Thoughts and such like.....
Although the title reads Finance, there are many Financial Advisors who are better equipped than I to speak on money. What I am going to talk of, is about how your finances can help to design your next Act, what to ask your financial advisors and not to give up on a dream because you have been told you can't afford it.
A question I recently heard was ''If you were told that you only have 6 months to live, what would you change, who would you chose to spend time with, what would you do/go?" Just sit with that question for a while. If you are considering retirement in the near future, what other changes are you considering, and how deep are you willing to go to to design your best future?
Often we ask our Financial Advisors 'Do I have enough money to retire?', but how can they answer you honestly if you do not know where you are going or what you wish to do? So perhaps their response should be 'What do you dream of doing in 'retirement', let's see what that looks like'. Then they can check to see if you have the financial resources, and if you don't, work with you to see how they can support you to develop a plan to allows you to go for it.
Financial freedom is a dream we all have, who hasn't dreamed of winning the lottery, not working a day more or being able to underwrite our children's dreams? However, I wonder how satisfied are those people who have nothing to do - often I hear 'Oh, it's not what I thought it would be?', or 'Is this all there is?' And still others say 'oh, I can never retire, I'm not rich enough'.
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.
14th Dali Lama
In his book The New Retirementality, Mitch Anthony, talks of Retirement Whiplash, Be Careful What You Wish For. He talks of how we are unprepared for the loss of structure that jobs offer, as well as loss of identity - the fact that people often feel that they have become invisible, or no longer exist! (www.amazon.ca/New-Retirementality-Planning-Living-Dreams/dp/1118705122/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525114619&sr=8-1&keywords=the+new+retirementality). He asks 'what are you retiring from?, remembering that the word retire comes from the word 'withdraw'.
For those who may have enough funds to do nothing, and for those who may not, there is a third choice - what if one invests in oneself? As noted in previous blogs on the third act, as we move toward this phase of life, there are many questions we can ask about what next, however perhaps the most important is 'What is meaningful to me, today?' What if you could negotiate your ideal life - mix work (maybe new work), and life in a way that meets your needs, maybe you would prefer to work 25 hours/week rather than 40; maybe you want to work eight months/year rather than eleven.
Even if you've been told you don't have sufficient money to retire, this third option is still viable. Take time to reflect on how you can creatively use your resources, including your talents, to develop the life you desire. How can you design a life that meets your intellectual need, feeds both your soul and brain, and ensures that your savings last longer than if you stop work altogether? Work with someone to help you think of innovative ways to use all your resources (abilities, time and money), to create the live you want. Maybe you develop your own job or business? Statistics Canada shows that the majority of small and medium businesses started in 2014, were by those in the 50 - 64 age range. I believe this growth continues, everything is possible.
Mitch Anthony talks of ROL or Return on Life, Mark Aardsma, talks of time.(www.amazon.ca/Investing-Purpose-Capitalize-Create-Tomorrow/dp/1501262491. Time is special, 'given to everyone at an equal rate for free' and although we may not receive the same amount as others, we are given it at the same pace, and each day we are given another 24 hours. We can't save or store time, however we can decide how we want to use that time - we can complain and worry that we don't have enough money, we can't retire with the lifestyle we see others seemingly enjoy, OR we can use time to reflect on what we can do, and pursue those things so that we can invest in the future we want at any age.
Many people assume that they need to be rich, to do what they want. What does rich look like to you? For me rich is living a life where I have lots of interaction with people I love, rich in experiences and I'm living my purpose - that is working with, and helping others live their lives to the fullest; happy and able to deal with what life throws at them. One gentleman I met said, I've retired, now I'll wait until I get bored and then I'll decide on what I want to do!'. That's great, but why wait until you get bored - what does boredom feel like to you, and if you wait, will you recognize it is boredom that is making you irritable, depressed, or unhappy?
As we look at our Third Act, we may or may not have the financial resources to do what we believe we want, however we always have the time to research and review what excites us, what aligns with our values and passion. There are always opportunities hidden out there, you don't have to suddenly change, you can take change in small steps - set your goal and then lay out the steps to get there. If you need support, find a coach who can support you on your journey and help you articulate and reach your goals.
The past is behind, learn from it; the future is ahead,
prepare for it; the present is her, live it.
Thomas S. Monson
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog