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The Retirement Gates

For some, retirement can be a closing door on 40 years of daily social interaction and sense of purpose with not much to replace it. Bill Gates has just retired (27th June) at age 52 from Microsoft after 33 years. He seems to have made as successful a transition to retirement as he did in building the company. The foundation he and his wife established in 2000 http://www.gatesfoundation.org/ will occupy most of his time. The foundation's theme is 'Bringing innovations in health and learning to the global community'.

Having lots of money sure makes this kind of transition planning seem easy. But then again, there are others who can't give up the power trip at the top of business and give little thought to mentoring successors well in advance. Saving for retirement won't solve this problem - it's an individual responsibility to have a diverse portfolio of interests through life so that when one gate closes you are ready to open another wider. In Gates' case he started 8 years before retirement with his foundation which has the added social benefit of being a shared interest with his wife.

Doyen of the diverse portfolio is social philosopher Charles Handy. Essential readings are 'The Age of Unreason' (1989),'Gods of Management' (1995), 'The Elephant and the Flea: looking backwards to the Future' (2001). http://www.findem.com.au/resources/displayResourcesArticle.php?id=120

Posted Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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