Retirement Planning Coaching Consulting Blog
Andrea Huff is an executive coach and an expert at helping clients navigate their third chapter and retirement vision. She is a write, coaching and consulting expert specializing in helping people transition from working full time to retirement and owning their own businesses.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and getting ready to take some time off work or your regular activities to reflect on this past year and contemplate the arrival of 2019.
My photo this month is thanks to our son, Jeffrey and his wife, Leah, for having these great socks in the middle made for me that look just like the cover of my book! The two of them are a creative team and Leah has impressive computer skills. We thought the socks were so funny that we hung them with the rest of our regular Christmas stockings we've had for years. The 2 small ones next to my Every Night's Friday Night ones were my mother's that she made when she was 8 years old. Amazing they're still in one piece from 1930.
My stocking is one I made when I was 8 years old - also hanging in here after all these years and I sewed the ones and embroidered the names Jeffrey and Mike at the top of them the year Jeff was born. Also, a long time ago during my hands-on, artsy, DIY period.
These stockings reminded me that I hadn't written a blog this year on a chapter in my book that's especially important - Chapter 7, Connections - to others and to yourself. The importance of this may seem obvious, but it can become harder in retirement and during the third stage of life to keep connections alive and healthy when you're not seeing people at work or regularly as you once did.
The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to others - old friends, new friends, your partner, children and grandchildren, people you don't know who could enrich your lives. And it’s an ideal season to find time to better know yourself. Alone time is hard to come by when you're working full time and it's hard to keep up with friends you already have when you're traveling or always preparing for your next thing.
As we age we develop more interest in reflection and time to feel gratitude for all the things we've experienced. Aging is a paradox of joy and challenge and sometimes the difficult, painful things turn out to provide the introspection and contentment we couldn't find when we were busy striving for them.
I'm thankful for these last two years of my retirement and the combination of active engagement and time for reflection it has given me. I am especially grateful to all of you who have been part of this journey with me whether it's reading these blogs, buying my book and passing it on to others, writing reviews, being part of my coaching practice or the non-profit, philanthropy work with Impact 100 Sonoma. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to connect with you, and let's find time to celebrate the joy of another holiday season and the possibilities a new year offers!
Happy Thanksgiving! I feel very thankful for all the new people I’ve met and talked to this year as a result of my book, consulting and website. It’s been a good year, a lot of work but also a satisfying time. Amazon now has the paperback and Kindle version of my book available right away, and thanks to everyone who pre-ordered it from Amazon. Please also review the book on Amazon whenever you get the chance.
This month the topic I want to discuss relates to an experience many of my clients have had and that I experienced recently and would suggest that others take some proactive steps to address before it’s time to retire. I should have included it in the book in Chapter 8, Time is the New Money, when I discussed financial issues.
For 25 years we had a great CPA who helped us make some complicated financial decisions, was very knowledgeable, responsive and made tax preparation a tolerable process. Then you can guess what happened. She retired and sold her business to someone who was not at her level. This made it clear to us how critical it is to have a strong CPA or tax advisor on your team (who is preferably a bit younger than you are and not retiring soon) and who is very up-to-date on all the latest tax changes. Even if you manage your investments yourself, it’s important to have a team of advisors and a good tax accountant is high on my list.
We all need someone who can help us navigate decisions about Social Security, real estate sales and exchanges, philanthropy including DAFs (Donor Advised Funds) to help reduce capital gains taxes, handle Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs or other tax issues. We may not be ready to do all those things now, but everyone needs good tax advice so do you feel satisfied with your accountant or tax advisor as we end another year? We will all eventually need to make decisions that will keep our retirement funds secure and growing while minimizing taxes.
Your attorney, financial advisor or friends can hopefully refer you to a new accountant should you need one, but I wish we hadn’t waited this long to find our new CPA. We might have been able to open a DAF account sooner or avoided paying some taxes. Our attorney referred us to the new person we hired whom we have much more confidence in than our last CPA.
Time and money are assets that need to be well managed regardless of your age or financial resources. A team of good advisors can help you feel secure financially and free to focus on how to spend your time enjoying the third stage of life.
This month I was reminded by my clients and my own personal experience that creativity and changing your surroundings, how you think and what you do each day contributes to a satisfying third stage of life, or life 3.0 as someone recently called it.
I experienced this in Tulum, Mexico a few weeks ago when I walked through a gallery created from trees, rocks, sculpture and hand-built paths you see in the picture above called "Configurations" that is unlike any gallery I’ve ever been to. The entire structure is handmade and that’s what we’re creating for this next stage in our lives - our own new way of designing and building a life that satisfies us and inspires others to do the same with their lives.
