General Financial Planning

Are You Retirement Ready?

Sandy Adams Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

In our work with clients, one of the most common questions we get is, “How will we know when we are ready (and able) to retire?”  That can be a tricky question, because there are two sides to being ready for the next phase of your life – the technical side and the personal side.  While certainly you need to be financially secure for the next decades of your life, you also need to be comfortable with the transition from your life as a career individual to what you now wish to become in your next phase – and that is not as easy as it sounds.

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From a financial-readiness perspective, many clients target age, monetary or benefit milestones to help them determine when they will be ready to retire:

  • “When I have $1 million in assets saved, I will be ready to retire.”

  • “When I am eligible to collect Social Security, I will be ready to retire.”

  • “When I am eligible to collect my company pension OR I have reached my XX anniversary with my company, I will be ready to retire.”

  • “When I am eligible to receive Medicare, I will be ready to retire.”

The real answer is, some or all of these may be true for you, and some or all of these may be false.Every client situation is different and no general guideline can determine whether or not you are financially ready to retire. Unfortunately, it is far more complicated than that. There are numerous financial factors that go into determining financial readiness.Let’s take a deeper look into the issues.

Financial Readiness Issues:

Retirement Savings:

Do you have enough saved?

  • What might your other retirement income sources be (Social Security, Pensions, etc.)

  • How much income will you need (what are your fixed costs versus lifestyle wants in retirement), and

  • What are your longevity expectations (how long might you expect to live based on health, family history, etc.—expect it will be longer than you think!).

Where are your savings?

  • Do you have retirement savings outside of retirement plans?

  • Do you have some after-tax and reserve cash/emergency reserve savings?

  • Do you have different types of accounts to provide tax diversification going into retirement (i.e. IRAs/401(k)s, ROTH IRAs, after tax investment accounts)?

Debt:

Have you paid down your debt or do you have a plan to be as debt free as possible by the time you retire?  This will allow you to control your retirement income for other fixed expenses and wants; it is desirable to have as little debt/fixed expenses as possible going into retirement as possible.

Retirement Income:

A large part to being retirement ready is understanding your retirement income sources, options and strategies and using them to your best advantage.  Take the time to consult with your planner to choose the option that works best for you and your family circumstance.

  • Pensions: Do you understand all your options, including the income options available to your spouse as a survivor upon your death.  We find that in many cases it makes sense to choose an option that includes a lifetime income option for you with at least a 65% survivor income benefit for your spouse if you were to die first.

  • Social Security: While many are under the false impression that because you are allowed to take Social Security benefits as early as age 62, they should, we might recommend otherwise.  For most individuals now approaching Social Security claiming age, Full Retirement Age for claiming Social Security is now age 66 and delaying benefits until age 70 results in an 8% per year increase in benefits.  Knowing and understanding the Social Security benefits, rules and strategies that can be employed, especially for married couples, to ensure the largest lifetime benefit can be an added supplement to long-term retirement income. We find that our most successful married couples in retirement employ a strategy where the lower Social Security earner draws at Full Retirement age while the higher Social Security earner waits to draw at age 70, insuring the highest possible Social Security benefit for the spouse that lives the longest.

Investments:

Preparing for retirement involves making appropriate adjustments to your investment strategy.  You should work with your financial planner to adjust your asset allocation to one that is appropriate for your new goals and time horizon. We find that our most successful retirees tend to have asset allocations ranging from 40% Bond/60% Stock to 50% Bond/50% Stock.

Insurance:

  • For those retiring before age 65 (Medicare eligibility) and without retiree healthcare, finding health insurance to bridge them to Medicare is a must. 

  • Retirement readiness does require addressing the issue of Long Term Care funding Having a plan, no matter what your choice, is something that must be done before retirement.

Estate Planning:

While not exactly monetary, having your estate planning documents (Durable Powers of Attorney, Wills and possibly Trust or Trusts in place) updated prior to retirement is a good idea.Part of this is making sure accounts are titled properly, beneficiaries are updated, and account holdings/locations and management are as simplified as possible going into your last phase of life.

Once you have determined your financial retirement readiness, you need to determine your personal retirement readiness, which may be even more difficult for many folks.  Why?  Many have spent the majority of their lifetimes to this point building careers that established them with titles, credentials and stature. They built reputations, networks, social and business circles and were well respected because of the work that they have done.  And now they are moving from that phase of their lives to another and that means starting over.  What will they be now?  What will their lives mean?  And to whom?

Until you are ready to start the next phase of your life knowing your purpose – what you want to wake up for every day – you are likely not ready for retirement.  Those that have not given the thought to their mission, values, and their “why” for their next phase will be left feeling lost and will likely fail at retirement and find themselves wanting to go back to their former lives.

How can you find your purpose?

