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Two Questions to a Happy Retirement

October 16, 2016

Two Questions to a Happy RetirementAs most of you already know, after 30 years in the financial planning profession, I have decided to retire.   I was a bit worried to find out if the saying “Doctors make the worst patients” would apply to me, now that I have to live the advice I’ve been giving to my clients.  

Throughout my career I have focused on my clients’ financial goals and shared in their excitement for a successful retirement. As many good financial planners know, retirement is about more than making sure you are set financially. A big part of my advice was to encourage clients to consider how they were going to fill their days. Years of experience has prepared me for what to expect in my own retirement and as a parting gift, I’d love to share my thoughts and these two questions with you. 

Are you financially prepared?

This is an obvious one. You don’t want to underestimate how long you will live and how much income you will need. As a financial adviser, I am very confident that I have the financial aspects of retirement down pat. In fact, I have determined that I have a 90% probability of successfully meeting my financial goals. 

However, my experience has also taught me that emotions can often obstruct our views in unpredictable ways. Sometimes we see exactly what we want to see and miss what we don’t. Therefore, I had one of my colleagues review my plan to ensure that I didn’t have my own blind spots. I can’t stress this enough – whenever we do our own financial planning, our judgement is often skewed by our emotions. Having an outside, third party review our plans often gives a fresh, unbiased perspective. Listen to it. 

What are you going to do with yourself?

We tend to focus a lot of our energy on the financial side and often neglect the emotional side. Certainly the financial part is important and requires more planning and a sober evaluation of reality. However, once the essential needs of food and shelter have been resolved, we must not forget that life goes on and it’s up to us to make the most of it. 

Most of us are used to working 40 to 60 hours a week, and don’t put much thought into what we will do with all of our free time once we’re retired. This happened to me. At first I gathered my old calendars to see what I’ve been up to outside of work. Using this as a starting point, I began to create ideas of how I would spend my time. Unfortunately, once I had down breakfast, lunch and dinner, I was at a loss.

However, after doing some serious thinking and soliciting help from the important people in my life, I realized that I really do have a lot on my plate. First, I will become more active in my wife Sharon’s business - Kona Ice. We recently purchased our third truck and territory and my wife can certainly use the help. I will focus on the bookkeeping and other financial tasks that come with a growing business which will allow Sharon to focus on the parts she loves. 

I’m very excited to share that I have accepted a position with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University, teaching what else but - Retirement Planning.  This will enable me to continue to do what I love - helping others learn and understand how to successfully plan for retirement.

Now that I have the time, I’m going to be taking a more active role in my local community owner’s association, helping them to formalize an investment committee and implement budgeting procedures.

We all have dreams, hobbies and plans that we would love to pursue if only we had some free time. Retirement is that time! It is important to foster our hobbies and interests and keep up with activities outside of your occupation, weather it is your involvement with the community, small business ideas or traveling the world. 

Speaking about traveling, Sharon and I are also looking forward to traveling more. I have already budgeted and paid for a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands in early 2017. It is hard to believe, but Sharon and I will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary soon.  To help us celebrate we will be joined by some of our family and friends on the cruise. 

I hope having some insights into how I’ve planned my time in retirement will help you plan yours. I see a bright future, full of promise and possibilities. It is truly a new beginning. I wish you the same.