Back to everyday things, and thanks to those who placed orders with Amazon for my new softcover version of the book which should be delivered in the next 2 weeks, or so they tell me.
I have also just gone into production for the Kindle/ebook version which the publisher says should be available for global distribution on all online sites including Amazon in the next 3 weeks.
We’ll see how quickly that happens, but I’m ready to have the book available to be ordered from any bookstore or any online site. Sales of the hardcover version will continue to only be available on my website and at local bookstores in the Bay Area including Book Passage, Books, Inc. and Readers’ Books.
A shout-out to those who have ordered multiple copies of the book from my website like Cathy Anderson who just purchased 10 books for clients and friends of hers after receiving one for her birthday from my client, Kathleen Metcalf.
Cathy sent me a great quote I’ll share part of . . . “For my birthday in September I received your book. As I was reading it I read - “…they had satisfying careers, or at least jobs to go to, and now they no longer have them to rely on for a large part of their identity and purpose.” …and I realize retirement is one of life’s major transitions, yet most people receive no help in making the shift from looking outside themselves for meaning and structure to creating these internally.”
“Wow, that did it for me. As a business coach for real estate agents for the past 20+ years I feel the need to help my clients and friends with this transition. I ordered 10 copies of your book to share with them, and I’m so excited to have a path to follow!"
Thanks, Cathy. It’s very satisfying to hear others passing on parts of my book to their friends and clients to help them have a more successful third stage of life. There’s a lot of anxiety in the world today for good reason, and I hear many people saying they’re anxious about how they’re going to spend their time in the next stage of their lives.
Anything we can each do to help others feel confident they can create a plan and focus their skills and creativity to make an impact and change even one person’s thinking about what these years can mean will be an important contribution.
I hope you enjoyed a few warm summer months and maybe some time off before the end of the year. For those of you fortunate enough to be retired, time flexibility is already part of your life. For those planning the next stage of your lives, your turn is coming.
I skipped my usual blog in Aug. and decided everyone was too busy or out of town to read it, so now I’m back to check in for the final months of the year.
My book is coming out in paperback in Oct. and is now on Amazon! These next 2 weeks are the pre-order period. I’d like to ask anyone who's interested in purchasing the book to do it, if possible, in the next 2 weeks on Amazon since this is when the algorithm gets set. This controls how searchable the book is, how high on the list it ranks, the final price and how many books Amazon is willing to keep in stock to ship right away.
Maybe you’d like to do some early Christmas shopping! I’d really appreciate it and the link is: https://www.amazon.com/Every-Nights-Friday-NightFreedom/dp/1543942806/ref=sr_11s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537219336&sr=11&keywords=every+night%27s+friday+night%3A+Time+and+freedom+for+the+rest+of+your+life
For those who prefer hardcover books, I don’t plan to do another hardcover printing, but there are still some left that can be purchased from my website EveryNightsFridayNight.com. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me to sign them for you or for someone else before they go out.
Last Friday I did a video interview for a new blog, “75 and Thrive” by Karen McCall, a published author, whose book, Financial Recovery, discusses our relationship with money, how to get more of it and manage it better. She read my book, Every Night’s Friday Night (or ENFN as I refer to it) and asked me to be the launch speaker for her new blog. Thanks to my client, Kathleen Metcalf, for referring me to her. People from 50 - 80 are in the “thrive years” of life and many others are already planning for them in their 30’s and 40’s. Thanks, Karen.
Tuesday I had a presentation and book signing at Books, Inc. in the San Jose area. People often ask me what the key things are you need to have to make this stage of your life meaningful so I decided to make this the topic of this month’s blog. I’ll list the 6 key things here and they're also covered in different chapters of the book.
1. Purpose - Whatever creates meaning, it could be work, volunteer activities, care-taking of others, opening a new business, creating a new identity, exploring new cultures
2. Health - Body, mind and spirit, inner and outer life, fitness, pain management
3. Connections - Relationship with yourself, the community, family, friends, avoiding isolation. I just read isolation is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day and takes 8 years off your life!
4. Assets - Money and Time - Enough to not be worried about it, which doesn’t require wealth or as much as some financial advisors tell you. Time is the greatest asset at this stage and is just as important, if not more so, than money. It’s the thing you can’t make more of.
