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On the Brink with Andi Simon

Sep 3, 2018

Listen now as Cal Halvorsen talks about getting the most out of every year of your life!

Our podcast today is all about how to live successfully well into your elder years—whether you plan on living to be 100+ or just want to see life differently, whatever your age. My guest today is Cal Halvorsen, who returned to school for his PhD in social work, graduating from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis this past May. Andy and I are very involved in Wash U and therefore very interested in Cal and his research. He's seeing that the years between 50 and 90 have become an entirely new phase in life where you can re-invent yourself and do things you might never have thought about before. So open your mind, listen and learn!

The possibility that you can live into your 90s or even your 100s is changing how people are thinking and "doing" today. No longer is it “work until you are 65” and then do what? Wait until you die? Find some non-work hobbies to enjoy? Travel, perhaps, or visit your grandkids more often?  

Instead, today it's more about “try the next big idea you had.” “See if you can fly.” “Start a new business or become the musician you always wanted to be.” For more and more people, life is truly becoming a journey, not a means to an end. And, people are rethinking how they want to live that journey along the way. 

A little more about Cal

Cal HalvorsenCal J. Halvorsen, MSW, PhD, graduated from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis with his Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work in May 2018. While at the Brown School, Cal was the William E. Gordon Research Fellow. Beginning July 2018, he joined the Boston College School of Social Work as an assistant professor. Prior to getting his PhD, Call was the director of research at, a national nonprofit dedicated to engaging people in midlife and beyond in work that improves the world. 

Cal's work examines aging societies and the need and desire for people past midlife to work past traditional retirement age, with particular emphasis on self-employment, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship among older adults.

Cal's dissertation research, which focused on the characteristics of self-employed Americans in later life and the personal consequences of this work, was funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration. He also earned Washington University’s Entrepreneurship Citation and taught courses related to aging societies and social work practice at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

While at the Brown School, Cal served as an ambassador for the Gerontological Society of America to the Symposium for Healthy Aging in Suzhou, China. During his time at, Cal was invited to present at Oxford University in the UK, as well as the Körber Foundation and EBS Universität in Germany.  

Cal received his Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with honors, from the University of Iowa. 

Cal can be reached at

Listen in as we discuss: 

  1. The need--and desire--for people to work past traditional retirement age.
  2. The high rates of self-employment among Americans past midlife and the reasons people pursue it.
  3. The need to map out a new life course--rethinking key programs, policies and institutions--to account for increased longevity, changing technologies and the desire for people young and old to find more balance in their lives.

Want to learn more about entrepreneurship over 50? Check out these blogs:

The Simon Initiative for Entrepreneurship

As part of the work we are doing at SAMC to connect resources to entrepreneurs, we have launched a program at the Skandalaris Center at Washington University in St. Louis called The Simon Initiative for Entrepreneurship. Our vision is to develop a platform that can help entrepreneurs—students, graduates, members of the community and truly anyone, particularly women—connect with the resources they need, from investment capital to talented teams. It's now up and running and we can't wait to see what great ideas come out of it!

Additional resources:

Download the 1-page synopsis of my book, "On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights" here