Hi there. My name is Lynn Toomey and I’m the founder of Her Retirement. Welcome to my podcast. Her Retirement is all about helping women get educated and get planning and get implementing, not only implementing a financial wellness plan, but a life plan, a life plan that incorporates purpose, vitality, connection, contribution, and of course, financial wellness. Her Retirement is also about coaching. It’s about helping you get to the point where you want to be, where you can be financially free and financially independent.
I actually woke up this morning, not intending to start my podcast today, although I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time. I had this brainstorm. I looked out the window and it was a beautiful day and I decided, “Today’s the day.” My brainstorm was that I didn’t want to do one of those typical podcasts where I sit at my desk with a big microphone in my uncomfy office chair, and just start talking.
What I decided was because I love the outdoors, I love to be active and I really want women to be active also, I decided to do my podcasts in a different format. I came up with the idea of my podcast to be talk and walk, help and wealth. Basically, what I plan to do is I plan to get outside and I plan to talk and walk and record all of my thoughts and ideas on financial wellness and on planning for retirement.
Hopefully, as you listen to the podcast, you will be encouraged to do the same thing. Rather than sitting and listening, get up, get active, go for a walk, go for a bike ride, on your stationary bike of course. Do something while you’re listening to me talking and walking. You’ll have to deal with a little background noise, but that’s okay. What I’ve decided to do with this podcast is to talk about my journey to and through retirement.
I’ll tell you a little bit about myself, so you know my starting point, a little bit about where I’ve been and where I’d like to go. I’m hoping that this podcast will help women younger than me, maybe older than me, on their journeys to and through retirement. My hope is that we can do this journey together. I’m learning, I’m discovering, I’m researching. I’m getting more confident. I’m curious. I’m open-minded. These are all the things that I would like for you to be, as you embark on this journey or continue on your journey, wherever your starting point is.
A little bit about me. I’m 55 years old, and sometimes I feel like I’m just getting started. I read a lot about people that are getting ready to retire around my age and that seems like a very strange concept to me, even though my company is called Her Retirement. For me, the company is about preparing, better preparing for retirement. You basically should start that as soon as you start working.
Although my coaching and education programs focus on those later years as you approach retirement, let’s say 10 years from when you plan to retire, really a lot of the concepts that I talk about should be embraced by women who are just starting their careers. So that when they are ready for that financial freedom date, that date when they’re ready to retire from their full-time responsibilities of work or career, they can choose when they want to do that, gives them more options so you don’t have to work until you’re too tired to work and ready to give up.
That’s really the concept behind Her Retirement. What I’m going to be doing is a lot of the things that I’m researching and uncovering about proper retirement planning and proper preparation, I’m actually the guinea pig. I’m trying these things for myself, because to be honest, I started out really, really well. I started out very strong. I made some really good decisions and I was on my path to really being able to choose my financial freedom date.
But, here I am at 55 and I’m still working, but I don’t think I’d rather be doing anything else. I can’t imagine retiring and not working now. I can’t imagine not using my mind and my creativity and my problem-solving skills to be building a company. It’s just who I am and what I love to do. For me, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that I’m not ready to retire financially at 55. It’s not a bad thing if you aren’t ready for that either, financially or mentally. Everyone’s path is different.
One of the things you can do is if you’re younger and you’re listening to this, if you start younger, you have more options. Rather than it being forced to work until you’re 70, it can be a choice to work. It can be a choice to start a business in your later years. I think financial strength, financial independence just gives you more choices, and that’s what I hope for everyone, regardless of when you start your journey.
Back to my story, like I said, I started young. I had a mother who … I still have a mother, who still influences me every day, but she told me time and time again to make sure I got an education so that I could establish a really good career. I knew that that meant financial stability as well. Well, I did that, but somewhere along the way, I kind of lost my way. It wasn’t intentional. It just happened that I met someone. I got laid off from a job. I became pregnant with twins, kind of all at the same time, and I wanted to make different choices for myself.
