By Rick Laymon, CFP®
If you have made it to Waypoint 4, a BIG CONGRATS to you! Many folks never make it this far or beyond on The Stewardship Journey. This is the point at which we have the wind at our backs and set our sights on financial independence. It is now time to answer the big question: How much is enough for you to live out the life you have imagined thus far? When we know where our finish line is for accumulating wealth, we can then begin to shift our focus to things of even greater purpose!
It is during this season that we begin to take stock of our lives. Perhaps you have grown unsettled or unsatisfied in your present career, having achieved all your professional goals. You might be wondering, “Is this all there is for me?” We often call this ‘Half-Time” based on the excellent book by the same name by Bob Buford. It is a time for reflection, introspection and evaluating our calling. It is all about discerning what is next – the path from success to significance. For some that may be changing careers to take less pay but experience more fulfillment and joy in our work. For others, it might be taking a risk and start the entrepreneurial business they have always dreamed of. Some will sense the calling into workplace ministry or missions. Maybe it’s time for a sabbatical to serve your family in a new way…
There are, of course, some practical planning items we need to turn our attention to at this waypoint. Chances are that your cash flow has increased dramatically, perhaps due to becoming empty nesters and riding the wave of your peak earning years. Accelerating mortgage payments might make a lot of sense as you contemplate how you might answer the call in the future. This is also a great time to reassess (or complete) your estate plan. This should be done every seven years or so, and certainly after or in anticipation of life transitions. Evaluating Long-term Care insurance and options is also important at this stage.
If a cash flow surplus still exists, what are you going to do with it? Certainly, you could maximize your investment opportunities outside of retirement accounts. Many of you will still need to do this to cross through the finish line strong. Others may want to begin creating what we like to call a Strategic Giving Plan. This involves engaging our family and community, or perhaps even exploring the world, to discover where allocating our resources and energy will have the greatest impact in blessing others. In our family, we have created a “portfolio” of ministry causes that we care deeply about and want to invest in. As our children grow older, our hope is that they will become increasingly interested in loving their neighbors in this way.
Lastly, we begin pondering our own legacy and what mark we will leave on the world after we’re gone. What are the values and virtues we want to pass along to children and grandchildren or even future generations? What is an appropriate inheritance to leave each of them? How can we best leverage what is left for Kingdom causes? To paraphrase on of my favorite authors Randy Alcorn, every financial decision we make today has an impact that ripples across eternity. For this reason, Waypoint 4 is where the fun really begins!
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Financial Planning & Investment Advisory services offered through Beacon Wealth Consultants, Inc.