5. Creativity - Fun, artistic expression, adventure, travel, writing, music, different ways to use your brain than what you’ve done working
6. Legacy - What you want to be remembered for, closure with loved ones, mentoring the next generation, philanthropy, collective social change
We’re headed to Tulum, Mexico this weekend for 2 weeks of #5, the fun and adventure part. We’ll also be doing something I mention in the book which is exploring whether there’s somewhere else we’d like to live for a few months during the year. This can be a way to learn new things, meet new people, be part of a different culture and maybe even reduce your living expenses. I'll let you know what I think after we get back, if we come back that is!
I hope everyone is having a good summer. My book, Every Night’s Friday Night, is enjoying a successful first few months since being published, and I just finished a reading at Book Passage, one of the Bay Area’s most successful independent bookstores. We had good attendance and I signed many books. Thanks to the friends who came and brought their friends!
The book is also now at 4 new locations in the Bay Area at Books, Inc. If you’re in the South Bay in Palo Alto or Campbell (close to San Jose) or in Alameda or Berkeley in the East Bay, you can now get your copies in those locations. Those who prefer to shop online or who aren’t in the Bay Area can get your copies on the website EveryNightsFridayNight.com.
The book just received a new review giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars from the San Francisco Book Review. Many thanks to them for saying that the book is, “Extremely informative for all ages, even those who are not in the third stage of life or close to retirement yet. The author interviews a fascinating group of people who gave tips to others who are retiring.”
For those who are familiar with Goodreads.com, it’s also been reviewed here. I’d appreciate anyone who has read the book to review it on Goodreads. This is also a great website to become more familiar with new books and to track what you and others are reading.
This month I’d like to touch on one of the topics I discussed in the last reading which received a good reaction. It’s Chapter 8 in the book which I named, “Time is the New Money.” This discusses my point of view (and that of many of my interviewees) that time is the asset you need to value as much, if not more than money at this stage of life. Many people worry about whether they’ll have enough money to retire or work less than they do now. This is critical to focus on, however, I also worry you could run out of time to do the things you want to do when you’re still feeling healthy and energetic enough to do them if you keep working full time for too long. It’s easy to forget to create a plan for how to manage the most valuable resource you can’t make any more of - time. Often there is no choice and you have to keep working to live and pay the bills or you love your job and can't imagine not doing it. But, start planning for a time when you won't feel that way or are able to try something new.
This is the point in your life to only invest time doing things that are meaningful to you and spending time with people who nourish you. Learning to say “no” to things you don’t want to do and people you don’t want to spend time with is difficult at any stage of life. It’s easy to feel obligated to do things that are not worth the investment of time you make in them. You’re used to being required to focus on things and be with people you might not choose to be with because at work, in your children’s school or at social settings you don’t feel you have the choice to say “no.”
This is a new day and a time to make new decisions. It’s an opportunity to let go of the obligations you can, simplify your daily lives and have more time to focus on the things and people who matter the most. It also lightens the stress load on your body and contributes to long-term health. This requires making decisions about what will make the most impact in your life, the lives of others and your community. You often hear people say they’re busier now than they were when they were working. The question is are they busy doing the things they really want to do to create purpose and meaning in their lives and contribute to others and the collective good of society?
It’s important to have fun, relax and do what you want once you don’t have to do what others require of you. This is also a time to focus on new learning and experiences and make changes you might have liked to make earlier in life when you were busy working or raising a family. Now is the time to decide what’s next and who you want to be in this stage of your life. Don’t miss maximizing this valuable asset.
Chapter 8, Time is the New Money, also covers ideas for managing your money, how to make changes in your life if you choose to reduce expenses and ways to explore new places to live or spend time. Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Design Thinking and Prototyping Can Help You Make Decisions at any Stage in Life
Chapter 2 of my book describes a powerful and simple tool to help you decide what identity you want and how to spend your time once you're retired but still want to work, are in the third stage of your life or want to make changes at any time in your life, career or business.
Design thinking began as a tool in the world of product design and is now being used to solve business issues and help people make decisions in their personal lives. The d.school at Stanford and IDEO, an international design and consulting company, have both been pioneers in design thinking. Design thinking emphasizes action and experimentation rather than simply thinking about alternatives or discussing options.
It uses what's called prototyping in the product design world and means actually doing the things you are considering. It goes beyond the networking concept we're all familiar with because it's not just talking to people about the activity you're considering, although it's important to do that also. Prototyping means you actually do the work yourself on a small scale to decide whether it's something you want to do more of.
