Bonus Years Biographies

I have been through the process of living in a post-career environment, and I know it can be unsettling. But in the course of my work, I don't rely only on my own experience or only on formal research reports.

I have also talked to literally hundreds of post-career Americans engaged in post-career work, such as:

  • a part-time barista at Starbucks,
  • entrepreneurs who have started new business ventures…some even exporting to overseas markets;
  • a volunteer soccer coach for a girls' soccer team,
  • paid consultants in a variety of jobs – from knowledge workers to blue collar workers,
  • a part-timer who sacks groceries at a Safeway…and another who ferries Hertz rental cars to airports,
  • a SCORE volunteer one day week,
  • the chairman of the lay council of a local parish – a job that consumes about 15 hours a week; and others.


Nearly all described themselves as "retired" though not one had withdrawn, taken leave, or retreated from the action and passions of life.

Unfortunately, we do not yet have a language to describe people who continue to be fully engaged in life, including work, after they leave their careers…and words like "retirees," "oldsters," "elders" and the like don't work. This is amazing when you stop to consider that we have good studies based on reliable data to indicate that as many as two-thirds to three-fourths (66% to 75%) of later-life Americans want and expect to continue to work in their post-career years.

The Bonus Years Living blog is designed to show the cultural transformation that is taking place in America. This is a result of the remarkable determination of so many later-life Americans to remain engaged in work that will allow them to continue to use their gifts of time, treasure and talent to help others and repair the world.
We also invite those in the larger community to submit their own stories or to tell us about inspiring stories they have encountered in their family, neighborhood, or other venue where later-life Americans can be found fully engaged in the world of work.  If you have ideas along these lines, please leave us a message: Contact Us.

At age 99, the autobiography is used to share inspiring stories of a life well-lived

By Phil Burgess | July 2, 2019

Celebrities, they say, are known for being known. Heroes, by contrast, are known for their deeds – for results and accomplishments and their contributions to the commonweal. While many heroes are well known – such as aviator Charles Lindbergh or astronaut John Glenn – others are less well-known.  Those are the unsung heroes. Last week…

‘Golden Girls’ sitcom gets real-life reboot

By Phil Burgess | June 23, 2019

In a recent article on aging, Kori Miller asks “How do you feel about growing old? For some, it’s a scary time filled with change and loneliness. But it doesn’t need to be that way. In fact, it shouldn’t. We’re social creatures and growing old isn’t a solo sport.” With increasing longevity, however, we have…

The value of a story is in the telling, so tell it by the artifacts of life

By Phil Burgess | June 17, 2019

Unabridged from my weekly Bonus Years column the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, June 16, 2019 With the Fourth of July less than a month away, now is a good time to think about the celebration of our nation’s independence.  For many, there will be family get-togethers to break bread, watch fireworks and…

As we grow older, some things wear out – and that’s just fine

By Phil Burgess | June 2, 2019

Unabridged from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, June 2, 2019  “It’s better to wear out than rust out” is the underlying theme of most of our bonus years stories. It’s also how I think about my own bonus years.  I’ve learned that continuing engagement in paid work, volunteer work and other kinds…

Bonus Years Interview in the Talbot Spy

By Phil Burgess | May 30, 2019

The following article is used with permission from “Better to Wear Out Than Rust Out While Aging with Phil Burgess” by Dave Wheelan, published on May 28th in the Talbot Spy. For the last four years, the Senior Summit, an annual gathering for seniors, children of seniors, and caregivers on the Mid-Shore, has gone out…

Some people are evergreens, never dormant, always renewing

By Phil Burgess | May 26, 2019

We’ve all heard of early bloomers, youngsters who perform at adult levels – and late bloomers, who are slow to get off the mark. These realities only show that different folks blossom in different seasons of their life.  But occasionally, we meet an evergreen, a perennial who is never dormant, forever renewing, forever blooming at…

Work after a life of work appeals to many in their bonus years

By Phil Burgess | May 13, 2019

For those of us in our bonus years, conversations with children and grandchildren are usually satisfying, often sweet.  However, sometimes we’re faced with offspring who will skeptically roll their eyes whenever we speak with awareness and enthusiasm about issues they think they invented. Example: If you talk about recycling, some Millennials will dismiss your views…

Telecom retirees answer call of history, preserve important artifacts

By Phil Burgess | May 13, 2019

Unabridged from my weekly Bonus Years column the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, May 12, 2019 For nearly four years, beginning in 2005, I had the privilege of working as senior executive in the largest telecommunications company in a nation not my own.  That company was Telstra, Australia’s telecommunications giant, which also owned…

You’re never too old to serve those in need — and there are many

By Phil Burgess | May 8, 2019

During March and April, I visited a close friend who spent nearly two months in the rehab unit at Heritage Harbor. Nearly every visit included meeting other interesting people who were also visiting my popular friend. During one visit, I met retired Verizon manager Rhonda Jackson. After she arrived, I devoted most of my time…

A life of service to the ‘seats of power’ does not end when your career ends

By Phil Burgess | January 13, 2019

New Year’s Eve was a dreary day in Annapolis.  It was cold and rainy.  Little did I know that my day would soon be filled with the light of Frank Jones whose uplifting manner and inspiring story could raise the spirits of even a Scrooge or Grinch. It goes like this.  Jones was born in…