My Halftime Story

Working Wardrobes 2022 Growing Through the Decades Gala

I am extremely grateful to have been recognized at the 2022 Growing through the Decades Working Wardrobes gala as an honoree, friend and contributor to the Jerri Rosen Legacy Fund.

My mission is to help more people live richer lives. This includes both those with the potential to change lives for the better, as well as those who need some help to change their own life’s path. I can’t think of many opportunities to better fulfill this promise than through Working Wardrobes, whose supporters are providing the means for more people to realize the dignity of work and change their path for good.

Richard's Halftime Story

I have a vision of creating a better, stronger community where we are generously helping others by directing our time, talent and treasures in order to help others learn, grow, and thrive.

By the time 2011 rolled around, I had spent more than 30 years providing customary financial planning services to my clients: college planning and retirement analysis. This process typically revolved around determining how much a client would need to accumulate in order to retire, usually to lead the traditional notion of living out the golden years: travel, golf, and spending time with grandchildren.

While all of these activities are rewarding in their own way, I saw many fall into the trap of empty days with little direction or purpose for their lives. I began to question if continuing to pursue and enable this picture of the golden years was really what would be fulfilling for me. I was feeling more and emptier and bored with this routine.

Now, by this time I had also spent some 25 years as a volunteer leader. Thus, I was proud to help bright young students get a great start in life with a terrific education like the one that I received at UCLA. I experienced the wonderment of a child experiencing her first symphony concert at our new performing arts center, and I saw the sense of pride on the face of a disabled adult upon receiving his paycheck from the job training he received from Goodwill Industries.

I learned that some of the greatest rewards in life were earned while helping others grow, thrive and prosper. And I saw that there were countless non-profit organizations striving to make our community better, stronger, and safer – often without the human and financial resources that make our economy the envy of the world.

With a positive view of the philanthropic world, I joined a new organization aimed at furthering charitable impact in our communities, The International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy. At one of my first speaker events, I heard some amazing stories from unique people who had decided that they wanted more from life than just the financial rewards of business. They saw a calling for themselves in using their skills, experience, and resources to help change lives for the better.

I listened with amazement at the adventures they orchestrated to make a big impact on people in our community and around the world. What they also shared was the surprisingly great impact these adventures also had on their lives and those of their families. As I listened, my excitement grew at the idea that these people had found a better way to move from success in the business world to new, significant rewards as they moved through their second halves of life. Often this period coincided with their golden years.

Richard Ward
Richard Ward

I also read Bob Buford’s Finishing Well wherein numerous successful people described how they were making significant contributions they believed were the path to finish their life well. It became clear to me that the secret to living life well, to pursue continued growth and leave a lasting legacy, is found by making contributions in our communities that help others prosper. Eureka! I had found the answers for the lack of fulfillment I had been experiencing in my practice.

Having purpose is important for all of us. A big part of the emptiness I had been experiencing was a product, I believe, of not knowing what my purpose in life was. Now I could see it clearly. My purpose is to help people live better lives, both the “haves” and the “have-nots”.

The non-profit organizations I had come to know (among countless others) were helping those most in need to improve their lives. Supporting and enabling these organizations would definitely help a critical part of society live better lives. At the same time, my work in growing, preserving, and helping my clients use their assets had helped them live better lives.

My eureka moment showed me that helping my clients find new ways to live out their golden years, to redefine retirement as they use their skills, experience, and resources to help others live better lives through charitable engagement and involvement, would most definitely help them live better lives. My sense of pride and contentment grew as I finally realized not only what I would do with my efforts in the future, but why.

One of my mentors, David Elliott, listened to my story and pointed out, simply, that I had had a “Halftime” experience wherein I went from dissatisfaction with my role in life to one of being excited to re-engage with a clarity of purpose. He let me know how common this experience was for successful people at some point in their life (and I recognized it from reading Bob Buford’s Halftime).

Richard Ward
Richard Ward

With Dave encouraging me, I adopted a mission of inspiring people to find their purpose and passion by serving others through charitable causes. I knew that if I could learn how they wanted to make an impact on others, I could help them pursue this new direction with guidance, resources, and my professional skills. This new mission would focus my work and efforts as I pursued my purpose in life. This clarity of purpose provides great peace of mind as I wake up each day with pride and anticipation for the activities that will come.

Now I look forward to going to work, knowing where and how I’ll be able to pursue my purpose. I’m surrounded by people who understand me, my mission and my work. Their support makes it easier to stay focused and diligent as I make efforts to help my clients and others. This makes my transition into my second half fun and enjoy every day, wherever it leads.

Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life - a kind of destiny.

Diana, Princess of Wales
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