FYI - at the bottom of the list was family. We love 'em, but they are the source of a lot of our work and therefore, not very relaxing.
In between, I noticed that we wanted to do some things for ourselves. Sometimes when we are young we underestimate school and miss out on education that we later wish we had. Some moms would go back to school to grow their minds and develop some latent skills. Another popular accomplishment would be to start a business. It was interesting how many were service oriented, too. Moms want time to devote to charity and mission work, again to serve others. Others wanted to get back to the basics of living outside of the busy, technological world that seems to steamroll us now.
As I thought about the diverse interests we have, I remembered this verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun. Seasons change and so do we. What season of life are you in now? Whether your season is Newlywed or Mom, College Grad or Caregiver, the seasons of our lives change all too fast. Many of us are currently in the Mom season - a time for diapers, then school, then letting go. One day, this season of life will be over and we will wonder where the time went. What will be your next season? Maybe it will be time for more education or to satisfy your entrepreneurial spirit. This "season" can be known as the Creative Season.
I recently read an article about Fred Mandell who believes that creativity abounds in all areas of life, not just artwork. He was a financial planner who did a complete about-face by leaving that role and becoming an artist. Then, he morphed into a teacher at MIT and the author of Becoming a Life Change Artist, based on his personal experiences. In an interview with him in the Journal of Financial Planning, he talks about how the concept of retirement is changing. He feels it is more a time for personal renewal and creativity. This is a time when you can answer these questions for yourself:
- Who do I want to be now that I don't need to be who I was?
- What parts of myself do I want to explore that I've not had the time to explore in the past?
- Do I want to make a contribution to the world, perhaps in a different way, and what does that look like?
- What talents can I bring to this contribution and what new ones do I need to learn or develop?
As you ponder your future, remember that now is the time to set yourself (and your family) up for success. Many times, doing the creative thing requires money so it's a good idea to think ahead. This is where I help couples to think about the future. I often use the concept of building a tower to help explain my approach to financial planning. Building a secure emergency fund and protecting your health and assets with insurance are critical to creating a solid foundation. Retirement may become the Creative Season to look forward to. Building your retirement fund gives you the freedom to dream about your passion. Whether you call it your retirement fund, or your "Creative Fund", save for the things you want to put your heart into. Plan now for your season of creativity.
Pamela J. Horack, CFP® of Pathfinder Planning LLC provides financial planning advice for a simple fee to young adults and working families in North and South Carolina through group classes, one-on-one planning, and ongoing advice.