How many times have you said, or at least thought: “If only I knew then what I know now.” In some respects, my role as an investment advisor is to bring that seasoned knowledge to your financial decision-making … before you have to learn something the hard way. This is always an important component of our services, but it seems particularly applicable to helping people plan for the second act, or “encore” portion of their lives – the period that begins around age 50. After having worked hard until then to accumulate wealth, many of us begin to wonder if we’ll ever be in a position to savor it. Will we ever be able to fulfill those long-held dreams that accompany the traditional definition of “retirement”?
Let’s talk about those dreams. Upon close inspection, you may find that they’re not what you thought they’d be. Picture a time when you’re nearing age 100, and your busiest days are behind you. You’re reflecting on them from the porch of your lake-front home (or insert the scenery of your choice here). What will truly seem most satisfying to you about your life, well-lived?
Chances are, it won’t be endless leisure time. Nor will it be having slaved 60 hours a week right up until the day prior. For most of us, it will be a balance between all of life’s ingredients: satisfying work, creative play, leisure time with friends and family, and meaningful contributions to our community.
Whether you’re approaching them or already in them, there’s never a bad time to start considering the right balance for your “encore years.” I borrow this term from a terrific book I read recently, “The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of a Life.” Serving as a handbook for the nonprofit organization, www.encore.org, the book defines your encore years as follows: “It’s an age increasingly characterized by new perspectives, new priorities, and the capacity to do something with those hard-earned insights – not just to leave a legacy, but to live one.”
It struck me that the book and its concepts were timely and appropriate for our generation. Think about it. In the past century, the average life span in the U.S. has expanded from 47 to 78, our total population has roughly doubled since 1950, and the number of us over the age of 100 has increased by 2,200 percent. That’s a lot of people in the U.S. alone seeking to live satisfying encore years.
As an advisor, I help people manage the financial implications of living longer than generations before them. For example, together, we can address:
Investment Management: Planning, building and managing an investment portfolio of taxable and tax-sheltered accounts (such as traditional and Roth IRAs and 401(k) plans), with an eye toward building and preserving wealth, minimizing the impact of taxes, and planning for spending liquidity as needed.
Career Management: As covered at Encore.org, your encore career doesn’t have to be limited to burning out in a dead-end job. You can consider combining “purpose, passion and a paycheck for your second act.” But it helps to have an investment advisor like me to ensure that your encore career can be expected to pencil out along with the rest of your expected income stream, such as Social Security benefits and more.
Family Finance: Copious statistics demonstrate that women can expect to live years longer than their male counterparts. Divorce is also an unfortunate if realistic presence in our society. I help couples prepare for the day when they may no longer be a couple. Death and divorce are already stressful enough without having to initiate an all-new financial plan when the day arrives.
The Encore Handbook begins with a salient quote attributed to Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do.”
In that spirit, if you haven’t yet considered how to make the most of your life and career during your encore years, I stand ready to help you do just that.