  • Ask yourself what is most important to you? (family, friends, spirituality, charity,etc)

  • Ask yourself what are your life priorities? (family, health, knowledge, etc.)

  • Ask yourself what you want to let go of and what you want to give yourself to.

  • Realize that the rest of your life can be the best of your life if you embrace it with an open mind and enthusiasm.

  • Consider reading the book “Purposeful Retirement” by Hyrum Smith if you need more help!

“Am I ready to retire?”  It is not a simple question and there is no simple answer.  It may take months or years to answer all of the questions and make all of the preparations.  If you think that retirement is in your not too distant future, the time is NOW to start planning.  Don’t let retirement sneak up on you…work with your financial planner and be Retirement Ready!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

Webinar in Review: Year-End Tax and Planning Strategies

Josh Bitel Contributed by: Josh Bitel

In November of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2018 passed with numerous changes to our tax code. This year we provided a refresher on some of those changes as well as some planning opportunities to think about as 2018 wraps up.

If you weren’t able to attend the webinar live, we encourage you to check out the recording below. 

Check out the time stamps below to listen to the topics you’re most interested in:

  • (04:20): New 2018 Marginal Tax Brackets

  • (06:30): Highlights of the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) – comparing 2017 with 2018

  • (14:24): Planning charitable gifts under the new tax law

  • (19:15): Healthcare coverage overview – Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Medicare

  • (25:30): Roth IRA conversions as an attractive planning opportunity

  • (33:20): How to utilize your employer retirement plan most effectively

  • (36:30): How we help mitigate taxes & tax efficient investing

  • (41:30): Updates to gifting and intra-family gifting for 2018

Mid-Term Elections and the Market

Kali Hassinger Contributed by: Kali Hassinger, CFP®

Elections and the stock market are two topics prime for speculation.  The media will speculate on who will win elections, and then again speculate on how those outcomes will affect the markets!  With this double layer of uncertainty and recent market volatility, investors can be left with feelings of unease.  Currently the Republican president is backed by a Republican-led Congress; however, this year's midterm elections have the balance of power on the ballot.  35 Senate seats are up for grabs, and Democrats would need to gain two seats to take control.

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Although there is no way to say how the markets will be affected by either outcome with certainty, history can help to keep us grounded.  The chart below shows us the average annual S&P 500 performance by the presidential party and the majority Congressional party.  Regardless of the power make-up or split, the index has averaged positive returns. A party split (i.e., Republican president and Democratic Congress or Democratic president and Republican Congress) has delivered better performance than when a single party controlled both branches of government.

The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market.

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The year following midterm elections has historically had the best stock returns of the president's four-year term, even when a president's party loses seats in Congress.  The last time the S&P 500 declined in the year after midterm elections was 1946, but, although a guide, history is not a fortune teller. 

We cannot control the election results or the market, but we can control our vote and how we handle our investments.As always, we preach sticking to your financial plan without making changes to your portfolio out of fear or uncertainty.Our team remains aware of the political and economic landscape, but your portfolio is always constructed with your long-term goals in mind.

Kali Hassinger, CFP® is an Associate Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®


Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/midterms-are-a-boon-for-stocksno-matter-who-wins-1538645400 Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.

I’m a Millennial and I Inherited a Million Dollars – Now What?

Nick Defenthaler Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP®

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More than 75 million millennials born between 1981 and 1997 are set to take over an estimated $30 trillion in wealth from baby boomers (source – AARP).  No, that is not a typo - $30 TRILLION dollars.  Personally, I’ve had several circumstances arise in the past several years where friends in their mid 30s have lost parents.  For someone in a similar age group as the folks that have experienced this loss, it scares the heck out of me.  I’m getting to that stage in life where it’s not beyond uncommon for a child to lose a parent.  That’s a pretty big reality check to digest. 

Although it can be tough to even think about, it’s a reality.  More and more people who are in their 30s who are busy building a family, career and overall great life, will inherit a level of wealth that previously seemed unfathomable.  Recently, a friend reached out to me after his father passed and left him $1,000,000 in retirement assets and life insurance proceeds.  He was overwhelmed and had no idea what to do next (thus the title of this blog!).  He was a teacher and his wife was in IT.  Needless to say, navigating the investments, required distributions and tax rules (just to name a few) associated with his inheritance was extremely stressful.  The stress caused a state of paralysis in making any decisions with the dollars out of fear of stepping on any unintended land mines or making the wrong move with the dollars.  The more we talked, it was clear that now was time for them to have a professional partner in their life who they knew was qualified but more importantly, fully trusted to provide recommendations that made the most sense for their own personal situation and goals.

My friends decided to hire me as their planner and we were able to provide advice and value not only on the planning items directly associated with their inheritance, but also in the areas that were more near term and important to them (student loan payoff strategies, discussing how to pay for child care expenses tax efficiently, helping them through the process of purchasing their first home and drafting their estate plan – just to name a few).  After 6 short months of working together, we got to place where the most time sensitive issues were addressed and we had developed a financial action plan to review annually and keep them moving in the right direction.  Of course, we plan to meet at least once a year to address other life events that come up and work towards the goals they’ve set as a family. 

