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SILVER WOLF FAQS
click on the links below:

Peter Carvell

For further information, interview with the author and photos, please contact Linda Mindel at Belgravia Productions:
Tel: 0207 730 6911,
email: linda.mindel@virgin.net


Why did you call the book Silver Wolf?
I wanted to give men a different perspective on themselves as they reached their fifties. Because of ageism, many in the past got a beaten look, as they were sent early into retirement, and lost confidence in themselves.

I am suggesting that this is a wrong and unnecessary attitude. The truth is that men in their fifties are probably reaching their peek, and have powerful years to come.

I chose Silver Wolf because, if those in their Third Act have one characteristic in common, it is their silver hair. In nature this silver hair is reflected in the silver wolf, the alpha male of animals, and I thought that was a more relevant image for those in this magic era.

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What do you want the readers of Silver Wolf actually to do?
I want them to realise that they are the luckiest generation ever to reach their fifties, and that they have 20 or more years to enjoy a Third Act. I want them to change their attitude to ageing, and realise that most of the myths about getting older are simply not true Their life is not ending in a sad retirement; it is about to begin again.

I want them to welcome this social revolution, and make a Grand Plan for this Third Act of their life, in which they make a new balance of their life, part work, part learning, and part fulfilment of their dreams.

I want them to start planning their Third Act sometime in their fifties, but I want them to understand that this requires a lot of soul-searching and total honesty. Only when they have answered a handful of questions can they be certain of creating a plan that will give them the balance they want.

I want them to accept that some work should be part of their future, and not ever to think about the old idea of retiring.

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Why should they want to do all that?
Because most people worked so hard in their thirties and forties that they rarely had time to do the things they really wanted to do. What I'm suggesting is that, if they stop and take stock of their lives in their fifties, they could plan what I have called their Third Act. In these 20 or more years they could then achieve their ambitions and fulfil their dreams. This could make them happier than ever before, and that surely is what most of us want to be.

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Is it too late to start the Third Act in your sixties?
No. The mid-fifties is the logical time, because that is a watershed in most men's lives for all the reasons outlined in the book. But those who continue their full-time working career into their sixties can start their third life later.

The obvious difference is that there is less time to achieve any dreams that they still seek, but there should still be 10-15 years, time enough to enjoy a new Third Act.

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What are these dreams that you hope readers can fulfil in what you call their Third Act?
Anything that they have long wanted to do. Over the previous 30 years everyone has made sacrifices to keep the money coming in and the mortgage paid, but now is the time for you to think more of what you want to do. What you want to be. What you want to achieve. What you want to do. What wishes you want to make happen.

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A 20-year Grand Plan sounds good, but how do I know my money will last?
That is why your Grand Plan must have a serious money section.

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If I have enough money, do I still need to work?
If you have enough money, you are lucky - but you will still want to do some work. Work without pay, if you prefer, but do something. All play and no work makes Jack very dull, and often makes play seem like work after a few months.

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Do you really believe we should keep on working until we drop and never retire?
No, and I never suggested that. I do think we are social animals and benefit from the association with colleagues. I do suspect that more and more of us will need to carry on earning, as our savings are not enough for a longer life.

But I do not mean full time work. What I have suggested is that some work should be just a part of the rebalance that anyone in their Third Act can make to their life. Sociologists often joke that we know when we are ready to 'retire'; it's when we find daytime TV interesting.

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Are you living in the real world? Most companies want to get rid of people over 50, not take them on.
Of course, you are right. About the past. But in 2006 this will all change. From October 2006, discrimination on grounds of age will become illegal, and companies who continue to do this will find themselves in endless court cases.

Most major companies are already planning to change their work ethos to allow much more part-time working. Even more are now convinced that the older employee must be retained, not found redundant.

It's a No Lose situation. Companies need experienced men. People need to do some work. The Government needs more contributions to their tax buckets.

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Are all the old myths of ageing now found to be false?
Yes, most of them are, but not all.

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But people's memories do get worse, don't they?
That was true in the past, before people realised that the brain needed exercise, just like the body.

That is another reason for never totally retiring from work in your Third Act; we need not just to use our brain, we need to stretch it every day. Doing a crossword over breakfast every day is a good start; learning something new every day is even better.

As for those older people's notes everywhere, didn't we do that in every decade? Everyone in the supermarket has lists; managers in companies make lists after meetings; what are weddings but a plethora of lists?

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Do you really believe that the Age Discrimination Act will change everything?
Of course not. It will take time. But the change is in the air, and most companies now acknowledge that they need the more experienced staff, and are changing their structures to accommodate more part-time working.

Unfortunately, the Act still only makes compulsory retirement illegal up to the age of 65; this should be changed to 75 as soon as possible.

It may take even longer for social attitudes to change, but, as with sexism and racism, the barriers are now down.

