Steps to a Successful Mid-Life Course Correction
By: Karyn Damschen
You had a plan. You’ve been moving down the path toward your goals, investing all the while. And then, somewhere along the way, something changed. You found the path was no longer the one you wanted to be on so now you’re navigating a mid-life course correction. This could be making a career change, getting divorce papers, selling/buying a business, or pursuing a passion. The good news is, studies show adults making a mid-life career change can be very successful and report making the move made them happier.2 Before you make the big leap, let’s go through some of the steps and questions anyone embarking on a major life change might consider to ensure a smooth transition to the next chapter of their life.
Change is scary. Making a major life change can also be brave and bold. Before handing in your resignation or signing on the dotted line to finance a sailboat, ask yourself: Why now? What has happened to your current situation that is moving you to action? Is it monotony or dissatisfaction? Studies show contentment, health and happiness are often tied to feeling that you have a purpose in work and life.3 Examining the emotional and psychological reasons for a mid-life course correction will help you prepare for and navigate a bold change. Understanding why you want a change is the first and most important step. Once you’ve answered the why the next step is how? What is your PLAN? What steps need to be taken for this big transition? What is really going to change in your life? Will you need to downsize or move? How does the change alter your plans for retirement and savings? What are the best and worst outcomes? And if this brave, bold mid-life course correction doesn’t work out, what is your backup plan?
Once you can answer all of the questions above, Congratulations! You’re pretty well prepared for a mid-life course correction. Beyond preparedness, both financially and individually, you also must examine how this brave, bold change may affect your loved ones. You may have dependents to support, or a need for reliable health insurance. What happens if you must relocate or work longer hours or if you aren’t bringing in the same amount of income? Have frank and open conversations with your family and trusted support system (friends, co-workers, financial advisors) long before making any big leaps and really listen to their thoughts, concerns and input.
Be mindful of all of the different perspectives and advice. Discuss the positives and negatives and be honest with each other and yourself. While their input is important, the dream is yours – don’t let their fear stop you from moving forward if you’ve created a solid plan and vision for your future. Any major life-change will have unforeseen challenges but pursuing a change that leads to a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness may be well worth the risk.
Your Life-Wealth is so much more than the assets you accumulate or how much money you have in your 401K or the bank! There are many kinds of wealth – physical wealth, emotional wealth, mental wealth, social wealth, monetary wealth are all part of your overall Life-Wealth! Any Mid-life change should fit your overall life plan and not put an undue strain on any one of your Life-Wealth buckets.
Take Your Time
You spent many years building your career, working toward your retirement, saving and planning. Crafting a new chapter in your life will, likewise, need time, to germinate and grow. Developing and following a solid, written plan and realistic goals, especially in that first year, are important. Maintaining patience and support, designating milestones you can track and celebrating success you can measure, and sticking to your plan will ease this transition for both you and your loved ones.
We are always available to help you evaluate your goals and objectives and are very comfortable facilitating critical conversations through all of life’s changes.