Financial planning doesn’t always have to be associated with retirement.Helping clients through significant life events and providing advice beyond the dollars and cents is an environment in which our team thrives.Don’t feel paralyzed.Please feel to reach out if you’re in a similar position and need a professional to help guide you through these tough conversations and complicated matters.

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Nick works closely with Center clients and is also the Director of The Center’s Financial Planning Department. He is also a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs and educational webinars.

When the Rubber Hits the Road: Steps to Take When you Find that you are Behind on your Retirement Savings

Sandy Adams Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®

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So here you are.  You find yourself happily on cruise control — you seem to be making more money every year, you have the house and cars you always wanted, the kids are now in college and you take the family vacations you want when you want to take them.  And then — bam — traffic comes to a stop.  What?  How can this be?  How can we already be in our mid-50’s?  How can retirement be so close? How is it possible that we haven’t saved more towards our own retirement by now?  What do we do to make it to our goal on time?

If this sounds anything like you, you are not alone.  We find that many clients come to us looking for assistance with their retirement late in the game. They may not have balanced their multiple financial goals as evenly as they should or could have and they find themselves behind in their retirement goals as they approach their retirement years. 

The good news is that it is possible to get yourself back on track by taking few action steps:

  1. Make sure you have a strong savings/emergency reserve fund.  At a minimum, this is 3 - 6 months’ worth of living expenses.
  2. Make sure all unnecessary and high interest rate debt is paid off; if this has accumulated, it is likely a result of no emergency reserve fund.
  3. Attempt to maximize your contributions to your employer retirement plans (start by making sure you are meeting any company match, and increase your contributions over time to meet the maximum contribution as cash flow allows; ramping up contributions is more crucial if your time frame towards retirement is shorter).  *See here for our blog on 2018 retirement plan contribution limits.
  4. If you are able to save beyond your maximum employer retirement plan contributions, consider savings in either a ROTH IRA (if you are eligible under the current income limitations) or in an after-tax investment account to create diversification in your retirement investment portfolio.  What we mean here is that we want to have different tax buckets to draw from in retirement — we don’t want every dollar you access for income in retirement to be taxable in the same way.
  5. And lastly, partner with a financial planner to keep yourself and your retirement savings plan on track until retirement.  Having an accountability and decision making partner to help you determine where best to save, when and how to save more, when you might realistically be able to retire and how much you might be able to spend is crucial to a successful retirement.

It is easy to cruise through life and forget how quickly time is passing us by.  Before we know it, important life milestones are creeping up on us before we are prepared for them.  With the help of a financial planner, you can get yourself back on track and ready to meet the goals you’ve always dreamed of.  If we can be of help to you or anyone you know who might be in this situation, give us a call.  We are always happy to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.


Any opinions are those of Sandra Adams and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Roth IRA owners must be 591⁄2 or older and have held the IRA for five years before tax-free withdrawals are permitted. Like Traditional IRAs, contribution limits apply to Roth IRAs. In addition, with a Roth IRA, your allowable contribution may be reduced or eliminated if your annual income exceeds certain limits. Contributions to a Roth IRA are never tax deductible, but if certain conditions are met, distributions will be completely income tax free. Diversification and asset allocation do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Raymond James is not affiliated with any of the companies listed above. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Why Retirement Planning is Like Climbing Mount Everest

Nick Defenthaler Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP®

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Mount Everest.  One of the most beautiful, natural wonders in the world.  With an elevation of just over 29,000 feet, it is the highest mountain above sea level on the planet. As you would expect, climbing Mount Everest is an incredibly difficult and dangerous feat. Sadly, over 375 people have lost their lives making the trek. One thing that might surprise you is that the vast majority who have died on the mountain, did not pass away while climbing to the top. Believe it or not, it’s actually the climb down, or descent, that has caused the greatest amount of fatalities.

Case in point, Eric Arnold was a multiple Mount Everest climber who sadly died in 2016 on one of his climbs. Before he passed, he was interviewed by a local media outlet and was quoted as saying “two-thirds of the accidents happen on the way down. If you get euphoric and think ‘I have reached my goal,’ the most dangerous part is still ahead of you.”  Eric’s quote really struck me and I couldn’t help but think of the parallels his words had with retirement planning and how we, as advisers, help serve clients.  Let me explain.   

