The Covid crisis has spurred millions of Americans to leave behind their jobs and instead spend time with family, pursue hobbies and focus on their well-being. And many more people are leaning on financial advisors for guidance as they look to follow suit.

“Covid has given people a lot of freedom, and a lot of them have had a taste of that freedom and now they don’t want to go back to the old way,” said James Hering, chief operating officer and senior wealth advisor at Bordeaux Wealth Advisors in Menlo Park, Calif.

As a result, Hering said, clients are looking at their financial security and want to know whether they can retire and change their lifestyle. “They are saying, ‘Hey, do I have enough money to make this career change or to move from this state to this state or just to retire early?’”

And it’s not just workers close to retirement. Hering said the worker segment he’s hearing the most about is the 30- to 35-year-olds. “Whether it’s the children of our clients or other people in that demographic, they are taking advantage of living in cities for six months to a year because they can work remotely,” he said. “So, they are trying out different places and renting resorts and having fun with it.”

Americans have left their jobs at an alarming rate over the past several months, and the quit rate continues to climb, according to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The latest data in September showed an increase of 164,000 people who walked away from the workforce, pushing the total number of quits so far to a record 4.4 million people, the bureau said.

Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, has been credited with naming the phenomenon the “Great Resignation.” In an interview with NPR, he said, “During the pandemic, because there was a lot of death and illness and lockdowns, we really had the time and the motivation to sit back and say, do I like the trajectory of my life? Am I pursuing a life that brings me well-being?”

Michael Leverty, founder and CEO of Leverty Financial Group in Hudson, Wis., said most of his firm’s clients are corporate executives, and there’s a trend of them wanting to revisit their plans and possibly leave the workforce earlier than anticipated.

Normally, they would look to maximize the economic benefits of a retirement plan. “But what we found is they want us to rerun the plans, and they are really prioritizing more of the extra years in retirement, not the economic value,” Leverty said. “So, we think that Covid has really shifted their mindset on valuing that extra time with their family and their health.”

Most of these corporate executive clients, Leverty said, have been with their employers for 30-plus years and were not thinking about a change before.

“The trend seems to be corporate burnout. We call it Zoom fatigue,” Leverty said. “A lot of our corporate executives did a significant amount of travel, and with them working from home and the thought of going back to that routine, at some point [it] doesn’t excite them. People are looking to prioritize their health and lifestyle.”

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