comprehensive financial plan

Late-Career Women and Burn-Out or When Can I Retire?

Photo Cred: Noah Silliman, Unsplash

Does this sound like you?
– 50-60 ish,
– have been working for 30-40 years,
– salaried employee,
– your boss is a pain,
– co-workers are all 20-30 years younger than you,
– some days are better than others,
– someone asks: when do you want to retire? and you say “tomorrow.”

If you answered yes, you aren’t alone. One of the most common reasons mid-life women seek financial help is to figure out if they can quit their jobs.

And, if you don’t have a clue whether this is possible or not, unless you dig in, look at the numbers, and project into the future, you won’t get the clarity you need to make such a big life-changing decision.

So, where do you start?

Things You Need To Know

– How much do you have saved?
– Are you getting the return you need on your investments?
– How much do you spend?
– When you retire and start withdrawing from your savings, what will your withdrawal rate be? Is it sustainable?
– Will your spending habits change once you quit your job?
– If you continue to work, what do you project your income to be?
– What do you want to do differently in this next phase of life? How much will it cost?
– What are your assumptions for inflation rates in the future?
– How much will health insurance cost if you are retiring before reaching Medicare eligibility?
– Will you be able to afford healthcare costs not covered by insurance in your older years (long term care)?

The decision to semi-retire or retire is a big one not to be taken lightly. You can assess the viability of reaching your goal by taking a hard look at the facts and numbers and doing some analysis.

Best, Worst and Most Likely Outcomes

Best case outcome: You find out that you can retire or semi-retire when you want to. Worst case outcome: You have to work until you can’t any longer. Most likely case: You find out that you need to work and save for a few more years before reaching your goal.

And surprisingly, once you have clarity and a solid goal, you might find that work and your boss aren’t so bad after all.

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How to Prepare For An Encore Career

Ready for a career change?

More and more people are rethinking success at midlife or retirement, and considering a shift to more meaningful, purpose-driven work. More and more people are rethinking success at midlife or retirement, and considering a shift to more meaningful, purpose-driven work. Combining a desire for social contribution, entrepreneurial passion, a job that’s not-just-a-job, and – often – continued income, encore careers are an appealing fresh start. Whatever your encore career goals, these strategies can increase the odds you’ll reach them.

Recareering

Another name for an ‘encore career’, many Americans are looking for work that is more than a ‘job’; a meaningful expression of what you have to offer the world.

There are several encore variations I see with my clients: those mid-career corporate professionals in search of a more fulfilling focus, and folks at retirement age who want to stay engaged and do meaningful work. Continued income, social impact, flexibility, pursuing a passion – second-act careers have many different motivations.

Here is a great place to start: what would you answer to the ‘Tell me about yourself’ interview question? Your response will help uncover the values and priorities that we often don’t pay enough attention in our day to day life. And then ask a friend: ‘What am I best at?’, for more insight (and possibly a few surprises).

Reinvent

This is the time for self-assessment. What skills, talents, and strengths have made you successful in your professional career? Can you repurpose your corporate skills? What ignites your fire? Do you want to continue working for a paycheck, a passion, or both?

Explore new opportunities while still employed, if possible: research, research, research; do informational interviews; volunteer; take a class or consider an internship. Knowledge is power.

Reconnect

Find a like-minded group – whether a casual meeting of people volunteering in the arena you find interesting, or an established organization or professional group.

The feedback you’ll get from your network will provide motivation, expertise, and experience, as well as the invaluable contacts you will want as you consider a career move. (And if you aren’t already harnessing the positive aspects of social media, now is the time to dive in! It’s an effective tool, and one you might find valuable in your ‘second act’.)

Reimagine

If you are leaving a corporate career to pursue more meaningful work, or if you are nearing retirement and want to embark on a fulfilling new chapter — be prepared!

Before you embark on a major life change, outline the specific outcomes that could result, and develop the plans to get there. Inspiration and passion are a starting point, but sustaining a change will require planning and adaptability… two things most of us have learned a lot about by the time we are considering an encore path. Take advantage of your life experience for real motivational mojo.

Redesign

A survey recently found we are less comfortable talking about money than death. I want to change that! Given that the average encore career transition takes about 18 months, and 67% of those ‘transitioners’ had reduced (or zero!) income during that time, we need to redesign our approach to thinking about – and talking about – money.

