Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure

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Blog Series

Becoming Free From The Fear Of Failure

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Self love hug as esteem and confidence for being woman tiny pers

Do First. Think Later. Learn By Doing. When I was a kid; I wanted to learn how to ride a bike. But I am stubborn and didn’t want anyone to help me. Regardless, my brother instructed me to just straddle the bike at the top of a hill, lift my feet up, and then coast down the hill…all I had to do was balance. Little did I know if I started at the top of a hill, I would be going very fast by the time I got to the bottom. And I didn’t know how to brake.

The Fear of Failure is one of the most common restraints that holds people back from pursuing great ideas. Imagine if we could become totally free from the fear of failure. Imagine what we could then manifest and create. In this interview series, we are talking to leaders who can share stories and insights from their experience about “Becoming Free From the Fear of Failure.” As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Karen Koenig.

Karen Koenig is a speaker on the topics of money types and money mindset. She is the author of “Woman on Top: How to Win in a Woman’s Way”. She is the founder of KK Financial Solutions and is a seasoned Financial Advisor/Planner who helps individuals, business owners and divorcees understand how to create a financial future that is right for them and their businesses.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I was originally born and raised in the Midwest, but in 2012 I moved to the Pacific Northwest and currently live on a little island North and West of Seattle, called Whidbey Island. Through my careers, I have accumulated over 30 years’ experience in male-dominated fields. I spent 26 years in the military, 6 years in aerospace and then changed careers entirely and went into financial services in 2015. I love being an entrepreneur, where I can work with individuals, small businesses, and divorced people to help them plan and grow their financial future.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

When I was in Officer Candidate School (OCS) I was the guidon for our flight. Meaning I took care of our flight’s flag and carried it during our marching sessions. On one occasion our flight got in trouble, and we had to do push-ups as punishment. I had no idea at the time what to do with the guidon (flag), or how I was supposed to do push-ups while holding it, and I was downright scared to do the wrong thing. So, without thinking, I proceeded to do a one-handed push up, while still holding the guidon in the upright position. My Drill Instructor was impressed to say the least but scolded me later and stated I needed to find a better way. Later I found out I was supposed to wait for the flight to do their pushups, then hand the guidon to the person behind me, then do a two-armed pushup just like everyone else.

What I learned from this experience was to prepare for certain situations that might happen while in the process of doing a particular task, then store the knowledge in my databank for later use. Knowing at some point I would l have to do push-ups while carrying the guidon, I should have watched what another guidon did with their flag when their flight had to do push-ups. Had I prepared ahead of time and observed how to do this task correctly, I could have taken the fear out of the situation and applied the correct procedure from the start.

You are a successful leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

I believe the three character traits that were most instrumental to my success, were the core values I learned in the military. Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. Integrity is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is watching. It’s the moral compass or the inner voice. Service before self is the new assignment or new job which we take that isn’t in the ideal location, or the need to retrain to do something else even if you are happy with where you are at. Excellence in all we do is a mindset of giving your best, striving to continually improve yourself, and expecting the same from others.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the concept of becoming free from failure. Let’s zoom in a bit. From your experience, why exactly are people so afraid of failure? Why is failure so frightening to us?

I believe people are afraid of failure because of a couple of reasons. They either don’t know exactly what to do at every step of the journey or they hit a roadblock and quit. People get so caught up in trying to figure out how or the right way to do something, they get into ‘analysis paralysis’, and never start. Or, when they hit a roadblock, instead of moving past the issue, they just stop because it’s the easiest thing to do. Failure is so frightening to us because there might be the perceived negative judgement of us by others, or a sense of shame or disappointment. In essence, we don’t want to let ourselves or others down.

What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?

Failure causes stress and stress causes the release of cortisol, which can lead to many issues to include limiting people from succeeding at goals, on how to be productive, or it may even impair your relationships. Therefore, the downside of being afraid of failure is never accomplishing what you set out to do in the first place. The fear grips you to the point you do not act on things which could change your business and/or life.

In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the fear of failure can help improve our lives?

Becoming free from failure can improve your life in many ways. Success releases dopamine, which helps regulate unconditioned fear in the brain. In essence dopamine can help you accomplish a goal. When you feel good this then helps in productivity. The more you succeed, the more you want to accomplish. And, last, when you feel good, and are productive, naturally your relationships become better.

We would love to hear your story about your experience dealing with failure. Would you be able to share a story about that with us?

