This post is was originally published on Financial Mentor

Click here to download the transcript of Tess’ best tips on finding true happiness and fulfillment!


How will you define yourself after you retire?

Who are you without your career?

The unfortunate truth is most people attach their self-definition to their professional life.

This results in unexpected emotional difficulty when you achieve financial independence or retire early.

You’re not alone in this mistake. I did the exact same thing. It’s a common problem.

I incorrectly believed retiring early meant living the “pro-leisure circuit” with endless vacations and eternal bliss – no worries in the world.

I wish life was that easy, but that’s not how it works.

Tess Vigeland is the author of Leap and former host of NPR’s Marketplace Money. She lived her dream career for 20+ years, never giving thought to what might be next because she never expected to quit.

When it came time to take the leap she was completely unprepared.

Tess and I both learned the hard way what stands on the other side of career and share our research and experience so you don’t make the same mistake. It doesn’t have to be a problem as long as you know what to expect and how to prepare for it.

In this interview we give you the inside scoop from direct experience so you can avoid the obvious potholes we stepped into.

I’ve coached many of my clients through the process of financial independence, and I went through it myself. Figuring out who you are and what you stand for when your career isn’t in the picture is key to your fulfillment, and the sooner you do it the happier you’ll be.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How to deal with your fear of risk and uncertainty following career change.
  • How to define yourself without a career.
  • What will be your new success metric, and why does it matter?
  • The three common signs that tell you when it’s time to leave your job or make a change.
  • Why your career must honor your values, and what happens when it doesn’t.
  • The insidiously dangerous role of self-doubt when your career ends, and how to stop it.
  • How to find balance when you’re personally identified with your work.
  • How Tess coped with losing her identity as a celebrity public figure.
  • The critically important role community plays in your life, and how to find it after financial independence.
  • How career gives you a sense of purpose, and where to find that purpose after you achieve financial independence.
  • How to overcome the challenge of creating your life from a blank canvas.
  • The key differences that separate financial independence from simply making a career change
  • The one mistake you must avoid after your leap.
  • What the “adjacent other” means for your career.
  • Several case studies, including how one woman left corporate America and reinvented her career.
  • How to deal with the expected fallout from family and friends.
  • The importance of building your tribe of friends that understand and support leading an unconventional life.
  • …and much more

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Session Include:

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Post-career life - and similarly, achieving financial independence - is not what you expect. The idea that it's an endless vacation in permanent bliss is a myth. Many early retirees face a rude awakening without a career that gives purpose and defines your identity. Tess Vigeland and I discuss how to navigate this challenging time.

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