Successfully balancing career fulfillment with long-term financial goals
Client Challenge: Reaching a career crossroads and the need to make decisions that reconciled career goals and job fulfillment with family financial and lifestyle goals.
The KHC Approach
1. Clarify Goals
2. Build a Plan
3. Take action
Jennifer, a corporate vice president in her early 40s, was well into a successful career when she reached a crossroad.
Her company was struggling, and personally she had for some time been feeling restless in her job. In addition to a growing sense that she had reached a "dead-end" in the company, Jennifer was beginning to re-evaluate her career as a whole. She wondered if she might find more job satisfaction and fulfillment by leaving the corporate world altogether and finding something more altruistic, perhaps in the non-profit sector.
Jennifer knew that stepping off the corporate track and making this type of change would possibly affect not only her earnings potential, but also her longer-term employment opportunities. Additionally, the decisions she faced were not just career-impacting, but lifestyle-impacting as well. Jennifer was a highly compensated professional, the sole breadwinner of the family. Her husband stayed home to care for their three school-aged children. Any changes she made would have a ripple effect on everyone in the family.
Jennifer called on the team at KHC to help her work through her professional and financial goals, and explore opportunities that made sense for her family. Led by KHC principal and wealth manager Lucas Bucl, CFP®, the team approached Jennifer's situation with KHC's three-pronged strategic process:
- Clarify goals
- Build a plan
- Take action
Clarifying Goals: To crystallize both her career and personal goals, Jennifer began considering several key concerns:
- What level of compensation did she need to maintain the family's existing lifestyle and meet their savings requirements to fund longer-term goals such as education for the kids, eventual financial independence, charitable giving and travel?
- What would be the financial and career impact of a move from a corporate position to the non-profit sector?
- What sacrifices, if any, were they willing to make if a reduction in compensation occurred as a result of Jennifer's job change?
- Finally, was she willing to relocate for the right position?
Jennifer and her husband, Craig worked closely with Bucl and the team to determine the answers to these questions. The answer to one of the most pressing -- that of relocation -- was that the family would move for the right job. With these answers, clarifying goals became simpler.
Building the Plan: With more clarity around goals, the team used a series of financial analysis exercises to help Jennifer evaluate the trade-offs necessary to take lower compensation for a more rewarding position while still maintaining the family's lifestyle and meeting their other objectives. From there, they collectively determined the minimum salary she could make and still accomplish the family's goals.
Armed with this clarified scenario and her "must-haves" in terms of compensation, Jennifer began to explore her employment options. Joni Lindquist, KHC principal and career coach, guided her through the process of working with recruiters, enhancing her résumé and social media presence, and eventually targeting industries and companies to which Jennifer could successfully transfer her skills. Lindquist continued to offer advice for the job interview process and pointers for salary negotiations.
Taking Action: Ultimately, Jennifer decided to stay in the corporate world, and the family relocated to Dallas for a job that fit her career criteria and offered an opportunity to start fresh. Once the decision was made, the KHC financial planning team helped Jennifer and Craig complete detailed cash flow planning for the transition to Dallas. This helped the couple plan for unusual costs and understand what cash flow would look like after the move. The KHC advisers helped the family through the process of buying a house, enrolling their children in private school (a priority for Craig and Jennifer), and managing the transition to a new position in a new city. The team also helped Jennifer and Craig revise their long-term financial planning model, outlining the savings level necessary to meet their various objectives.
With KHC's help, Jennifer and Craig and their children are now successfully settled in Dallas. They are on target with their current spending levels and savings goals. And finally, Jennifer is re-energized with and happy about her career transition and her future prospects.
Disclaimer: The above does not represent an actual client’s experience but rather is meant to provide an example of the firm’s process and methodology.