Retirement Coach | Licensed Therapist

Meet Patricia Cavanaugh

Hi, I’m Patricia-Certified Retirement Coach

My career started in 1984 as a licensed psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Working in therapy for almost 30 years clued me in to a little-known truth: Healthy, successful people were approaching retirement totally prepared in all the conventional and financial ways, but they were privately struggling because there were NO certified retirement coaches to prepare them for 21st century retirement.

So I broadened my scope of learning, became a certified retirement lifestyle coach, and then founded The 3rd Act with a fellow coach in 2008. My pre-retirement, coach training allowed me to have not only a fully formed clinical view of my clients but also the tools to help them define their dreams, make actionable goals, and enact powerful changes. This shaped the mission of my business: to provide a holistic view of lifestyle retirement planning for all.

Over the years, I’ve been privileged to work as a pre-retirement specialist with companies such as PBS, The Federal Reserve Board, the University of California in Berkeley, Ameriprise Financial, Merrill Lynch, Esalen Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Turner Construction to help guide their employees or clients through a step-by-step planning process for their next 20-30 years of life.

I’ve also watched hundreds of my individual coaching clients build a rich and fulfilling life in their retirements and truly flourish in their golden years. I’m excited to share my expertise and bring the same proven success to you!

Get Pre-Retirement Coaching with The 3rd Act


Don’t know where to begin your retirement journey? I can help you. With my free retirement courses, you’ll get substantial information on how and when to start planning your journey.

Whether you need pre-retirement guidance or a customized retirement plan, I have solutions for you.  Your comprehensive pre-retirement plan will give you the right direction to begin your journey. Schedule a free discovery call with Patricia, a certified, retirement plan specialist for help deciding what’s right for you.

patricia cavanaugh certified retirement coach

Learn About My Journey

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Follow The 3rd Act on social media for inspiration from Patricia.

Leaning in to Your New Life

When you’ve spent your whole life as a doer, a self-starter, a hard worker and an active seeker, the wide open space of retirement can take you by surprise. In fact, it may feel shameful to struggle in retirement. When you’ve checked all the boxes, feel financially secure, and have everything to be grateful for, it’s hard to put into words just how difficult this transition can be. But even for the most engaged among us, finding your way can be challenging.

The 3rd Act is designed to help you discover the beauty of a fresh start. Retirement is a beginning, not an end, and it holds so many rich and bountiful opportunities no matter who you are. Our goal is to help you stay relevant, stay engaged and take action on those dreams you’ve been filing away for years. We base our recommendations on you, your needs, your abilities and the legacy you want to leave behind.

Don’t wait until you’re struggling to reach out. Studies show that having a plan for your retirement is critical in finding joy, happiness, and success throughout these years. Start now, and The 3rd Act can help you ease the transition and start with your very best foot forward.

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My Favorite Blog Posts

How is it possible that I have turned 70! It’s been two months now and I still haven’t settled in to my new decade. If anything, I feel younger than I did when I was fifty!

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Like many others in my generation, I came to the end of a long, successful career (for me, it was in healthcare administration) and thought “Okay, now what?”

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In “Aging Well” George Vaillant reviewed the Harvard Longevity study, the longest study done to date on adult human development…

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“I don’t tell anyone my age,” my new retired, vibrant and active friend responded.  We were sharing the details of our lives…

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Am I Ready for the 3rd Act?

Do you daydream about retirement and what it will be like for you? Or do your friends and family keep asking when you’re going to slow down and start enjoying life?

The retirement we’re often programmed to accept seems to signal old age, sacrificing what we’ve worked hard to build, and a pacing that doesn’t seem to fit who you truly are.

Take this free quiz from The 3rd Act to determine where you are on your journey to retirement and what you can do to build a life that’s big and full of possibility.