I wanted to be the stay-at-home mom. I wanted to raise my twin girls the way that I wasn’t able to raise my older son. I didn’t want to leave them at daycare while I traveled all over the world and made that big salary. I made the conscious choice to stay home with them, but I knew that I couldn’t just stay home and do nothing. One, because my mind wouldn’t let me do that. Two, I knew financially that didn’t make sense. I invested in a business that I could own and run on my own terms, what I call a lifestyle business.
While it was tremendously fulfilling and it still exists some 18 years later, it didn’t give me the financial fulfillment that I needed to fund my life and to save for retirement. While I don’t regret it, I don’t regret having twins, I don’t regret meeting their father, I did put a lot of trust in their father. As it turned out, I ended up divorced and I ended up trusting perhaps the wrong person, at least with my financial situation. I became dependent on some promises that he made and he didn’t fulfill on those promises.
In essence, I was alone and dependent upon myself. It was really impossible to raise three children on a struggling lifestyle business, but I pushed through and eventually I gave up that full-time business and I went back to corporate America where I knew that I could make a six-figure income and reestablish some financial stability. That gap, however, that time gap cost me a lot in terms of my retirement savings and it’s affected my financial independence or my financial freedom date.
I can’t retire right now at 55, but like I said, the good news is I wouldn’t want to. I’m building a business that I love that I’m super passionate about. I’m going to be helping women with their retirement journeys and I’m going to be doing it with them. They’re going to be learning as I learn. They’re going to be discovering as I discover. I do have a little bit of a jump start. I’ve been in this industry for about seven years, learning, studying, and becoming pretty well-informed on financial wellness topics.
I feel that I can teach and lead while I walk beside the people I coach and the people I educate. I’m hoping to implement all of the ideas and I’ve already started implementing the ideas that I’ve come across from some of the top researchers in the retirement planning space in the world. I follow them. I read them and I practice what they preach and I’ve had great success so far.
If you’re a little behind me in your journey, I can definitely share some great ideas with you, but I hope that you’ll be inspired by my sharing my personal story as I move forward, as I make some mistakes. We’re all human. I’m going to try to help you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made in the past, but going forward, yeah, there may be some missteps. I may make some wrong choices. There’s only so many things we can control as we go through this life and only so many things that we can try to get right.
One of the most important things as we do this, is to understand the risks that we face, financially and in our lives. I think this is one of the most important concepts that I want everyone to understand, is that it’s critical to identify the risks that you may face and be prepared for those risks. Another way to look at it is, life’s emergencies, be prepared for those things that can get in your way and can prevent you from having that financial freedom date.
In another podcast, I will talk about all of those risks. A lot of them, most of them, you can’t control, but you can mitigate them and you can be prepared for them. One of the most important what-ifs, I like to call them, versus risks, is making sure you have that emergency fund. I know COVID was a huge what-if. Who knew that this could happen? But who knew that it could impact us so significantly?
Again, it wasn’t something we could control, but if you had an emergency savings and let’s say you got laid off, you’re in good shape because you had that emergency savings. One of the most important concepts from a financial wellness perspective, and I think what Dave Ramsey refers to as baby steps, is to make sure you have that emergency fund and to make sure you’re paying down your debt to as little as possible. Those are two core tenets of a strong financial foundation.
It’s something I’ve worked hard at the last six years and I think I’m in good shape for that. Luckily, from my corporate career, when I was younger, I was smart enough to stash away some money in my 401(k). I knew at the very least I should do that. I may not have known what funds to allocate my 401(k) to, which many of us don’t, we just kind of, “Oh, these stocks, these look good.” You take a guess, which is pretty irresponsible I must say, but at least I put money away.
At 55, I’m not starting from scratch. I’m also the co-owner of a business. It’s a financial advisory practice. I’m a silent shareholder. It’s called Your Retirement Advisor. My significant other or life partner is my partner. He’s actually been a financial advisor for 30 some odd years, and when I met him about eight years ago, he needed some help. He needed a marketing person and an operations person, and that’s my background. I spent 25 plus years in high-tech marketing, launching products and companies.
