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Crossover Points

Crossover Points

October 11, 2019

My last blog post on the new SECURE Act was quite detailed and a little “wonky” so I thought I’d write something less academic that was brought about by a recent event and has had a profound effect on me and my career.

Last December I experienced the most unexpected and disruptive event of my professional life which caused extreme stress to both my practice, my family and has changed me forever.

But they say every cloud has a silver lining, and once the dust began to settle, the abundance of time gave me the mental space I needed to consider many things, including my place in the financial planning profession along with how and where I wanted to practice for the next decade.

It also allowed me to think differently about financial planning (creating a new framework if you will), and out of this came the concept of crossover points.

The word crossover is defined as:

cross·o·ver noun /ˈkrôsˌōvər/ 1. a point or place of crossing from one side to the other

As such, in the context of financial planning, Crossover Points are:

“points in time when a significant life event occurs, resulting in a substantial financial impact on our lives”.

Based on this definition, last December I passed a crossover point in my life (frankly, it felt more like a kidney stone).

Some may refer to these as “inflection points”, “transitions in life” a “new season” or a “change in direction”.  Whatever you call them, planning for them can be exciting (when you’re on track) and terrifying (when you’re not on track), and not planning for them can be a disaster.

Crossover points are not necessarily the same as the proverbial “goals and dreams” my industry often promotes.  Goals and dreams have their place in our financial plans, but they are aspirational in nature.  Crossover points can be expected or unexpected, positive or negative, but generally are more certain, making their financial impact sometimes inevitable and potentially more disruptive.

Take death for example (or as I would refer to it; your final crossover). It is both inevitable and uncertain. It’s going to happen to all of us, but if it doesn’t happen when we expect (or we think it should happen), it can create massive amounts of uncertainty and disruption.  And whether at the end of a long life, or prematurely, the financial impact can be significant, or minimized through proper planning.

By far, the most anticipated crossover point is when we cross over from working to not working (retirement). Becoming financially independent provides the freedom to control life's most precious commodity, our time. 

Whether it’s waking up every day and doing something we love, travel and leisure, time for family, being able to provide an education for someone we love, helping our parents, or supporting our favorite causes - these are the positive reasons we save and invest.

So far, I’ve been able to identify twenty-two different crossover points. Some are completely unrelated to each other; many are intertwined and inseparable. Over the next few weeks and months, I’m going to go deeper into a few of them to help you better prepare for your next Crossover Point.


Michael P Henderson, CFP® CKA®



Investment advice and financial planning services offered through Crossover Point Advisors, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. The opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual