Life Management

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

 

 

Jan
29

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

by Christine


{The National Anthem at the Nicks Game}

I get on a "kick" every once in a while; what is a kick you might ask? A kick when you decide out of the blue you must do something that is out of the ordinary in your life. An example would be a couple of years ago, I decided Marty and I had to see all the Best Picture nominations before the broadcast of the Academy Awards. Of course I decided this about three weeks before the broadcast so we had to schedule a film every Saturday and Sunday morning at whatever movie theater was showing one of the nominated films. It became a race to get them all in before the broadcast. We had a great time and now, Marty wants us to do it every year. That's the problem with involving another person in a kick; they may want to make it a "thing". 

My 2014's kick is seeing all the New York sports teams play plus attending the US Open Tennis in New York. Each summer we go to Yankee Stadium and root for Jetter and the gang but as for the rest of the NY teams I've never seen them play. The first opportunity to see a New York team was two weeks ago when we went to the Knicks game. Marty was confused as to why I wanted to see the Knicks play because a.) They aren't a very good team and b.) Well, there is no b. Marty isn't a long-suffering fan for any team. He goes to see a good game where in the end his team wins.

We had fun watching the Knicks but the man who sat next to us was getting more depressed as the game clock ticked down. He was turning 50 and had come to Madison Square Garden to celebrate this milestone with his favorite sports team. He really wanted the Knicks to win but alas, it was not meant to be. He left a few minutes before the final buzzer because turning 50 and seeing the Knicks loose was too much for him.

When I looked up the official New York teams, I discovered there were more teams than I thought. Candidly I wasn't thinking lacrosse or any women's teams but now they are both on the list. I do feel a little guilty about failing to think about women's sports. Next on the list is the Brooklyn Nets though I am more interested in seeing the Barclays Center than in seeing the Nets. The residence of Brooklyn fought the Barclays Center and I want to see what all the fuss was about in approving this building. I am looking forward to my 2014 kick because I will get to see various sports teams in action and explore parts of New York I have seen yet. Do you ever get on a kick and if so, what are they?

Hugs,
C

Jan
28

Flips Flops In February

by Christine

Yesterday it was 72° and sunny here in Jacksonville, which was quite the contrast from the single digit temperatures I left behind in New York. I soak in the warmth and sit on the front stoop to watch my grandkids play so I can be outside on such a glorious day. But I will tell you a secret; another part of me misses the camaraderie of braving the New York winter. 

New York in the winter is a magical place. The Hudson River freezes as jagged slabs of ice build up on the shore. The golden color of the fall sun has given way to the cooler, bluer light of winter that when reflected off the winter snow is as blinding as the summer sun in Florida. The landscape is a study in white, black and brown; the shapes of trees, mountains and neighborhoods are revealed when the leaves of fall are gone. In the blackness of night, the porch light that were once hidden by the foliage of summer are now revealed as they twinkle and cascade down the side of the previously invisible mountain like stars in a night sky.  

When in the City, I am never cold the way I am in Florida on a chilly morning. Believe it or not, sometimes it's too warm when you come out of the cold bundled up in a wool coat and leather boots and enter a coffee shop or restaurant. The buildings are built to withstand the elements and the furnaces blast heat to ward of the bitter cold. Collectively New Yorkers don't allow the extremes of cold weather to slow down the pace of life. There are complaints of the sun setting too early and the dreary look of a grey sky after multiple days of the sun's disappearance. The furnace heat dries lips, hands and feet requiring copious amounts of cream to keep your skin hydrated. But this too is part of a New York winter. 

I am loving the warmth of the Florida sun and the generous hugs and kisses from my grandchildren. But when I return to New York next week, I will embrace the New York winter. I will grab the shovel and clear the snow, make a pot of steaming hot vegetable soup and continue the countdown to Spring Training. I will also consider myself blessed to have experienced a Florida and New York winter in the same season.

Hugs,
C

 

 

Jan
22

Following Up On A Promise To Yourself

by Christine

I am on the road again. I love spending time with family and friends when I am away but I find that the promises I make to myself tend to slide. What kinds of things you might ask? Well, my diet for one. It is so much easier to stick to a plan when I am at home but on the road it's a bit of a struggle. Eating out or preparing meals for my grandkids become an "occasion" instead of just nourishment.

Several years ago, well maybe it was more than several years ago, I read a book titled Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan. It's a book about running your business but it's pertinent to running your life. Per Bossidy & Ram the reason we fall short of our promises is that we lack execution.  The reasons why? 

1.) There is a gap between what we want to accomplish and our ability to deliver on our stated goal. I may want to run the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon but I don't have the ability to deliver on that stated goal. 

2.) We have tactics for accomplishing our promises but don't have a long-term strategy for executing. I run 3 miles a couple of times a week but I don't have a plan for developing all the necessary skill sets to compete in the Hawaiian Ironman

3.) We aren't disciplined enough to understand ourselves and our environment. If I believe that at my age I can participate in the Hawaiian Ironman beyond standing on the side lines and cheering, then I not only lack discipline to understand my abilities and life circumstances but I am delusional. 

To avoid falling short of our promises to ourselves we must be clear-eyed about our abilities and our environment when creating our strategy for success. How about you? Do you challenge yourself in life? Do you have a plan for execution? 

