The Fourth Quarter

Mar
17

Make A New Plan, Stan

by Christine


[Thinker On A Rock]

Today I am going to explore the art of planning for the Fourth Quarter. You have a vague sense of the changes you want to make in the Fourth Quarter of your life but you aren't clear on how to get where you want to be. The first step is to make a plan. While money isn't the only driver in life, for any plan to work you need to know how you will finance your plan. Do you currently have a budget? If not, now is the time to create one. 

I hear the groans. The sound is similar to the sounds I make when my accountant asks me to gather together the paperwork needed to file my taxes. But the reality is you need to know how much money you are bringing in and how much money is going out. Think of it as creating your own personal P&L statement. A profit and loss statement is the report used by small business owners to track how their business is doing. If you have been running your financial life like a well oiled small business then your personal P&L will be worthy of a gold star. If not, it's time to bite the bullet and find out where you really stand. 

There are multiple personal finance software packages that help you categorize and track spending as well as pay bills and manage investments. If you aren't using a program such as Quicken, I would encourage you to consider that for the future but for our purposes today, lets stick with simple pen and paper. You don't want the process of gathering this information to overwhelm the goal.

For one month, you will keep a spending log. I would suggest an inexpensive steno/memo notebook and pen but if you are an app person, there are several available on the Internet. I can't stress enough that you need to keep this simple. In your spending log you will keep a record of your expenses. Make no judgments at this time about the money you are spending, just continue your normal routine. 

An accurate spending log will show you where your money is going and help you learn what you value in life. It will be a valuable tool in helping you craft your Fourth Quarter plans and is key to understanding the compromises and trade-offs you may need to make now and in the future. Are you ready to get started on your Fourth Quarter plan?

Hugs,
C

 

Mar
10

The Wisdom Of The Fourth Quarter

by Christine

Last week I posted about life expectancy, working and money as it relates to the Fourth Quarter of life. I pulled numbers and comments by the group known as "they". You know these guys: they said that you need a million plus to retire or they said you may live to be a 100. My concern about the collective "they" is that it's a fear based group. The Fourth Quarter is already a period in which you lose your parents and find that your knees start to ache.  Couple that with a steady stream of hypothetical doom and gloom scenarios and the reaction is to hunker down against possible threats and limit your dreams. 

The Fourth Quarter of life is like any other period of life. You will have your challenges, you will have your rewards and you will be required to work at being happy and fulfilled. The key difference in the Fourth Quarter and the previous three quarters is your accumulated life experience and your hard earned wisdom. Life is not about allowing "they" to form your life vision. As my friend Chad said, "There's a lot of ball to be played in the fourth quarter." 

The Fourth Quarter can and I believe should be the most creative time of your life. It's the time in life for you to give yourself permission to pursue creative outlets that may or may not result in financial rewards. I've witnessed the biggest road block to most Americans following their passion is the inculcated belief that money is the only measure of a successful endeavor. No, I don't live under a rock, I need money to pay the bills but I know that following your passion can lead to financial success in some cases. 

I have a real world example. My friend Kathryn can sew and has a wonderful way with people. In response to a request by her daughter's summer camp, she taught a group of girls to sew one summer. Her summer class has now evolved into the business  Sewhampton. Think about it. Schools are no longer teaching Home Economics and this is a skill that many young people as well as older people would like to learn. As Sewhampton has grown other creative ideas have surfaced such as the memory ornament. It's a Christmas ornament to honor a lost loved one. Kathryn didn't start out to open a business, she started out to share a passion. 

The Fourth Quarter is the time of life to work hard at something you love, spend time with family and friends and have some fun. What do you want the Fourth Quarter of your life to look like? Do you have a deferred passion that you want to act upon?  What are your dreams for the future?

Hugs,
C

 

 

 

Mar
07

Do You Have The Entrance Fee For Retirement?

by Christine

Okay, you're in The Fourth Quarter of your life and need/want to make a change but first you must address the pink paisley elephant in the room...MONEY. How are you going to keep a roof over your head and continue to eat three meals a day without a job? Never mind fulfilling your travel dreams of visiting every single baseball stadium in the country.

Let me start off the discussion by sharing a couple of numbers with you. Most financial advisors state that you need between 1.3 and 1.7 million dollars in your portfolio before you can retire. My own advisor has given me graphs that clearly show I will need to either keep working until I take my last breath or at best expire roughly 2 weeks after I cease working.

