Two retired Philadelphia professors - Barbara Fleisher and Thelma Reese - are riding the growing wave of women over 60, one of the fastest-growing demographics in America. Not only are 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, but many female boomers outlive their husbands, as do women in general.
"If you are part of this growing group of women over 60, what can we do about using this time well? There aren't any role models. My mother lived to be just short of 97, but she never wore slacks. She lived in a different world," Reese, now in her 80s, said in an interview.
"Younger women in their 60s are turning out to be our audience. We talk about our lack of role models" for boomer women, added Fleisher.
On their blog, ElderChicks.com, they tell real-life stories of women who have dealt with the challenges of living a full life after 60, and offer some answers to increasingly familiar questions about money and investing: How to learn about your finances if your spouse was the one handling all your assets. How to avoid high-fee financial products and stick with fee-only advisers.
"Women look forward to this time as a fork in the road, a time of transition. They need preparation. They have told us they find our blog helpful with many approaches to their lives," Reese said.
"They're also concerned about how to keep the family together. The relationships between our children and us have changed; children live together before marriage, they live around the world, or in blended families," Fleisher explained. "And boomers themselves are more mobile. Families scatter. Notions of family solidarity are challenged. I have friends who talk with grandchildren on Skype every day."
In addition to ElderChicks.com, the two women just wrote and published The New Senior Woman: Reinventing the Years Beyond Mid-Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013). Reese and Fleisher share insights and guidance from a wide range of women over 60.
Reese will speak and sign books next Thursday at "The Best Day of My Life (So Far)" event at the Senior Center at Broad and Lombard Streets. She is also scheduled to speak Feb. 25 at the Cosmopolitan Club.