This means you take a relevant class, volunteer, get an internship, write a blog, become part of an online group, work with a coach or mentor, go on an advisory board or set up an advisory board for yourself. You're trying on a new identity or activity to see what reaction you have to it to decide if it's worth pursuing further. You'll know by how you feel about it and whether things start to fall into place whether you want to do more of it. It helps if you have some background in the area you are prototyping since you need to be realistic that you could do this and be paid if you got some additional training, certification or more experience.
You can use this approach when making a decision in your career at any point in your life. But, in the third stage of your life, it's easy to feel hesitant about taking a risk and trying something new. People can feel they have too much to lose at a later stage in their lives and fear taking a risk. Or they feel stuck and overwhelmed by the number of options that could be possibilities.
I believe the opposite is the better approach and now is the perfect time to take the biggest risks of all because you have no one to please but yourself or perhaps your partner or someone who is making this new journey with you. Planning for retirement is not a time to play it safe because this is the time of your life to find your real identity or do something you always thought about trying.
The woman in the picture above with me is a client of mine who has used design thinking and prototyping as part of our work together to create her new identity and change her business and career in the third stage of her life. I interviewed her in my book because she did such a good job of using this "experimenting in action" tool. To make it more specific, I'll tell you what she did and how it worked for her.
Lita Reyes knew that the jobs she'd held in the past in marketing, consulting and working with nonprofits were not the right fit for the third stage of her life. She was currently in her own marketing business and looking to find her true calling or something she could feel passion for while she was transitioning to this third stage of life. She knows she will continue to work in her retirement and wants to transform her business now that will be her purpose for as long as she chooses to work. Fortunately, she's starting to plan for this transition early.
After we discussed many options we focused on philanthropic advising as the type of business she wanted to do in the future. She had done some of this work in the past but now wanted to specialize her business in this area. She already had an MBA, but after doing much research she went to New York to take the 21/64 training to become a Certified Advisor since we thought it would give her new learning and contacts, a good process and additional credibility. She also joined an Advisory Board, WINC, Women's Impact Network Committee, and is becoming a member of Northern California Planned Giving Council.
She re-named her consulting firm Reyes Philanthropic Solutions, modified her LinkedIn profile and other online sites. We created a new resume and two page summary of her new business and had new business cards made. She's done non-stop networking during this process and is now doing her new website and writing an article on mother and daughter philanthropy, an area she will specialize in along with advising younger donors.
Throughout this process, we continued to question whether this was the right direction for her to pursue for her work in the third stage of her life. She feels more strongly than ever that she is building the right business for the long haul. This is something she could do part-time in the future if she chooses to, but for now, she's full speed ahead building a business with other employees, a board of directors and advisors.
She'll speak more about how she used design thinking and prototyping to feel confident about this decision at my Book Passage presentation and book signing on Sat. June 23rd at 1:00 in Corte Madera in the SF Bay Area for those of you who live close by. Please forward this if you know someone living in the area who might enjoy coming or learning more about my book.
You can also find my book in Sonoma in the wine country at Reader's Books, a great independent bookstore right off the town square. If you're in the area, stop by and look in the local author section by the checkout and enjoy the great town
There are exercises in the book to help you make some of the same decisions Lita made and more information about the process of design thinking and prototyping. To purchase a copy of the book or get more information and a table of contents for the book, check out my March 7th blog on EveryNightsFridayNight.com.
Are you on Goodreads.com? It's a great resource for books to read and a way to track and review what you've read. If you've read my book, I'd love to have you review it on Goodreads.com. Thanks, Andrea
Hello, Bay Area and Sonoma Residents - Save the Date! June 23rd, 1 pm.
I launched my new book, Every Night’s Friday Night: Time and Freedom for the Rest of Your Life, a month ago with a book launch party for some of the people who helped make the book become a reality either by being interviewed or being a beta reader. Before it was published beta readers gave me feedback about the book and suggestions for additions or changes. It was a great launch event, everyone had a good time and enjoyed getting to meet one another.
I’m including a few pictures from the party. I signed copies of the book for everyone and sold many more. We ate lots of good food, drank champagne and wine and everyone found they had many things in common.
The following week, I launched the book online to a group of people and thanks to everyone for your emails and orders. We had 10 sales in the first hour! We've had a 75% open rate on the emails and a 50% click-through rate to the website.
Here are a few responses I’ve received from people about the book:
It’s encouraging to hear people are enjoying the book! I just found out that Book Passage, a well known local bookstore with three locations in the Bay Area, has just agreed to carry my book! Book Passage has also asked me to do a presentation and signing of books on Saturday, June 23rd at 1:00. For those who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'd like to invite you to join us.