Conversations with my FA are rather doom and gloom with the take away being never stop working and never take a dime out of my retirement fund. His two big concerns are that I may live to be 100 and how I will pay for all those unnecessary tests the doctors and hospitals will want to perform during the last 6 months of my life. 

Here are more numbers to contemplate:

317 Million-Total US Population
  79 Million-Baby Boomers
    9 Million-Millionaires in the US

I'm sure you are ahead of me on this but if all the millionaires in the US were 58+ then there would still be 70 million Baby Boomers who aren't millionaires. And we all know a good portion of that 9 million includes the 30 or 40-somethings that made their fortune in the tech world. So what's the plan for the rest of us?

Do you believe the FA's are right and it takes a million dollars to retire? If you have have a million plus in the bank, God bless you and I hope you stick around because as the weeks go by I am going to blog about living life in the Fourth Quarter with or without a job. But if you don't have that kind of money, will it stop you from retiring? What plans and dreams do you have for the Fourth Quarter of your life? Is money the only factor to consider in deciding whether to retire? Let me know what you think?

Hugs,

 

Mar
05

Debunking The Retirement Myth

by Christine

When I was a senior in high school, my peers and I were regularly asked where we were going to college. The assumption was that I along with the rest of my schoolmates would be heading off to college the next fall after graduation. The idea that college might not be in our future was never discussed. Today we are regularly asked about our plans for retirement. Retirement has become a destination similar to college or the military and there's a lot of discussion on how to succeed as a retiree.

The concept of retirement in our current idealized form is new. Businesses in the industrialized era needed to make way for younger and stronger workers on the factory line. In an effort to encourage the older workers to hand over their jobs to a younger crop of factory workers, the federal government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the Social Security Act of 1935. The Social Security Act was in response to Dr. Francis Townsend's proposal of a mandatory retirement age of 60 and a $200 a month pensions. $200 was the equivalent of a full time salary and Roosevelt was alarmed at Townsend's generosity. I do believe the establishment of the Social Security program was a much better solution than the medieval practice of patricide for decreasing the elderly in the work force. 

Retirement was not put into place to reward workers for a job well done; it was a way to make jobs available to younger workers. Not everyone of "retirement age" found the idea appealing and fought to stay at  his or her job. Today this tension is felt in our current job market. Discussions of mandatory retirement comes to the forefront whenever the unemployment numbers are high only to be silenced as the fear of a large-scale brain drain hovers over any wholesale exoduses of a large segment of the working population. 

Retirement is not a destination or a place from which you graduate or muster out. Retirement means to leave ones job and cease working. My great grandparents were farmers and after my great grandfather died, my great grandmother worked the farm well into her late 80's never leaving her home. As I look at the Fourth Quarter of life, I question whether I want to retire. Do you want to retire? If so, why? I would love to hear what you think.

Hugs,
C

Mar
03

It's The Fourth Quarter, Are You Ready?

by Christine

Did you know the life expectancy for the "average American" is 78.64 years. Are you surprised by this number? I was. If you break that number down by gender and race, some groups do a little better than others. Women average 81.1 years and men average 76.3 while persons of color are lower than the national average regardless of gender. I've seen the financial commercials warning me that I may live to 90 or 100 but based on the CDC's numbers, only a small percentage of us will live that long. It's kind of like winning the lottery and to quote the New York Lottery...Hey, you never know. 

I'm part of the Baby Boomer generation and like most of my peer I recoil from the vocabulary used to describe this time of life. I don't feel I am elderly, a senior citizen, advancing in years, entering the latter part of my life, living the golden years or any of the other euphemism used to describe my age group. I feel this kind of language marginalizes my whole generation so I've come up with different vocabulary. I've named this stage of life The Fourth Quarter. 

For those of you who aren't football or sports fans, hang with me for a bit longer. I'm working to find positive life descriptors and I believe the game of football is a good model. As in football, life is divided into quarters with each requiring unique strategies and every quarter is as important as the next. Your aren't discounted because you happen to be in the fourth quarter; winning requires each quarter to be played whole heartedly.

Who is in the Fourth Quarter? I'm basing admittance on the national average and once you hit 58, you're there. Now I'm not looking to split hairs here, I am looking to discuss this part of life using positive vocabulary. Yes, some people will live more and some people will live less than the national average but the national average gives us a starting point. How do you feel about the vocabulary used to describe this time of life? Do you view the Fourth Quarter as a postive time of life or do you feel it is "all down hill from here?" Join me as I explore living life in the Fourth Quarter. 

Hugs,
C

 

 

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