Most really savvy financial planners today know they have to get their clients to decide what to do during retirement. As regular “non-financial” pro’s (accumulators), we are overly focused on the gathering, the collecting, the accumulation of wealth. We fret over ten basis points on a CD or over the exact allocation of stocks, bonds, Treasuries, REITs, or whatever.
That isn’t what’s important. That stuff is the “how.” What’s always more important than the “how” is the “why.”
Financial planners will start off a session asking people what age they hope to retire, how much they have available to invest today, how much they plan to set aside on a periodic basis and, finally, what they plan to do during retirement. The answer to that last question determines the course of action for the first three.
“Of course,” you say, “that makes sense. If I plan to live like a king in retirement, I’ll have to have the funds to back that lifestyle. No kidding!”
So, what DOES retirement mean to you. What do you hope to accomplish? What do you hope to actually DO?
Here’s how I view my eventual retirement and what I would like to do:
1. I want to have a free and clear home that is large enough for family gatherings, but small enough to require a minimum of maintenance.
2. I want to take my wife on a fabulous trip once a year to an exotic locale such as Rome, Florence, Milan, London, Tokyo, Egypt, Athens, Hawaii, Sydney, the Fiji Islands, Thailand, Germany, or Switzerland. I want to be able to afford to bring my grandchildren.
3. I want to own a late model class C motor home that my wife and I can drive to other locations in the United States and visit interesting places and people.
4. I want to have a consulting business so I can stay up to date on the latest happenings in the business world and teach others what I discover. I would run this business, it would not run me. I could use my motor home as a traveling office! Cool!
5. I want to be able to bless the lives of others in a financial way, helping them adopt unwanted children, feed needy people, and care for the sick. I want others to know me as a kind, caring, and giving person.
6. I want to be healthy enough to take my grandchildren snow skiing and challenge them to a race down a black diamond slope…and win.
7. I want to be able to financially care for my parents, if they need it, and be able to insure they are well taken care of in their twilight years.
8. I want to be able to fund college expenses for my grandchildren and create a lasting legacy of hope and education. Preferably, I’d be able to establish some sort of family trust.
9. I want to spend time gardening, fishing, playing golf, and spending time outdoors. I also want to try my hand at cross breeding flowers to see what happens.
10. I want to know what it’s like to have “every day be Saturday” and know that I’m free to do what I choose.
Knowing these things and having them written down helps motivate me to work that direction. What are the visions you have for your retirement? How about your spouse? Remember that where there are two different visions, you have di-vision. Make sure your ideas about retirement line up with your spouse’s ideas. If you plan to live like a pauper and he or she like royalty, you’re gonna have conflict. Work these ideas out today.
Tell me: Why do you want to retire and what will you do?