As the number of baby boomers in or facing retirement continues to grow, so does the number of retirement plans we produce. It would be nice to think that in the richest nation on earth we could move into retirement without a care, but the reality is that retirement planning is most often anxiety-provoking and complex. Sadly, some people fail to plan for retirement at all.
Retirement planning requires reflection and some fairly deep thinking–preferably with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)–about a multiplicity of questions and issues, including, but not limited to: what does my ideal retirement look like? At what age can I, or should I, quit working? Do I even want to quit working? Should I continue to earn income while I am retired from my primary career? If I’m not working, what will I be doing? Can I have a meaningful, purposeful retirement? And the most important question of all: will I run out of money at some point in the future?
Retirement planning is a process that begins with lots of information gathering, financial and otherwise. When the gathering is finished, a meeting is held between the Certified Financial Planner and client to make sure the information is complete and as accurate as possible. Then the thorough financial analysis begins. Following this time-consuming step, which utilizes sophisticated technology, various “results reports” can be produced and reviewed with the client/s in another meeting.
Reviewing the results together can be difficult, especially if it includes some bad news, but this is much better than facing it alone. When facing bad news with a professional who has seen hundreds of scenarios, the conversation can open up to unforeseen possibilities. There are areas of flexibility to be reconsidered or considered for the first time, e.g., working longer, spending less, saving more, downsizing, altering or improving on an investment strategy, and/or finding new sources of income.
One recent client, a single woman, received some bad news during the “results conversation,” but it ended in opening up a whole new way of thinking about her future. By reconsidering the possibility of selling her valuable home, buying a less expensive condo in a place she’s always wanted to live and saving the excess proceeds, she could pay for additional education which will allow her to continue working after retirement from a career in which she is bored. Now she is excited about her future rather than fearing it.
Rather than fearing retirement, or falsely imagining it will be a piece of cake, plan for it and make sure you have a retirement plan that has been stress tested for outcomes you can trust. Paying a professional to guide you through a challenging process could be the best money you ever spend.
For further information, watch a video of our webinar on retirement planning here.