September 13, 2016. By Jennifer Wolfsberg:
There comes a time in life when a shift of professional interest seems to occur. It is not an abrupt or obvious feeling, and for some it is a gradual redirection of career focus or personal interest. The self-awareness that it takes to recognize that you are in this phase is not easy nor is it comfortable for most. There is no obvious answer, no light bulb that goes off, but it quietly grows over time; a feeling of malaise that seems to creep into your life. This feeling is a sense that an adjustment is needed yet cannot be defined.
I recently listened to a podcast of “The Tim Ferris Show” when he hosted the self-help motivational speaker, Tony Robbins. I found this interview so captivating and relevant to our daily practice as it eloquently outlined some of the personal challenges we see individuals face in defining achievement versus fulfillment as they enter different periods in their lives. A career change can poses financial risks that can generally be calculated. But emotionally, how do you calculate the cost of continuing on a path that no longer brings enjoyment, or worse – makes you miserable?
Many individuals and couples have climbed the corporate ladder, purchased their dream home, raised a beautiful family, and have achieved the financial independence they so fiercely desired. The original drive that helped them achieve this success in specific industry or role, however, no longer seems to function as their daily fuel for spending long nights at the office. While some are able to articulate this feeling, many people are struggling to identify a void that they cannot describe. Their career or job is becoming less desirable and they find their attention being drawn to other topics, hobbies, and areas of interest. Their original plan of working the same hours in the same structure under the same terms for 40 years no longer provides that same level of satisfaction and content as it once had.
Our life experiences shape who we are and who we become both personally and professionally, yet the more experience we have, the more our perspectives can change. Financial success, while it may provide an amazing platform of choices, may not always provide the fulfillment over the long-term we are looking for. We as humans crave involvement, contribution, community, and progress, but this can mean different things at different times in our lives. Reaching fulfillment may require changing industries, careers, and roles, starting a new business, or delving into nonprofit and volunteer work. There is no right or wrong answer, just planning and acceptance to change. This in no way means that financial success is not important, but only that success may take a different form for you as you enter different stages of your life.
While many clients and families openly communicate these thoughts and allow us to guide them in the financial planning process when needed, many avoid the discussion or until they are at a critical point when immediate action is required. In our experience, the danger in not addressing this and recognizing this need for fulfillment can have negative emotional effects and financial consequences.
We find ourselves in the midst of a new era of consulting and advisory services, and perhaps one of the most difficult for many clients and advisors. Unfortunately the term “Wealth Management” can serve as an industry catchall rather than a clear encapsulation of our breadth of services. We cannot capture or illustrate the countless hours of financial coaching and active listening we so passionately enjoy as we guide clients and their families through these many phases. It may not seem like the obvious solution in your financial planning, but entrusting your personal fulfillment goals with your financial advisor, and being authentic and vulnerable in that process, will help these professionals lead you comfortably into your next chapter when you are suddenly ready.