Retirement Reflections

Mark

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Mark Neufeld

Financial Advisor, Director

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I’ve had the privilege and honor to work with many clients transitioning to retirement over my nearly 20-year career in financial services.

The transition to retirement for some is very smooth, but for many, the transition is difficult. I see very few clients“retire” on, say June 30th, and never return to work.

I’ve had countless experiences meeting with a client after they “retire”. I often hear “I decided to work a little longer because of an exciting project ” or “my direct report asked if I could continue working while they search for a suitable replacement.”

As I reflect on these experiences, I think of a message I heard recently at a conference I attended in Quebec City. The presenter (Mitch Anthony – author of The New Retirementality) said that, in order to have a successful retirement, you generally need:

1. Enough money in the bank to sleep well at night
2. Enough purpose in life to want to wake up in the morning. 

In my opinion, item #1 is black and white. Your financial advisor can help model your retirement financially by preparing some Retirement Income Projections for you. These will help give you peace of mind that you’re able to afford retirement.

From my experience, item # 2 can be a stumbling block. Many people identify themselves with their work and it gives them a sense of purpose. When that is gone, they struggle with who they are and what their purpose is in life.

I don’t have all the answers for preparing emotionally for retirement. When working with clients approaching retirement, I generally ask them to think about the following:

•  You are retired. It is Wednesday at 11:00am. What are you doing all day?
•  If I ask you to think about retirement, what are three things that pop into your head?
•  Five or ten years from now, what sort of things would you like to have crossed off your list that would make you feel like you’ve accomplished something?
•  What are some of the things you have wanted to do that you have not been able to do so far?

A client I’ve worked with for several years was recently profiled on a CBC program, The Stats of Life. The specific episode in which they appeared was all about retirement and gave us a glimpse into her activities, many of which include volunteering.  She has been retired for years and in the episode, she said one of her guiding principles is “to love others more than I love myself”.

Going forward, I believe preparing emotionally for retirement will be just as important as preparing financially. ■