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Money Psychology for People Who Want a Second Act

Money Psychology for People Who Want a Second Act

By: Jeannie Dougherty, Certified Money Coach

As people approach retirement or navigate their 40s and 50s, many find themselves at a crossroads. Whether they desire a career change, feel stuck in their current roles, or realize that their retirement savings might fall short, these transitions can be daunting. Understanding the psychology of money and adopting effective financial strategies can pave the way for a fulfilling second act.

Understanding Money Psychology

Understanding your relationship with money is the first step in navigating your financial journey. Money psychology studies our behaviors, emotions, and beliefs about money. Recognizing how your past experiences and upbringing influence your financial decisions today is crucial. Are you a spender, saver, or somewhere in between? Understanding your money personality can help you identify patterns that may need adjustment as you plan for the future.

Assessing Your Financial Situation

Before making any significant life changes, you must take a comprehensive look at your current financial situation. Start by listing all your assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. This will give you a clear picture of where you stand financially. If you are considering a career change, evaluate the potential income from the new career path and compare it with your current earnings.

Among all adults, median retirement savings are $65,000, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent data. The Federal Reserve also estimated that by retirement, that number would grow to an average of $255,200. Additionally, one-fourth of non-retirees indicated that they

have no retirement savings, and fewer than four in 10 non-retirees felt that their retirement savings are on track, according to the Federal Reserve’s “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2019.” When saving for retirement, it is essential to factor in longevity, healthcare costs, and inflation, which can eat away at respectable savings. For those in their 50s, assessing whether your savings will suffice or if additional income sources are necessary is critical.

Creating a Financial Plan

A well-thought-out financial plan is the cornerstone of any successful transition. Start by setting clear, realistic goals. Whether you’re saving for retirement, starting a new business, or going back to school, having specific targets will guide your financial decisions. Break these goals into short-term, mid-term, and long-term objectives to make them more manageable.

  • Short-term goals: Pay off high-interest debt, build an emergency fund, and create a budget that aligns with your new career or lifestyle.
  • Mid-term goals: Save for major expenses such as a career change, further education, or relocation.
  • Long-term goals: Ensure you are on track for retirement by maximizing contributions to retirement accounts and exploring additional investment opportunities.

Investing in Yourself

One of the investments you can make is in yourself. If you are considering a career change, consider the skills and qualifications you may need. Continuing education, certifications, and training can significantly enhance your employability and earning potential. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that individuals with certifications or licenses earn 29% more than those without.

Networking is another crucial aspect. Connect with professionals in your desired field, attend industry conferences, and join relevant online forums. These connections can provide valuable insights and opportunities that can ease your transition.

Managing Risks and Building Resilience

Life is unpredictable, and preparing for unexpected challenges is essential. Building an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses is a critical safety net. Additionally, consider diversifying your income streams. Part-time work, freelance opportunities, or passive income sources such as rental properties can provide financial stability during transitions.

According to a report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, only 23% of workers in their 50s are confident they’ll be able to retire fully. Building resilience by staying adaptable and open to new opportunities can significantly improve your financial outlook.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Navigating a major life transition is challenging, and seeking professional advice can be immensely beneficial. A financial advisor can help you create a tailored financial plan, optimize your investments, and provide strategies for tax efficiency. Additionally, a career coach can offer guidance on making a successful career change, including job search strategies, resume writing, and interview preparation.

Taking on a second act requires careful planning, self-awareness, and a proactive approach to managing your finances. By understanding your money psychology, assessing your financial situation, and creating a robust financial plan, you can confidently navigate this new chapter. Investing in yourself, managing risks, and seeking professional guidance are key strategies to ensure your second act is financially secure but also fulfilling and rewarding. 

Remember, there is always time to rewrite your financial story and pursue your desired life.


Published By: Aize Perez

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