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What will retired life look like after your career? It’s a common concern.

The dictionary definition doesn’t help much: “The action of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.”

The more humorous definition is even worse: “You get up with nothing to do and go to bed having only done half of it.”

The message is that preparing for retirement is a race to save enough to be financially independent. When you reach this mark, you’re 100% prepared – you’ve crossed the finish line!

In reality, we all come to realize that finances are just one piece of the retirement puzzle. Your career wasn’t just a paycheck, it was a source of purpose and impact. This leaves an important question unanswered: where will that sense of fulfillment come from next?

But what if we thought of retirement not as the finish line, but the starting line for our next great adventure? Think beyond the superficial hobbies and vacations. A fulfilling retired life may operate at a different pace, but it can still leave you satisfied at the end of each day knowing that you continue to make a difference in your life and in the lives of those you care about.

Build a “Life Portfolio”

I recommend a “life portfolio” detailing how you plan to invest your energy. You have a carefully diversified financial strategy – why not do the same with your time? I find the following four categories helpful:

  • Career continuation – use the skills you built during your working years. Mentoring, consulting, teaching are just a few examples, but find a way to keep these expertise gears turning.
  • Volunteering – find a cause you care about that would benefit from your new free time. Few things provide life-giving energy like serving those in need with your time.
  • Family – invest in your kids and grandkids. More than simply spending time together, this is an intentional investment in them, seeking to instill the lessons and values most important to you.
  • Hobbies – golf, travel, and other traditional retirement activities are far more energizing, life-giving, and healthy when they serve as a break rather than your entire purpose. And, after all this time investment, you’ll need a break!

In all this planning, don’t forget that you’re retired now! Rather than implementing a rigid schedule, find a comfortable, unforced rhythm across the four areas. Spend time thinking and dreaming about what your joy-filled retirement looks like. Learn from others that seem to be enjoying this season of their lives. With a thoughtfully designed “life portfolio”, you have the pillars of purpose in place and are on the way to a joy-filled retirement!

The “Alterra” name was coined by joining the Latin roots “alter”, the origin of the word “altruism” with “terra” meaning earth or land. This name reflects the company philosophy of “clients before profits” and providing firmly grounded advice.

Alterra Advisors - Josh Whelan

Craig Hamilton

Strategic Advisor

About the Author

With over 30 years of experience as a Certified Financial Planner, Craig Hamilton joins Alterra as a sort of paternal figure and has a position of respected “special counsel” to the firm. This role is likely familiar to Craig as one of his four children is also a financial advisor. Mr. Hamilton is also a Certified Public Accountant with a degree in Business from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, where he graduated magna cum laude.

Craig was born and raised in the Pacific NW and built a family here that now includes seven grandchildren. In Craig’s words, “coaching, counseling, and mentoring are in my DNA.” This approach also characterized Craig’s financial career for 20-plus years as an Investment Officer for Russell Investment Services and their later incarnation as The Threshold Group. Throughout that time, Craig approached financial planning as “a critical tool to manage financial priorities and achieve a client’s dreams,” a philosophy perfectly aligned with the Alterra approach.

Craig took an early interest in all things financial — purchasing his first security while still in elementary school. Given his history, it’s not surprising multi-generation investing and legacy planning are his special interest. Listening to the stories of his clients and then helping them along the path to their goals brings Craig personal joy. So, it will likely come as no surprise that Craig was also a college tennis coach for over 20 years. To repeat Craig’s catchphrase, “coaching, counseling, and mentoring are assets” that he will invest in Alterra Advisors.

The “Alterra” name was coined by joining the Latin roots “alter”, the origin of the word “altruism” with “terra” meaning earth or land. This name reflects the company philosophy of “clients before profits” and providing firmly grounded advice.

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