“Go Right to the Source and Ask the Horse”

our experiences contribute to our approach to moneyI confess: this weekend, I could not help myself. While watching some TV, I stopped on a rerun of the show “Mr. Ed”. I realize that some of my readers just did a memory flashback, and others (generally, Gen X and younger) may have no idea what I am talking about.* To make matters worse, I also found a channel that was promoting an eight CD compilation of 1960’s & 1970’s music, complete with pictures of the bands. What a walk down memory lane for my wife and me!

As a group, us Baby Boomers love to reminisce about the music we grew up with (Beatles, Stones, Disco (for us late Boomers)), events that occurred (man on the moon, first TV, political events, etc.) or the life values that are important to us.  Through my years of advising clients, I have realized that it is the sum total of all of our experiences, that make up the essence of our opinions about money. These same experiences are also at the core of our vision of what life after our primary career might look like. And now, we are getting to a point in life where what we need to achieve is becoming less important than how we enjoy what we have achieved. I’ve advised many people for whom this particular shift was really difficult. The three top changes that people struggle with seem to be:

  1. A downshift in the pace of life: We have been on the go for so long, while we built careers, raised families, etc. that even a slight downshift is a big adjustment.
  2. A change in motivation of activity: No longer is money the main driver. Passion activities, charitable interests, and the desire to make a difference take over.
  3. Health changes: While most of us are taking pretty good care of ourselves, it just isn’t like it used to be. Attention to the future healthcare needs can add to the emotional stress of this transition period.

So how do you successfully make this shift? Do you meet the challenge on your own or do you just ignore the whole thing and hope it all works out?   With today’s average life expectancy for a 65 year old woman at 86, and for a man 84**, do you really want to rely on luck for a positive outcome?

Since we all grew up watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon, I am going to borrow this analogy: imagine that Neil, following all his personal effort to be ready to make history, is now at his moment of truth.  While he has done a lot on his own, he has had the support of the people a NASA. Today is the “big” day at Kennedy Space Center. They are there to confirm all is a “go”. Do you think the crew of Apollo 11 would have dismissed their support team at that point, to handle the trip on their own? Or do you think that they would have kept them on the job, monitoring progress, looking for potential problems and guiding them through their journey?

Neil ArmstrongLike Neil Armstrong, you are either near or on your own journey to make history. You are the pilot –What will your team look like? Have you reviewed your pre-flight checklist? Do you even have a flight plan?

 

*For those of you who are curious, I am happy to say Mr. Ed episodes are now streaming on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/mister-ed

**http://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.htm

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