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Set your wealth on FIRE by living a thriving and independent third quarter of life

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46.6 million people left their jobs in 2022, exceeding pre-pandemic numbers. In a survey from resumebuilder.com, 43% of workers seeking new jobs are searching for something they are more passionate about.


According to FORBES, our lives have four quarters that are broken down by the following ages:

  • Q1 is the Growth stage from ages 0 – 24
  • Q2 is the Achieve stage from ages 25 – 49
  • Q3 is the Becoming stage from ages 50 – 74
  • Q4 is the Harvesting stage from ages 75 +


We are becoming more active and engaged in our later years in life. Most would then correlate this to added healthier years at the end of life. What if this could actually mean a longer third quarter of life, and instead of ending at 74, it went into your 80s and beyond? You might be saying to yourself, “But Shannon, I don’t want to work that long. I wish there was some other way of looking at this.” My response would be, “Let’s use strategy and purpose to make a transition like this happen for you.”


Today, I’ll be breaking down six areas of your financial life you need to understand in order to plan for extending and thriving in that third quarter of life.


1) Identify what is important to you.

Purpose can feel vast and overwhelming to start a search for the definition itself in your own life. Instead, we would encourage you to break your purpose down to three parts: values, vision, and goals.

We often ask clients these questions:

  • Who, if anyone, do you want to experience this part of your life with?
  • What does your life look like and feel like?
  • Where do you envision yourself being?
  • Will you live in one or more locations, or have the desire to move frequently?
  • How will you spend your time?
  • What are the non-negotiables for you?


2) Get ready to be FIREd. 

The Financially Independent, Retire Early (FIRE) movement started in the 1990s. It has since evolved, as many things must, to include several different lifestyles. Essentially, this movement began to foster individuals taking ownership of their financial lives – keeping track of cash flow, boosting their income, paying off debt, and putting large portions of income to savings by maximizing retirement and investment accounts. In the FIRE method, you take your annual expenses and multiply by 25; however, in most cases this is assuming you are only withdrawing 4% from your investments to live on. Which is why true financial planning is important to consider setting your personal goals. 

So, let’s define FIRE, which requires you to have a truly realistic relationship with your wealth. 

  • Lean FIRE – just as it sounds you are frugal or thrifty, and live on minimal income while keeping your expenses low
  • Fat FIRE – you prefer a high standard of living and will likely require $100,000 or more of income annually 
  • Barista FIRE – perhaps you don’t have sufficient savings for your lifestyle so you choose to live off investments and work part-time
  • Coast FIRE – you have saved enough to retire at a traditional age and until then, you won’t need to save any additional funds; your focus just becomes covering current expenses

If you have the desire to lengthen your third quarter in life, understanding what you need to save now in order to continue your lifestyle is critical. You don’t want to go from financial freedom back to college ramen. 

Next step: consider what you need for savings and investments to replace your income. 


3) Build a solid foundation that allows for independence. 

In order to live an extended third quarter, without the same type of income you had in Q2 of your life, you are going to need to maximize your saving and investment strategy. As financial planners, we want you to have options for income access. Depending on the time in which you decide to transition your career or stop working altogether – we want you to have access to multiple types of income. 

Income planning can be made up of three main tax treatments – taxable, tax-free, and tax-deferred. Your retirement savings accounts will also have rules in regards to what age you can start withdrawing from them, for instance, traditional IRAs, 401ks, SIMPLE plans, 403B plans, ROTH IRAs, and other types may not let you access funds until age 59 ½ without paying a penalty. 

Consider allowing yourself an additional access point by building your investments outside of your retirement. For this, you will also need to be tax-conscious and plan for investments that will be tax-efficient for you in the growth and the liquidation stages. Investments outside of your retirement account can result in capital gains and added income taxes from dividends. There are also tax-deferred investment strategies that you can build which, again you should understand how these investments will affect any other future income you might receive.

This part of planning for your third quarter of life is what we specialize in at Forethought Planning. If thinking about doing this yourself, or wondering why your current advisor isn’t talking to you about this – book a complimentary Wealth Assessment with us.


4) Understand that your life doesn’t have to fit a mold.

Recently, this topic has come up in several of our conversations. Our clients say “I just always saw myself retiring in the ‘traditional’ sense and never thought I had an option. Your telling me I have another way has been like a freeing release and another new way of looking at my life.”


Retirement isn’t 65 anymore. Most of our clients desire to retire earlier than the traditional age. This looks like doing something they love rather than a job that might be, frankly, sucking the life from them. When we start this conversation, many of them say they never thought it would be an option to leave their 9-5 job and pursue a passion later in life. The worry comes from not having a solid relationship with their wealth, the image society gives us about working, and the assignment or worth we give our job titles and cushy compensation packages. Honestly, this happens with our clients no matter what they have in accumulated wealth.


Freedom of choice has become much more popular since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Financial independence allows this freedom to become more of a lasting reality. When you have a solid foundation of your wealth and a plan for what you can do – you have an outline for living out the purpose you have desired.


5) What happens if timing isn’t on my side?

Reality that came fast and furious in 2022 was inflation and market volatility. According to a recent BMO (Bank of Montreal) survey, 80% of Americans have made a change to their lifestyle due to the impact of rising costs, aka inflation. Let’s take a different spin on this. If you have a solid financial plan and the ability to create more income for yourself, inflation may not be impacting you. 


Market volatility is honestly something that is here to stay. Having an understanding of your risk tolerance and what you may need in your portfolio to perform over time vs expecting double-digit returns. However, if you want me to lean into my investment knowledge, I’ll start with your investment philosophy is as personal as your DNA. If you have a need to be more conservative, then be realistic and know that in a time of rising inflation, your portfolio will not be able to cover as many of your lifestyle expenses. If you have a desire for exposure to the stock market, look at Value-based equities that will allow the potential of a dividend and capital appreciation. Although a diversified portfolio with asset allocation has an investment strategy to potentially reduce volatility it won’t take it away. Investing is a risk you need to feel comfortable with. 

To be honest, I see many of the clients who are grounded in their purpose have less of a tie to the material experiences of life. They know that this is a moment in time, and IF they have to redesign their life for a year or two it won’t change their purpose.


6) Your health and wealth work together for longevity. 

If you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, well, what is your wealth for? As you transition into different stages of your life, how are you caring for yourself? 


Understand and plan for when you do need more care for your health. We have several articles on the financial impacts of extended care. 


Doing all of this work is useless if you don’t have your health and well-being. We believe in bringing these pieces together. I have walked this journey with many of my clients. I have seen those whose mindset, health, and wellness are all impacted, but it’s how they approach these life aspects that matters. As you go through the planning process, set the expectation for yourself that things will change. 


Community + Connection 

We want to leave you today with two upcoming opportunities that we have for you to connect with like-minded people and grow in your wealth journey:


Building a Financially Fit Relationship Do you and your partner want to THRIVE in your wealth together? Emerge feeling stronger in your knowledge and equipped to move forward toward your joint wealth vision.

VIRTUAL event – Thursday, February 16th 6:30-8pm




Fierce Financially Independent Females As a fierce financially independent woman, you are grounded in your wealth through your vision, purpose, and goals. You have a plan of action to bring your vision to life. Surround yourself with other women who are up-leveling their wealth to make an impact in their lives, their family’s lives, and their community.

IN PERSON – Thursday, February 26th at Modernwell Co-working Space 5:30-8:30pm



Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which strategies or investments may be suitable for you, consult the appropriate qualified professional prior to making a decision.

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