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Today’s retirement-age attorneys are healthier and more energized than any previous generation. Many are eager to work and stay relevant beyond the traditional age of retirement. They also want to make additional money to fund their retirement whether they envision relaxing, traveling or exploring a second career.

This still vital generation doesn’t want to reenact grim historical stereotypes: the hardworking, older attorney who “dies at his desk,” the aging attorney who is mentally retired but physically present, and in larger firms, the attorney who is forced out due to archaic retirement rules.

Due to longer life spans, contemporary notions of retirement are rapidly changing — even the word “retirement” is being retired in favor of words like transition or evolution. To support attorneys in taking a proactive interest in designing their futures, we periodically hold a workshop entitled “Targeting Your Exit Strategy,” geared for small firm and solo practitioners. In the workshop, the attorneys spoke of their careers as “morphing” into something different, or “going to the next stage.”

No matter what their individual situation, almost no one wanted to close the doors on their professional careers and just walk away. They wanted new opportunities and innovative arrangements that allowed them to ratchet down their responsibilities while remaining in the game.

To begin the process of determining your future you must first assess the state of your health. If you are healthy your options are much broader and chances are good that your retirement will be longer. This is both good and bad, because your next task is to assess your financial situation: can you afford 25 to 30 years of retirement? No longer are working men and women retiring at 65 and living 10 or 15 years.

According to most financial advisors, people need at least three-quarters of their pre-retirement income to support themselves after the transition—if they plan to downsize somewhat. Obviously, the more people downsize their lifestyle, the less expensive it is.

Next to the state of your health and the health of your finances, whether or not you want to continue working is the next most important piece of the retirement puzzle. Once you determine your personal retirement age – one not dictated by anyone but you — you’ll have the timeline for your exit strategy and can begin to make the appropriate plans. For help in planning your transition, make time to attend our next “Exit Strategy Workshop” or hire an Atticus® Practice Advisor to walk you through the process. It actually takes a lot of hard work to retire – and do it right.

Mark Powers & Shawn McNalis

Mark Powers, President of Atticus, has been coaching attorneys for nearly thirty years. He is the founder and developer of the first personalized training program dedicated to teaching attorneys the lasting skills and habits necessary for practice development. These skills include strategic planning, client development, customer service, prioritization, time blocking, managing interruptions, financial management, staffing, and delegation… [read more]

Shawn McNalis, Atticus Curriculum Director and Practice Advisor Trainer, is a former Imagineer with the Walt Disney Company and credits her 15-year career with Disney for her creative, collaborative approach to advising attorneys. In partnership with Mark Powers for 20 years, Shawn is a senior practice advisor, director of curriculum, and a trainer for Atticus… [read more]

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