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But isn't it true that the older we get, the less we are capable of being retrained?
No. It is one of the many myths about age that we now know to be false. People can be retrained at any age; it is the way in which we can best learn that changes each decade. Just as a person at 40 learns a different way from someone at 20, so does a person of 60.

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Is it too late to change any bad eating and drinking habits?
No, it's never too late. It makes no sense to ruin your Grand Plan by being ill, so the sooner you lose any bad habits, the longer you'll live.

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Are you serious about needing to change the way we look?
Half serious. It depends on whether the way you look is relevant to your new life. Until ageism is really dead and buried, looking old is not a plus, either in the work place or socially.

You may want to check your weight, your bearing, your clothes, your glasses, your face and hair. Only you can know what changes you think worth making.

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Is sex really so important?
Yes, if you believe doctors. At its most basic, it's a good way of getting some exercise; at its best, it's the greatest rejuvenation treatment, which makes us look better, feel more optimistic, and avoid heart attacks.

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Should people change homes in their Third Act?
Not necessarily, but the decisions you make on your home are basic to your Grand Plan. Your property is not just your home, but also your largest potential source of capital, by using it as collateral for raising money from a lifetime mortgage or equity release plan.

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Does a home in the sun make sense?
Totally, which is why half the people over 50 consider buying a second home in the sun. It gives you a different environment, a different way of life, lots of Vitamin D, all at a much lower price than in the UK. On top of that, it has also been a very good financial investment for most owners.

Your home in the sun can be a place for your holidays and long weekends; an alternative long-term investment, or a second home where you can enjoy a different life.

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Is equity release a wrong way of raising money from the home?
No. I think that equity release and interest-only lifetime mortgages are products that will change millions of people's later years. They can free capital from your home in a way never possible to previous generations. That is what is wanted by most people - and, incidentally, by the government, who want those in their Third Act to remain good consumers. I am of the view that lifetime mortgages of both kinds will revolutionise the Third Act, though equity release plans should not be taken early.

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Do you really believe that we can become a political force?
Certainly. Among the 20 million of us over 50, we have enough votes to outvote all the under 50 votes, for the simple reason that we regard it a duty in a democracy to vote. Sadly most of those under 50 don't.

If we really want to use that power, we have to lobby at every level, from Downing Street to the smallest constituency, because what we want is a serious change in the way that the whole generation of people over 50 are treated in society. We want changes in taxation, in pensions, and the work place. The good news is that everyone would benefit from the changes we propose.

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Should we lie about our age?
If it helps, Yes. So long as the last traces of ageism remain, you can always take 5-10 years off your biological age, and behave accordingly. Age is meaningless.

Women have known for decades that age is a private affair, and male film stars followed. Cary Grant once received a telegram from a journalist, "How old Cary Grant?" He sent back a telegram, "Old Cary Grant fine, how you?"

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Is there a Pension Crisis?
No, not yet a crisis, but there is a serious pension problem for most of us, as well as the trustees of pension funds, and particularly for the government. Some of the pension plans' problems could be reduced by a further rise in the stock market, but all of us are likely to receive less pension than we expected.

Company schemes will cost us more, and the amount of pension finally paid is more likely to be an average of our earnings, rather than a percentage of final salary.

Once the government changes the rules on pensions, and offers incentives that encourage us to continue some work throughout the 20 years of our Third Act, then both their and our problem will be lessened. But, if they do not act sensibly now, there will be a real crisis within this decade.

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Can we do anything practical about our pensions now?
Yes. The changes in expectancy make it more important than ever that you make a serious review of your future income, when you are working out your Grand Plan.

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Should we consider Buy to Let property investments?
It depends on you. All investments are based on their historical performance, and investors in B2L properties have enjoyed a good past decade. B2L does need more of your time than any investments in the stock markets, but it is a serious contender for your staged investment plan.

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Why do you call this book a guide to the Third Act for men? Isn't it a guide also for women?
I hope that most of Silver Wolf is of equal interest to women, and especially to those with their own separate careers. I wrote it as a guide for men, because, as a man, I can relate more clearly to the reader. That is why I have tried to stay focussed on the male attitude, with the hope that most of the chapters will also help any women about to enter their Third Act. Cote

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Last question. Do I really have to make a Grand Plan?
No, but I don't see why you might not want to. Remember that the reason for the Grand Plan is threefold.

First, it lays out the life that you have decided that you want to have in the next 20 years, together with all those things you wish to achieve.

Then, second, it ensures that you will have enough funds to enjoy those years without money worries.

Finally, it is an open plan that you can show to your partner and family, to obtain their understanding and tacit approval for what will inevitably be a radical change of life.

The Grand Plan isn't some complicated, amorphous document. It may be ultimately about the fulfilling of dreams, but it is essentially a hard and practical set of pages, which lay out the way you want your life to be.

They are not etched in stone, and you may adapt them over the years, but they are what you are about in your Third Act, which you hope to make the happiest years of your life. Surely that is worth the creating of your own Grand Plan?

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