Of course. I experienced true failure in recent years when I was studying to become a financial advisor. The Series 7 test was very long and was an ardent task to study for. The test itself was 135 questions and they allot 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test. After studying for months, working with an advisor, and taking many practice quizzes, I sat for the test and failed it the first time by 5 points. Once you fail, you must wait 30 days to retake the Series 7 again. After 30 days, I sat for the test again and failed the second time by 1 point. Then, after another 30- day wait, I was allowed to sit for the test again and I passed!

How did you rebound and recover after that? What did you learn from this whole episode? What advice would you give to others based on that story?

I recovered slowly. I was embarrassed the first time I failed, but I knew I could take the test again, so I did. But after failing the test a second time, I was not only embarrassed, but I felt I was a complete failure and I wanted to quit. Quit my goal of becoming a financial advisor.

My advice to others is reach out for help! I finally reached out to another advisor and told them I wanted to quit, but they encouraged me to try another time. I am glad I listened. What did I learn? If I had quit after the second time I failed, I wouldn’t be the successful financial advisor I am today. Never quit because it could be the day before you become successful!

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that everyone can take to become free from the fear of failure”? Please share a story or an example for each.

I have 5 steps that are principles in my book:

  1. Do First. Think Later. Learn by Doing.
  2. Perfection is not Progress
  3. Find the Truth and ask for help
  4. A Target only you can hit
  5. There is Power in Failure

Do First. Think Later. Learn By Doing. When I was a kid; I wanted to learn how to ride a bike. But I am stubborn and didn’t want anyone to help me. Regardless, my brother instructed me to just straddle the bike at the top of a hill, lift my feet up, and then coast down the hill…all I had to do was balance. Little did I know if I started at the top of a hill, I would be going very fast by the time I got to the bottom. And I didn’t know how to brake. By the way, I was riding a bike which had a braking system controlled by reversing the pedals…of which my feet were NOT on because I had lifted them to let the pedals spin. Half-way down the hill, I was screaming at my brother, “How do I stop?!” And low and behold, I hit a lifted piece of sidewalk and wiped out. I ended up cracking my head on the cement and getting a big goose egg, but you know what? I learned how to ride a bike! I did it first, thought about consequences later, and then I learned how to do it better.

Perfection is not Progress. Perfection is defined as everything must be 100% accurate or in place. Perfection paralysis is when everything must be 100% to move forward, where progress is going from 50 to 60%. If you are improving that is progress. The primary focus is starting somewhere and improving on where you are. Because when people think they need to be perfect, they often don’t get started at all.

Find the truth and ask for help. When I was married, I wasn’t happy towards the end. We had gone to counseling three times over a period of three years. Things would get better for about six months; then we would go back to the same behaviors that had gotten our relationship in trouble. I was avoiding the reality that divorce was the solution, but we had two small children. Long story short, I reached out to my pastor and asked what I should do. I asked for help, and he guided me to the solution that I should not stay in an unhappy marriage just for the kids. He made me realize I was teaching my children it was okay to always be unhappy. I found the truth in my situation, and I asked for help.

A Target only you can hit. My parents taught me at a young age to set goals. They were the ‘set it and you will achieve it’ type people. My father was an EMT in the Air Force and then went to school, after I was born, to be an engineer. My mother went to college to be a nurse, through the ROTC program, and then served four years in the Air Force to pay back her college tuition. My goals were to be the first sibling in my family to go to college, to join the Air Force and eventually get commissioned as an officer. I defined my goals by looking at what I wanted to do in life, then I looked at my family and how those goals might affect them, and then I set out to achieve them. I wrote the goal down, I mapped out the preliminary steps and then I envisioned the goal daily, keeping only the end in mind without getting caught up in the “how’s.” I now do a 5-year vision board to help my process of goal setting.

There is Power in Failure. In the process of writing my book, “Woman on Top: How to Win in a Woman’s Way” I met a huge stumbling block along the way. The publisher and I talked through the steps, and I followed his successful process for publication. I was going along great, figuring out my content; coming up with examples and fleshing out what I wanted to say, and just when I was close to finishing, I got stopped by compliance. I had received permission to write my book but was never told I had to produce the manuscript before I started to promote it. I paid for a URL and had a website set up but was never told the website had to be approved. Therefore, I had to shut it down right when I was getting started. I let this one event define how and when I was to move forward. The publisher I was using had a proven process, and I was not able to follow it, so I thought I had to quit everything, including writing the book! Even though I had a failure in the process, I was able to meet with my publisher and get back on track using a modified process to fit my needs, and still get my book done.

