Navigate Life's Transitions Succesfully and with Confidence
Trevor Harris | September 30 2020
When you think about transition, what comes to mind? A big move? An addition to the family? A change in career? All of these fit the bill, but they are primarily the result. What about the process that leads up to the change and transition?
Instead of keeping our eyes focused on the goal and desired outcome, let’s spend some time unwinding the whole process.
One transition that is bound to happen in your life is a career transition. Whether changing within an industry, changing careers entirely, being bought out at your company, or retiring, you will experience your workday changing at some point in time. No matter the reason, there are a few things that should be assessed throughout the process, and they should be viewed through the lens of how it helps you and your family in the long run.
So, what does planning for a transition look like? Through four phases, the acronym, “SAIL”, can guide you through a smoother transition.
"SAIL"ING INTO CHANGE
S – Slow down
A – Assess
I – Identify
L – Launch
Instead of finding yourself in a panic and unsure how to approach this transition, SAIL provides you the opportunity to breathe and gain clarity on what lies ahead. While getting to that reestablished status, it is important to make sure that you are preserving yourself mentally and planning for yourself financially.
NOT SO FAST THERE, MY FRIEND...
Our first step may be the hardest one: slow down and rest. If you are trying to figure out what may be next, it is imperative that the turnaround not be the most urgent factor. Whether you are coming out of a job voluntarily or not, you need time to slow down and process what is going on.
Think of it this way: when coming back from a vacation, how often do you think, “I could have used one more day to ease back into work?” And if that’s how you feel transitioning from a one-week vacation, how much more transition time do you need to decompress and process after years at a job?
While it may be counterintuitive, this rest is crucial. Giving yourself the opportunity to put that chapter of your life to rest while preparing for the next one can give you a clearer mind to evaluate what needs to go on around you. If the average job transition takes six weeks, spending one of those weeks to take inventory of what is around you is a service to yourself.
There are not many chances in life to slow down for an extended period of time. There likely won't be very many COVID related lockdowns like we saw in 2020. Where you get ample time to rethink all that's around you. So, when you get the opportunity to breakaway for a bit, why not take time to appreciate and enjoy it. For some, that will be a vacation to a destination that they didn’t have time to see while working. For others, it can be returning to a hobby that had gotten lost in the busyness of life. Whatever it may be, this is your time to rediscover your needs and wants in a slower time.
WHAT'S THE BIG PICTURE?
Now that you have had some time to appreciate yourself and slow down, what’s the long term goal you have in mind? Is it settling into a similar role? Providing for yourself or family at a higher level? More flexibility in your spare time? Before answering those questions, you need to know where you are heading financially.
Only around 20% of Americans have a financial plan, and even fewer have that plan committed to writing. If you were going to build a home, you would want blueprints, so why not have blueprints for your financial goals as well. Whether you have added children, second homes, or are potentially going to be caring for a loved one, there is likely something that has changed in the last few years that would warrant updating your plan if you had a preexisting one.
Assessing what you have is critical, but it is also important to know what you may be overlooking. Don’t let accounts that are working for you go forgotten.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You’ve heard it said that showing up is half the battle, but what are you supposed to do now that you know your financial worth?
One of the more fun, but difficult, parts is figuring out how to invest. Are you the kind of person that goes to a casino and risks it all on red? Or do you like going for the penny slots? Knowing your risk tolerance plays a huge role in where you feel comfortable investing your wealth.
On top of analyzing this risk, how does it align with your plan? If you want to retire in 10 years, but your investments are projecting a need for 20 years, now is the time to reconcile that. It may mean making ends meet elsewhere or could change the scope of your job hunt.
On the flip side, identifying what you have and the risk you are willing to take can lead to freedom! You may be ahead of the schedule you anticipated and can now pursue that dream job.
Remember how I mentioned that we needed to shelf the endgame for a little while? Well, now it’s safe to pull it back out. Dreams are just dreams until you put them on paper, and now, you are in a place where you have a plan. While the “waters” may not always allow you to stay the course of said plan, you at least have a place to return for guidance and a reference for restructuring.
Forrest Gump was on the right track when he said “life is a box of chocolates: you never know what you are going to get.” But I can tell you this: if you buy a box of chocolates, you can at least expect a good amount of chocolate. While this process may not lead to your first ideal outcome, it can help you get to the ballpark. Having rest, knowing your assets, putting them where they need to be, and propelling yourself into transition can be an orienting and confidence-inspiring start.
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Disclaimer: Our intent in providing this material is purely for informational purposes, as of the date hereof, and may be subject to change without notice. This article does not intend to constitute accounting, legal, tax, or other professional advice. Visitors and readers should not act upon the content or information found here without first seeking appropriate advice from a trusted accountant, financial planner, lawyer or other professional.