In human terms, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unmitigated tragedy. In commercial real estate, it has brought challenges no living SIOR has seen before. For those commercial real estate veterans whose careers span several decades, it has also created the opportunity—and perhaps the need—to look a bit more closely at how, or even whether, they want their careers to continue.
And they are certainly far from alone. “Actually, planning for this major life transition is quite a task, and that's during normal times,” writes Rhonda Kemmis, owner and lead trainer at Elite Leadership Consulting, in her article, “Retirement and the coronavirus: Advice for deciding whether to stay or go.”
“Making concrete retirement decisions during a worldwide pandemic may be better described as unnerving.”
“Retirement shouldn't just be a numbers game, and it's important to focus on what you really want,” adds author Jim Akin. “If your job has you stressed out and [made you] miserable, retiring a year ahead of your longstanding target date could be a great decision, even if it costs your retirement fund a few thousand dollars. Conversely, if you love your job and wonder what you'd do all day without it, it could be wise to work past your retirement date until you come up with a plan on how to fill your time.
Fortunately for many SIORs, this is not an “all or nothing” decision process, and they are at a decided advantage compared to many of their fellow Americans. In a number of professions, you either work or you don’t—there is no third option. In some cases, there is not even that choice; when you reach a certain age, you are required to retire—or you are viewed by employers and/or co-workers as “too old” to do the job well anymore.
And while sociologists will tell you that attitudes towards aging are changing in the U.S. (after all, we did recently elect a 78-year-old President!), there is no doubt that experienced, successful commercial real estate brokers (read: SIORs) have much more control over who they work for or with, what they do with their working hours, and how much they work compared to those in many other professions.
Tim V. Tran, SIOR, president of The Ivy Group in Fremont, Calif., agrees. “I would imagine some employees who are not providing any more useful knowledge to a company could be laid off because of a [COVID-19] lockdown, and those jobs just disappear,” he says. “We don’t really see that because our field just has so much flexibility. Even if you work for a bigger company, they do not want you to leave because they know the economy will come back—and so will your clients, and deals.”
Read the full article in the Summer 2021 issue of SIOR Report now!