Are You Financially Ready But Emotionally Unprepared For Retirement?
An experienced adviser will help you prepare your mind as well as your portfolio with some supportive hand-holding.
Some financial professionals put a priority on stress-testing a client’s retirement plan, making sure it will hold up to inflation, taxes, health care costs and other expenses down the road.
Sometimes, though, it’s just as important to stress-test the client.
When you hear the top concerns retirees name it seems to be that they’ll run out of money, you may picture a struggling couple who’ll be relying mostly on Social Security and maybe a little income from a pension or a meager 401(k).
But it’s often the NUMBER ONE concern. That means even the people who seem the most prepared can get panicky at the thought of giving up their paychecks.
Why is that?
I think at least in part it’s because the transition to retirement isn’t strictly about finances and having enough money in your portfolio. There’s also an emotional aspect that often gets overlooked in the planning process because some people are too busy tracking the stock market, contributing to a 401(k) or wondering which tax strategy or Social Security-claiming strategy is the right one.
Even people with $1 million or more in their portfolios – who may be well set for retirement financially – can start getting cold feet as the big day nears to put the working world behind them and head into the next chapter of their lives.
Suddenly, they might start feeling uneasy about their financial future, even though the numbers may look good and their plan is sound. Let’s face it. The theory of retirement – when it’s still several years in the future – is one thing. But the reality when it’s rapidly coming up on you is something else.
You can start to question whether those investment and income strategies that were so carefully crafted over the years are really going to sustain your lifestyle the way your career always has.
Yes, I’ve seen this sort of thing happen with my firm’s clients, and when it does I think it’s important to inform them about how we stress-test our plans and constantly monitor them for updates. We can demonstrate to them how our team of seasoned analysts and planners work to help keep their financial strategy on track with their retirement goals.
With any luck, if we give them plenty of time and understanding, we want to help them prepare for their upcoming retirement and have them once again eagerly anticipating the day when all their planning, saving and investing will have paid off and they can just enjoy the rest of their lives.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to being a financial adviser then just managing someone’s assets and sending them distribution checks. Relationship management ranks just as high on the list because, at least in my experience, it’s what clients truly want – especially in retirement.
We try to be objective at the conference table, and often suggest clients keep their emotions out of their financial strategy to help avoid making bad decisions based solely on emotions. But sometimes we have to change it up and act as though we’re sitting at the dinner table instead of the conference table, to have heart-to-heart conversations that let our clients know we care.
Planning for retirement can be a scary time – not just because it’s the final countdown to making sure the numbers work, but because of all the changes that are coming and the need to let go of old habits. Dealing with this emotional time in a way that helps keep a client on the path toward financial confidence is what sets advisers apart.
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About the Author
CEO, RightBridge Financial Group
Keith Gebert, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, is the founder and CEO of RightBridge Financial Group. He has passed the Series 65 Securities exam and holds life, health and annuity insurance licenses.