Catering to Your Midlife Crisis Is a Growing Business | Kanebridge News
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Catering to Your Midlife Crisis Is a Growing Business

Budding industry helps adults who seek fulfilling second acts

Tue, Aug 1, 2023 8:52amGrey Clock 3 min

Americans want their midlife crisis to be more productive. This presents, for a growing number of companies, coaches and consultants, a multimillion-dollar opportunity.

Some programs are online and charge a couple hundred dollars. Others take place in exotic spots and feature luxury accommodations, yoga and surfing classes for thousands of dollars. Discounts are sometimes available.

Fuelling the businesses are longer lifespans, leading more people to search for meaningful pursuits in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Some psychologists call this period a second adulthood when identity-shaping roles, from executive to full-time parent to caregiver, can fall away, causing some to re-evaluate.

“Transition is a skill we need to master in an era of increased longevity and change,” said Chip Conley, co-founder of Modern Elder Academy, or MEA, which offers online and in-person workshops.

Some studies show life satisfaction reaches a low point around the mid-40s, perhaps because of stress linked to the demands of work and family. That juggle, coupled with little time for self-reflection, leaves many people unsure how to approach their next chapter.

Instructors in midlife programs explore topics including psychological development in midlife and ageism, which can cause people to believe they are “irrelevant, over the hill, and that their best years are behind them,” said Conley.

He created MEA after working at Airbnb, where the home-sharing company’s young founders dubbed him a modern elder at age 52. The workshops aim to help participants learn to better navigate stressful transitions, including layoffs, divorce and the death of loved ones.

Space for self-reflection

Like the months long academic programs several universities have launched for adults nearing the end of careers, most midlife courses bring together groups of eight to 50 people.

“These programs give people the space and structure to consider not just what, but who they want to be at this stage,” said Barbara Waxman, a gerontologist who teaches at MEA.

Nadia Al Yafai, 46, said she discovered the Midlife ReThink, a $385 online program, after being laid off recently from a senior position at a U.K. insurer.

The Midlife ReThink proved transformational, she said, adding that meeting others who felt similarly unanchored comforted her.

Started in 2020 by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, a coach and consultant who specialises in gender and generational balance in the workforce, the program consists of three 90-minute online sessions for about 25 participants.

“A lot of people suffer through transitions on their own, as if this is some terrible thing they are going through,” said Wittenberg-Cox. “Community is the key to helping people realize it’s normal and fairly predictable at this age and stage to get restless” and crave change, she said.

Al Yafai said an exercise that asked her to define what she wants from the next seven years led her to start a consulting business.

“I went from feeling a bit lost at not being part of my old world anymore to realising there’s this new world of people doing really interesting things,” she said.

‘We still have value’

Reboot Partners, which provides workshops and coaching on career and other transitions, has organised two weekend-long retreats this year, in Santa Fe, N.M., and Sag Harbor, N.Y., for $1,895. Participants visualize their perfect life and discuss fears and motivations around change, said co-founder Jaye Smith.

On an oceanfront campus in Mexico’s Baja California Sur, MEA teaches courses on re-creating careers, embracing midlife and optimising longevity. It also offers weeks long online programs on transitions, purpose and reframing retirement for $395 to $1,250. It plans to open a campus in Santa Fe, N.M., next year.

Lisa Fitzpatrick said MEA, which she first attended in 2019, helped her face down barriers to success.

Dr. Fitzpatrick, 55, was launching Grapevine Health, which publishes online health information for low-income communities. She relished the opportunity to interact with Conley, a veteran entrepreneur.

The Washington, D.C., resident said an exercise to identify self-limiting beliefs helped her conquer a fear of being too old to start a business. She returned to Baja five times to attend workshops on entrepreneurship and healthcare.

For that first visit, she received a scholarship for a seven-day stay that now costs $4,000 to $5,500.

One exercise Fitzpatrick particularly enjoys involves stacking rocks on the beach. “It sounds kind of woo-woo,” she said. But the task of balancing a big rock on a small one helped her overcome mental barriers to what she could achieve. “MEA helps people in midlife realise we still have value,” she said.

Finding a purpose

Some programs explore next acts or spirituality.

Dallas-based Halftime Institute’s offerings include a two-day, $2,500 couples retreat and a $25,000 yearlong program. The latter features in-person and online sessions, as well as one-on-one coaching on relationships, health, faith and finding one’s calling.

“Not everyone who goes through it is Christian but that’s the perspective we come from,” said Co-Chief Executive Jim Stollberg. “We talk about a calling, rather than a purpose.”

For $2,500, Union Theological Seminary in New York offers a four-month Encore Transition program, with virtual sessions on topics such as spirituality in midlife and finding work with social purpose.

Consultant Carolyn Buck Luce leads a group of women through a weeks long online program called the Decade Game that costs $2,250. It challenges participants to set goals to guide their next decade in areas including education and purpose.

“It’s about being able to declare the purpose you were called to,” said Luce.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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UAE Initiates State-Owned EV Charging Initiative to Boost Electric Vehicle Acceptance

The United Arab Emirates is improving its electric vehicle infrastructure with a new government-owned EV charging network.

Wed, May 22, 2024 2 min

The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) alongside Etihad Water and Electricity (Etihad WE) have collaborated to form UAEV, a new joint venture aimed at strengthening the electric vehicle (EV) charging framework throughout the UAE. This venture is the first EV charging network entirely owned by the government, aimed at broadening access to EV charging facilities across the country.

The project seeks to revolutionize the UAE’s transport sector by enabling broader adoption of EVs via a robust and widespread charging infrastructure. This initiative is expected to strengthen communities, generate employment, and promote eco-friendly transportation options.

Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “UAEV embodies the power of partnership between government and industry, and aims to provide vital electric vehicle infrastructure to boost adoption of EVs, energize communities, and unleash the economic potential of the UAE.

“We hope that this partnership will further accelerate the transition to cleaner transportation and significantly reduce emissions from the transportation sector, thereby helping to bring our Net Zero 2050 Strategy within reach.”

Sharif Al Olama, who has been appointed Chairman of UAEV, said: “In 2023, we saw a rise in EV adoption in the UAE. By expanding our EV infrastructure, we ensure the country is equipped to support those who have already purchased an EV and make the prospect of switching to EV attractive.

“Together, MoEI and Etihad WE form a powerful force that can help future-proof the UAE and achieve the twin objectives of economic growth and climate action, which underpin UAEV.”

The UAEV is also a perfect platform for Etihad WE, the largest employer in the Northern Emirates and a company with a customer base of over 2 million households, to use its core competency and enhance its product offering.

Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, CEO of Etihad Water and Electricity and Board Member of UAEV, explained: “It is part of a deliberate strategy to diversify our operations, using the knowledge and experience acquired from our role as long-standing pioneers in the energy sector, to explore new products, services, projects, and investments which will benefit our customers.

“UAEV charging infrastructure will contribute to the modernization of the UAE’s transport network, help energize communities by creating new jobs, and empower our customers to make more sustainable choices.”



Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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