Second Breaks 178 Midlife Gap Year with Lisette Smith
March 31, 2022

Midlife is the time when those of us over-45 are evaluating our lives, figuring out what we want to do next, and setting our sights for new horizons.

We’re starting to think about what retirement means for us. If you’re like me, the idea of slowing down and putting our feet up for the rest of our lives is not that appealing.

Perhaps not in the same industry or same field of work, but we want to continue to work, doing something interesting, that allows us to grow and that we find meaningful.

But what exactly that might be isn’t always obvious. Plus, working non-stop for 20 years or more means many midlifers are just plain tired and could use a break before we start thinking about what’s next.

Enter the idea of a Midlife Gap Year, a concept that’s not so dissimilar to the gap year that many high school graduates take before heading off to college.

It’s a break between life stages, as Lisette Smith explains.


Lisette Smith is the Chief Operating Officer and a senior advisor at The Advisory Group of San Francisco, an independent financial advisory firm that manages $1BN in assets.

Lisette is a pioneer of the Midlife Gap Year concept as part of the financial planning process. She wrote the educational guide, The Midlife Gap Year: How to take a break and still feel financially secure to help others take a long-term view of their career and life fulfillment.

In today’s episode, we talk about how we can use a midlife gap year to figure out our next act (if we want a new act!), how to effectively use our gap year so that we don’t end up simply wasting that valuable time, and what we can do if we’re cannot be away from work for a solid year.


  • How midlifers can benefit from a midlife gap year
  • The different things we can do during a gap year
  • How to creatively plan for a gap year, even if cannot afford to take a full year gap
  • People’s changing views around retirement


Download the Midlife Gap Year Guide from The Advisory Group
Laura Carstensen, Stanford Center of Longevity
What is a Midlife Gap Year
Four Rewarding Ways to Spend Your Midlife Gap Year
Follow Second Breaks on Instagram
Connect with Lou Blaser on LinkedIn


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