Rock'n & Roll'n at 80

Rock'n & Roll'n at 80

by Todd Harper of the Zionsville Times Sentinel

Zionsville resident Tom Hardin is using the knowledge he has collected after more than 20 years in the financial world to write a book about financial planning and aging.

A firm believer that the idea of getting old in America is changing, Hardin is trying to get the message out that as the baby boomer population enters retirement age, they will not become an "albatross around the neck of American society."

In fact, in his book Never Too Old to Rock and Roll, Hardin outlines and explains his theory and also sets out a plan to help boomers "thrive" in their second 50 years. Hardin does not see baby boomers actually retiring in the traditional sense, but instead using their "talents, insights and hard-earned wisdom into their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond."

Hardin, managing director and chief investment officer for a new investment advisory company called Canterbury Financial Group, decided about two years ago to write a book about his new approach to aging. The book will hit bookstores and local Zionsville shop shelves in the spring.

"There is a vision that baby boomers are going to retire and be a drag on the world," he explained. "So what we have done is concentrated on life planning issues."

Hardin interviewed people from throughout the country including the Zionsville and Indianapolis area. He said he has more than 300 audiotaped interviews on file, which he used in writing his book.

"Tom would ask people about their next stage of life," explained Hardin's wife, Kim Hardin.

Kim Hardin, who helps lead the public relations wing of Canterbury, said he would interview people at social gatherings, conventions and through word of mouth. She said while the book specifically targets what Hardin calls the "rock and roll generation" (born between 1937"1959), he also interviewed what he terms "role models," people born before 1937.

Hardin said in 1929 with The Great Depression, the American population nosedived until 1937 when it began to rise. He said the population continued to rise until 1959. It is this group that he specifically targets in his book.

"These were the true leaders of the counterculture revolution that took place in the 1960s," he noted.

Sue Ritz, executive director of Boone County Senior Services, said she has seen a change in the way people live their lives as they age. She said more seniors are working part-time and moving on to other activities in their lives. She said Senior Services has 13 senior drivers who work part-time in an effort to stay active.

"It gives them a sense of purpose and helping," she said. "It (living longer) is going to change the way we think about aging."

Ritz said she has even seen some people retire and then get bored and go back to work part-time. Some companies such as Walmart have also made an initiative to hire older workers.

"They are the most reliable employees you can have," she said.

While Hardin has never done a book before, he has done some writing including a newsletter for Canterbury.

At age 51, Hardin said he recently was faced with the realization that he was aging and entering his last 20 years of life. He now believes he will live to 100, but it took some major changes in his lifestyle and his own attitude on life for him to change his own view on aging.

"At 50, I feel great," he said, adding he and his wife have a personal trainer that visits their house.

Hardin said the view on personal training has changed rapidly in recent years. He said it used to be frowned upon to exercise and work out because the thought was it could lead to heart problems in an elderly person. Now more and more people are training and staying fit.

Dr. Craig Overmyer, a personal coach with an office in Zionsville, said he has seen people have "all the money in the world and be miserable." He is currently teaming with Hardin and helped provide some insight for Never Too Old to Rock and Roll.

"People need to start thinking differently after 50," he explained.

Overmyer, co-founder of B.I.O. - Business Inside Out, located at 23 East Cedar Street, said planning is critical. He has been a personal coach since 1999, and has now joined forces with Hardin to address both the financial and the "life" aspects of aging.

He said it is important people understand coaching is much different than therapy or training, and deals more with changing the way people think about living and aging than the physical aspect.

In one interview for Hardin's book, Hardin talked to an Indianapolis man who worked for years at Eli Lilly. He told Hardin instead of having a retirement party he had a graduation party and now has moved on to something else in his life but he is not retired.

In what Hardin terms more of a transition than an end, he sees people not retiring, but moving on to other interests and careers later in life. He said people might not work 40 and 50 hours a week, but maybe only 25 or 30 hours.

"It's very similar to where you were when you got out of high school," he explained.

In the past Hardin said people lived under the model that you go to school, find a job, get married, have kids, retire and die. He said that view is changing and more people are turning to self-employment and finding a career that they truly enjoy.

While Hardin admits financial planning is a key element to the theory, he chose to write a book more on the aging aspect because he felt the issue would grab people's attention.

In his book, Hardin also interviews such people as Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and an 81-year-old marathon runner. He said every interview provided new lessons and ideas.

He said the term "senior" belongs to his parents' and grandparents' generation and as people from the "rock and roll generation" age, terms like senior and retired will become obsolete.

One person that stands out for both Tom and Kim Hardin is Frank Countryman. The Hardins said Frank and his wife, both in their 80s, love to hang out with people much younger and have a very positive attitude on aging.

But Hardin said their experience is not unusual and will continue as the "rock and roll generation" matures.