Counting Your Retirement “Assets”

A successful retirement experience takes more than money.  As you plan for your life in retirement, your current skills, interests, values, and preferences should be given thoughtful consideration.  These characteristics will be the personal assets that you take with you into retirement to make it a successful and satisfying chapter of your life.

Skills

Think of your skills as a portfolio of abilities that you can build on throughout your lifetime.  Here are several examples:  ability to communicate effectively, ability to solve problems in creative ways, ability to visualize interior or landscape designs, ability to understand and work well with animals, ability to be an empathetic listener, ability to repair almost anything mechanical, ability to be an inspirational leader, and so on. (more…)

Invest in Yourself for a “No Rules Retirement”

The concept of retirement is undergoing a metamorphosis. Demographic, societal, and workplace trends have all converged to offer a stage of life at midlife and beyond that is much more fluid and flexible than what most of us ever imagined.  When planning for retirement, individuals are discovering that the “old rules” have been thrown out and “no rules” apply.  In fact, “retirement” has become a matter of personal definition.

For this reason, the No Rules Retirement model advocates proactive planning throughout adulthood and in all areas of life.  Retirement should not be viewed as a single event, but rather as one of the many transitions in a continuum of life experiences. (more…)

Raising Your Money Quotient

“Money Maturity does include skills, such as understanding investment options and using a budget effectively, but it goes much deeper—to the feelings, the heart, and yes, the soul.  Money Maturity helps resolve the troubling emotional conflicts around money that never seem to go away.”

George Kinder
The Seven Stages of Money Maturity (more…)

What’s Your M.Q.?

Do you know someone who is really smart, but makes really dumb decisions when it comes to money?  These individuals are likely to be successful in other endeavors, but their financial lives are out of kilter.  Here are a few examples:

  • Joan has a great job and earns a six-figure salary. Even though she gets a generous raise each year, she can’t seem to be able to save and invest for her future.
  • Three years ago, John received a large inheritance from his grandmother. If well managed, her generous gift could provide John financial security for the rest of his life.  However, he feels anything but secure.  The responsibility of financial stewardship has challenged his self-confidence and triggered anxiety attacks and depression.
  • Tina recently graduated from law school and landed a position in a top firm in San Francisco. Although she was offered a very competitive starting salary, she finds that it is inadequate to meet her living expenses, car payments, and student loan payments.  After all the sacrifices she has made to reach this career goal, she is angry and frightened about her financial outlook.
  • Tim wants to micro-manage the family budget and it is driving Karen crazy. They have been married five years, and Tim’s attention to their money matters is becoming increasingly obsessive.  To assert her independence in this relationship, Karen frequently goes on shopping sprees.
  • Ken checks the market several times a day. On down days, he is filled with anxiety about his shrinking retirement nest egg.  Recently, after several days of steady declines, the Dow precipitously dropped another 300 points.  Ken immediately called his broker and demanded that she sell every one of his investments and put the proceeds into a money market.

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The Risk Tolerance Continuum

When you are making a financial decision, do you intentionally weigh the potential risks and rewards?  Is weighing that balance more of a rational or emotional process for you? In other words, do you tend to rely more on facts or on feelings?

For example, when Karla got a promotion at the architectural firm where she is employed, she gave serious consideration to buying a new car.  She thought about the practical and emotional rewards of having a new car such as:  1) having a dependable means of transportation, 2) getting better gas mileage, 3) portraying a successful image to her clients, and 4) experiencing the pride and pleasure that comes with owning a new car (there’s nothing like that new car smell!). (more…)