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Everyone is afraid of the unknown. And since we will retire very differently from our parents or our grandparents, there are a lot of unknowns for baby boomers planning or entering retirement. The questions advisors are getting lately have turned from numbers to feelings.
In the last 30 years of preparing people for retirement, the trend has shifted from “Will I have enough money?” to “Will I have enough time?” This sounds strange at first, since the money question is normal, but don’t you have more time than ever in retirement? And time for what? You fill in the blank. Enough time to find purpose again. Enough time to make an impact, to pass on knowledge, a legacy, to share ideas. Enough time to get things in order to pass along, to spend meaningful time with family and friends or just to do the things you always dreamed of.
No matter what resources you need in retirement — time, money, knowledge, health or activities, it will work out best if you plan for it.
That’s right, retirement planning is not just about money. Yes, it is important to have a nest egg and a source of income, but more and more, people are seeking purpose. Will they be able to create, improve, teach, help or care for someone? These ideas may take a different view of resources and what they are meant to provide. Money, after all, is just a tool to get you the things you want and need. If you adjust your wants and needs to match your resources, you can focus on the fun things.
Many retirees find their regular needs have changed and they like to have something of interest to replace that need with. Maybe they are down to one or two cars — instead of three or four. Maybe they find they don’t use all the things they have stored for 30 years and those can be used to provide for someone else. Maybe they have books or memoirs that can help educate others. There are many ways retirees can be challenging themselves. And this often changes the focus to more pleasant alternatives than worrying about the next stock market event.
The baby boomers will be the most educated generation to retire. This is also a group of people who grew up with investing. Therefore, the idea of their money working for them when they are not, is not foreign. Our financial advisors don’t spend as much time working on explaining the time value of money as they do about mapping out a strategy to attain holistic goals. This may be turning a hobby into a business; volunteering at a school or helping family. Many of our clients have artistic talent and are painting, playing the piano and teaching grandchildren their skill. Many are engineers and consultants, allowing them to be productive long after the stressful job ends.
Every person’s vision of life after work is different. One thing I have learned is that the need to find purpose and add value never ends. Many health experts claim this purposeful outlook adds health and longevity. In that case, plan well.
You may have many more years than you thought to spend that time the way you want.
Patricia Kummer has been an independent Certified Financial Planner for 31 years and is president of Kummer Financial Strategies Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor in Highlands Ranch. Kummer Financial Strategies Inc. is a seven-year 5280 Top Advisor. Please visit www.kummerfinancial.com for more information. Any material discussed is meant for informational purposes only and not a substitute for individual advice.
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