Author: Chris Conti, Moxie Voice Senior Staff Writer
Kim Gaxiola is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Registered Principal and Founder of TechGirl Financial®.
And she is the creator of the concept of Lean in to Retirement.
She is also a public speaker and educator who spreads the word to inspire as many people as she can about retirement planning, career and financial management, and understanding overall life goals.
“This is the trifecta.” She says. “To make your plans work, you have to know and be able to quantify what your goals are, and be financially disciplined, and it’s hard to do any of that well if you are not happy professionally with your career. You need to make the most of your career while you can, the rest will folllow.”
It’s usually when retirement is on the horizon, when people are starting to worry if they’re doing enough, and saving enough, which prompts them to seek advice.
“It’s the women in their 40s and 50s who tend to contact a financial advisor. Younger people usually can’t yet articulate what they want to do long-term with their life goals.”
“A lot of times it’s the feeling that ‘I’m getting closer to retirement, I’ve been saving, but I don’t know what the money I’ve accumulated means in terms of how I can live my life after work, or how much money I’ll need to achieve those goals.”
Kim says that people really need to take their whole life into consideration, not just the accumulation of wealth.
“Much of the financial industry in general is looking at retirement planning as ‘I need ‘x’ amount of money to retire on and live comfortably. That method is goals based, but I don’t think it does enough to make people really take a look at what they want out of life.”
“I want people, before they even start doing the planning and crunching the numbers, to really envision what it is they want out of life. The question isn’t ‘if I had more money, what would I do?’ the question is ‘given the money you have, how can you make it work for you to free up your time to do the things you enjoy most.’ So, my question to people, and my motto on my website is “What will you do when your money works for you?”
And Kim says that women in general tend to be more risk averse.
“That means in the financial world a more conservative investment strategy, and in the working world it may mean taking the safe route with your career path. You may be in an industry or in a career you don’t enjoy, but you’re there because you know you’re going to get that pay check coming in, and it’s too scary to think of how you could ever make a change to a different direction. With the help of a solid financial foundation and enough living reserves saved up, you can have the luxury to make changes in your career or transition planning when you’re getting closer to retirement. It’s really scary to think of doing something different than what you’re doing right now if you don’t have that tendency to tolerate risk. Understanding your financial situation and knowing what your worst case scenario is, may be what you need in order to take that leap.”
So then, how does a woman find the courage within herself to take these steps, to risk what she has right now for the possibility of achieving something better? This is the question that Kim helps her clients answer, and empowers them with proper planning. And she wanted to find a way to articulate this idea to anyone who would listen.
In 2013, Kim heard a speech by Sheryl Sandberg, currently the COO of Facebook, and then Kim read Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, co-written by Nell Scovell. The book examines the challenges and barriers women face that keep them from taking leadership roles in their professions, and Kim was inspired by the whole Lean In concept.
“It really is something that empowers people, it helps professional women achieve their career goals. It was the perfect articulation of what Tech Girl Financial was trying to help women achieve.”
“If I could retitle this concept for every single person out there, it would be ‘Lean In to…’ and then a line after that for you to fill in whatever it is you want to do more. For me personally it would be lean in to travel, family, entertainment and cooking, because those are my passions, my hobbies. It’s what I would be doing if I had more time. So the idea is to lean in to whatever it is you want to be spending more time doing. But you can only do that if you have given some serious thought to what that would look like for you, and planned for it ahead of time.”
And that’s exactly the kind of service that TechGirl Financial and other Certified Financial Planners provide for people.
Kim has broken her Lean In to Retirement concept into 5 tips.
Tip 1: Phase In Retirement
Tip 2: Lean Into Work
Tip 3: Plan Your Retirement Goals
Tip 4: Create An Exit Strategy
Tip 5: Ease Into Retirement
Chris Conti is a Senior Staff Writer for Moxie Voice.