Working Wealthy – Spring into Retirement?

April 24, 2018

Spring is nearly upon us in Chicago.

It’s a welcome time of year considering the cold, hard winter. All of a sudden, we’ll start to see some green buds, blue skies and balmy temps in the 40s.

It is also the time of year that reminds me what little credence is given to the transition of retirement. Just as our seasons are changing, our clients go through a tremendous transformation with retirement.

I don’t mean to make it sound scary, but let’s be honest; we offer a lot more societal weight to things like graduations, promotions, bonuses, marriages, divorces and the like.

Considering it’s virtually impossible to ignore retirement when it happens, what should we be doing to get ready for that transition? Take my guidance with a grain of salt—I’m thirty-nine years old and have yet to retire myself. But at BDF, we have helped hundreds of our clients navigate this evolution. My thoughts reflect the broader team thinking of our firm.

Have a Plan – I sound like a broken record, but it never fails to be good advice. Our wealth managers work with our clients to build a foundational plan and then update over time to bring all of the variables into focus. It’s not uncommon to “update” your plan several times in the years or months leading up to retirement.

But the numbers of a plan are just a part of the equation.

It’s Not a Light Switch – Transitioning into retirement is not like flipping a light switch. Although you may go to work on a Friday and be retired on Monday, the process is not that cut and dry. Give yourself time to process the idea of retirement. Talk to others you know and respect that have retired and ask them about their experience. How did it go for them? What did they worry about the most? And then talk about what life looks like for them today.

Sometimes our greatest fears are those that we create in our own mind.

Avoid the Aircraft Carrier Launch – Catapulting a fighter jet off the deck of an aircraft carrier is an awesome and anxious thing. The shortened runway, pitching sea and cramped deck make it seem like an impossible task. Avoid thinking that retirement must “start” or launch as soon as you stop working.

Consider the glide into retirement more like that of an Airbus A380. The A380 needs more than 2 miles of runway to launch. Give yourself the time and space to lift off.

Remember, airliners end up flying to much more desirable destinations than fighter jets.