Self-questioning should precede big changes in life
Understanding motives key to action planning
Sarah CarlsonFebruary 10th, 2022
It seems I learn daily about a friend or client who is choosing to make an impactful choice in their lives.
This pandemic has brought about a massive wave of people making changes in their careers, quitting or retiring from their jobs, changing homes, and even life partners.
I have seen many people aged 50 and older choosing to retire early, especially from the medical industry. Whether these choices are temporary or not, they can profoundly affect your financial life.
My friend Sherry recently quit her job only to find out she did not think through her situation, and now she is bored and feeling irrelevant. In addition, she didn’t do any work to prepare emotionally or financially for not having an income. The recent spike in inflation has put pressure on her pocketbook. She has to make choices she wishes she would not be making.
If you consider making some of these significant changes, there are many questions you may want to consider before taking action.
On the emotional side, take time to understand the motivation behind your urge. Are you burnt out, and could perhaps a well-planned vacation recharge your passion? Do you indulge in play regularly, or is your life all work and no play?
Are your emotions situational? Perhaps you don’t like your boss or co-workers, or maybe you feel undervalued by the people you serve? Is your desire for change because of your work situation or possibly your home life?
How will you spend your time if you are not at work? What do you do to nurture your relationship with yourself?
We all have blind spots when it comes to our personal choices that are emotionally based. They can help you see your situation from a different perspective. Before pulling the trigger, have you talked it through with a loved one or a professional?
In regard to finances, do you have a clear understanding of your expenses and how those expenses will change once you are retired?
Do you clearly understand how you will create income streams from your investments and the risk/reward tradeoffs?
If you are under age 65—the age of Medicare eligibility—where will your medical benefits come from, and have you researched the costs associated with that?
Inflation is here. How will your income stream keep up with the rise in expenses? Do you understand the impact of inflation on your costs over time?
Have you repositioned your assets to your current time horizon and risk tolerance? There is a big difference between accumulation and distribution when investing.
When it comes to Social Security, there are so many options for you and your partner; this may be an area worth getting some professional help in selecting the option that will help to maximize benefits for your life expectancy.
If you’re thinking about inheritance, it will be nice to get some, but unless your legacy has legally been mapped out and cannot change, it is best to act as if you won’t get an estate.
Have an income distribution plan so you can aim to reduce taxes and maximize your income for the many years to come.
Making a significant change may very well be the right opportunity, for what you need to enjoy more of your life journey. There is so much that is unpredictable, but if you take the time to understand your motivations and create an action plan to honor your intentions, you may have a better chance of finding the happiness you are seeking.
Sarah Carlson is a certified financial planner and the owner and founder of Fulcrum Financial Group, of Spokane. She can be reached at 509.747.2075.