Futureproofing your retirement strategy

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Get control of your retirement.

Get control of your retirement strategy.

There are two career events that can trigger acute anxiety: redundancy and retirement. While redundancy can bring with it some major challenges that shouldn’t be underestimated, these are invariably short term in nature occurring while we are looking for the next career opportunity. Retirement however marks a permanent shift in our lives and unless we have taken the time to plan the transition out of the workforce we may be faced with a whole range of issues that can end up derailing our peace of mind.

While many people put serious effort in to retirement planning, the time invested is all too often weighted to financial matters. Having enough money to live a comfortable life in retirement becomes the top of mind issue as we know that if we retire at age sixty five we may have twenty plus years ahead of us.

With this focus budgets are worked over and over factoring in all those overseas holidays we want to take, home renovations, the new car and all the on-going expenses that were more of annoyance when we are working and then there are the consequences of living in to old age with the possibility of failing health and all the medical and caring expenses that go with it.

Financial considerations, while a critical part of the retirement planning process, often eclipse other important issues including our psychological well-being and our ability to cope in our post work world. The reality of retirement can be daunting particularly if consideration hasn’t been given to how we will fill the days that were once full of meetings and deadlines.

After the honeymoon period, when the elation of our new found freedom has subsided we need to find meaningful activities particularly those that keep us engaged with other people unless our intention is to retreat in to ourselves and live a hermit like existence

Engagement

Within the industry

The nature of retirement has evolved over the years with more retirees remaining active participants in the industry, at least in the early years of their retirement. Over the last decade there has been a marked increase in the numbers financial planners and executives who have sought to take on consulting, coaching/mentoring assignments and non-executive board roles with a number lured back from retirement to establish new business ventures.

For those who have a strong network of business contacts the challenge is far less than those who don’t, however expectations need to be realistic as there has also been a significant growth in the numbers of those over fifty who on leaving executive employment have established consulting businesses.

Voluntary work

There has been an increase in the availability of voluntary work in recent years and retirees can be involved in different ways depending on the institution. There have been a number of executives who have taken on board roles with major charitable institutions, advisory roles with companies looking to increase their community reach and working at the coalface with an organisation’s clients.

The degree of difficulty in securing this work will depend on the nature of the role and the institution itself. Most of advisory work and board positions are sourced through networking, recruitment consultants or by making a direct approach to the institution.

Social interests

People who have participated in a range of activities during their working lives can increase their commitment to them in their retirement. This can include sporting, artistic, travelling or other interests. Those who are seeking new activities and looking to meet new like-minded people are spoilt for choice as there are meet up groups that cater for a broad range of interests.

Social media has facilitated the growth of a diverse range of these meet up type websites which has made it easy to join up with a click of a mouse. A former senior executive told me recently that he thought that on retiring he might struggle to fill in his time. As he said ‘There only so many rounds of golf you can play in a week.’ He has joined three groups and said that his social network had doubled since he retired and he was as busy as he was when he was working.

The importance of engagement

One of the biggest challenges in retirement is finding a sense of purpose, particularly when many people see their intrinsic worth in terms of their work. Over the years their career achievements have built and supported their confidence and a sense of pride in their abilities and provided them with a feeling of well-being. When they walk away from a satisfying career it can be a struggle to fill the void and self-worth can erode quickly along with self-confidence and their state of mind.

Financial planners help lay the foundations of a secure and fulfilling retirement

Many people before their introduction to a financial planner think they will focus the conversation just on financial issues and are often surprised when the discussion broadens to a more holistic approach to retirement planning.

Financial planners ensure that their clients are in the best possible position to get the most from their retirement. They are trusted advisers providing guidance on both financial and life matters and help transition clients from long and rewarding careers in to a retirement that offers a host of opportunities that may not have arisen otherwise. This advice comes from years of professional experience, education, training and a passion for helping their clients who are seeking more than what a robot can offer.

By Peter Dawson

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