In future blogs, I’ll discuss some of the tools I use with clients that I cover in the book to help you decide how to prepare for this third stage of life.
Overview of Every Night's Friday Night: Time and Freedom for the Rest of Your Life
I wrote Every Night's Friday Night for my clients and anyone with an interest in mapping out their third stage of life. This stage is focused on personal fulfillment and inner development and generally begins in your 50s or 60s+. I wanted to write a book that was inspiring and entertaining to read that would give readers a view of life after careers as being exciting and more fun than working for someone else. I wanted to transform the feeling that retirement and aging are things to dread into love for the best years of your life because I believe this is a joyful time of life.
I use design thinking, prototyping and paradox thinking to put a new spin on ways to discover who you’re meant to be at this time in your life. The book also covers the downsides of aging, and how to turn change and adversity into advantage.
Every Night’s Friday Night gives you the process and courage to embrace retirement and aging knowing the best is yet to come. Plus, you gain the knowledge and comfort you are not alone.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Time for Transformation
Chapter 2 - Design Thinking Creates Your Third Stage Identity
Chapter 3 - Paradox Thinking Expands Your Options
Chapter 4 - Change and Adversity Can Be an Advantage
Chapter 5 - Body, Brain, and Pain
Chapter 6 - An Inner Journey of Mindfulness and Spirituality
Chapter 7 - Connections with Others
Chapter 8 - Time Is the New Money
Chapter 9 - Creative Growth Activities
Chapter 10 - Your Legacy and Completion of Life
Ways to Contact Me
Welcome to Every Night’s Friday Night!
It’s with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Every Night’s Friday Night blog. I wrote Every Night’s Friday Night: Time and Freedom for the Rest of Your Life as a complement to my coaching services. My company, Third Stage of Life Consulting, and the book, focus on helping people transition from full time careers to what I call the third stage of life.
I refer to it as the transition to the third stage of life because it can happen at different ages. My clients tend to be around 50 years-plus. Some are preparing for the shift toward retirement while others are already in a stage of active retirement.
Active retirement involves a combination of some type of work (often part time) combined with a focus on other activities, like volunteering, serving on a board, health and fitness, spirituality, creative ventures, travel, finances, or leisure time with friends and family.
The third stage of life is an opportunity to shift gears and focus only on what you want to do and who you want to become. Some people are very proactive and have it figured out. But many don’t, and end up feeling like they’re spending time on busywork, property maintenance, doctor’s appointments, or any activity that fills the time. Leisure is fun for a while, but then people miss working (even if they didn’t like their job that much) because they haven’t found a roadmap to transition to a new life of purpose.
I started the Third Stage of Life Consulting to use my background in executive coaching to share with others what I’ve learned about making this transition. I retired in 2016 from a demanding and all-encompassing career I truly enjoyed. I was fortunate to work for a good company where I had opportunities to learn, to be challenged by different management roles, and to make a difference in the lives of others. I retired after managing a large team of people I cared about who collaborated, had fun, contributed to others, and did their best work.
We all deserve to find satisfaction and purpose in what can be the best stage of our lives and to have fun doing it.
I was also ready to get started on new things I didn’t have time to do while I was immersed in my career. I was ready for time and freedom after working 12+ hour days for years! There were a combination of things I wanted to do in my retirement, so I developed a process for myself and my husband to help us decide how to approach our lives during this next stage.
When I heard that others were also looking for a roadmap, I decided to use this process with clients who were going through the same transition. People who knew that I spent years as an executive coach and career consultant said they were interested in working with me and many referred friends and colleagues.
While building my private coaching practice focusing on the third stage of life, I wanted a book to recommend to my clients. I read everything I could get my hands on related to retirement and aging – 62 books in total! I can tell you that there is a lot out there, but I couldn’t find one that covered all of the topics I was discussing with my clients. And so, Every Night’s Friday Night: Time and Freedom for the Rest of Your Life was born.
It took me a year to write the book. There were many times I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the end. I learned to trust the process, I knew if I was meant to get it done, I’d get it done. I found lots of people who wanted to see the book completed, who also offered names of friends and colleagues to interview, or suggested topics to cover.
I wrote it while doing a lot of other things in addition to building my coaching practice, but that’s a story I’ll save for the book. You can buy Every Night’s Friday Night: Time and Freedom for the Rest of Your Life here. It’s my hope that it helps you create the best third stage of your life possible. I encourage you to contact me with comments about the book or for information on working together.