Planning with your financial advisor ahead of your career transition will prepare you for the practicalities of pursuing your passion, and can help strategize ways to make the math work during your encore career. And, while some encore careers are the intended result of long-held dreams, others come on the heels of an unexpected job loss.

Planning ahead makes even an unplanned career change an opportunity, rather than a misfortune, allowing you to move forward with the confidence that a solid financial plan provides.

You Need Not Reinvent Yourself

The encore career movement has become a mainstream conversation, including books, conferences, consultants, and coaches. You needn’t reinvent yourself for your second act; instead focus on the expertise, skills, experience, and passion you have – and how your talents can lay the foundation for your encore career.

Do you want to manage your money (and life!) better?

The Happiness SpreadsheetIf you want to think differently about the relationship between your spending, your values and your happiness, then sign up to get your FREE copy of The Happiness Spreadsheet.

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Couples and Their Money – Yin and Yang

Here is my advice to couples who are facing financial challenges and don’t see eye to eye on the value of a financial planner: Work together and see if you can find consensus.They were in their late 30’s with three small children.  He was friendly and open, she was quiet and not terribly happy to be there. He’d orchestrated our meeting after finding my website and liking it so much he called me.

Like many Americans, they are caught in a financial “perfect storm.”  They got married 6 years ago and decided to have a family. After the first child was born 4 years ago, she left her job to be a full time mom. They now have a 2 year old and a newborn as well.

The American Dream

In 2006, they put 20% down on a million dollar home.  Back then (it seems like another age entirely), not having the income to support the mortgage payments on an $800,000 loan was no big deal. You just “stated your income” and secured an interest-only loan.  And voila! Home ownership was yours – the American Dream.

Fast forward three years. The ITI (Interest, Tax and Insurance) payments are killing their budget, vacations are out, they’re having a hard time finding the money they need for home improvements and funding college savings accounts.  To add insult to injury, the company she worked for went bankrupt, and all of her retirement savings was in company stock which is now worthless.

Stormy Weather

She tried freelancing,  but with three young children, concentration is difficult and the stress level is climbing. His employer has announced no more matching funds for the retirement account and no cost of living raises this year. Serious storm clouds are gathering on this couple’s financial horizon.

Love and Money

Given what is happening to this couple, I found myself surprised that only one of them – the husband – wanted to meet with me. It was rough sledding with his wife – she wasn’t convinced I could help and was quite firm in her convictions. But credit where credit is due, she did come to the meeting. Truth to tell, it’s usually the other way around. Such is married life, I suppose. You like camping, I like bed & breakfast’s, you  like parties, I like quiet nights at home, you want a financial planner, I want a vacation. Yin meet Yang.

Advice and Consent

Here is my advice to couples who are facing financial challenges and don’t see eye to eye on the value of a financial planner: Work together and see if you can find consensus.

Remember one of the rules of marketing: What’s In It For Me? Help your partner understand there are benefits.  Even though the process may be uncomfortable, and difficult to understand, the end results are what matter most.

It’s one thing to say, “We have to have a financial planner because we don’t know what we’re doing” vs “If we get a financial planner to help us, we increase the chances that we can put Peter and Julie through college and have a decent retirement. Without that kind of help, I’m not sure how we can do those things. Will you help me?” Stress the long term and short term benefits.

Or, you can take a different attitude all together… as  another reticent  spouse said to me at the end of a recent interview:  “Oh, you mean I can pay you to listen to him nag about our money… that sounds really good to me.”

Say Goodbye to Your Money Troubles

Which brings me to a very important reality:  Money troubles are a leading cause of strife in a marriage and often times can lead to divorce.

If an objective advisor can help you to communicate about money and develop a workable plan which in turn leads to a more harmonious relationship… wouldn’t it be worth it?

So what do you think? 

Does this couple need a comprehensive financial plan?  Will he persuade her? Will she come around? Would love to know your thoughts.

Do you want to manage your money (and life!) better?

The Happiness SpreadsheetIf you want to think differently about the relationship between your spending, your values and your happiness, then sign up to get your FREE copy of The Happiness Spreadsheet.

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If you found this blog post useful or inspirational, please share it on your favorite social media network!

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