The financial crisis and the retirement fixYou realize you have a complex set of unknowns to tackle when you start thinking about retirement. Have you adjusted to the last bad break? It’s possible another one will hit. It can feel like you are personally under attack and you are.  Fortunately, you are not alone. There is a retirement fix.

Most corporate executives in their 40’s and 50’s have not seen their incomes rebound to levels of pre-Great Financial Crisis.  These are the levels upon which retirement plans were mostly built.   The GFC hit and hit hard.  The rebound in incomes was muted at best and left many folks leveraged and living beyond their means.

In fact, many people are going backwards and using savings to fund current expenses.  Worse yet, it is estimated in the last year 30 million Americans dipped into retirement savings.  A Bank survey showed 17% of people 50-64 used their 401k, paying penalties and taxes, or other retirement savings to pay for an emergency.

According to the Associated Press, 82% of working Americans over 50 indicate it is likely they will work for pay during retirement.  Fully 47% of people working now expect to retire later than they originally planned.  Shockingly, two-thirds of households age 55-64 with at least one earner have retirement savings of less than one  times their annual income.

What almost Every 40 and 50-Year-Old Corporate Executive has Missed

 If you graduated from a good school and chose a corporate career you made a couple of implicit long-term decisions.  First, you bet on the notion that hard work and dedication would result in a long tenure of employment and career progression.  Second, you bet your skill set, education, and training would equip you for the likely changes that could be foreseen.  Corporations saw the world in the same way and eagerly made the offer of better pay and career advancement for well-educated and capable applicants.

The problem is the speed of change in the 80’s and 90’s accelerated.  Companies are under new global pressures and they can’t hold up their end of the deal.  They cannot offer steady career and compensation advancement.  They also can’t offer a long tenure of employment.

What they— and the 40 and 50-year-old corporate executives— missed was a change in what would be rewarded in today’s economy.  Because of globalization, knowledge-based skills are devalued in a corporate setting.

University credentials are clearly less valuable. About 90 million people received college degrees from the beginning of time until the year 2000.  It took the next ten years to generate an additional forty million college graduates. At the same time the globe became much more connected and knowledge can now be easily tapped wherever it resides.

What most everyone missed is the rise of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs can tap the global knowledge pool through advanced communications. They can compete 1:1 with giant corporations.  Large corporate structures don’t intimidate them.  They can steal the margins from the lumbering corporate competitors.

With a laptop and Wi-Fi connection you can commercially compete with anyone on the globe.

Here’s The Retirement Fix

 If you love your job, keep it.  If you hate your job, keep it.  In both cases get busy to diversify your reliance on your income from your single corporate employer.

You can save your retirement plan by embracing the new economic paradigm.  Take advantage of your corporate executive skills and leverage them.  Corporate executives have a historical perspective younger entrepreneurs don’t have.  They have communication skills honed over many relevant interactions.  Perspective gives you judgment and communication fosters networking.  These are highly valuable skills not just knowledge.

With these advantages you can build something sustainable that you enjoy.  It’s possible to create a durable income stream that you control to fund your retirement.  You can create the retirement plan you want.  You have the ability to create your own retirement fix. The future can finally be in your control.

If you are running cash flow negative you need to take drastic measures now.  You need to make a plan and think outside the box.  You need to find mentors who have done what you are seeking to do and get counsel.  There is no need to recreate the wheel.  This has all been done before.

This is a difficult time to be a senior corporate executive.  The new reality is not a good one and the economy is late in an expansion.  Holding a job is tough and advancing is tougher.  This isn’t likely to change.

The retirement fix really is available. There is a path where you use your skill set to have the retirement you want. Start the process here.

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