What do we mean by “enjoying” retirement?

You Only Live OnceI am really excited today to introduce you to Leisa Peterson. She has some terrific credentials – Leisa is a Certified Financial Planner, with a 25 year career in financial services. She created a company called WealthClinic that focuses on helping people transform their relationship with money so that they live with greater freedom, more peace of mind and more fulfillments.

Leisa has interviewed me twice. First for a book, “The Retiree Next door, Financial Professionals Reveal Their Retirement Secrets”. Second for The Art of Mindful Wealth Clinic she was sponsoring. Leisa is refreshingly different.

I define successful retirement as, “Having enough money to last the rest of your life, without having to constantly worry about money.” Most every interview I do is about the accumulation and retention of money. Leisa helped me understand that many extremely wealthy people are unhappy, yet many with modest means are truly happily enjoying their golden years. We are going to elaborate on that today.

I want to thank Leisa for carving out some time out of her schedule and allowing me to turn the tables and interview her.

DENNIS: Leisa, you had a great career as a Certified Financial Planner yet you gave up your career to focus more on the human side of the issue. You must have seen some needs that were not being addressed. Why did you totally change directions in your career?

LEISA:  Many times over my career I witnessed what I now call mindlessness when it comes to money – and people never realized it. I don’t mean just as it pertains to investing and taking care of it, but also when it comes to the behaviors and habits connected with it.

One example of this is the many times people would sit down to work with me as a financial advisor and I could feel how a part of their whole entire being ‘left the room’; I was only communicating with part of the person. This may sound strange but I have very intuitive skills from when I was a young child. I could feel what was happening emotionally for the people I worked with. When I helped people with their money, I could feel this absence arise. It made me sad that people were limiting their understanding and enjoyment of life in connection with their money relationship.

DENNIS: Prior to officially starting the interview we discussed several topics which are important to you. Can you give me the top three from a priority standpoint and then we can address them individually?


1. All joy and happiness reside in the present moment. In the present moment we are most often not suffering when it comes to money. It’s when we think about our past regrets or about the future when it comes to money that we often end up suffering. The past is gone and we have no idea what the future will really hold for us.

2. It’s very important for people to know their income and spending history when it comes to money. I teach some very unique and practical ways to think about budgeting that inspires people to live more fuller lives and see greater potential than they ever thought possible. It all starts by knowing how much is coming in and how much is going out – so you can ask yourself insightful questions and know if you are really getting the value exchange for the time spent earning that money among other things.

3. I always recommend having a plan for the future. Once you put the plan in place and take action, let go of expectations of what the outcome will be. We suffer a great deal when things don’t go as planned. It amounts to arguing with reality – which is a waste of time and life. Instead, learn how to love what is, even if it isn’t perfect – and open your eyes to a new world around you as a result.

Realistically it is taking financial and emotional charge for the rest of your life. Who came up with the idea that you should not be personally responsible for your financial and emotional well being?

Who says you need to stop working and earning income at 65? Maybe you are better off changing careers and having some fun.

And finally, “Rewrite your life program.” If you are 65, statistically you will live for 20 more years and with medical advancements, perhaps some more. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something you really want to do. People are skydiving in their 90’s. If you want to go back to college, do it. If you want to follow your dream and paint, do it. You just need to get started.

DENNIS: Wow, each of those could make an article. Let’s start with the first one. I’m a believer that using a financial expert is like going to the doctor for an annual checkup. While we may delegate some of the responsibility for looking after our nest egg, we should never abdicate that responsibility. Is that what you are talking about? If so, what are some ways you have helped clients be more comfortable understanding their role in today’s financial world?

LEISA: It all starts with what is happening inside of us – knowing ourselves well and understanding what we are worrying about and why. Understanding why we don’t take risks and why. Understanding what we most want from life and why.

I help people step back and examine their life to see what they really want and then take steps to bring that into reality – also to let go of what is causing you pain or challenges. It’s easier said than done, but I help people shift inside before focusing on the outside world of money, which drastically changes when we know ourselves better.

