Carl interviewed author, speaker, radio & TV commentator Kerry Hannon this week. In addition to writing 14 best-selling books, Kerry is a nationally recognized expert, spokesperson and strategist on career transitions, personal finance and retirement. She has covered all aspects of careers, business and personal finance as a columnist, editor and writer for The New York Times, Forbes, Money, U.S. News & World Report and USA today, as well as appearances on Dr. Phil, all the major networks, including CNBC, NPR and PBS. Kerry’s latest book is “Great Pajama Jobs.” We think the best way to describe Kerry is probably “prolific dynamo.”
Kerry grew up in Pittsburgh with her parents and three siblings. Her father had an entrepreneurial spirit as a consultant to large corporations to work on efficiency and management training. Dinner conversations were engaging, as her father was always taking on new clients in various businesses with new kinds of challenges. Her mother eventually worked with her father after the kids were raised. This love of meeting new people and taking on new challenges inspired Kerry. She knew at a very young age she wanted to be a writer and wrote her first book at age 12.
Kerry started writing for Duke University while a student there, as well as Pittsburgh Magazine and various horse-related magazines. “I’m a horse freak!” she says. After graduating she wrote for Business Times, Business Week, Advertising Age, even a column about alternative dance. Kerry has always loved diving into new subjects. Her dream job at the time was to write for Forbes, because her father was a devoted subscriber. At 24, she asked for an interview, eventually the job, moved to NYC. “I never looked back,” Kerry adds.
Not just a writer but a passionate spokesperson for people over 50, Kerry has testified before Congress about the importance of older workers. Before she takes on each job, she asks, “Is this something that is going to make a difference in someone’s life? I want to help people!” Kerry currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, a documentary producer and her Labrador Retriever, Zena. She is still horse-crazy.
Kerry’s Tips for Preparing for UnRetirement
Soul search: “Take a couple of years to plan and think about it. I call it an inner MRI,” Kerry says. “Think about what you really want to do. Take baby steps. It (your path) is not necessarily linear, it’s more like a patchwork quilt, with different areas of interest.”
Get lean and mean: “The other piece of this (your unretirement plan) is you might want to work on getting financially fit. Pay down your debt, get control of your spending and credit cards, maybe downsize. Debt is the biggest dream-killer!”
Consider your options: “Then, when you are financially fit, you can do lots of things that are not so dependent on that paycheck. You can take a job that is enjoyable to you, or even start your own business. Working from home is great for older people, because there is little ageism, the focus is on performance.”
Embrace being a beginner: “Let your ego go. You’ve already accomplished a lot. It’s okay to be the person in the corner, not knowing how to do something, asking lots of questions. It’s good for you psyche. Be curious!”
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.