We are living in the Great Resignation. Everyone you know is struggling with a transition of some sort, especially those facing retirement. There were 3.2 million more people who retired in 2020 than in 2019. For some of those people, they had always planned on that but for others, it was an unexpected early retirement. The hardest part is that those people retired into a space where they couldn’t travel or do any of the things they planned on doing.
Retirement and Identity
Identity is at the heart of this work. Some people are stuck in their old identity and can not understand who they are outside of their career, and some people are stuck in a strong vision of what they dreamed retirement would be like – now it’s not, and they can’t reconcile that.
As advisors, what does it look like for us to help families and couples in that transition? We have to frame a new paradigm for what retirement planning might look like.
Reimagine Retirement Planning
The first step is to ask deeper questions of the past, present, and future. What were your old thoughts? What was this picture that you had of your future, and take that one degree further and ask why? What was so important to you about that future? From your answers to these questions, try to derive the values that are constant throughout. Distill down why this change to your retirement planning hurts. When you focus on what you have lost from this unexpected early retirement and believe that thing to be why you’re upset, chapter closed, you’re missing something deeper triggering that sense of loss. If you can nail down what you were trying to gain (ex. travel), you can find that thing in a different way.
Early Retirement – Not Always as Good as It Sounds
There are two sides to grieving your retirement plan that you have now lost: the emotional/behavioral side and the tactical side. How do we manage this for longevity? In any tactical plan, flexibility is your friend. If you can allow your plan to have fluidity and some room for change, you will gain more control when facing uncertainty. People find reassurance in tactical conversation amidst the emotional mess.
Money is not something we do in community, but you need friends you can talk to about these things to hold us accountable. You need advisors to act as a powerful mechanism in that, sure. But it takes more than just one relationship, whether that be a spouse or a friend. A lot of people are afraid of that for whatever their money story reason is, but that’s a beautiful and vulnerable conversation to share with someone you trust.