The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.” Based on your experience, have you found this quote to be true? What do you think Aristotle really meant?

I certainly have found that quote to be true. I think Aristotle meant it takes multiple failures to meet our personal definition of success. In my case, as you have seen, I have failed several times at my goals, but like in all the examples, I succeeded in then end, in one way or another.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would inspire a movement to change what is currently being taught in the school systems. I believe it would be more beneficial to teach young people practical skills on how to be successful in life. For example, how to open a bank account, how to file their taxes, how to buy a house, how to apply for a job, when/how to invest, etc.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

I would love to sit and chat with Jamie Kern Lima, author of “Believe It” and founder of IT cosmetics. I admire her tenacity, her grit, and her authenticity. She was met with many failures in her rise to the top, yet look at where she is at now…what a blessing and a gift to see her success in a highly competitive industry.

 

About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and to cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified wellness coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), stage 3 cancer survivor, podcaster, writer, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC.

Karen Koenig

Karen Koenig

Founder and Ower

As CEO and Founder of KK Financial Solutions, I use the principles from the book to help business owners, entrepreneurs, and divorcees like me, with their money mindset. I also help them to understand and implement a financial strategy that is right for their family and business, and to grow their money using other principles beyond the traditional venues of 401k, IRA and ROTH.

We will provide you useful and timely information you can use to be #financiallyfearless

5 Ways Women Can Support Their Financial Health Long-Term

Purse Strings Approved Professional

Blog Series

5 Ways Women Can Support Their Financial Health Long-Term

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Women’s contributions to society are boundless. But even as they continue to trailblaze the labor market and find greater financial power, one critical wildcard remains—longevity.

On average,

      • Women earn less than men—about 82 cents to the dollar, according to NBC News.
      • They are more likely to take breaks from their career for child support and/or caregiving, resulting in an over 1 million dollar gap in lifetime earnings, according to Merrill Women and Money report.
      • Women are also expected to live longer than men, according to the CDC.

Looking at these facts, something doesn’t add up.

The impacts of COVID-19 on schools, childcare, and work, have caused even further setbacks for women in the workplace. Overall, women have lost a record 5.4 million jobs throughout the pandemic—1 million more than men.

It’s essential that women find long-term financial stability and wellness. But how can you plan for longevity when it seems like the odds are stacked against you?

Our TFS team would love to walk with you on this journey and help you build a plan completely tailored to your unique situation. Today, we’re going to explore avenues for women to consider longevity in their long-term financial plan.

How Does A Longer Life Expectancy Impact A Woman’s Financial Plan?

According to the CDC, the average life expectancy for women is 80.5—about 5.5 years longer than men! This data suggests that it’s rather likely that a woman will outlive her spouse. It’s also likely that women will be the primary caregivers for their spouses.

That’s roughly five extra years of living expenses, healthcare, lifestyle needs, taxes, and more, all of which could be supported by one income instead of two. Social Security benefits alone will be reduced by at least ⅓ and possibly up to ½. This presents several important considerations and potential lifestyle changes.

The impact on your lifestyle rests on several moving pieces:

      • Your investments (401k, IRA, brokerage, any inherited accounts, etc.
      • Insurance policies
      • Healthcare needs
      • Social Security
      • Pension income
      • Retirement goals
      • Spending habits
      • Estate plan

Longevity predictions should be baked into your and your spouse’s retirement plan from the start. Doing so will help each of you prepare to take care of the surviving spouse. Planning early can help mitigate financial stress and uncertainty in the future. Let’s dive into the top ways that women can prioritize their financial health throughout retirement.

1. Consider Your Health—Physical and Fiscal

Physical health is an essential component of longevity planning. Everyone’s health situation is different and should be accounted for on a case-by-case basis. Some elements that could impact your health long-term are:

      • Current health and underlying conditions
      • Family health history
      • Lifestyle habits

Staying active in retirement is an excellent way to promote your health long-term. Even so, it’s expected that 70% of people 65 or older will require long-term care at some point, and in Washington, such care doesn’t come cheap.

Most recent data revealed that the average cost of nursing homes in WA runs at $266 per day—a solid $38 higher than the national average. With the average stay in a nursing home running 28 months, you’re looking at over $210,000 in nursing home expenses alone. That’s almost $30,000 more than the average 401(k) balance at 70—$182,100.

All that, and an AARP study also found women comprised over 70% of residents in nursing homes, making long-term care a critical consideration for women.

