Managing Your Career as an Asset

Last week I traveled to Wisconsin to present the Career Asset Management Model (CAM) with Mike Haubrich, the financial planner who developed it. Here’s what makes it unique:

  • Identifies your career as a valuable asset that needs to be as actively managed as an investment portfolio.
  • Integrates the Work+Life “Fit” process into the traditional financial planning model.
  • Creates a partnership between planners and career coaches which currently doesn’t exist.

The CAM model helps planners assist their clients in creatively and flexibly managing their career through critical work+life transitions as part of their overall financial strategy. The Work+Life “Fit” process is the tool within CAM that facilitates the creation, negotiation and implementation of a particular “fit” to suit a client’s current realities (See my interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 5/9/06).

Mike and I presented to the Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin’s Annual Financial Symposium, along with the two career coaches who are part of the first CAM case study team, Pauline Foster and Jane Schroeder, and to the Racine Estate Planning Council. This marked the official debut of the CAM model to the financial planning community, and it was very well received by both groups because of the following trends:

The world is a changin’

Bob Veres, the highly-regarded financial planning journalist and author of the e-newsletter, Inside Information, was our panel moderator and keynote speaker. He talked about the future of the financial planning field and the way in which planners will add-value to their clients in the coming years. Specifically, he believes the financial planning process, like so many other facets of our lives, is undergoing a revolution. And, for the first time in history, individuals can play a direct role in determining what the reality will look like. More and more, financial planners will be helping clients creatively and flexibly manage their careers as part of the overall financial planning conversation. But, they need new models, like CAM, to guide them.

Financial planners are already discussing careers with their clients

However, this is often in the context of “all or nothing,” retirement planning. The role of the Work+Life “Fit” process in the CAM model is to give planners a tactic to manage critical work+life transitions. It helps clients find their unique “fit” within the countless possibilities that exist beyond the all or nothing. The CAM partnership between planners and coaches, can also help people begin managing their career as an asset at a younger age, well before retirement.

We need a new word for retirement…because it’s not all or nothing.

It’s just one of many transitions—large and small–over the course of you career. The reality is that planners are seeing their clients in their late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s still wanting to work in some way, but not knowing how to do it, or what to do. This echoes a comment that I received in response to my 5/1/06 posting, “My Brief, Reluctant Dive into the Moms versus Work Debate.” I mentioned an article that connected the rise in the number of women over the age of 65 in the workforce to the financial necessity of work. This reader felt I’d missed an important fact:

Your comment about women over 65 needing to work– there’s a different feeling out there. I work because I love it! I have few family responsibilities now, and it’s simply fun. Retirement can be a bore, but my work has never been more exciting or richer. I think there’s a trend to older women working longer, simply for fun. And because it’s fun, they offer a of exciting ideas, based on years of experience. And — they keep young because of their interaction with young women such as you!

She is not alone. An article in the Sunday New York Times about people working in retirement expressed the same sentiment. Financial planners need new ways of thinking about and discussing the work+life options available to these clients outside of traditional retirement like the CAM model. But they also need a new word to describe this next phase because the word “retirement” connotes the traditional all or nothing model that doesn’t reflect this new reality. The audience last week offered some alternatives including “rewiring,” “restyling,” or “resourcing” to accurately describe this exciting time of professional growth and opportunity.

The positive reception of the CAM model this week was particularly exciting for me. When I started writing my book seven years ago I saw an application for Work+Life “Fit” in the retirement planning process. But, unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about the financial planning world. I struggled to make that link a reality, until I received a call from Mike who told me how he was successfully using my book as part of his financial planning practice. Mike then took it to the next level and created the CAM model based upon his work with clients, and that vision finally became reality. Very gratifying!

So where do we go from here? Mike is off to the National Financial Planning Conference in Dallas next week to present the model. I will keep you posted on its progress!