Fortunately, we met at the right time. I needed some financial help and assistance and he needed some marketing and operational help. We decided to join forces with our expertise in our areas and we’ve been building Your Retirement Advisor for about seven years. While today I’m not very active in that business, I’m what’s called a silent partner, I am rooting him on from the sidelines and giving him some strategic advice.
I bring up Your Retirement Advisor because it is an important part of my life. It is an important part of my future. While I chose not to go back to corporate America, when I left seven years ago, I did get involved and did start another business with my significant other. For me, that part of the business is a part of my future. We hope to sell it someday and we hope to fund our retirement, which brings me to another point. As a small business owner, it’s really, really important to understand the value of your company.
Many, many small business owners have never done a business valuation, yet, they’re counting on the value of their business to fund their retirement. First thing you need to do if you own a small business, and you’re counting on it as your retirement fund, is to find out what it’s worth today and what it might be worth at retirement. Many small business owners overestimate the value of their companies and therefore they’re left with not as much money in retirement as they had hoped.
You also obviously need to make sure it’s a sellable business. That’s one of the things I’m working on getting a handle on right now, is, what exactly will this business that I am a shareholder in, be worth to me for my retirement when it is sold? I’m also obviously starting another business, Her Retirement, and yeah, truth be told, it’s not a nonprofit business. I’m going to be offering my coaching services and my educational services.
Yes, someday I hope to either sell it to my children or sell it to someone else who’s equally passionate about helping women plan a better retirement. I’ve chosen the small business route. Some people choose to stay in corporate America and continue to fund their 401(k)s and to have all those wonderful benefits of corporate life. Whatever you choose is it’s really, really important to understand not only those risks, but the other most important thing is to understand how much you’ll have and what you’ll need in retirement. Then to understand your gaps.
Understanding your gaps prior to retirement is so important. It’s what I’ve been really focusing on lately, is making sure I understand my gaps and what I’m going to do to fill those gaps before I make the decision on my financial freedom date, before I decide, “Okay. I’m done working, I’m done with my businesses, I’m ready to sell. I’m ready to go do something else.” Before you make that decision, you need to decide if you’re ready financially.
The second most important thing in preparing for retirement is making sure you’re ready mentally, right? That’s a whole nother podcast that I’ll get into, probably several podcasts on that topic, because you’re going to have over 2000 hours of time in retirement to fill time that you spent taking care of your children, your family, your friends, your relatives, your business, your career, whatever it is. However you spent those hours, 2000 of them, you’ll need to fill in retirement. It’s really, really critical to make sure you know how you’re going to fill that time.
I think I’m getting to the end of my walk today. I really appreciate you all listening in. I know I kind of went off on a few different tangents, a few different areas of concern with retirement, including risks and being prepared and understanding your gaps. I’m going to close this podcast out for today, and I hope you join me on a future walk and talk as I share my journey to and through retirement. I hope to help you feel inspired and motivated and supported as you journey to and through retirement.
My biggest, biggest hope and passion is that women across the United States, and even the world, can know more and have more. That’s my mission, to help you know more and have more, now and in retirement, because I believe knowledge is power. I want this podcast to be a place where you can go to get knowledge, true research-backed knowledge. Not the knowledge that’s acquired from talking to your friend, to listening to some of those big industry companies, insurance companies, investment companies that have tons of marketing dollars and use it to put fodder and misinformation out there.
What I want you to do is make sure you are open-minded and willing to understand what the researchers, what the top academics who are following this space, have to say about retirement. That’s the information I’m going to share with you. Along the way, I’m also going to provide you some tips and ideas and some connections to some really great services that you need to consider as you prepare for retirement.
There’s lots of amazing work being done by people, really smart people that can help you retire with more. That’s my goal, and I’m super excited to be on this journey and I welcome you to join me on this journey. Let’s get walking, let’s get talking. Let’s know more and have more. Have an awesome day.