Those numbers aren’t counting any other long-term care requirements like home caregivers before or after the nursing home stay and other medical expenses like surgery, ongoing treatments, or regular Medicare payments.

Healthcare costs and funding can easily absorb a significant amount of your nest egg, making it necessary to properly plan for. All of these numbers lead to one question:

How can you pay for it?

Tips To Prepare for Long-term Care Costs

      • Long-term care can be funded from multiple sources.
      • Long-term care insurance
      • Personal investments
      • Medicaid

There is another option for Washington residents. The state recently passed an initiative to create a publicly operated long-term care insurance program. How will the state pay for it? They’ll issue a new tax. Starting January 1, 2022, W-2 employees will be subject to a 0.58% payroll tax on all earned income. The tricky part about this tax is that there is no income cap, so all earnings for W-2 employees will be subject to this new tax.

Is there a silver lining? If you have your own long-term care insurance policy, you can opt-out of the tax and the program.

Keep in mind that everyone’s situation will be different and that these are simply general ideas to consider as you look at how long-term care could fit into your longevity plan.

Long-term care insurance can be a good way to bring flexibility and options to your care plan. We like to view it as a supplemental tool to your other retirement resources. It may not cover the full cost of your care, but it could go a long way to preserving your nest egg, future inheritances, and other retirement assets to support your desired lifestyle.

But long-term care insurance can be costly and isn’t right for everyone. Generally, our rule of thumb is that if the premiums consume more than 7% of your income, it’s too expensive.

For those with robust retirement resources, they may be able to divert some funds from their nest egg to pay for the cost of care.

While Medicare doesn’t cover the costs of long-term care, Medicaid can kick in should you qualify. In many cases, qualifying for Medicaid means dipping into nearly all remaining assets and as such might not be an option you want to rely on.

Keep in mind that states have “spousal protection” provisions that allow for a healthy spouse to retain more assets. It’s designed to help people keep enough for living expenses while also allowing their spouse to receive long-term care via Medicaid.

2. Create a Social Security Plan

Building a strategic Social Security plan with your spouse is vital for longevity planning. Social Security benefits are based on lifetime earnings and indexed for your highest 35 working years.

What if you don’t have 35 years in the workforce? The Social Security Administration inputs a “0” in your formula, which can have drastic impacts on your full benefit amount. This can affect women who may have taken time away from work to raise their children or care for a parent or relative.

For married couples, Social Security planning is critical. Our team can help you build a plan that maximizes the surviving spouse’s benefits. Survivor benefits are among the more complex elements of Social Security. Let’s take a look at the basics.

A widow or widower qualifies for survivor benefits if,
They are at least 60 years old
Have been married for more than 9 months before the time of death

There are several exceptions including if you have a disability or if you’re caring for a minor child—which allows you to apply earlier.

Survivors are eligible for 100% of their late spouse’s benefit should they claim at full retirement age. Claiming before full retirement age results in a reduced benefit. If you were receiving spousal benefits, the SSA will likely automatically switch to the survivor benefit once the death was reported.

It’s important to note that you won’t receive benefits both off of your work record and survivor benefits—the SSA will pay the higher of the two amounts.

While implications are complex and vary greatly from couple to couple, below are some general guidelines to consider.

Maximize the higher earner’s benefit.

Consider a restricted application—file for the lower benefit first, then switch to the higher at 70. While this type of application was removed from spousal benefits, it’s still a viable option for survivor benefits.
We know how critical Social Security planning is for longevity. Moving from two benefit checks to one can cause a dramatic drop in benefits—likely more than many people anticipate. It will reduce your benefit anywhere from 35-50%, and the discrepancy is worse for couples with similar earnings. Our team would like to help you make a plan for Social Security benefits throughout retirement.

3. Prioritize Your Investments

Women are strong investors. They tend to be more values and goals-based, save more, maintain realistic expectations, seek counsel when needed, and take a long-term view of their portfolio’s performance, according to a Fidelity study.

While women are steady investors, they tend to face several financial obstacles when it comes to retirement planning. A Merrill Lynch benefits report found that women enter retirement with an average of $70,000 less than men. This could present a significant challenge as they are also positioned to outlive men by about five years.

Women need to prioritize their investments to and through retirement. A strong investment plan tailored to your goals, values, risk tolerance, and more can put you in a better position to support your lifestyle longer.

Women also tend to be more risk-averse than their male counterparts. While risk is inherently personal, a certain amount of risk is necessary to sustain a 30+ year nest egg.

