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Blog

Redefining Retirement for Professional Women

By Katrina Soelter, CFP®

9/26/2018

As I prepare to kick off my second Speaker Series this year, which starts tomorrow (!), designed for professional women to have a forum for some of the overlooked topics in life, I have been reflecting on the word “retirement”.

 

Since we’ll be tackling this thorny word head on during the series, it seemed timely to share some of my thoughts.

 

These days, the word “retirement” has acquired some negative connotations. It conjures up images of rocking on a porch, possibly yelling at neighborhood children – or, worse, a retirement home, complete with dentures, crotchety nurses, and an inability to use the facilities without help. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with porch rocking or retirement homes! But, fatally, the word “retirement” brings with it a dark side, the negative underbelly of porch rocking and incontinence.

 

How did this happen? When did “retirement” become so bad?

 

Looking historically, retirement did start out with a fairly bad rap. It was designed to get the older workers out of the workforce so that the company could free up resources to hire younger, stronger workers. Thus, the pension system came to life. It used to be that after you retired, your life expectancy was capped at 5 years, at best. But with the evolution of work, health care, and safety systems, we have started to live longer and healthier lives.

 

This has dramatically changed the retirement landscape. Now, retirement has a completely different reality. It has a sense of freedom, of choice, and of possibility. It means travelling, spending time on hobbies, pursuing creative passions, activities, or a new career even.  It can mean time with family, or raising grandchildren, living in another country, state, or simple a new city.

 

With this new definition of retirement – which, by the way, there is no “perfect retirement” and we shouldn’t compare our definition of what will be the best retirement to the definitions of others – there seems to be a need for a new word. Every “baby boomer” that I talk to doesn’t like to say they are retired. It seems to make them feel as though they’ve stepped outside of the stream of life and are no longer included.

 

This is not the feeling that this major life transition should induce. Instead, it should be a time to thrive and pursue whatever is your heart’s desire, your perfect week, month, and year. It need not be anyone else’s definition of perfect but your own.

 

So, may I propose a shift in our language – this is your ENCORE. It is time to take life by the reins and enjoy all it has to offer, using all of the wisdom you’ve already acquired to shape it exactly as you want it to be.

 

#What’sYourEncore?

 

If you or someone you know is wondering about their encore, or not sure if they can live their perfect encore, that’s exactly the question I help answer. I’m happy to talk about anyone’s specific situation!


May Flowers (and Happy Spending)

By Katrina Soelter, CFP®

5/18/2018

I can’t believe it’s already May! This year has been flying by. Unfortunately, it seems that LA skipped straight to summer. The good news is, I have been keeping my tomato plants alive (a rare occurrence, although I do try every year!), so I have a version of May flowers on my patio.

I recently gave a workshop which covered a great span of topics, one of which was budgeting. Naturally, this also brings up how we spend money.

Spending money is a fraught topic, as we all know. There are all sorts of opinions, usually laced with judgement. So, to introduce a different perspective, what if we thought about how spending our money could introduce more happiness to our lives?

In recent years, there have been several studies on what expenditures bring more joy to our lives. For a quick recap of the different conclusions, this article highlights the major conclusions.

One of the books that I have really enjoyed, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending, by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, goes into more detail about the ways in which we can hack our happiness and our spending.

It appears that Dr. Dunn has also been working with an app called Joy, which helps you save and spend in line with what brings you joy. I find this a particularly intriguing concept, given the great number of money-based apps out there.

Generally speaking, the advice I give to my clients is to be reflective about which purchases are increasing your satisfaction in life, and which are not. So often, we spend without thinking about it (thanks, often, to credit cards), and taking a moment to reflect before swiping can make a quick difference about how and when you spend.

I hope this sheds some light on spending, and gives you at least one new tool in your arsenal to help you live more happily with your finances!

*Note, Wells Fargo Advisors does not endorse or recommend any particular website or resource.

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