My Next Chapter

After two years of work, Mary Donahue and I finished writing our second book together.  “Your Next Chapter: A Woman’s Guide to a Successful Retirement” will be published early this year. When we wrote this book, neither of us were retired, although we both were past what most would consider to be the traditional retirement age. In this book, we followed the same format we used in our last book, “On Your Own: a Widow’s Guide to Emotional and Financial Well-being”. We provide advice for women who are facing retirement so they can deal with the many financial decisions they need to make. In addition, we explore the emotional implications of moving into a new phase in their lives. In many cases, this means leaving a career and the identity you have created for yourself. Adjusting to this new chapter is one men have faced for years. For women it is relatively new—how to find purpose in the later years of your life. We weave the stories of four women into the book, following each of them as they go through the various stages of preparing to retire, retiring, and adjusting to retirement.

I think it is appropriate that we have written this book at this stage in our lives. Mary (a psychologist) and I both have the good fortune to be in professions where we could move towards retirement gradually at our own pace. During the past few years, I have moved my clients over to my four partners. I am fortunate indeed to have such a strong group of successors who have worked with me for many years and are imbued with the corporate culture. Effective the end of 2019, I became Chairman Emeritus and am no longer involved in the day to day management.

Some have asked me how I will fill my time. Never fear! My husband and I have established residency in downtown Sarasota, Florida. This city is full of good restaurants and culture. It is also the seat of many philanthropic organizations. I have joined the Foundation Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota that is one of the preeminent clubs in the country. I have also become Vice President of the International Women’s Forum Gulf Coast Board, which is part of an international group of accomplished women that helps younger women break through the glass ceiling. In addition, I continue to serve on the national board of the Foundation for Financial Planning, which brings together pro bono financial planners with the underserved to help them gain control of their financial lives. And of course, Mary and I will be busy promoting our book.

So as I start this next chapter in my life, I want to thank all of our clients for their loyalty and friendship over the past 37 years and allowing me to be part of their lives. When I started the firm with five employees, I didn’t realize that we were pioneers in this brand new profession of financial planning, but I had high hopes of building a preeminent nationally recognized financial planning firm. With the help of my partners and our strong support staff as well as our clients, I think we have been successful building a firm which will endure for many years to come—continuing to help individuals achieve their lifetime goals. So stay tuned for tales of my next chapter as it evolves!

By Alexandra Armstrong, CFP®, CRPC®