“Work while you play, play while you work – the joy of Financial Independence at any age”
So goes the sub-title to the new book, Victory Lap Retirement by Mike Drak and Jonathan Chevreau (published, October 2016). As described at the start of chapter 3, Findependence, a term originally coined by Jon Chevreau, is the cornerstone of a Victory Lap Retirement. This pivotal chapter leads with an easy to grasp formula with three core benefits and a six-stage model for an individual’s financial life cycle. Chapter 4 gives you the “seven eternal truths”.
Over the years when I produced and delivered retirement programs, I typically teamed with a certified financial planning professional who did not have a self-serving interest in pushing a product. My insistent request was for giving holistic advice that met the audience where they were at, in their varying ages and stages of life – not always an even playing field for a group discussion; which is why it is pleasing to see the way the financial piece is presented in this book.
Rather than a traditional book review, here then is the 2nd of a two part blog where I present views of the Victory Lap co-authors drawn through interview questions I posed to them in October.
Authors Interview, Part 2
Mark’s Q: There are corporate natives who have successfully crafted a version of Victory Lap in later life without necessarily achieving “Findependence” before doing so, and in other cases, older owners of family run small businesses may have achieved financial goals but haven’t even thought about a Victory Lap, let alone a legacy plan for selling their business.
With an “it’s never too late” attitude, what quick steps could either of these take to shore up their possibilities for success?
Mike: You can do a Victory Lap without having achieved Findependence. A good example of a person doing this would be Ernie Zelinski, who wrote the foreword to the book. But I like to sleep at night so having a Findependence safety net under me is the way I would go.
Self-employed people on average work longer than salaried people but at some point they have the flexibility to cut back on the hours and take some stress off. In many cases, they sell the company off to the kids and remain in a consulting role for as long as they like and in many cases this is a long, long time.
Jon: It’s true that entrepreneurs may be born, not made, and therefore they take risks early in life, sometimes, as in the case of Bill Gates, Steven Jobs … and many more – leaving college, eschewing the corporate life and plunging into the great unknown of building huge businesses while still in their 20s. Mark Zuckerberg would be another example. In these cases, these people bootstrap themselves with sweat equity and raising money from family and friends and often venture capital.
The audience for our book is perhaps not quite so risk-taking: we assume people like ourselves who have spent a decade or three in the corporate trenches, perhaps making compromises while they raise their families. But, while they may put their dreams on hold, as you point out, it’s never too late and for many, Findependence will be the necessary ingredient for manifesting those urgent long-suppressed dreams and life goals.
Mark’s Q: Over my many years in the career development field, a core message I’ve passed on to those facing transitions at all life stages has been to develop & recalibrate an ongoing strategic career/life plan, which you also encourage in Victory Lap.
From your experience, what would you recommend to add value to providers of “career transition services” that would better serve someone in their later life career?
Mike: I believe IA’s (Investment Advisors) are in the best position to connect the financial planning and lifestyle piece. It’s a great value add for them and will help justify the fees that they charge. The question is that some will not be qualified/experienced enough to do it.
You really need the benefit of someone who has been there and gone through the transition themselves. I’m doing a little experiment with my wife, who is an Investment Advisor. I’m providing free Victory Lap mentoring to her clients, but you have to be careful with how many clients you service because to do this well it takes a great deal of time.
Jon: I see Victory Lap as a sort of holistic interdisciplinary field that brings together life coaching, career counselling, financial planning and investment advice, as well as education and retraining. I think Mike has in mind a kind of coaching role in which he becomes the quarterback for all these disciplines, on behalf of would-be Victory Lappers who are still making the post-corporate transition.
Interview Postscript: As I reflected on the responses from Mike & Jon, I am reminded of how in most cases in the past and even now, too many so called retirement programs have separated in content, the financial piece from what is often called the lifestyle piece.
In fact, I have found that the word lifestyle itself has often assumed the dimension of being in some part, a consumer marketing pitch. As much as I tried to re-position the concept of retirement, I still found myself introduced to a group as the “retirement lifestyle guy”. Poke me with a stick.
If I had a nickel extra every time I heard that, I would have discovered my own Findependence before breakfast instead of lunch. So I leave it to others to look for their style. As Mike & Jon suggest in the final chapter, I will look to “live an uncommon life”.