Catie Fitzgerald is a three-time Healing Farm retreat participant. I first met her smiling face at the Paleo Reset retreat with Chris Kresser. It wasn’t the first time I spoke with her though; she made a point of calling me right before she booked her spot at that retreat to let me know how inspired she was by what I was trying to do with The Healing Farm and The Healing Farm | Retreats. You could say she was one of my first cheerleaders and supporters. Catie has fascinated me ever since with her intelligence, grace, zeal for life and zeal for learning and health. She has recently completed her training to be a nutritionist in a midlife career shift from twenty years in financial planning. I am constantly impressed with her quest for knowledge and her brave midlife career shift and feel she is the perfect fit for speaking at our upcoming retreat.
It was at a small group discussion I put together at our Women’s retreat this past January that another retreat participant suggested I not only put on a retreat for those going through a shift from midlife to retirement years, but also that Catie be a speaker. As I started putting together The 3rd Act Retreat with our main workshop speakers, Patricia Cavanaugh and Ellie Klevins of The 3rd Act, I realized I still wanted a nutrition component since I strongly feel that getting a solid base to your health in your mid-years can help propel you to have the energy and focus to strive for a more meaningful and true “you” for your later years. Getting down to the bottom of chronic conditions (pain/illness and discomfort) is a key part in having the energy and capacity to free your mind to move forward. Personal finance is also key to releasing yourself from the unwanted weight of financial stress.
Catie’s expertise in both areas, as well and her own decision to make big changes in her midlife to prepare for her 3rd act should be an inspiration to us all and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about nutrition and finance at the fall retreat. Finance in particular since I feel like I’ve already figured out the nutrition part (now it’s just a matter of sticking to it!), but the finance part is still pretty shaky for me. Especially while in the process of letting go of the “old” business and starting the new as I prepare for my own 3rd Act. Let’s hear a little from Catie!
Personal Finance in Retirement: Guest Blog Post by Catie Fitzgerald
In preparation for conducting the personal finance session at the upcoming retreat hosted by The Healing Farm (The 3rd Act: Renewing Your Purpose and Passion Midlife, I was astounded to discover that the topics I deemed important to teach in 2006 at the tender age of 41 lacked the substance required by the 52-year- old I am today. My life has changed so much, and I’ve grown in many ways including in emotional intelligence, comfort in my own skin, and maturity (not sure what that means but I’ll leave it for now).
My personal finance program for retirees consisted of the following learning modules:
- Creating your retirement paycheck
- Investing during retirement
- Long retirement fitness (what does that mean?)
- Reverse mortgages
The content, although accurate, is dry and lacks the visioning that I insisted all my clients go through via several activities as I helped them plan for retirement. Why was the 41-year- old version of me able to help my clients dream of retirement but when it came to helping them live it, I fell short (if I use the courses I created for retirees as a yardstick)?
The 52-year- old version of me knows what happened. That 41-year old really didn’t relate to the mid-life retiree. She was still building her professional life, building several businesses on the side (multiple streams of income, baby!) and had recently purchased her first house. Retirement seemed so far away from her “now” and so foreign to her modus operandi of work hard, save, and invest. She understood the mechanics of actually retiring, and she was good at teaching others how to do it, but she lacked the connection to the person who would someday in the near future live it.
Her favorite question was, “What does retirement look like to you? What will you do with your time? Who will you interact with on a regular basis?” She liked to share her vision of retirement as a situation in which she no longer worked for a paycheck to cover her bills and expenses and instead would spend her time in pursuit of other activities simply because they filled her soul. She declared she would continue to work in a profession of her choosing regardless of the financial return. These “labors of love” plus her investment portfolio, savings account, and whatever minuscule social security benefits she received would provide for her financial well-being.
The mechanics covered in my courses for retirees (see above bullet points) have value in helping people enjoy a financially fulfilling retirement. Understanding these “do’s and don’ts” will contribute to a retiree's successful navigation of the fine balance of spending and investing to prevent outliving one’s financial resources. However, these suggested moves and strategies do nothing to invigorate, ignite, and inspire retirees to make their 3rd act something truly rewarding for themselves or the people they interact with on a daily basis.
The well-intentioned, idealistic 41-year- old I was in 2006 had some good ideas and insights. She just lacked the perspective that comes when you cross over the “mid-life divide.” I now have the perspective of one who has crossed the “divide, ” and I look forward to sharing new and innovative ideas for making retirement and your third act an adventure worth your energy, time, and commitment. Will you join me at the retreat in October?