The Retirement Paradigm

When doing retirement financial planning, it’s important for you to clearly have in mind what you want your retirement to look like.  It’s also equally  important that you make sure your financial planner understands your definition of retirement success.

Most financial planning professionals might assume that retirement success means having the maximum amount of cash flow possible during your retirement years.  While this is never a bad thing for anyone, it may not be your number one priority in planning for retirement.  There could be any number of other goals or priorities that may be more important, or equally important as sustaining high cash flows throughout retirement.

Some of the other factors that financial planners need to be sure to explore with clients may include:

  • The importace of career and work
  • The priority of health and wellness
  • Re-connecting with family and friends
  • Personal growth and development
  • Leisure time

All of these things certainly have a connection to money and cash flow, but understanding what is important to you and why will help your advisor develop a better retirement plan with you.

If all you and your advisor focus on is the numbers (how much money you have, how much income it can generate, what your expenses are), you will likely view your retirement plan as a cold, meaningless binder full of numbers and tons of information.  If this is true for you, it’s probably unlikely that you will ever pick up that plan and read it again, much less follow it.  An effective retirement plan needs to not only address the financial issues of life, but also the reasons why a person wants to retire.

When interviewing potential financial planners for hire, listen for unusual questions about why you want to retire.  Watch for careful listening skills that he or she displays.  Ask yourself if you felt that he or she really wanted to understand your situation or is he just asking the typical questions.  Finding the right planner who is not going to try to impose his or her paradigm of retirement into your plan will help you achieve a successful and fulfilling retirement.

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