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My wife and I just went through our budget again. We have landed on our “Lean” budget and our “Goldilocks Zone” budget.
The Goldilocks Zone is defined as, “The habitable zone is the area around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface of surrounding planets.” 
The concept comes from the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where a little girl goes into a house of three bears (who are not there), where she tries each of their porridges (oatmeal) and eats the one “that was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.”  Goldilocks proceeds to do the same process with their furniture and beds.
Before I go any further, let me be clear my advice is not about taking other people’s stuff to have a great post-career life. It is about finding the right lifestyle zone, before you decide to retire or change the nature of how you want to live.
The Goldilocks budget my wife and I have created is “just right.” It does not mean we can’t survive on less (that is why we have a lean one), it also does not mean we won’t be happy if we expand beyond the Goldilocks budget. Ultimately, we have a financial plan and budget that lets us live not too hot or not too cold, but just right for us.
So, what does it take for you to get into a post-career Goldilocks zone? Consider these three areas: the right preparation, execution and control or PEC.
In my new book The Time-Optimized Life (coming out in 2024) I talk a lot about PEC. It is the foundation for how people move the way they manage their time from a reactive to a proactive nature. PEC applies to any stage in life but can really help in the lead up and then into a post-career life.
Living in a Goldilocks zone just doesn’t happen. Our Earth, while in the habitable region, took time to develop and get to a point where it sustains life. Goldilocks kept testing everything in the three bears’ house until she found the right items. The same is true for you.
- Get financially right. Talk to a professional. Set a lean and Goldilocks budget.
- Create a life purpose. How are you going to get it right, if you don’t know what right is for your life?
- Set a robust goal strategy that consists of a bucket list, long-term, annual, and short-term activities.
Like Goldilocks, post career execution is about testing and adapting. It is moving preparation into action.
- Using those finances to their maximum benefit.
- Living into and making your purpose a reality
- Deciding if work is necessary, fun, or not needed at all.
- Working on and changing your goals as needed.
Control from a lifestyle and time management strategy is about not settling. It can be about correction, or adjustments – sending yourself back to preparation or execution.
Getting over the fact that Goldilocks broke into someone’s home, she continued to investigate and was not resolved to accept her situation. She kept trying until she found what was right.
- Challenge your wealth managers to run-through their recommended financial strategy. Help them to help you feel in control.
- Tie what you do back to your purpose and goals. Confront yourself that you are accomplishing what you have set out to do.
- Be proactive on how you approach the use of your time, don’t slip into a reactive mindset.
Our planet lies in a habitable zone that is not too hot or too cold, allowing us to live. Goldilocks worked her way through a house constantly analyzing and questioning until she found out what was just right. You can use both the science and fairy tale attitudes to craft the best lifestyle strategy possible when you incorporate a system of preparation, execution, and control.
Learn more about the lifestyle possibilities of your future self.
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 What is the habitable zone or “Goldilocks zone”?
 Goldilocks and the Three Bears, American Literature