Paths to Creative Retirement

Let us show you how to create a meaningful retirement that matches your values and priorities at the Paths to Creative Retirement (Paths) workshop. This highly interactive three-day workshop helps you achieve your desired personal goals in retirement. With guidance and support from facilitators and other participants, you will discover your values, identity and long-deferred dreams. In the process, you will gain valuable insights and inspiration to create tangible next steps.

Upcoming Dates

  • April 22-24, 2016
  • August 26-28, 2016 

About the Paths Workshop

Paths focuses on the non-financial aspects of life’s second half; decision-making exercises and thought-provoking discussions reveal stimulating opportunities. Transform anxieties about your next chapter of life into a reassuring learning process—Paths is truly a unique retirement workshop.

We invite you to consider questions such as:

  • When should I retire?
  • How will I spend my time after I stop or reduce my work?
  • How will I find purpose and meaning after I retire?
  • How will my identity change in retirement?
  • How will retirement affect my relationships with family and friends?
  • How do I investigate work and volunteer opportunities?

Cost & Registration

Don’t delay—our programs fill up!

Friday-Sunday, $850 per person

Fee includes materials and all meals but not lodging. Find more information on discounted rates at area hotels for 2015.

You may register over the phone with a Visa or MasterCard by calling 828.250.3871. Or you may print a registration form to mail with your check, payable to OLLI.

Registrants will receive a complete agenda, program details and directions a month before their program.

Paths Agenda


  • 8:30-9 a.m.: Continental Breakfast
  • 9-9:15 a.m.: Welcome and Orientation
  • 9:15-10 a.m.: Changes and Choices that Define Us
  • 10-10:30 a.m.: Retirement: Fact and Fiction
  • 10:30-10:45 a.m.: Break
  • 10:45-11:40 a.m.: Retirement Fears and Fantasies
  • 11:40 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Retirement Fears and Fantasies: Reports
  • 12:15-1 p.m.: Lunch at Reuter Center
  • 1-1:15 p.m.: Mansions of the Soul
  • 1:15-2:15 p.m.: Mansions of the Soul: Small Group Discussions
  • 2:15-2:30 p.m.: Break
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Reality Reinvention
  • 3:30-4:45 p.m.: Rejuvenation and Renewal:  Re-Locate, Re-Engage, Re-Energize
  • 4:45-6:30 p.m.: Free Time
  • 6:30-9 p.m.: Social and Dinner at the Reuter Center


  • 8:30-9 a.m.: Continental Breakfast
  • 9-9:10 a.m.: Welcome – Manheimer Room
  • 9:10-10:10 a.m.: Financial Values and Insights
  • 10:10-10:25 a.m.: Break
  • 10:25-11:15 a.m.: A Retirement Case Study
  • 11:15-11:30 a.m.: Break
  • 11:30 am-12:30 p.m.: Multidimensional Self or Relationships
  • 12:30-1:20 p.m.: Lunch at Reuter Center
  • 1:20-1:35 p.m.: Introduction of Afternoon Sessions
  • 1:35-2:50 p.m.: Identity or Making a Dream List Come True
  • 2:50-3 p.m.: Break
  • 3-4 p.m.: Prep for Sunday Morning Presentations
  • 4-6:30 p.m.: Free Time
  • 6:30-9 p.m.: Social &  Dinner, Asheville Country Club


  • 8-8:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast
  • 8:30-11:45 a.m.: Reflecting on Transition
  • 11:45 a.m.-Noon: Closing and Evaluation
  • Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch and Adjournment

Paths FAQ

Who attends the Paths to Creative Retirement workshop and what motivates them?

Typically, the 25-35 participants are professionals, couples and singles in their fifties who are still pursuing a career. A small number have already retired or scaled back their work life but they want to reassess their options. At least one fourth of participants tell us they need a way to “jump start” their planning process and that, for them, going away to focus specifically on planning their transition is essential.

What is included in the cost of the workshop?

The fee for the workshop includes three light breakfasts, three lunches and two dinners, handout materials and the workshop activities. Lodging is a separate expense with a wide range of options available. The workshop is conducted at the Reuter Center, an attractive classroom and conference center-type building located on the UNC Asheville campus. Many hotels, motels and B&B’s are located 5-15 minutes by car from the Reuter Center. There are no hotels within walking distance of the Reuter Center, therefore most participants use their own vehicle or rent a car for the weekend.

How do I/we know that Paths to Creative Retirement is the right workshop for me/us?

The Paths workshop is an important investment of time and money. Participants have made it abundantly clear that they are seeking solid information, an exciting and inviting group of peers with whom to share insights, a well-organized and well-run program, and a helpful workshop framework that will ensure they are asking the right questions. Participants generally welcome a creative, highly interactive environment that is unpretentious. They like the fact that they workshop is conducted by a university-based program, with no products for sale, and diverse people from around the country. Participants tell us that the workshop either helps them confirm and refine a plan already partly formed, or it motivates them to feel less anxious about the changes ahead. Again, the Paths workshop is mainly about lifestyle issues; financial issues are explored in terms of values, attitudes and self-awareness.

What makes the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute qualified to offer this workshop?