DENNIS: The second point you made was about continuing to work. What can you tell us about encore careers and how your clients have fared?

LEISA:  I know most people end up going into careers for the income and not for their passions. Of course you have to be careful when following a passion to make sure there is a viable way to earn money. In this world you can earn money, and actually lots of it, in a WIDE variety of ways. It is only your beliefs that hold you back – it isn’t what you choose to do. If you think you cannot earn money following your passion, you are right.

My clients come to me when they are entering chapter two of their life; they are ready for change and want to discover a greater way to live. Don’t confuse that with retirement, that is only one example. They may have gone through a divorce, lost their job or become empty nesters. Chapter two is a mind set, not a chronological age.

It may mean a career change but it also may mean getting out of debt so that they can enjoy what they are doing now more. People enjoy stepping into a new life that includes more freedom and that is what I am often focused on helping them to bring into reality. We help them understand the choices and then achieve what is realistically best for them financially and emotionally.

DENNIS: I saved my favorite one for last.

One observation I made at our 50th high school class reunion was this. I have classmates that are whitewater rafting, going on safaris, taking exotic trips with grandchildren, and a lot of other cool stuff in between. I also have classmates who dressed, looked and acted like our grandparents did when they were 68 years old. To me it was one group had reprogrammed their future while others were living the life others expected of them.

My wife Jo and I moved from Florida to Arizona just before my 75th birthday. I had friends ask me if “I was crazy” and one remarked, “At your age, you are doing what?” We resented that. What the heck does age have to do with it? We packed and unpacked over 300 moving cartons. Sure it took a bit longer than it would have if we were in our 30’s, but so what? In your work in helping clients formulate their dreams and making them come true, can you pass along any tips for how to get that done?

LEISA: Write down your dreams – and include all areas of your life – not just something like travel. Write down what you want for your health, for your relationships, for your business, for your money, for fun, whatever makes you happy, but write it all down and let it speak to you – let this process reveal what you are ready to bring into reality and why. This is the beginning of the most amazing journey of your life!

DENNIS: Wow! Powerful, but realistic at the same time. Leisa, thanks again for taking the time today, I know our readers appreciate it.

LEISA: My pleasure, thank you.

If any reader wants to contact Leisa, please go to her website wealthclinic.com. I urge you to take advantage of her free e-book, “5 Simple Steps to Creating Mindful Wealth”.

Leisa’s message really hit home with me. We only get one trip in this event called life. Many times I said, “I’m racing to beat the heart attack”. I was concerned about accumulation of capital and felt I was too busy working to take the time to be happy. Happiness would come later, when I had the money in the bank. Leisa helps people understand those are not two mutually exclusive events, they can be done at the same time.

On the Lighter Side

This week’s college football “Golden Patsy” award goes to #3 ranked TCU who beat Steven F. Austin 70-7. I love it when the “patsy” surprises the overwhelming favorite. #6 ranked Auburn had to go into overtime to beat Jacksonville State 27-20. Perhaps that’s where the term “sentimental favorite” came from.

This week was Marine Corps week in the Phoenix area. They put on quite a show. I never get tired of seeing the Marine Band and silent drill team perform. A lot of people don’t realize that the famous John Phillip Sousa was the director of the Marine Corps Band in the late 1800’s. Anyone who has ever served in the military is very familiar with his marches; particularly The Stars and Stripes Forever. This Sousa website is pretty cool. I did not know he composed 136 marches.

And finally…

In line with this weeks guest, I decided to share some cool sayings about “life’s truths”, courtesy of good friend Dennis A.

  • Be someone that makes you happy.
  • You know why it’s HARD to be happy? It’s because we refuse to LET GO of things that make us sad.
  • Never lose hope. You never know what tomorrow might bring.
  • “What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today”, squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day”, said Pooh.

And my personal favorite

  • Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90 – time is a concept that humans created.

Until next time…

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