Most retirement planning is all about that magic number you are trying to achieve before you can retire. How much do you have? Sure, we have to think about financial matters, taxes, how best to supplement your income, Social Security, Medicare; all during this decumulation phase of our lives. But that is a much smaller part of the retirement picture than most people think.
As an advisor, I need to know more about a person than their money. I want to know what they want to do in retirement. Where they plan to live. And how they plan to live. When asked, most people have a hard time coming up with answers to these questions.
When someone who has worked for more than forty years has to shift gears, it can have a big impact on a person’s psyche. People have been told through their working life that they need to plan for “retirement”, that far off day. Then eventually, that day is upon them and they are unprepared for what they have been planning on all these years. Retirement planning needs to include getting to that far off day and also what to do beyond that day.
If we send people off with a big binder full of charts and numbers, that doesn’t help them replace their work identity, feel confident and stay relevant. I try to help my clients get the best possible life they can with the money that they do have. The money I manage is not just money – it is my clients’ past and future. It embodies years of hard work, tough choices and sacrifice, and it can become fulfilled hopes and dreams. That is how I measure my client’s retirement success, not by their final “number”.