By Zach Whitchurch & Jeff McClean
As a successful entrepreneur or executive, you know what it feels like to keep your nose to the grindstone and work hard to achieve your career goals. Maybe you’ve grown a business to the point where you can step back and sell it for more than you ever dreamed possible, or you’ve climbed the corporate ladder and checked every box that signifies success. When you’ve achieved that much in the first phase of your life, what’s left to do? And how can you find fulfillment as your initial career settles down?
Should you do it all again? Do you want to do it all again?
At Solidarity Wealth, we believe these questions, though difficult to quantify, are worth answering in order to find true fulfillment and joy in the next phase of your life. We draw inspiration from David Brooks’ bestselling book The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life to help our clients navigate the transition from successful entrepreneur or executive to fulfilled human beings. Read on to learn more about our process and how your second mountain is often much more enriching than the first.
“Fulfillment and Joy Are on the Far Side of Service”
As rewarding as it is to achieve the peak of success in your career, that is only the first mountain you have to climb in life. The second mountain is where you find deep, meaningful connection and commitment to others—your family, your friends, your faith, and your community.
During your journey in the first mountain, it is about finding happiness, personal growth, and achievement, whereas joy and the growth and development of yourself and others become the goal of the second mountain. According to David Brooks, fulfillment and joy can only be found through service.
That’s not to say your second mountain can’t include earning a paycheck. It simply means that when you feel deeply committed to a set of values that inform every aspect of your life (including how you choose to spend your time), you will find more fulfillment than simply working to earn money.
Success therefore becomes about the contribution itself (your time, your talent, your skills) as opposed to the reward you receive for the contribution (money, recognition, assets). This allows you to deeply connect both with what you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with.
The Importance of the Second Mountain
The second mountain is very important because the first phase of your life can’t last forever. You won’t be managing the day-to-day operations of your company or sitting in the C-suite until the day you die. There comes a point when you must move on, no matter how successful or committed you are.
This can be an overwhelming and difficult transition for entrepreneurs and executives to navigate. Selling your company or stepping down from your position can feel like giving away one of your children or losing a part of yourself. You may still be involved, but the decision-making capacity will be handed over to someone else. In some cases, you will be fully out of the picture. What was once your day-to-day life will look completely different. At times your identity can become wrapped up in the name of your company or the number of people under your stewardship; but it’s vital to have your personal worth and self tied to more than just the company or your direct reports. Understanding this process is key to finding hope and fulfillment in a second mountain.
The Solidarity Wealth Process
One of our favorite quotes from David’s book is:
“Life is not a solitary journey. It is building a home together. It is a process of being formed by attachments and then forming attachments in turn. It is a great chain of generations passing down gifts to one another.”
This is what we strive to emulate with our clients as they look toward the future after their first phase of life. We pass on our advice and knowledge as experienced wealth managers to our clients, so that they in turn can pass on their talents and passions to those around them. We help successful families, entrepreneurs, and executives find their second mountains through a personalized three-step process.
First, we help clients process and come to terms with the fact that their first career is coming to a close. This process often resembles the stages of grief as successful entrepreneurs and executives realize their life is going to look very different in the next phase.
Sometimes you just need a sounding board to remind you that the ups and downs are normal. Other times clients need someone to guide the process of self-discovery by asking the right questions. In other cases, clients will spend the first years of retirement doing all the things they never had time to do before (golf, traveling, buying all of the toys they have wanted, going to lunch every day). But eventually boredom or lack of fulfillment sets in and the self-discovery process will begin. Our team is there to have those conversations when the client is ready.
Next, we help bring back structure and fulfillment during this transition by developing or reworking a family or personal mission statement. This can become a guiding set of principles that inform how you spend your money, time, and energy going into the second phase of life.
Members of the military are asked to write a family mission statement and reflect on their core values when they transition into a role of leadership or command. They are expected to embody these values and act with diligence and care to protect the soldiers in their unit. This same process applies to more than just serving our country, it can be utilized by entrepreneurs and executives who are transitioning out of a highly structured environment of dedication and hard work into the world of free time and making the most out of the assets they’ve accumulated.
Writing a mission statement is a great way to reflect on what you would like to bring to the next phase of life. Where do you want to go and how do you want to get there? What type of team do you need in place to manage your second mountain effectively? What are your guiding principles that can keep you on track through the process?
Lastly, we keep you on track with your goals and mission statement by taking the information you’ve provided and creating customized wealth management solutions, including public and private market investments, tax mitigation and asset protection, and estate, legacy, and philanthropic planning. If in six months or two years after the self-discovery and structure steps, you come to us with a new idea about how to use your capital, we can help you frame out the steps to pursue that goal, all the while aligning it with your family mission statement. We are both your accountability partner as well as the team that can help to make your mission a reality.
Are You Ready to Discover Your Second Mountain?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or executive in the middle of your first mountain, years away from the sale of your company or retirement, or preparing for a company transition or transaction, the second phase of life is a chance to experience true fulfillment and joy. If you’re ready to discover your next passion or great adventure, Solidarity Wealth is here to assist.
Our wealth management solutions have helped some of the country’s most successful families, and we can do the same for you. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 385-374-1665 to schedule a discovery call.
Zach Whitchurch is the President and a wealth advisor at Solidarity Wealth, a privately held, independent wealth management firm that serves as a multi-family office to some of the Mountain West’s most successful families, technology entrepreneurs, and executives. Zach works with clients to develop both “Wealthy Financial Habits” and “Healthy Financial Habits” and thrives on helping them understand their finances by simplifying the complex. He uses his broad knowledge on a wide variety of topics to implement creative strategies for clients as he helps them feel both seen and heard, and supports them along the path to their dreams.
Prior to co-founding Solidarity Wealth, Zach was a financial advisor and a senior vice president of investments at Wells Fargo. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in finance from the University of Utah and holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Certified Private Wealth Advisor® designations. He is also a Managing Partner of Solidarity Capital. Outside of work, Zach enjoys spending time with his wife and four children and being active in both indoor and outdoor sports. He is also involved with coaching youth sports, and loves to read and learn about how the world works on a deeper level. To learn more about Zach, connect with him on LinkedIn.
For over a dozen years, Jeff has advised some of the country’s most successful families on all aspects of their wealth. With his background as a former tax and estate planning attorney, Jeff has advised clients through business sales, funding rounds, IPOs, complex tax and wealth planning transactions, private and public market investments, executive compensation packages, and much more. In short, Jeff helps clients navigate the unique challenges of wealth and better predict their financial future.
In addition to co-founding Solidarity Wealth, which serves as a multi-family office for successful families in the Mountain West, Jeff advises single family offices on a broad array of challenges. Jeff also serves as the Managing Partner of Solidarity Capital, an income focused hedge fund.
Prior to co-founding Solidarity Wealth, Jeff was a Wealth Advisor at one of the country’s largest Private Banks where, at the time of his resignation, Jeff was ranked as one of the top Wealth Advisors in the country. Jeff also worked as a tax and estate planning attorney at a prominent law firm in Houston, Texas.
Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University – Idaho and a Juris Doctor with honors from the University of Texas School of Law. Outside of work, Jeff is married and the father of three amazing children. He is a huge sports fan and enjoys spending time with family, golfing, and skiing. He has also served as past President of the Salt Lake Estate Planning Council and is a frequent speaker on tax and estate planning topics. To learn more about Jeff, connect with him on LinkedIn.
Solidarity Wealth is a registered investment adviser. This material is solely for informational purposes. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Solidarity Wealth and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Solidarity Wealth unless a client service agreement is in place.