The OLLI professional staff and its cadre of trained facilitators (who are OLLI members) combine their knowledge of research and practical experience relevant to the changes and choices people face as they make retirement decisions. The work of over two decades in offering workshops on how to successfully navigate the uncertain waters of senior career development, personal rejuvenation, relationship enhancement, and other life goals makes our team uniquely experienced and well-informed.

What can I/we expect to take away from this workshop?

This varies depending on the individual or couple’s starting point and their openness during the workshop sessions. Past participants tell us that as a result of attending the workshop, they feel less anxious and more excited about planning their next steps. They are delighted to have found a group of fellow participants with whom they can exchange ideas and practical information. For many couples, the workshop enables them to more easily share their individual expectations and goals for retirement-related decision making (including extending their working years).

Who are the facilitators of this workshop?

The workshops are led by small teams of trained facilitators that include OLLI director Catherine Frank, PhD. Other facilitators are members of OLLI with backgrounds in business consulting, business ownership, education and facilitation. More than providing you with answers, these talented facilitators aim to guide you to find your own answers and solutions.

What is the difference between Paths to Creative Retirement and OLLI’s other weekend program, Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend (“CREW”)?

Both programs address mid- and later-life transition issues. Paths is about the personal transition to a meaningful retirement, including timing, identity, relationships and, for some, relocation. Not everyone who attends Paths is thinking about relocating; those who are considering relocating often see it as one of many factors in planning their meaningful retirement. CREW is specifically all about relocating in retirement. Everything is seen through the lens of relocation. CREW is for people who perhaps feel that relocation defines their retirement planning.

Paths Alumni Testimonials

Read what our alumni have said about participating in the Paths program...

I attended in 2011 as a result of reading an article about "Bootcamp For Retirement" in The New York Times, and signed up right away. What I expected was content around finances, health and other insurance, mostly nuts and bolts stuff, and coming away with a "to do" list of things to sort out and accomplish before retiring. What I got was something completely different, however. The Paths Workshop focus was really about my identity and who would I be without the work that defined my life for the previous 40 years. The workshops were mostly on self reflection, introspection, and really spending concentrated time thinking about what gives me joy fulfillment, purpose and direction. It was totally unexpected.  

I was assigned a mentor who checked in with me over the next year to see how I was processing all the information and coming along with what i said were my priorities during the workshop.  That was extremely helpful and "kept my feet to the fire" to ensure that the issues I had identified were being worked on.  

I will forever be eternally grateful for the thought, wisdom and structure that went into the Paths program when I attended and for all the facilitators that helped me see myself differently and craft my roadmap for the future. - Lori Postal, Paths April 2011

I now have a retirement plan. I will not just be retiring some day. I will be retiring TO a life I am creating. - Donna K. Donald, Paths September 2011

I view "Paths" as a program that got me going on a path. Taking steps and knowing that you have more flexibility to learn, experiment and change course as you start the transition. Since the program, I sold my town home in Miami and retired at yearend. I moved in with my 95 year old mother in Atlanta and it was the right thing to do. I had been thinking about this all last year but Paths got me moving forward. The support from all the participants and the facilitators was great. It allowed me to sort through my issues and concern baggage and take this next step "lightly" and "joyfully." I guess fear was holding me back and I was dreading not working (what was I thinking... it has been great not to be scheduled from dawn to dusk!) - Sue Gampfer, Paths September 2012

I came into the course dreading retirement and loss of my identity, and left with the realization that there was a life after work. 3 1/2 retirement books later, long planning discussions with my wife, and bucket lists have me asking my boss to let me retire before my contract expires later in the year. - Michael Baron, MD, Paths April 2012

My husband and I attended your Spring 2011 session and have been singing the praises of Paths to our friends for the past two years at every chance we can get.

Neither of us was retired at the time we came to Paths but, with the economy bouncing back, we started thinking more seriously about retiring. Paths was a turning point for both of us. Upon returning to Washington, DC, I immediately started planning my "transition and exit" from my management job and worked with my boss over the next year to train several employees for my potential successor and set a 6/30/12 retirement date. Goals were important in the exit planning process.

Next, I tried to figure out what I wanted to do once retired.  The most difficult exercise for me at Paths was the one where we were asked to close our eyes and envision the passions we had earlier in life that we wanted to reboot (so to speak) in retirement.  My page was blank -- because most of my life up to then was devoted to work and my family. Couldn't think of a single passion and that was depressing.   But when I got home, ideas started coming to, singing, gardening. So, 6 months before I retired, I joined a chorale (something I had not participated in for 45 years since high school) that met one morning a week and I experienced a test run of "a morning in the life of Barbara Price during retirement doing something I love." turning back.

Eight months later...still in the chorale and meeting new and interesting people weekly, taking online photography courses, traveling, and constantly looking for new adventures in the nation's capital. And it's fulfilling for me right now.

Without Paths, I don't think I would have made the decision to retire as confidently as I did, nor do I think I would have thought through the possibilities of my life afterwards. The journey is still continuing but I really think the investment in Paths was worth every penny. - Barbara Price, Paths April 2011


Contact Laurel Jernigan at 828.250.3871 or