Life has traditionally been divided into three stages: school, work, and retirement. This three stages system has become outdated and is quickly being replaced by a more flexible multi-stage system. In this new system, people float between different levels of what would have previously been called “success.”
Traditionally, you would have gone to school. In school, you would have developed the skills necessary for a single career which you would have done until you had amassed enough money to retire. Once retired, you would finally have time difficulty finding fulfillment as you never took the time to explore your passions.
The new life stages
With a longer expected healthspan, these stages need to be more flexible. In The 100-year life, Lynda Gratton and Andrew J. Scott defined three new stages beginning to emerge as healthspans expand. They are explorers, independent producers and portfolio managers. Whereas the traditional stages occur at distinctive ages, these stages can happen in any order and at any age.
Explorers focus on self-discovery and exploration. During this stage, people may choose to travel the world, learn a new language, or live out a dream dedicating all of their time to their passion. Financial assets will usually diminish during this stage as the explorer discovers what fulfills them and spends time developing new skills.
Independent producers use the skills and knowledge they have gathered during their explorer stages to create something new. They might sell their skills or use them to create a product they can sell. As they spend time discovering their passions, they know what they want to do and find much more meaning and fulfilment from their independent work.
Those that reach the portfolio manager stage have invested heavily in developing their sellable skills and reinvesting the dividends paid during their independent years. Over time the income from their assets will have begun to compound. This compound effect will give them the financial freedom to take time off and start a new exploration stage where they can reassess their priorities.
How will you fund your next stage?
These new stages make financial planning much more complicated. Long periods of unemployment mean you will eat into your savings as you discover your passion and reskill. While your income may not always be steady, time spent exploring will prepare you for an unpredictable future.
Wages will not keep up with inflation, so it is up to you to reinvent yourself or your position. Increasing financial pressures make living in a communal setting much more appealing. These collaborative settings will decrease your financial burdens and give you more free time while enhancing your social assets.
Don’t forget that parents can be great flatmates as you enter a new stage of your life. Multi-generational homes are becoming more common, and for good reasons. Parents are a fountain of resources as they can coach you through the stages they have already completed. As they age and become less able to work, you can help them financially while they help you with childrearing.
Transitions are possible
After spending the last five years as an explorer, I am becoming an independent producer. I am leveraging the skills I learned while making wine to become a longevity coach. These two activities may seem unrelated, but the more I progress through the transition, the more I see how related they are.
Both fields required me to develop a specific set of skills. Sure, for winemaking, it was the ability to taste wine, connect hoses and maintain cellar hygiene which will not help me be a good coach. But the financial planning, leadership and habit development skills I have learned through the wine industry will.
It is hard enough to develop good habits when your life is minimally disrupted. It is much harder to develop habits such as learning a language when reinventing yourself twice a year on a different continent. Nonetheless, I learned to do it twice, first learning German and now learning Czech through an 800+ day Duolingo streak.
I am not perfect, far from it, but thanks to meditation, I have the awareness to see where my shortcomings are and work on improving them. If you are ready to enter a new stage and an aspect of that transition is difficult for you, then reach out to me, and we can schedule a session, and maybe I can help you start your stage.
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