Planning for a meaningful retirement

How will your lifestyle change in retirement? "Seven Surprising Ways Retirement Can Change Your Life,” US News and World Report advises that “you can plan for it, dream about it and try to visualize it, but there's no way to tell for sure what retirement will be like for you until after you've actually pulled the trigger.” That may sound ominous, but it needn’t be. Put the right planning in place, then trust the plan and get on with living.

Ignore Chicken Little…

Christopher Kimball, CFP®, president of CK Financial Services in Lakewood, WA says that there will indeed be cases where clients find they will need to cut back their spending in order to make ends meet. But in general, Kimball advises that with the right planning, there is no need for fear.

As Kimball explains, “the media is famous for causing panic over almost anything. I think if Chicken Little were a real individual, he would have no problem getting a job at any news network! But if an investor can ignore the sensationalistic news, over the long-term I think he or she will be a lot better off.”

In other words, ignore the chatter and focus on the plan. For example, today, markets are full of fear regarding inflation. Here, Kimball essentially advises: create a good plan then stay the course.

“Market conditions constantly change, including inflation. Generally, equities are a good hedge against inflation, but I never try and time the market or the economy. The best approach, in my opinion, is to design a strategy which is appropriate for your time horizon and risk tolerance and then stick with it. When you try to predict what the future of the economy looks like, especially based on the media or so-called experts, you soon find out no one has a crystal ball.”

In the end, says Kimball, “there will be some clients who may need to cut back their spending in order to make their financial plan work.” But for the most part, people “need to avoid fear. ”

…enjoy the “found” money…

Of course it's not just Kimball but also US News and World Report espousing optimism. For example, as the piece continues, “Many retirees are [actually] surprised to discover that their money goes a lot further than they thought.” In fact, many soon learn of a range of additional tax breaks for seniors such as reduced property taxes or limits on future tax increases.

Retirees may also soon realize that commuting costs disappear and they may no longer even need a second car. Overall, the article explains, “Many retirees find that they have extra money to travel, donate to charities, join sports clubs, and go to the theater.”

…and don’t forget to live life!

One thing that often surprises retirees is just how much time they now have on their hands. They’re not working, there’s no fixed schedule, they can do whatever they like when they like. But here’s the paradox: as people have more free time in retirement, they also begin to realize just how precious each moment of their lives becomes.

Kristin NordahlKristin A. Nordahl, CFP®, CLU® is a financial planner at the MNE Group in North Andover, MA. According to Nordahl, most people look at retirement as the golden years – and indeed they are. Nonetheless, retirees should be taking steps to enjoy every moment.

“Don’t put off travel or spending more time with family or friends,” advises Nordahl. “The lesson I’ve learned is: don’t delay.”

This idea soundly resonates with Carol Ringrose Alexander, CFP®, executive vice president at Oklahoma City, OK-based Retirement Investment Advisors, Inc. Once a client trusts the planning and is able to successfully transition from the accumulation to the distribution and “free to come and go” segment of their life, they need to find ways to remain active and purposeful.

“I believe the most significant lifestyle issue that we have to address as we age is where we find meaning and purpose in our lives,” says Alexander. “Our work is where a lot of us derive meaning and when we transition from working, it is important to find purpose in the next phase of life.”

These are just a few ideas for improving planning and ultimate enjoyment in retirement. If you’re and advisor with more to add, our editors are always anxious to hear it. Email us your thoughts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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