I have come to dislike the word “retire” as a label for the transition to financial freedom, but I included it in the title because of our familiarity with the term. “Retire” in some definitions means withdraw, move back or retreat. It sounds like a defeat! Viewed more positively, “retirement,” or making work optional, is liberation—it is the transition from preparation to actualization. Done well it is a graduation from a lower state of being to a higher state with the potential for more happiness, fulfillment and impact.
We spend a lot of time with families preparing for financial independence, but this month, we are going to focus on the transition from working to finishing strong. Many people new to financial freedom feel lost without their jobs and miss the sense of purpose that their careers gave them. Even if you didn’t love everything about your job, work gave your days structure and a sense of meaning as you put your skills to good use and provided for yourself and your family. That’s why it is so important to prepare for the transition away from work and into a new phase of life where
purpose can be redefined and focus can be on the true longings of your heart, which may have taken a back seat as you earned a living.
Answering these two questions could help you find that purpose and get the best life possible with your financial freedom:
1. What is important to me?
Under normal circumstances, people new to financial freedom often spend weeks, months or even years taking stock of their lives and reassessing their priorities.
The pandemic and now the war in Ukraine have accelerated that process of reflection for many. When the future feels uncertain, we tend to hold onto the things that we do feel sure about: our loved ones, our passions, the goals that we want to accomplish. We all need a mission here on earth.
The good news is that those foundational elements of life are exactly what we can build this new phase of life around. Even if you decide to take a part-time job, you’ll have the flexibility to include the people and activities that make your life meaningful in your new schedule.
An ideal week mixes smaller, everyday pleasures with progress on long-term goals. You might schedule a couple afternoon lunches or weekday mountain bike rides or ski mornings with friends around the online classes you’re taking to earn your master’s. As you’re preparing for that big “bucket list” trip to Europe or Africa, you could make a few extra weekend trips to visit your grandkids or take a drive to view the fall foliage. And your newfound control over your schedule presents the perfect opportunity to get back to your age-appropriate ideal weight and schedule time for regular exercise, stretching and spiritual development, if you are so inclined.
There’s no right or wrong way to orient your new freedom around the things that are most important to you, and in many cases the process involves some trial and error. Our Honest Conversations® process can help you gain clarity on what really matters.
2. How can I use my resources to make a difference for my community and my family?
Three of the most valuable resources any of us have are money, health and time. Many of our clients have told us that the older they get, the more value they assign to those last two. Which isn’t to downplay the importance of money. Zig Ziglar said that money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale. Now that you’re no longer focused on accumulation, embrace the possibilities for fun, connection, exploration, relaxation and purpose that your money provides.
But also think about the causes that you believe in that could benefit from your generosity, the issues in your community that you could improve with a thoughtful and integrated charitable giving plan, the impact you could create by involving your children and grandchildren into your legacy dreams.
Then, think about how you can move beyond money. Your favorite local nonprofit might appreciate your involvement on their board or your marketing or corporate strategy skills even more than your monthly support. If you especially enjoyed helping new workers find their feet during your career, you might become a tutor or mentor.
Making strong connections between your resources and what’s most meaningful to you will be key to discovering your highest purpose. The process isn’t always easy, and it rarely follows a straight line, but it can be one of the most rewarding journeys you’ll take. We’re available to help you plan for the next step and your ultimate destination.
If you think you would benefit from a conversation around the ideal second half of life and your legacy, please schedule our introductory two-meeting planning process at no charge to allow you to get to know us better and to start getting organized and put together a plan of action.
Visit go.oncehub.com/StewardshipColorado and schedule a virtual or face-to-face meeting to get started on your journey, or give us a call at 303.500.1931.
Sean Wood is an Investment Advisor Representative offering Financial Planning, Investment Advisory and Insurance Services through Stewardship Advisory Group, LLC; an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through United Planners Financial Services, a Limited Partnership, Member FINRA, SIPC. Stewardship Advisory Group, LLC, Stewardship Colorado, LLC and United Planners Financial