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DON’T EVER RETIRE…Until You’ve Answered These 6 Critical Questions

Don’t retire until you ask these six critical questions!!! Why are you writing about this Jeff?? No. I’m not retired myself. Nor am I about to. And I plan to never retire... well, at least in the way I've seen most people do it. Sadlly most people inadvertantly invest more in planning their next vacation than in planning their retirement that could be as much as 30 years of life!

So, why do I feel both passionate and fully qualified to share this with you?

First: As a son of a 91 year old mother and an 89 year old father, I’ve both watched closely… and seen the good..and felt the struggles continually. My own parents wish they had a do over! They told me they would have done things differently had someone worked though a life plan with them. I've come come to see how important THESE 6 are, starting in my own family. Secondly: I have served as a licensed Financial Advisor since 2003 when I started with Smith Barney in Chicago. Now I continue with my own firm where I’ve helped many clients who are either making this transition or have already made it. And yes, I have failed many of them by not asking them these 6 questions. That has changed. Finally: I’ve also been a professional life and transition coach since 2001. In that role, I actually HAVE asked my hundreds clients these kinds of questions. I now realize many more people could and should be helped in a retirement coaching approach. My friend Jack Hansen, retired NASA engineer and co-author (with Jerry Haas) of a book that recently came out called, “Shaping a Life of Significance for Retirement" recently wrote,

“Type the keyword “retirement” into your favorite search engine and you’ll get back approximately 25 million results… about 85% of them related to your finances in retirement… you’ll get answers to questions like “How much money do I need?” “How long will it last?” What is the future of Federal retirement programs such as Social Security and Medicare? ...Remarkably little attention has been given to such important questions as the impact of retirement on family relationships, friendships, and sense of self-worth.”

NOW DON’T GET ME (or Jack) WRONG, money is important in every stage of our lives. Jack Hansen would agree. HOWEVER, as has been learned, there are other things that create prosperity and what we all ultimately want: human thriving. Life at it’s very best. Or as Jesus put it, “life to the full.”

Money is an important, but it is not THE single silo that determines what will make us thrive in our “golden years.” And retirement planning that misses some five of the six questions is not good planning!

So, what should every person ask AND ANSWER… (or better, be asked) before they retire? They’re simple… but really, really significant

1. What do you WANT?

That seems so basic, right?? But, too many of us have never stepped back to actually picture the best case scenario future we desire. Maybe because we feared it wouldn’t or couldn’t come to pass. Maybe because we just didn’t believe we could plan for our real desires.

Sure, some may want to play more golf or sit on a beach in “retirement.” But, I’ve discovered there are huge dreams inside people I’ve asked. Dreams like traveling to help serve missionaries, building a retreat center in the mountains for leaders, fixing up old furniture to give away to people, serving churches and non-profits or even starting new businesses!

As Joseph B. Wirthlin said,

“Desire, burning desire, is basic to achieving anything beyond the ordinary.”

What are your burning desires? Do you know

2. WHO will you be with?

Most of life’s truest happiness involves our relationships. Our community. Shouldn’t we plan that as well? Let’s face it, most of us gather our best sense of wealth and well-being, not from what we have.. but who we’re with. Who we do life with. Our family. Friends. Community.

Some want to be sure to “do life” with children and grandchildren. Others want to be in close proximity to best friends an adventure partners.

If you could spend the next 25 years with who you’d love to be with, WHO is that?

3. WHERE will you live?

Now #3 may relate to to #1 and #2. Or not! What’s most important to you may be living wherever your closest friends and family live. OR you may want to live in some place warm, beautiful or a place where you can serve, make a difference or enjoy certain experiences.

My friend and mentor Bobb Biehl advises, “Move sooner rather than later to where you want to end up. That way you can develop friends there. Don’t wait until moving is practically impossible.”

Where do you want to be?

4. What will your WORK be?

Work? Yes work! By that I mean “what you do that brings meaning to you and value to others” This may or may not involve a J-O-B. But, study after study finds that those who have meaningful work in each stage of their lives thrive. They keep their minds sharp and their social network active. They don’t get isolated and derive all of the negative physical and emotional toll that goes with that.

You may get a paycheck for doing your work. Most retiring boomers need that to supplement their income from investments, pensions or social security. Or just to provide discretionary money . OR you may derive a “playcheck” because your work…maybe as a volunteer for a non-profit, school or church.

Some of the happiest retirees are people who phased into retirement by gradually reducing their full-time hours. Others find part time work that both satisfies them and creates income.

According to a May 2016 study by US News and World Report called 5 Secrets to happy Retirement by Tom Sightings,

“Happy people tend to be engaged in some sort of meaningful activity that keeps their minds sharp and offers them plenty of positive social interactions.”

5. How will you grow your physical WELL-BEING?

With health care spending predicted to rise at 5.8 percent per per year, nurturing your own physical health, foods and diet, exercise, lifestyle, may be the best economic approach… not to mention the best quality of life approach! Books like Younger Next Year make the case that we need not simply settle for a future of waning energy, diabetes and high blood pressure as destiny. We can intentionally grow in health and well-being, even as we age… by becoming more active, instead of less! As a way of accountability more and more people are getting involved in communities promoting health and well-being such as Isogenix and Genesis Pure to BOTH eat healthier and involve themselves in a lifestyle of exercise and health peer pressure. Some even make great money doing! Check them out!

6. How will you WISELY FUND numbers 1-5?

Yes, the biggest fear people have is “What if I run out of money?” And yes, that’s valid and you should care to wisely address it. As an advisor and coach, I‘ve learned this is an art not a science for most people. And meeting with an wise advisor who can authentically help you INTEGRATE your wants, who’s, where’s work and well-being with a financial plan can create the clarity and confidence on all fronts. My prediction: in the coming years, more and more financial advisors will see this as a way to add value to their clients and as a way of growing integrated retirement practices, not just the money silo. True, there’s still a problem to solve! Just 22 percent of workers are very confident they will have enough money in retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 25th annual “Retirement Confidence Survey.” And according to Congressional testimony, 45 percent of Americans have saved nothing. toward retirement. And nothing means nothing! Not a cent! Key question: might many (if not most) people really lack positive motivation to plan for that time of life? Most have never intentionally answered questions 1 through 5! They don’t see a hope for their future worth saving for…. other than the fear of running out of money. And let’s face it, fear’s not alway the best long term motivator? What if the funding/money question was last... not first? Sure, marketing approaches like “know your number” and “have 80 percent of your pre-retirement income” are fear-based approaches to motivating people….. Do they work? No! Maybe for a small minority. So, what if…. Just what if more and more people were to take the integrated approach to inlclude retirement planning as

  • Want

  • Who

  • Where

  • Work

  • Well-Being

  • Wisely Fund

Might those years be golden in many ways?? I am convinced! Have an awesome day! Jeff PS. If this resonates, with you and you’d lie to go deeper, I’d like to invite you to download a complementary copy of my new book, “Unlocking Your Convergence Point.”

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