Five Ways to Apply A “Lean In” Philosophy to Retirement

Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead has been a hot topic since its release in March 2013 for its message of empowering women in their careers and personal lives.

Kim Gaxiola, CFP, principal and founder of TechGirl Financial in San Jose, focuses her practice on women in the technology sectors. She first heard Sheryl use the term “Lean In,” on a YouTube video of a commencement speech she did for Barnard in May 2011.

"Her speech grabbed me as if she had popped out of my computer monitor and said, 'Hey you Kim, you better listen up.'" Gaxiola said. "This book is the first I’ve read from a woman almost the same exact age as me. So much of what she said and felt in the book matched my own feelings and upbringing."

Gaxiola has produced a series of videos introducing her 5 phases of "leaning in" to retirement and posted them on her website.

Tips Include (Click the links in bold to read more and watch the brief video for each tip):

1. Phase In retirement. There are many people who can’t retire with the same comfortable standard of living they are accustomed to living during their working years. For those people, the phase in retirement option is a good alternative.  Phasing in retirement is a way of gradually pulling back your work hours, earnings, and savings in your 60s, so you don’t have to start pulling from your retirement savings accounts until you are closer to age 70. 

2. Lean in to work during your most productive years.  There are two important parts to leaning in your 50s.  1. This is your time to work hard and make yourself indispensable so that you will have more options to pull back in your 60s.  2. Save aggressively during your early- to late-50s because these typically are your best paying years of your career.  By your mid 50s you should be approaching empty nest syndrome and can afford more time to dedicate to work. 

3. Plan your retirement goals.  Understand how much money you can retire and live on for the remainder of your life comfortably–without running out of money.  (Admit it, this is the biggest fear pre- and post-retirees have).  Take time on this effort.  You need to plan for what’s expected and what is unexpected.  If you do not have the inclination to do it yourself, seek help.  This is an extremely important step to get right.  

4. Consider an exit strategy. You’re indispensable now, create an exit strategy. What next? Once you’ve made yourself indispensable, create your exit strategy – you just may be shocked at how willing your manager is to have you stay on–on your terms.

5. Name your terms and ease your way into retirement! As you pull away hours worked, you can supplement the money not earned by saving less in your retirement plans.  Practice retirement and get an idea of how you want to live your life for the rest of it.  When you reach full retirement age for Social Security you may pull back more hours and supplement income with Social Security.  

Gaxiola has spoken to numerous groups. She serves as the network coordinator for the Silicon Valley WITI (Women In Technology International) regional network.

Gaxiola is available to discuss "Leaning In To Retirement" as well as other strategies for women in the tech industry. Contact Alex Greenwood at 913.907.4426 or for more information.


Main Website

Kim's Blog

Lean In to Retirement

About Gaxiola Financial Group

Gaxiola Financial Group began in 2004 when Kim and her husband Victor Gaxiola started their own practice at A.G. Edwards. After multiple merges in 2008 and 2009 and undergoing many name changes from A.G. Edwards to Wachovia Securities, and finally Wells Fargo Advisors, GFG went independent in 2010 to re-align their practice with what mattered most to them, the clients’ needs. Gaxiola Financial Group serves individual clients managing their portfolios, corporate retirement plan benefits such as 401(k)s and profit sharing plans, and provides financial workshops to professional associations, and worksites.