07/25/2016 09:44 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Interview With Jean Chatzky About Your Best Age Is Now For HerMoney Podcast.


Jean: First, let's talk about how our midlife realities are different from our mother's? What about where our finances are concerned?

Dr. Robi: Our midlife realities are quite different from our mother's midlife. First of all, we're living longer, so there is an increased desire to live younger.
Because we're living younger it's allowing us all to live in a more hopeful and productive way.

Our times lines are not as predictable either. There are women who are going to be starting families in the mid to late 40s and women who are grandparents at this age. We are no longer following one type of road or timeline into adulthood.

We have many years ahead of us, and are living longer than ever before, so we need to learn how to break free of these arbitrary and culturally imposed limitations.

We're feeling far better at midlife than we ever imagined we would and also feel that we are hitting this developmental milestone later and later in life.

As far as our finances are concerned, today's midlife woman knows being knowledgeable about finances is a must. The idea of looking to retirement as early as our parents did, is not as possible for most people now. And then there are the women who don't want to retire at all. For some, retirement is an unpleasant idea. They love what they do and want the option to do it for as long as they can.

Jean: A lot of our listener's questions are inspired by their financial regrets.
How should we reframe our regrets to use them as fuel for change?

Dr. Robi: No one can get through life without having regrets. It's simply impossible. So, you have to use your regrets to your advantage. Midlife regrets can create new opportunities. Mid-lifers are finally ready to be in life on his or her own terms. They've never been more ready to listen to their soul, or to overcome their fears and limitations that might have once held them back.

It's important for the midlife woman or man to ask themselves what they need to do differently, in order to live life the way they want to live. Life is about failing up. I REALLY love this concept. If you're going to fail, you might as well fail up. Use the experience of failure to become better. While you might not be able to change the past, you can certainly ask yourself what you can do to correct your regret, so you can make your life more right, right now.

It's really important not to get stuck in the feelings of victimhood. It's crucial to change this victimhood feeling around, and instead be the co-creator of your life.

You can do this by following the following three principles.

1) Rewrite your regrets from a much more powerful perspective.

2) Reframe regrets as lessons and opportunities waiting to happen.

3) Focus on what the regret teaches you about yourself and then move on.

Jean Chatzky and Dr. Robi Ludwig at the studios of HerMoney

Jean: I love this from the book, you point out that feelings are not facts, but that they can trick us into thinking they are. I think that can be a particular problem with money -- can you walk us through how to deal with this?

Ask yourself the following two questions:
1. "If I had done things differently, would I be in a better or different place right now?"
2. "Why did I make this choice?"


Describe the average woman's relationship with money at midlife? What are you seeing and hearing anecdotally?

Dr. Robi: The women who I see during midlife appear to take their financial life more seriously. They are more in touch with the importance of achieving financial security. They understand money management, and having financial freedom, is a desirable and winning combination.

Midlife women also start to think about their financial priorities. Some of them see midlife as a time to unload the unnecessaries of life, and choose to live in a more simplistic way. They want to feel less financially overburdened.

Jean: In your book, you open up about your own fear of outliving your money in retirement. Tell us where you were?

Dr. Robi: Yes, that's so true. I don't really fear death, because once you're dead you don't need money (LOL). I am an entrepreneur and as such, there are never any guarantees about what jobs will come or what jobs will go. I also have financial responsibilities to my family; college to pay for, etc. etc. Life can be expensive, so it's something I always think about, but I try not to let this concern interfere with living or enjoying my life.

Jean: You also share your money awakening. When you reached midlife, you had hit a lot of your personal and professional goals, yet you say your financial maturity was out of sync with your professional and personal maturity. How did you get yourself to change?

Dr. Robi: When I hit my 40's, I had accomplished a lot of my professional goals. I was having a professional up cycle, for sure. I was hosting a couple of shows, making regular national appearances as a TV commentator, came out with my first book, yet financially I was living my life like a child. It was all about immediate gratification.

When I got a call from a credit card company, because a bill payment was late, it was at the same time I hosting a popular TV show. This drastic contrast caused me to pause, take notice and feel motivated to make the changes I needed to make.

I didn't want to be a person who couldn't trust myself financially. So, I got some advice from professionals and figured out how to change my ways. This change came from my strong desire to alter how I functioned financially. I didn't want to be irresponsible with money anymore.

Jean: Research from your book shows that how we handle our finances has a strong correlation to how we feel about ourselves during midlife. What do you advise your clients when they come in saying I feel like my finances and myself are a complete mess?

Dr. Robi: That's right! If our finances are in chaos it's impossible to feel secure or emotionally at ease. When my clients come and tell me they feel insecure about their finances, or their finances are in disarray, I share with them what you told me, Jean, when I interviewed you for Your Best Age Is Now. If you want to get smart about finances, start reading articles and books about it. Get more information. When I pass this information along to my patients, they seem to feel more inspired and empowered. They report feeling more motivated to take control of their finances in a way they never had before. I also advise them to work with the right professionals and financial planners. If finances are an issue, a great starting point is to get the right people in your corner to help you out.


Dr. Robi: At midlife many of us are looking at life differently, even if we don't have to.
1) There is an impetus to reevaluate one's life. This might be the time you decided to do something completely different with your life. Or you realize the work life you've been living never was a great fit for you. Or if it was, it no longer is.
2) Re-think what having it all means and what success means. Maybe success isn't measured only in dollars anymore, but in personal and familial achievements. Perhaps it's measured in having the time to do what you really want to do.
3) Crisis in confidence due to old thinking...the "it's too late for me" syndrome.
4) Stay current and modern..keep learning. Stay relevant. Don't get stuck on the years you've put in and start thinking about what you are offering to your job or your company right now.

Find ways to say "yes" to yourself and see where that leads you.

Your connections at midlife can be a great resource.
Think outside the box with a little bit of moxie. Make up your own rules, and test the waters. Get as much advice as you can. With the right plan in place, you can successfully and safely move onto your next new professional venture.

Jean: In Your Best Age is Now we learn that happiness reaches its lowest point in midlife and stress has a greater impact on our emotions. It sounds like the perfect storm -- how should we tackle this?
Include the I want to's into your life. Don't make is just about the I have to's.

Dr. Robi: There is a dip in happiness for some, but not for all mid-lifers. We can definitely feel things more intensely during this time of life, and be preoccupied with worry. Managing stress is all about breaking your life down into manageable parts. It's learning how to turn to friends and peers for support, learning to set boundaries and attend to yourself more knowingly, all while being more deliberate about your health, which includes exercising regularly, monitoring the sleep you get and paying close attention to what you're putting into your body.

Jean: To reduce stress, you say women in midlife should shift from aspirational, evolutionary thinking to "revolutionary thinking." Please explain.

Dr. Robi: This simply means, we will always want more of something in our lives......that's how we are designed as human beings. But it's important to break our automatic reactionary ways of thinking to a proactive type of thinking. For example, ask yourself, "What can I do to get what I want?" "How can I think creatively and think out of the box, to get to my various life goals and destinations?"

The revolution occurs when we let go of the midlife myth and recast our thinking. Recast our life, so we can see the opportunities out there for ourselves.

Life is an exercise in creative problem solving. Challenges and change are a part of everyone's life. We'd be bored without them.

Simply looking at your life through a more optimistic lens, will help you to find creative solutions and give yourself a better chance to get what you want.

So now is the perfect time to use both our challenges and our new optimistic lens to create advantages during midlife!