Hugs,
C

Jan
17

Sabbatical Update Or Has It Really Been 6 Months?

by Christine

On August 1 this past year the green flag dipped and my sabbatical year roared to a start. The image of a starting line and revving engines is the perfect metaphor for August but as I rounded the bend in September the race morphed into more of a Sunday afternoon drive. You might think I'm disappointed that my sabbatical year so quickly went into a new direction but I'm not. At first I fought it but eventually learned that what I needed was a Sunday afternoon drive and not another high performance stock car race. 

I hesitate to share my perceived lesson learned at the six-month point because the year is about "delving into goals that are not driven by work or earning revenue" and this takes time. Candidly, I don't feel the lessons are complete or that I see them clearly. But I will share 3 things I learned since embarking on my sabbatical year. 

1.) I had done my research on taking a sabbatical leave and every person I read said to plan the time. Don't leave it open so that your time can be wasted. Given my "can do" nature I crafted a schedule that was pretty impressive even if I say so myself. August went as planned but September foreshadowed the months to come.What I needed to do was slow down both physically and mentally. I fought it until I realized I was headed in the direction I needed to go even if it wasn't the direction I planned to go. 

2.) Around December I started to get antsy about work. I've had a social security paying job since I was 15 years old and not having an income was causing anxiety. I'd financially planned for this year but started feeling I needed the security of clients and invoicing. The self-talk was defeating but I wanted to see this year through. I kept reminding myself of another time in my life when I embarked upon a change such as this but gave in to the fear and headed back to safer territory. I've always wondered how my life would have been different if I had held out and continued on that path. This time I'm staying the course.

3.) I learned that my Lifetime Priorities had taken a backseat to the busyness of life. Last year I presented a series on Intentional Living and shared with you how "stating what you want to achieve will make it easier to obtain and will make your happier in the process". As I started to slow down this past 6 months, I saw how off track I was. Over the next couple of months I will be adding some additional post to the Intentional Living Series. 

I said in the beginning I wanted to be open to whatever life brings me. This time I mean it. The next six months will bring a dormant period of winter and then the rebirth of spring. I'm looking forward to the next 6 months. 

Hugs,
C

 

Jan
15

Bumper Sticker Wars

by Christine

Social media is the land of one liners and real time critiques. Sometimes it is amusing and clever while at others it's unkind, crude or at the extreme frighteningly malicious. Take the above placard. On the surface it's encouraging to women who are striving for income parity and job opportunity in the workplace. You can almost hear the "Right on Sister" as it pops up on Pinterest or Facebook. But not everyone agreed with the life code extolled in this social media bumper stickers.  

With the use of a simple black marker, the author has managed to throw down a gauntlet of criticism and censure. I'm not trying to be a spoilsport here. I love motivational quotes that uplift and encourage about a wide variety of subject. I even enjoy an occasional snarky one too. But the danger of the bumper sticker wars is that we believe we know the life code of another because of these tag lines.

I could speak in detail to the message behind both these placards. I would tell the woman or man whose passion is starting his or her own business to go for it. It's hard work but rewarding. To the woman or man who wants to work in a corporation, I would say work like a boss. It's hard work but rewarding. It's about knowing yourself and choosing the right situation for you. I would ask questions that would help clarify aspirations and goals. As you can see, it is a little more complicated than the bumper sticker wars indicate. 

I bet you've seen the car bumper stickers that read, "My child is an honor student at our local school" and the rebuttal, "My kid can beat up your honor student". I did laugh when I first saw the second one but to be honest, the thought crossed my mind that the kids whose talent is that he can "beat up" the other kids must not be very smart. I am sure the parents who put that bumper sticker on their car never imagined that the result would be that a stranger would think their kids wasn't smart and that they were insecure. 

I don't want the discussion today to lead to the death of social media placards. My goals is to remind everyone, myself included, that these amusing zingers are fun but they are only amusing zingers and not a true reflections of another's beliefs and personal code. For that we must intentionally converse and then listen to our friends and colleagues to know what they think, believe and feel. What placards have made you smile, groan or grimace?

Hugs,
C

Jan
14

The Year Of Firsts

by Christine

It's been two weeks since the ball dropped and 2014 was officially ushered in. It didn't take long for me to get back into my routine; I love routines.  My New Year's routine includes exercise, a more wholesome diet and dedicated work hours. I traded in my flute of Champagne for a bottle of water. Even though I've stepped it up at work, I've taken some time to decompress in the evenings from the busyness of the end of the year holidays. I've had some quiet time and I've been thinking. (I can hear Marty groaning now. Next she's going to want to talk.)

Two years ago was the first Christmas after my mom died. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's were tough. I was sad. My family was sad and it felt like the holidays weren't ever going to be fun again. Fortunately, we came through the sadness of grief to once again joyously celebrate the holidays. But this got me to thinking about my friends who experienced the loss of a parent or a spouse this past year and how they are going through The Year of Firsts. The first snow fall without his or her loved one, the first St. Patrick's Day alone and many other firsts that sneak up on you and drape you in sadness.  

I am suggesting that if you know someone who is living The Year of Firsts that you reach out and connect with them. Invite them to lunch or dinner, plan an outing to a museum or go to an Oscar nominated movie. Any activity that helps you connect and be available to your friend or family member.  If they live out of town, send a card, give them a call or better yet, set-up Skype and look them in the eye. Being available may not take away all their sadness but they won't have to go it alone if you are with them. They may want to talk or just "be" with you. but as the tidal wave of grief comes upon them, you will be there to help them ride the wave. 

So start 2014 by intentionally reaching out to those going through The Year of Firsts. The world will be a better place for your thoughtfulness. 

Hugs,
C

 

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