Achieving the retirement your clients have always dreamed about requires both lifestyle AND financial planning. What service can you provide for those who are struggling to find meaning in retirement?
When preparing for retirement many Australians seek advice on how to fund their retirement. Many don’t however, stop and think about what life in retirement is going to look like and what they are going to do for the next 20-30 years.
According to Retirement Coach at 64 PLUS, Jon Glass, “setting up to live a happy and fulfilling retirement requires more than just financial advice and choosing a hobby. It’s about creating new meaning and self-worth that lasts for the long and enjoyable decades of retirement”.
While some retirees will have a clear idea of how they want to live their post-work lives and will quite happily slot into retirement, others may struggle. A change in routine, a loss of self-worth (previously defined by work) and a sudden change in lifestyle can create an absence of day to day meaning and purpose. This in turn can lead to confusion, melancholy, frustration, illness and even isolation from family and community.
Retirement coaching can help pre-retirees and retirees find meaning and purpose in life after work. And before you say this all sounds rather ‘fluffy’, the fact is many retirees need help. They think that with the right financial plan in place everything else will just come naturally—and this is often not the case.
“It’s good to have more money than less but it turns out that the emotional aspects of retirement are much bigger than this,” Glass says.
In the US, there are a growing number of retirement coaches and Australia is starting to see the same. We have over five million baby boomers moving into retirement and the shift is no longer a destination, but a journey. The need for developing a plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement may potentially outweigh the need to prepare financially.
The relationship between retirement coach and client is built on the same foundations as your client relationships: trust, effort and time invested. In fact, some advisers may play the role of the retirement coach themselves. What’s evident, however, is that a client’s purpose doesn’t simply just announce itself. It requires the coach and client to engage on an emotional level, for the right questions to be asked at the right time and for the client to speak their mind freely and without embarrassment.
According to Peter Black, a Retirement Options certified coach at Peter Black Coaching, open-ended questions about the future can help your client clarify their options in retirement. For example, how will you replace the inherent benefits your business/career/job provides (i.e. identity, income, purpose, socialisation, time management and utilisation)? By engaging with and listening patiently to the individual (or couple), a retirement coach can help the client identify the lifestyle that meets their life goals, well-being and, ultimately, their happiness.
If you’re not already fulfilling the retirement coach role, it may be something to think about doing yourself. Alternatively, you can outsource to an independent professional retirement coach as a value-adding service of your practice.