In life, we go through many transitions. Two have profound effects on us. In our youth, we went through adolescence. We separated from the pack, identified our calling, secured the needed education, and went to work. Now as we reach our 50s and 60s, the final chapters of our lives come into view. We want to assess our situation, communicate with our spouse or partner and our trusted advisors to clarify how we’d like that to unfold, and adjust our daily routines.
As a designer, I examine how we can understand what is going on in our rapidly changing world, and our own situations, to do the best we can for our families and ourselves. I’ve come to think about this as designing an entry strategy for our children and an exit strategy for us.
An entry strategy refers to preparing our kids to enter into the world of work and career on their own; learning how to provide for themselves and be able to deal with life’s challenges and make the most of their opportunities. Parents of teenagers will want to help them through this difficult stage. We’re working through this now as parents of 17 and 24 year olds. We’ve learned how vital communication is throughout the process. We’ve personally experienced the value of health professionals as facilitators of difficult conversations. They’ve educated us on how to listen more effectively to our kids, and on the value of being involved and mindful of designing and redesigning daily routines for them, and for ourselves.
An exit strategy refers to preparing for the time that we will have when we are no longer producing income. It’s a downright uncomfortable topic, but at some point, we will stop working, whether we intend to or not. What resources will we have? How will we continue to provide for ourselves, and help others in ways that bring us meaning and satisfaction? How do we think about caring for members of our family with special needs, or our parents, and how doing so will affect us? Now is the time for us Baby Boomers to put attention here. Again, communication with each other, family members, and trusted advisors, is key. It can seem like a big, scary project, and it’s okay and even clever to accept that we’ll have a better time of it if we ask for the right help. You will figure it out, but it takes patience and trust.
The big picture may be easy to grasp. It’s when we get into the details that it can get complicated, even overwhelming. Do we want to have these design conversations by ourselves, or would it be worthwhile to have someone facilitate them with us?
I do this. My specialty is helping people reflect on, contemplate and navigate these inescapable transitions. Communication is key. Answers emerge. The path becomes clearer. Stress levels decline. Strong emotions may show up and can cause you to shut down and avoid the topic, so we address them. As uncomfortable as it may be to begin, relief often comes when we explore available approaches, based on your family’s unique situation. There are no right answers, but there are viable strategies, and anticipating and thinking about a major event is comforting and will help you preserve capital.
Then, as a financial expert, I help you understand the different strategies you might pursue, identify concerns you likely have but may have overlooked, and encourage you to seek help as needed from your lawyer, accountant, therapist and others. I explain in simple terms the nature of investments you might consider. I educate you on the pros and cons of various types of insurances, annuities, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and so on. I don’t profit from selling anything in particular. I’m also able to take care of the mechanics of buying and selling investments, and monitoring their performance for you. As I do not sell insurance, annuities, or any particular funds or products, my advice to you is about as unbiased as it can get it.
If you have questions about specific investments, or a strategy you’ve been considering, or if you’d like to check if you’ve overlooked anything as you plan for your retirement, or as you help your children design their entry strategy, I can help and I welcome the opportunity to talk with you. One phone call, on me, might be all it takes. It will be my pleasure.
If you have complexities, a special situation, or other reasons to talk more, we can do so on an hourly basis. If you’d like a comprehensive financial plan, or help in assessing or managing your investments, we can discuss that. Email or call me to schedule a phone consultation or meet for coffee. You may also find it helpful to browse the brief articles on the Blog and News tabs.
Two articles from my blog that may be useful:
1. Help Your Child Excel in 2017 and Beyond. Introduce Him to Goal Setting and Planning
2. Plan for More Gold in Your Golden Years: Goals Involving Asset Decumulation