I was talking with a friend yesterday who told me that she had lunch with several women in their late 50s and early 60s who were discussing their “Dream Jobs.” I couldn’t believe it. Most women would be planning for retirement, but instead, these ladies were dreaming about their perfect job.

Why the mindset shift? I believe it’s because many women have spent their lives living someone else’s dream. By midlife, the kids have probably left home and the spouse may be approaching retirement and looking to slow down. Many women are finding this to be the ideal time to explore, reinvent, and try something totally new.

Portrait of an senior female manager sitting in the office.

Studies show that today’s retirees are living longer – into their 80s and 90s, so many are planning to delay retirement. Most because they need to, but many because they want to. At 50 and 60, you could be looking at the need to generate income for another 30, 40, or even 50 years.

Although continuing to work can be stressful, it turns out the longer you do it, the longer you may live. According to a new study by Oregon State University which found working past 65 can add years to your life — while retiring early could put you at an increased risk of dying younger. In fact, working just one extra year – retiring at 66 vs. 65 increases life expectancy by 11%.

Delaying retirement can be good for both your pocket book and your health.

  • Delaying retirement keeps you engaged and active.
  • Delaying retirement allows women to supplement their pensions, Social Security, and savings.


The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) survey found that 57% of near-retirees that were polled had less than $25,000 in savings.

Here’s the good news. Whether you are delaying retirement, so you can save more or to supplement your savings, pensions, and Social Security, earning just $10,000 per year of additional income is equivalent to having $250,000 invested that is generating a 4% withdrawal rate.

So look at it this way – earning $40,000 would be the equivalent to having $1 million in the bank generating $40,000 (at a 4% withdrawal rate).

Many women I meet are being called to step into greatness like no time before. Be aware that reinventing yourself and taking the LEAP at midlife can also create self-doubt, a sense overwhelm or anxiety because even though your soul may be calling you to soar, your ego is trying to protect and keep you safe. I’m referring to that little voice in your head.

In addition, there may be external voices as well. Our loved ones might also be telling us to relax, slow down, or even asking us, “What are you thinking?” This can be especially stressful, if you are with a partner who is looking to slow down to a life of leisure, right as you are gearing up to follow your passion.

So if you are feeling the urge to LEAP into something new at midlife and feeling scared, then realize that you don’t need to do this on your own. There are many others on the same journey as you. Be sure to reach out and surround yourself with others who are on the same path through their books, their programs, and communities.

You can hear from those who have done it themselves by looking through our radio shows at Smart Women Talk Radio. I always ask our guests to share how they started out and what their journey was like.

  • Like our guest, Dr. Susan Sklar, a Harvard-trained MD who reinvented herself to become an anti-aging doctor and is now sharing cutting edge research and treatment to heal Alzheimer’s disease and dementia from the source. She is active, sharp, and in perfect health. I can easily see her working into her 80s.
  • Or like Chris Crowley who decided to write a book about self-care and exercising regularly into your 80s and 90s. The book is called Younger Next Year, and he wrote it with his MD while testing out his program. Today, Chris is in his 80s, and he is still riding his bike, hiking, and enjoying an active speaking career with great health.

The key is reinventing the way you work, the work you do, and surrounding yourself with a team so you can have flexibility to enjoy life, travel, and take care of yourself for many years to come.

There are three very simple secrets that make this whole process easier so you can go to the next level in life, aligned in your true purpose:

  1. Find a mentor or a guide who has been where you want to go and follow them.  It takes 10 years or 10,000 hours to become an expert in your field, so shorten this journey with a guide.  This could be a program, or even a book.
  2. Identify your tribe and surround yourself with people who love and support you and who will hold you accountable to your dream.  Don’t do it alone. 
  3. Never ever give up. So often we give up just before we reach success. Often this is because of limiting beliefs or because we don’t have the tools to keep us inspired and able to finish what we start.

The secret is never losing faith and trusting the process.  Once you do, the magic begins to happen and life begins to flow.

Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Retirement Coach, founder of the Smart Women Companies, and the host Smart Women Talk Radio with over a million subscribers.  For over 30 years, Katana has shown women how to take charge of their life and finances and believes it’s never too early to plan for expected and unexpected events like retirement, encore careers, moving abroad, or preparing for long-term care.  She has written several books, created a financial literacy course, and is a popular speaker. Katana has been honored by NAWBO as one of Detroit’s Top 10 Business Women, receiving the Breakthrough Award. To download her new ebook, The Five Biggest Money Mistakes Women Make and How to Fix Them, visit www.katanaabbott.com