Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County

Recap: The Third Age: A Dynamic View of Aging

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 10:45am -- Lifelong Learning

Over forty people came on Sunday, November 8, and were informed and inspired by Bruce Mondschain, President/CEO of Catalyst Benefits, Inc., who spoke about “The Third Age,” the life phase formerly known as “retirement.”  The program was co-sponsored by the Lifelong Learning Committee (LLC) and the Etz Chaim Brotherhood.

Summary by Bruce Mondschain
Edited and submitted by Gail Farr

Third Age 1 Third Age 2 Third age 3

Third Age 6 Third age 5 Third Age 7

What is the Third Age?

The Third Age is that time in our lives when our children no longer live in our homes and when we begin to plan for the next, and probably greatly modified, phase of our work life. It is another opportunity to decide what we want to be when we grow up! Many call this phase “retirement” although they will alter their lives as opposed to “retire.”  Now, many see this as an opportunity to plan for this next phase in our lives.  For most, the First Age was growing up and going to school. This was our “youth” and the time in our lives where we committed to what we wanted to be “when we “really” grew up.   The Second Age involved parenting and working.  It was during this phase in our lives when we actively raised our children and built our careers.

Why Is the Third Age Important?  Some data about aging today.

Several factors make the Third Age very important.  First of all, we are living longer and healthier than past generations.  In prior generations, the end of our work years and a more limited life expectancy left a fewer number of years during which the individual could explore and develop new interests.  Modern medical technology, greater emphasis on prevention, enhanced medical and lifestyle information, internet access and the ever-changing and expanding world of medication suggest that diseases and medical conditions that limited the lives of earlier generations will not be a concern of current and future generations.  With this as a backdrop, many can begin to plan for a Third Age that will last in excess of thirty years. It is yet another opportunity to answer the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up!”

What is the Third Age Portfolio©?

The Third Age Portfolio suggests that, in much the same way you plan and execute a financial portfolio for the later adult years in your life, you are now able to plan a portfolio for non-financial, lifestyle/life choice elements of your life.  In much the same way that a productive and effective financial portfolio is diversified, so too should the non-financial portfolio for your Third Age be diversified.  The Third Age Portfolio is that balanced set of activities, relationships and life commitments that brings you a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment, completion, new learning, joy, resolution, opportunity to make the world a better place, and, for many, a chance to live out what, in the past, were only dreams.  It is a time to expand horizons.  It is a time to confirm and deliver the legacy you have developed and that only you can leave to those you love. It is a time to seek new answers. For many, it is a time to ask new questions and try new directions.

What are the components of the Third Age Portfolio?

The Third Age Portfolio draws experiences and opportunities from five critical areas.  The blending of those five areas into a unified portfolio varies from person to person and allows for you to develop the portfolio that works best for you.  Many adults find that the portfolio works best when there is a somewhat equitable balance of the five distinct portfolio areas.   Each portfolio element needs planning and is worthy of serious thought and introspection. 

The five major elements of the Third Age Portfolio are:

  1. Wage/Fee work:  The amount of time and energy you will spend in the next phase of your life earning income of one kind or another.2
  2. Relationships- Family/Friends:  The amount of time and energy you will spend in the next phase of your life developing, sustaining, re-defining and investing in relationships with family and friends.
  3. Lifetime Learning:  The amount of time and energy you will spend in the next phase of your life studying.
  4. Civic/Community Engagement:  The amount of time and energy you will spend in the next phase of your life giving back to your community through service.
  5. Health/wellness: The amount of time and energy you will spend in the next phase of your life actively working on staying healthy    


Take the online survey!

To help provide insight into their personal readiness for the next phase, attendees received a complimentary code to complete their own Third Age Portfolio survey.  A limited number of survey codes is still available.  If you would like to receive a code and directions for accessing the survey, please contact Gail Farr at [email protected]  Note: There is NO cost involved, and individuals are assigned a unique code, so results are anonymous.  Survey results include scores on each of the five elements of the Third Age Portfolio, graphics – high and low areas – and tips, actions the individual can take to improve.