I was reading an article on CNBC entitled “Advisory firms turn to life coaches, psychologists” by Deborah Nason. It talked about Financial Advisors getting more questions from clients that are more about lifestyle, work life balance, family, etc., which is outside of their financial expertise. In an effort to support their clients, financial professionals are developing relationships with other professionals, such as social workers, psychologists, life coaches and counsellors, in order to have a referral source for their clients. This begs the question “Do you need a coach to help you with your Victory Lap?”
The need for non financial advice highlighted in the article rings true with us. We regularly get questions on this site and at our presentations from people seeking advice on how to prepare for their Victory Lap. As Mike and Jonathan found out while doing research for their VLR book, there is not a lot of information out there on lifestyle planning and even fewer coaches. The have been lots of articles recently on “the new retirement paradigm”, as people are living and working longer. These articles won’t provide you with the notion that you need more money but not a lot of details on how to live a happy, heathy, and rewarding Victory Lap. It is up to you to figure out how you will fill those 2000+ hours a year that you will be blessed with after leaving your first career. That is why you need to develop a Lifestyle Plan.
If you search Lifestyle Planning on the web, you will find various articles and opinions largely from the financial services industry. Most are aimed at helping you invest and grow your wealth so you will have a “happy retirement”. Other articles are from health advocates that are aimed at eating better, exercising more, or staying active. Most provide good advice but people want a reason to get out of bed in the morning, want to feel a purpose everyday and when they go to sleep at night they want a feeling of accomplishment. A lifestyle plan will provide you with that road map to help you live each day with purpose.
We believe that the lifestyle plan should be separate from, but complementary to your financial plan. It should in fact help you articulate what you want to do with your wealth in retirement. You should not expect your financial advisor to also be your lifestyle advisor/coach. The financial services industry is a complicated world, new products, regulations, tax laws, the landscape is constantly changing, the financial advisor has a lot on their plate. Expect your financial advisors to help you reach Findependence and mange your wealth in your Victory Lap.
Mike wrote in a recent post about finding the right “tribe” of friends to support you being the best “you”, “you” can be. It is also true that you need to surround yourself with a tribe of advisors to support you. Simply having a financial plan and wealth won’t ensure a successful Victory Lap. A statistic that is worth repeating is that only about 35% of Canadians have a financial plan, we suspect far fewer have a Lifestyle Plan. We believe now more than anytime in our history, people need to have a lifestyle plan, after all you may have a longer Victory Lap than you had a working career and you want it to be a success!
You may need help developing a plan for our Victory Lap, there is some material out their in the “webiverse” lots of tests on personality, interests, skill finder, etc. but there is limited “how to” information. People have told us that having so much free time when they leave their first career can be overwhelming, they would have loved to have someone to talk to, to help walk them through the transition and held them adapt to Victory Lap. Maybe a coach?
So what is a coach? Here is an Oxford Dictionary definition: Give (someone) professional advice on how to attain their goals.
Pretty straightforward but we would add that a coach can also:
- Help you see things that you can’t.
- Keep you focused and hold you accountable.
I have been a distance runner for 30+ years so I thought I would share a few thoughts on criteria I would use to find a running coach. I believe these tips would work for any coach or advisor.
- Look for a personal connection. Ask yourself is this someone I would like to be around? Does the individual motivate you? Do they communicate well? Do they listen?
- What is their background, education and coaching experience? Lifestyle coaching is a relatively new discipline so look at previous work experience, were they people managers, executives, leaders? Are they goal oriented? What have they accomplished?
- Personal experience as a running coach have they actually run a race? In the context of this discussion has this person transitioned either into another career or into a Victory Lap? Is their experience theoretical, practical or both?
- Understand what you need. In preparing to run a marathon some people may need a constant running companion, motivator, and supporter. Others may need someone to bounce an idea off of when they have an injury, or some motivating words to get them out the door in the morning. In the context of VL you may have some thoughts or plans and just want to bounce your ideas off a trusted advisor. Or you may feel paralyzed unable to move forward looking at the “blank calendar” that faces you every morning and need someone to give you step by step advice.
These few tips should help you start the discussion with potential coaches. If you have any other questions drop us a line.
It is worth repeating lifestyle plannng is not the same as financial planning. Financial planning is fundamental to having a successful Victory Lap but financial independence won’t ensure a successful Victory Lap. So educate yourself and seek help.
Finally, we are pleased to report that we are currently working on a VL guide to help you prepare and execute your new life. We will also be providing coaching when we launch this book. Look for it in the spring!!