"Consider an encore career - together"

What can spouses do BEFORE retirement to make sure they don’t clash IN retirement?

The old adage—I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch—is all the more significant in the context of the longevity revolution. The rise of hundred-year life spans can mean a lot of lunch together—not counting any early bird specials! But what if those turn out to be working lunches

More and more couples are actually finding work they can do together in what were once the retirement years. And for that reason it makes sense for couples to think about and to talk about—in advance—the possibility of tackling a joint undertaking.

Consider the example of Leslye Louie and Lyle Hurst, a couple who left long and successful careers at Hewlett-Packard, but opted against retiring in any traditional sense. Rather, Louie and Hurst decided to focus their next phase on improving educational opportunity for low-income children. In pursuit of this shared objective, they applied together to do an Encore Fellowship (full disclosure—the fellowship program is run by my organization,, a yearlong, halftime placement in a social impact organization. After being accepted into the program, they job-shared a role at the San Francisco education reform organization, Partners in School Innovation. And once they completed their fellowship year, Louie and Hurst jointly signed on to lead the overall Encore Fellowship Network, a role they continue to play.

(For more about the program, see: For videos of Hurst and Louie, see the following:

For others, the tandem encore career can entail entrepreneurship, through starting a new organization or company in partnership. For a compelling example of one such partnership, check out this video of Stephen and Elizabeth Alderman, winners of the Purpose Prize for social innovators in the second half of life.

Whatever the route—working in existing organizations or starting entirely new ones—the prospect of longer working lives for couples can mean another chance at togetherness.

Marc Freedman is CEO and founder of is a nonprofit organization working to promote encore careers—second acts for the greater good.