The "Desire-ment" Years

The “Desire-ment” years—Redefining Retirement pt 1 

To many, retirement means getting put out to pasture to live the rest of your days in peace. This isn’t surprising, as the word “retire” can have negative connotations, like when it pertains to retiring a piece of equipment because it’s old and no longer useful. And we can sometimes think of people this way too. Yikes! I think we need to redefine it, since this doesn’t seem to be what retirement means to most people today. 

Personally, I think we should call it “desirement,” because it should be about getting to do the things you really want to do. And for most of us that simply doesn’t mean endless rounds of golf, gardening, or doing any particular thing all day, every day. How boring would that be?

Designing your day

To get a true idea of what your days will look like, consider: 

Will you still work? If so, will you stay in your career or try a new job (see the next installment)? Take some time to imagine how you might feel if you were not doing your current career anymore. How tied to your career is your identity? Will you be happy if you are not doing that job anymore? It’s important to consider these things to help ensure you will truly be happy in retirement. 

Now, if you will be going from full-time work to part-time, or to not working at all, consider how you will spend the rest of your time each day. If you dream of gardening, horseback riding, knitting, reading or other things, try to be realistic about how much time you will truly want to spend doing these things each day. It may not be as much as you think, so you will want to consider what else you will do each day. 

If you plan to volunteer, consider which groups you will want to volunteer with and how much time you plan to volunteer each week or month. 

Will you work out? If you worked out near your place of business, will you still go to that gym or will you need to find a new one? In fact, if you do a lot of things near your job, like shopping, socializing and more, you may want to think about where you will do things once you retire. You may no longer be willing to commute to do these things. And, if there are no facilities near you, or if you feel your home will be too remote once you retire, you may want to consider moving. 

Another thing to consider is who you will socialize with. Where do your friends and family live? Are they close to you or far away? If you are going to be home more, perhaps you want to consider a community that is designed to be more social. 

Getting support

If it seems overwhelming to think about, a great way to gain support is to find a lean-in circle, as these groups are designed to help women encourage and support each other, rather than compete.  Inspired by the book, Lean In, written by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, they:

  • Are often small groups of 8-12 members at a similar stage in life or with shared goals
  • Meet monthly in informal settings to learn together and share information and experiences
  • Have been highly successful at helping women take the next steps in their lives

You can learn more at leanin.org. 

Gasber Financial can help you not only to define and envision the retirement of your dreams, but also to help ensure that your finances stay on track so you can make your dreams a reality.

Honoring Womens History Month

Women Helping Women

Honoring Women’s History Month 

In honor of women’s history month and International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate some of the strides women have made over the past several decades. Although we’re still waiting for equal representation in government (among other things), women have done some pretty amazing things. And one of the first is that we earn more college degrees than men—60% of all degrees in the U.S. in fact.1 

 

Bringing home the bacon 

We’re still waiting for equal pay, but we’ve been making strides at work, earning higher salaries and better positions than they have in the past.

  • In the U.S., more than 25% of married, heterosexual women earn more than their husbands. 2
  • As of June 1, 2019, 33 of the Fortune 500 companies are led by women. While that’s still a small percentage, it represents a significant step forward and a nearly 30% increase from the previous year.
  • As of 2019, women now hold more than 20% of board positions in the top 3,000 publicly traded companies. 4

 

Taking care of business

 Women also tend to make great business owners—employing millions of Americans and generating more revenue by far.

  • Women own 40% of U.S. businesses (that’s 12.3 million)—and they generate nearly $2 trillion a year in revenue5
  • Between 1997 and 2017, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. increased by114%, while the growth rate for all companies was 44%.6
  • As of 2018, women-owned businesses were responsible for the employment of 9.2 million Americans. What’s more, although employment for all firms declined by 0.8% between 2007 and 2018, it rose by 21% for women-owned firms. 6
  • Women-owned businesses tend to deliver more than double the revenue of companies established by men. 5

 

 Financially independent 

And according to Suze Orman, women are more financially independent than men for a number of reasons as well, including:

  • Single women spend less than single men, as they focus more on day-to-day expenses and more aggressively paying down debt7
  • Women know they have to work harder because of the pay gap—so they do7
  • Women try to take the right risks7 

Women have done a number of other amazing things, including inventing white out, disposable diapers and the dishwasher.1 Gasber Financial is proud to help wonderful women like you to achieve and maintain their financial independence, enabling you to plan for the future of your dreams.

