t have to be soar by the get. There’s no commission or affiliate fee we’re getting from Soar here on the podcast. This is just purely, I thought it was valuable for our audience. And by the way, if anybody on the retiree, sooner or any listeners end up signing up for this and take the course, we would love to hear about it.

    Wes Moss [00:45:12]:
    We’d love to hear if you do any of these reinvention programs or if you do soar. Our team, of course, would just love to hear how it goes and if it feels helpful, if is it life changing? If it’s not, we’d love to hear. So, Steve, thank you for spending the time here today and your initiative at Claremont and at soar.

    Steve Tarr [00:45:34]:

    Mallory Boggs [00:45:36]:
    Hey y’all. This is Mallory with the retire sooner team. Please be sure to rate and subscribe to this podcast and share it with a friend. If you have any questions, you can find that’s You can also follow us on Instagram and YouTube. You’ll find us under the handle Retire sooner podcast. And now for our show’s disclosure. This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and is not to be viewed as investment advice or recommendations.

    Mallory Boggs [00:46:03]:
    Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guaranteed offer that investment return, yield, or performance will be achieved. Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions for stocks paying dividends. Dividends are not guaranteed and can increase, decrease, or be eliminated without notice. Fixed income securities involve interest rate, credit inflation and reinvestment risks and possible loss of principal. As interest rates rise, the value of fixed income securities falls. Past performance is not indicative of future results. When considering any investment vehicle, this information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors.

    Mallory Boggs [00:46:48]:
    Investment decisions should not be based solely on information contained here. This information is not intended to and should not form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment tax, estate or financial planning considerations or decisions. The information contained here is strictly an opinion and it is not known whether strategies will be successful. The views and opinions expressed are for educational purposes only as of the date of production and may change without notice at any time based on numerous factors such as market and other conditions.

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