From Retirement Now Newsletter July 15th 2021
I recently came across an article on InvestmentNews titled “4 conversations to make retirement more fulfilling for your clients.” And I had a few thoughts on it.
The 4 topics are:
1. How will you take care of your health?
2. What relationships are important to you?
3. How will you spend your time on passion projects
4. What will be your legacy?
Habits and patterns are hard to break especially later in life. And a lot of times it takes some near death experience to shake people out of a pattern and change their ways.
Think about the example of a person who just had a car wreck that should have been fatal, but recovers with a new lease on life and starts to live life more fully.
Or the person who is diagnosed with an illness that was caused by past unhealthy choices, and then they abandon those unhealthy habits. In that case, the pain of not changing is worse than the pain of changing. Think about changing eating habits. If you’ve ever tried doing it feels almost impossible.
I think a lot of this gets down to being proactive, which is one of the hardest things to do in life. It’s easy for the week/month/year to go by and wonder where the time went and why I didn’t do more things I’ve always been wanting to do. I speak from experience here and I imagine you’ve experienced that to one degree or another as well.
Which makes these conversations very important especially for retirees.
In retirement you won’t have an outside mechanism forcing you to be somewhere at a specific time 5 days of the week. There is much less structure imposed on you. Which means you have to proactively impose some type of structure on yourself. The default is oftentimes just staring at a Facebook feed or watching YouTube videos.
Can you ever think of a time when you’ve gotten together with friends and family and reminisced about that incredible time you had staring at your phone?
When I’m on top of things, I have found that the best vacations are ones where I proactively have at least 2-3 specific things planned out for a couple of days before ever leaving my home. Otherwise things don’t go as smoothly.
(We Tennesseans have a reputation of visiting 2 vacation spots: going to the mountains of East TN, or going to a beach in Florida. I’d say the reputation is pretty accurate for my family and most people I talk to.)
Being proactive is what it’s all about.
Bringing this back to the 4 topics listed in the article…
About the health topic, the author recommends activities to stay active, like tennis or joining a gym. I’ve heard that the game pickleball is becoming much more popular these days as well. But add in an accountability element, like “My pickleball group meets every Tuesday at 9:00am and they need me to have enough to play.” The accountability will help this habit stick.
Concerning relationships, think about which ones are most important to you and spend time enjoying their company. For many, this point can be stacked with the first one because doing healthy physical activities with people can strengthen relationships with them.
About passion projects, a lot of the clients I work with retire into another activity. This may be managing a small cattle farm they have, working on cars or small engines, volunteering at church, or going “junking” and reselling estate auction items at a flea market. Notice that each one of those activities involves serving other people in some capacity.
And the last point about leaving a legacy goes beyond just inheritances left to your kids and grandkids. It suggests writing letters or recording yourself talking about things you believe in. Of all the 4 topics I think this is probably the hardest to do and the most neglected.
Not many people fancy themselves a writer. They may be embarrassed to record themselves for their posterity.
My suggestion: Combine this point with the one above about relationships. If you want to leave some type of legacy behind to your grandkids for example, be proactive with spending time with them. They’ll pick up on your beliefs through your actions. The biggest action of course that they’ll see is you spending time with them, which will teach them that relationships are important.
Conclusion: Money is not everything in retirement. It’s a tool used to achieve a goal. Financial planning helps you to reach your most valued goals. By having a good plan in place and a coach to help you stay on that plan, it helps you to not have to worry about it, so you can focus on the things that are most important to you.
And if you need help with some aspect of your retirement that you are concerned about, feel free to reach out to us.
You can click here to choose a time to have a chat with me and ask whatever questions you have.