We’d be remiss to talk about longevity and not bring up inflation. Your portfolio needs to consider the impacts of inflation on your total nest egg. $1 today certainly won’t equal $1 10 years from now, making it critical that your portfolio is positioned to withstand the effects of inflation.

It’s all about building intentional portfolios and creating a withdrawal strategy meant to stand the test of time.

4. Account for Changes In Spending and Goals

According to Fidelity, 60% of women are concerned about outliving their retirement savings. This is a common fear among many pre-retirees. How can women prepare their finances to last well into the future?

Let’s take a look at a few ideas.

      • Avoid spontaneous overspending early in retirement
      • Know spending goals and habits
      • Create a strong cash flow plan

Consider lifestyle changes should you outlive a spouse—downsizing, moving to a retirement home or closer to family, etc.
Preserving your nest egg is all about maximizing the resources available to you. We’d love to help you build a plan that works for you.

5. Work With A Team You Trust

Planning for a long life is a beautiful, exciting, and sometimes challenging experience. It’s critical to know that you don’t have to undergo these life transitions alone. Our team at TFS is positioned to guide you through life changes and help bring confidence and clarity to your money.

Is your retirement plan built to support your life? Let’s talk about it together.

Dale Terwedo, CLU®, BFA™, CFP®, ChFC®, CPRC

Dale Terwedo, CLU®, BFA™, CFP®, ChFC®, CPRC

Certified Financial Planner and Founder, TFS Advisors

You may be wondering how your lifestyle will change as you move through retirement, and how to create a plan that reflects the lifestyle you want during this new chapter in your life. Things may feel unstable as you gear up for retirement, and we’re here to help provide clarity and understanding to your situation. Our goal is to empower you to be self-sufficient in your role as the “CFO” of your household, while also freeing you up to spend your time and energy to enhance, protect, and focus on your family, community, and interests.

We will provide you useful and timely information you can use to be #financiallyfearless

How much do I need to have saved for retirement?

Ask An Expert

How much do I need to have

saved for retirement?

Jason Conger Financial Advisor

Answered By

Carol Bell

Financial Planner

carol@bettermoneydecisions.com

Question

How much do I need to have saved for retirement?

Answer

Here’s the answer–it depends!

I have worked with clients who don’t have high incomes but have always lived within their means and are great at budgeting. I have also worked with clients who do have a high income, but have nothing saved at all because they spend every dollar they make! The amount you will need for a successful retirement is different for every person. There are lots of great rules of thumb out there for retirement savings, but nothing compares with working with a professional advisor to get a financial plan tailored to you and your retirement hopes and dreams.

We will provide you useful and timely information you can use to be #financiallyfearless

Planning for Un-Retirement

Purse Strings Approved Professional

Blog Series

Planning for “Un-Retirement”

HSA Heath Savings Account

Yvonne came to me with one question: “Can I afford to leave this all-consuming stressful job, and instead work at the non-profit I’m passionate about? It won’t pay nearly as much, but I’ll be so much happier!” I’m going to walk you through the process we followed to help her answer that question.

If you’re considering a departure from “corporate,” leaving the comfort of a regular paycheck and benefits, you know it’s a multi-faceted decision. Money is not the only consideration. Nor should it be the most important one!  I encourage all women to think deeply about

  • what brings you joy and gives you energy,
  • how your relationships are affected by your work,
  • your physical and mental health,
  • and how you can move forward feeling engaged and making a difference.

And we must acknowledge the reality of the world we live in. Unless you live off the land, grow your own food, and can fix your own plumbing, you need to think about money!

 

Here’s my suggested framework to look at your own numbers and decide if you have enough to head out the door.

Step One: What does your current life cost?

There’s no way to get around the need to assess your spending. Lots of women feel really uncomfortable with this part. There’s some unspoken internal (or presumed external) judgment going on – of how many dollars you have and/or where they’re going. Remember – the numbers on the page aren’t judging you! Numbers are just numbers. Whatever shame and guilt you might be feeling is coming 100% from your own head. Please be gentle with yourself! Try to set that judgment aside and instead adopt an approach of scientific curiosity. What can you learn from looking at these interesting numbers?

You need to figure out your Burn Rate. That’s the amount of money you’re spending each month (don’t forget the things that occur less than monthly, like vacations, holidays and gifts, insurance and taxes). Also consider if you’ll need to add in health insurance costs, if that’s something you now get a work but will not in the future!

 

Step Two: What if you pare it down to the bare minimum?

