I have been teaching my Retirement Planning Workshops at City College this summer and I’ve been repeating this mantra to my participants, which I’ll share here: Do what’s important and the necessary gets done.
What do I mean by that?
My workshop attendees are typically within five years of retirement or are in the early years of retirement. While they show up concerned about the “usual” things — outliving their money, taxes, inflation, estate planning, long-term care, etc. — I remind them that they are embarking on a new chapter in their lives. A colleague recently articulated that investors’ greatest mistake is not losing money, it’s not doing something significant with the money they have. Most of us will have 25-35 years in retirement, most in which we are healthy, active, mentally astute, and contributing. The idea of being on an “extended vacation” from our mid-60s to death is an outdated concept. Rather, this life chapter presents an opportunity to use our skills to give back, learn a new language or a musical instrument, start a new company, or do things we never could do while working without needing an income while doing it.
In that context, the exploration of what’s next is vital. How will you live your retirement years? Doing what? Where? With who? How will you start this exploration? With what support? What will need to change? Because the answers to these questions then drive what’s necessary — that is, the financial plan, the budget, the investing, managing taxes and inflation, getting estate planning done, planning for long-term care expenses, etc. The necessary is just numbers. It can get handled. But what’s important is the part that nourishes our souls, our lives, our friends and family. Few can argue that anything is more important.
If you’re making your retirement plans, ask yourself: How do I imagine this next chapter? If you or someone you know wants to have that conversation, please send them my way. It’s the part that makes my job so worth it.
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