 

 

1 https://nationaltoday.com/international-womens-day/

2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancabarratt/2019/09/24/becoming-the-primary-earner-female-breadwinners-share-their-advice/#4c8956ee5910

3 https://fortune.com/2019/05/16/fortune-500-female-ceos/

4 https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2019/09/womens-representation-on-boards-reaches-a.html?page=all

5 https://www.fundera.com/resources/women-owned-business-statistics

6https://medium.com/small-business-big-world/celebrating-achievements-of-women-business-owners-and-entrepreneurs-942aeb35367c

7 https://www.hermoney.com/earn/careers/women-more-financially-independent-than-men/

Self Care Pt 2

Staying Healthy to Stay Happy

A Guide for Women 

In the first installment, we discussed some ways to get and stay physically healthy—which is critical to being happy today and in retirement. But to be truly happy, you also need to be taking care of your mental health. And this is something women often overlook. We think, “I had my physical. I’m practicing self-care.” But the truth is that if you’re not focused on your mental health as well, you’re not really taking care of yourself.

We’ve gathered a few simple, but powerful ways to start taking care of your mental health.

 Embrace the joy of missing out

You’ve most likely heard people talking about FOMO, or the fear of missing out. It’s a very real thing that can cause high stress and anxiety. Did you know, however, that there is power in choosing to miss out on things? Scientists have proven that empowering yourself to find the joy in missing out (JOMO) can help you become a much happier person. Here are some simple ways to find your own JOMO:

  •  Take a tech detox—leave your tech at home when you go on a date or when you’re on vacation or simply put it down for a set number of hours per day. Try a “screenless Saturday.”
  • Disconnect—take a break from social media for a few days or a week
  • Reflect—set aside time to do nothing
  • Reconnect—with the people you care about live or over the phone
  • Say no—to parties or events that feel more like obligations, rather than something you’ll truly enjoy

You can find books on JOMO on amazon, can subscribe to the JOMOcast podcast here, and can find countless other tools and articles online.

 Meditate

You may be thinking, “Nope. Not for me,” but hear me out. There have been numerous studies on the benefits of meditation and it doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. There are countless books, audio recordings and apps (Mindfulness, Calm and Headspace to name a few) that can help you become a master of meditation. But here are a few tips you can use to get started right now: 

  • Step 1: Close your eyes and focus on your breathing (some count their breaths to 10 and start over)
  • Step 2: Try to acknowledge the thoughts you have as they come, but to let them go, rather than going down any particular rabbit hole
  • Step 3: Don’t judge—if you can’t relax or feel like it’s not working, simply try again later or tomorrow 

Even just a few minutes each day can help you feel more relaxed, less anxious and happier. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

While many believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, I believe it is a sign of strength. And the truth is that everyone, regardless of how healthy they are, can benefit from a person or people who can listen to what they have to say without judgement. There are a number of ways you can get the support you need, including: 

  • Talking to a friend—never underestimate the power of confiding in a girlfriend
  • Traditional therapy—sometimes we need or want a professional to help us
  • Group therapy or group coaching—realizing that we are not alone in our experiences or what we think and feel (sometimes being a mom/wife/entrepreneur sucks) can be one of the most powerful realizations you can have 

Any and all of these outlets can help us to understand that it’s okay to feel how we feel, that we are more powerful and capable than we realize, and that we are not alone. And these ideas are critical to helping us become happier and stronger mentally—today and during retirement.

 Gasber Financial can help you make sure that your finances are staying healthy and that you are on track toward your retirement goals.

 

Self Care pt 1

Staying Healthy to Stay Happy

A Guide for Women

Happiness, health and wealth are interrelated. So regardless of how healthy your finances are today, if you are not healthy and do not stay that way, you could end up being unhappy in retirement (and your finances could suffer too).

But have no fear, there are a number of things you can do to that can improve your health—and you can start right away.

