- Your clients expect you to help them see the bigger picture, and those conversations aren’t always about dollars and cents.
- You can gain an edge by infusing a more personal approach into your practice.
- You can inspire your clients by talking about money in the ways it can empower them to pursue their dreams.
When you speak with clients about retirement, you offer more than just advice on dollars and cents. But did you know approaching the conversation with a hopeful, exciting attitude can also make a difference?
After all, retirement can be a thrilling opportunity for clients to use their creativity to shape a chapter of life they’ve worked so hard to attain.
Try this: ask your clients to imagine their 65th birthday. As they envision the next chapter, ask them, could it last 10, 20, 30 years, or even longer? It’s your job to help them arrive at that moment with clarity and, hopefully, a lot of excitement.
The importance of a holistic plan
As you know, retirement could last as long as any other stage of life — potentially making up about a third of someone’s adulthood.
Take a thoughtful, multifaceted approach to this conversation. You’re already helping them estimate income and expenses — so be sure to set them up for both the expected and unexpected financial needs.
After that, don’t hesitate to discuss lifestyle, which is just as crucial. Where will they live? Perhaps more importantly, how will they live? Who will they share their time with? Will they volunteer or work part time? What hobbies will they discover? How will they stay entertained?
Retirement is more than an “end.” It’s a fresh, new start that deserves as much planning as any other part of your clients’ lives. By taking a comprehensive approach to this complete plan, you have the opportunity to help them spark new ideas and a creative outlook on this brand new chapter of life.
Ask them to envision a typical day
Jobs offer many intangible benefits: social interaction, a sense of purpose, a regular schedule. These are important things your clients want to replicate (on their own terms, of course). Maybe they’ll find these qualities in part-time work, consulting, or volunteering. Do they have skills to lend to a local nonprofit or social group?
Also important: What kind of daily schedule do your clients want to keep and how will they stay motivated to stick to it? Have they started exploring hobbies so they can stay engaged during the transition? Almost as importantly, are they prepared for the quiet days and administrative tasks of living an older life?
The point is, they’ll thrive with a sense of purpose. There will be mundane days for reading the news, but remind them, they don’t want to wake up years after they’ve left their jobs and not know what to do.
Will today’s home be the best retirement home?
A number of elements factor into what your clients’ homes will look like. Will housing costs drive their decision, or will proximity to family and friends? If frequent traveling is on their agenda, will they want to live near an airport for easy access?
Have your clients thought about their home design? Has their budget allowed for potential accessibility renovations? Have them consider the height of cabinets, drawers, and sinks in terms of accessibility and an aging body. Are doorways wide enough for a wheelchair, or other assistive devices? Accessibility might not be on their minds now, but for many older people, it can make a beloved home unlivable.
As much as we want to live long, healthy lives, healthcare needs are likely to increase with age. Nearby healthcare facilities are a factor many retirees examine. A remote country life is peaceful, but will they have easy access to the proper medical facilities?
After considering the foundational needs of a home, ask them to think about their lives without a job tying them to a specific location. This is the fun part where they can get as creative as they want. Will family and grandchildren drive this decision? Traveling? Weather? Proximity to art and entertainment? Tell them to let their imaginations run wild.
Emphasize the importance of social relationships
Retirement can be the perfect time to take grandkids on adventures, share special moments, and tell stories of how life was “when I was your age.” It’s a time ripe for priceless memories.
Whether or not family drives their decision on where or how to live, urge your clients to consider the importance of social relationships. Socially isolated people face health risks comparable to those of smokers, according to the Stanford Center on Longevity.1
Isolation and lack of meaningful social connections can have a serious impact on your client’s health. The deeper and more plentiful their social relationships, the less chance they face poor health and untimely death, according to Stanford.
You can suggest they schedule “appointments” to meet up with old friends, and register for events or classes that they’re passionate about. Encourage them to find groups that nurture meaningful relationships so they can reap the rich benefits of connectedness and a sense of belonging.
Finally, make a plan for their healthcare expenses
Healthcare costs increase with age. The older your clients get, the more they could spend on health care.
Healthcare bills can grow the longer your clients live, so it’s important you help them prepare for an unexpected healthcare expense without incurring a big financial (or tax) hit.
While your older clients can choose to move into a less expensive home, it’s unreasonable to expect they can move to cheaper health care. It’s one of the most important lines in their retirement budget, and fortunately, there are many ways to plan for expected and unexpected costs of care.
You can help them design the ideal retirement reality
Your clients spent a lifetime building their homes, lifestyles, circles of friends, and family. Help them see — when they envision their entire lives, with all of its ups and downs, celebrations and peaceful times — retirement is an extension of that creation. Without a plan, it could seem unstructured, overwhelming, or lonely.
No matter your clients’ ages, help them start preparing now so they can create a plan for a fulfilling, accessible, and affordable chapter of their lives with the people they care about most — and the ability to fund it.
Things to Consider:
- Take a creative approach to the retirement planning conversation.
- Encourage your clients to let their imagination run free.
- Remind your clients they no longer have the same life circumstances to tie them down to one geographic area.
¹ “Social Engagement,” Stanford Center on Longevity, accessed August, 2019