What’s your “ramen noodle budget?” (BTW I totally stole that term from a client – thanks K.A.!)  This is not about how you want to live, it’s just an exercise to understand if you had to cut down to survival mode, what would that number be? If things go sour, what could you squeak by on?

 

Step Three: What financial resources do you have?

Add up your assets. This is an important exercise no matter what’s going on in your life! Look at how many dollars you have AND what types of dollars they are. The type of account they’re sitting in affects their liquidity, accessibility, taxation and risk. What are your income sources? Do you have any that would continue if you leave your job? These could be things like rental income, side businesses, annuities – or for the future, pension plans and Social Security.

 

Step Four: What might your new chapter cost?

Is this change going to require some monetary investment to get started? Training or certification, supplies or equipment, software or subscriptions? Do you need to build a website, rent an office, hire some help? If you’re considering a completely new field and don’t know the answers, find people to ask! Tap your network, and your networks’ network. Remember those Informational Interviews we did back in college days? It’s amazing how many kind-spirited people are willing to help. They can point you toward helpful resources, or suggest mistakes to avoid.

If you will have start-up costs, where is this money going to come from? Do you have savings you can tap? (Ideally not inside your retirement accounts, as they should be earmarked for your living expenses down the road (and remember the 10% penalty that applies to most withdrawals before age 59 1/2). Would you take out a loan? If so, be sure to factor in the loan payments to your future expenses.

 

Step Five: Calculate your Runway

Math time!  (You can do this – everyone’s phone has a calculator these days. :))

  • Start with how much of your assets you are willing to spend to get going.
  • Subtract any start-up costs (step 4)
  • Divide the result by your monthly Burn Rate (step 1)

The result is the number of months you could float yourself if no revenue comes in from the new initiative.

 

How does that number feel to you?

If you don’t like the result, are you willing to make some cuts to your ongoing spending? Maybe to move somewhere closer to your ramen noodle budget? How important is this reinvention to you? Are you willing to make some sacrifices? Try to be realistic!

If your answer is zero months, or a very small runway of time, maybe you can set a goal of building up to a comfortable number before you jump. Maybe you start working on the new idea part-time while you’re still earning an income. Or you think about working at Starbucks for the health insurance while you’re ramping up.

 

Step Six: How much do you think you’ll make?

And how long will it take? Remember it’s always safest to use a conservative number in your projections. We like positive surprises much better than the opposite!

I want to acknowledge that leaving corporate doesn’t always happen on our schedule! Forced reinvention has been a reality, especially for women of a certain age, for a very long time. And COVID has only made it more indisputable. We can’t always lay down these nice, neat plans before we’re off the cliff. So it behooves all of us to have a reinvention plan in our back pockets!

 
Also consider: What could go wrong?

Some say jumping without a net brings a higher likelihood of success. As a financial planner, I like to err on the other side. Think about the potential pitfalls now, since we humans make better decisions when we’re not in a state of high and stress. What will you do if getting off the ground takes longer than expected; if you reach the end of your runway and income is not covering your living expenses?

  • Would you turn to other ways to bring in some revenue? Think now about what those might be.
  • Would you be willing to sell some of your investments? Decide today in which order and how it would work.
  • Would you ask a friend or family member for a loan? Have some conversations and plant the seed sooner rather than later.
  • Would you tap the equity in your home? Understand the pros and cons of that move and talk to a lender now.

Maybe you have a line you would not cross. You could give yourself a set amount of time, and if it’s not working you move to Plan B. You decide ahead of time on a certain number of dollars of your assets you’ll use, then you’d move to Plan C.

 

Yvonne’s Happy Ending

Yvonne and I talked through these steps and crunched her numbers. She did quite a bit of self-reflection and talked to trusted people in her life. She decided to save as much as she could for 6 more months, then make the leap. This also gave her time to have an orderly transition in the job she was leaving, to not burn bridges and to keep her network strong. Today she feels lighter and more fulfilled than when we started working together!

Like Yvonne, if you follow this framework, do some math and think through your options ahead, I know you’ll feel more confident moving forward.

Stephanie McCullough

Stephanie McCullough

Founder & Financial Planner

Our focus is working with women 45+ who are facing a financial future on their own and are looking for a true partner in money decision-making. I help professional women reduce financial stress by aligning their money story with their deepest-held values. I am a non-judgmental financial advisor. My team and I work hard to create a safe space to have the intimate conversations necessary. Since money touches all the most important parts of our lives, we have to talk about it all before we can decide what you should do with your dollars.

We will provide you useful and timely information you can use to be #financiallyfearless