 The basics

It starts with the basics. Yes, this seems obvious, but many women (and men) overlook these things or push them off until finally it’s too late:

  •  Have your annual physical—this can help keep you healthy and identify if there is anything going on you should be concerned about.
  • Have your pap smear, breast exam and colonoscopy annually—these types of exams are critical to finding cancer or other diseases early.
  • Visit the dentist twice a year (at least)—did you know that gum health is related to heart health? There’s even new evidence suggesting oral health is related to things like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Take heart

Did you know that heart disease is the leading killer of women? It’s true. And even if you’ve never had a problem (that you’re aware of) with your heart, you need to be sure to be taking care of it. That includes:

  • Eating healthy, regular meals
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress
  • And more

 Some of these items may be easier said than done, but there is one that can help you to achieve many of the others—exercising. Regular exercise can help you lose or maintain weight and can help you reduce stress, while keeping your heart strong. And exercise doesn’t have to be something you dread—it can be fun. It’s also a good idea to wear workout clothes that you actually like. Baggy t-shirts and ripped sweats may be comfy, but they may not be flattering and definitely don’t motivate you. And make sure the clothes fit too—there is nothing worse than trying to adjust your clothing while in a “down dog”. Trust me, I know.

Get moving

Exercise can be as simple as taking a daily walk or as strenuous as running a marathon. The key is to find something you enjoy and have fun with it:

  •  You can meet a friend and go for a walk or a bike ride.
  • You can get a group of women together to train for a 5k.
  • You can take yoga classes, boxing classes, spin classes or any number of things to get started.

There are also many services that let you stream workouts right at home to your smart TV, computer or phone whenever and wherever you are, like Beach Body, Daily Burn, Aaptiv and many others. And, of course, you can always hire a personal trainer.

It can be a great idea to simply try different things and mix it up, so you don’t get bored or frustrated. But the key is to just get started—every small step can make a big difference in your health today and your happiness tomorrow.

While some workouts are free, others can cost a pretty penny. Gasber Financial can help you determine how to fit these types of programs into your finances. In the next installment, we’ll discuss some ideas for taking care of your mental and emotional health.

"Bag Lady Syndrome"

How to Overcome “Bag Lady Syndrome”—a guide for women

 By Karen A. Miller, CFP®, CFPA 

You are a successful woman. But if you’re like most women, no matter how successful you are, you still have that fear in the back of your head that you may end up on the street eating cat food. Irrational or not, this fear can be overwhelming—and if you let it, can stop you from doing what you need to do to be happy and financially secure. In this issue, we’ll talk about a few ways to overcome fear in general as well as to help ensure this specific fear does not become your reality.

 Make a plan

Treat fear as a call to action

You’ve likely heard the saying that “no one plans to fail—they simply fail to plan.” This is especially true when it comes to your finances. Your fear in this instance should be your call to action. If you don’t have a plan, make one now. It’s never too late (or too early) to start planning for the future.

 And if you do have a financial plan, review it on a regular basis. This can help provide some peace of mind when you can see your progress. Gasber Financial is here to help you create and manage your financial plans so you can stay on track toward the future you desire.

 Meditate on the answer

When faced with something you fear, it’s typical to panic or freeze—as your brain works overtime running through the possibilities. As we discussed in our last blog, meditation can help you learn to let thoughts flow through your mind without reacting to them. And this, in turn, may help keep you from getting anxious or stressed about things you may fear—helping you to feel more centered, calm and present in the moment.

 Stay positive

It may sound a bit out there, but the mindfulness you hear so much about today can make a difference in all areas of your life, including your finances. Because when you change the way you think about money, you really can change the way you behave with it—and that can make all the difference in the world.

 Consider, for example, the “scarcity loop” illustrated below *. The thought that you don’t have enough money creates anxiety and stress which leads to poor decisions, like spending money to buy something you think will make you feel better, which creates the negative outcome that you have even less money than before.

 But imagine what can happen when you change the thought processes. When you start out, for example, with the idea of being grateful for the money you already have, you end up less stressed and are able to make smarter choices about your money, which can lead to you saving more money and feeling more secure.

And when you can keep this sort of positive cycle going, you can continue to improve your financial security. It may sound simple, but this can really work—and, like meditation, all it takes is practice.

Be grateful

Sometimes being positive and grateful can be as simple as remembering what you are grateful for even in negative situations. You can remind yourself of what you are grateful for—sure you’re stuck in traffic, but you’re in a warm, dry car. Sometimes simply saying the word “grateful” out loud can help you relax and stay positive.

Another idea is to remember to give yourself credit for the steps you are taking—no matter how small they may be. Every step should be acknowledged. At Gasber Financial, we believe strongly in the power of planning and positive thinking. We can help you review your plan to ensure you are on track toward the retirement of your dreams.