Most of us will work 40+ years, save diligently, and hopefully invest wisely with the guidance of a trusted professional with the goal of retiring and happily living out the ‘golden years.'  It can be an exhilarating feeling – getting towards the end of your career, knowing that you’ve accumulated sufficient assets to achieve the goals you’ve set forth for you and your family. However, we can’t forget that the climb is only half way done. We have to continue working together and develop a quality plan to help you on your climb down the mountain as well! When do I take Social Security? Which pension option should I elect? How do I navigate Medicare? Which accounts do I draw from to get me the money I need to live on in the most tax-efficient manner? Even though you’ve reached the peak of the mountain – aka retirement, we have to recognize that the work is far from over. There are still monumental financial decisions that need to be made during the years you aren’t working that most of us simply can’t afford to get wrong. 

As with those who climb Mount Everest, many financial plans that are in good shape when entering retirement can easily be derailed on the descent or when funds start to be withdrawn from your portfolio – aka the “decumulation” phase of retirement planning. A quality financial and investment strategy doesn’t end upon retirement – this is the time when proper planning becomes even more critical.  Email me if I can help you on the climb – both on the way up and on the way down the mountain.  Learn more about our process here.

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Nick works closely with Center clients and is also the Director of The Center’s Financial Planning Department. He is also a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs and educational webinars.


Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler, and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Any information provided has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by Raymond James Financial Services and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision. Any information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM and CFP® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Is there a loss when a municipal bond purchased at a premium matures at par value?

The Center Contributed by: Center Investment Department

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Investors often erroneously believe that they will lose money when purchasing a bond at a premium and allow it to mature at a lower par value.  In order to understand why this is not the case we should step back and explain some bond basics.

Coupon and Par Value explained

Bonds pay interest to you, the investor. A coupon is simply the amount of money that you receive at each interest payment (typically every six months). Par value, or the issuer’s price of a bond, is typically $1000. If a bond has a 5% coupon, then you receive 5% of $1000 every year; or $25 every 6 months.  The price you pay is often expressed as a percent of par value.  So if it is selling at $103 you are paying 103% of the par value, or $1,030. (1,000*1.03).

Why would you pay a premium?

When you buy a municipal bond at a premium price (or more than the $1,000 par value), you may be doing so because you are getting a higher coupon rate.  For example, let’s say the going market interest rate for a par value bond you are looking at is 3%.  If you found a bond that is paying a coupon of 4% with the same maturity you may think, “Jackpot!”  However, in order to buy this bond you are going to have to pay more than the $1,000 par value for the 3% bond. To better understand this we use the measure of yield to maturity (the rate at which the sum of all future cash flows from the bond is equal to the current price of the bond).  Ultimately, the yield to maturity should be very similar between the two bonds, you will just get more current income from the premium bond as it has a higher coupon, but you pay a higher price to get it.  Unfortunately, you don’t get to write off this “loss” when the bond matures and only pays you back the $1,000 par value.  The premium of this bond is amortized down each year and is being returned to you in the form of the higher coupon rate.  See the example below.

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Once the bond finally matures, you have amortized out all of the premium over the life of owning the bond and your cost basis would ultimately be the par value now.  Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about calculating this yourself.  IRS guidelines require your custodian to calculate and report this on your yearly 1099 Form.

The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Tim Wyman and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Bond prices and yields are subject to change based upon market conditions and availability. If bonds are sold prior to maturity, you may receive more or less than your initial investment. There is an inverse relationship between interest rate movements and fixed income prices. Generally, when interest rates rise, fixed income prices fall and when interest rates fall, fixed income prices rise. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Please include if clients are able to click on the link: Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.

Sustainable Investments and Your Portfolio

Laurie Renchik Contributed by: Laurie Renchik, CFP®, MBA

Planning for a sustainable retirement is one that will financially support you for a lifetime. The financial planning process is dynamic as life unfolds and is subject to new information and changing circumstances along the way. 

One of the changes I see happening today is that a growing number of retirement savers are thinking more seriously about how a sustainable investment strategy fits into their overall investment plan. 

In tandem, the sustainable investment landscape is also evolving and growing.  Once a niche market, sustainable investing is becoming mainstream moving from a limited universe of investments focused on screening objectionable exposures to a range of solutions to achieve sustainable outcomes.  In fact, US investments focused on sustainable objectives grew 135% in the four year period from 2012 through 2016.**  With this volume of growth comes opportunity.  Demographic shifts, government policies and corporate views on environmental and social risk are the primary forces driving growth and change today.

For example, sustainable investing today includes Exclusionary Screens, ESG factors and Impact Targets.  Exclusionary screens avoid exposure to companies who operate in controversial sectors such as fossil fuels, tobacco or weapons.  ESG Factors invest in companies whose practices rank highly by Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance standards.  Impact Targets invest in companies whose products and solutions target measurable social or environmental impact.

If your goal is to create a sustainable retirement and in tandem allocate a portion of your investments to supporting a sustainable global future we can help. 

Our top priority is to create the best plan coupled with the best investment portfolio for you.  If that means taking sustainable investment preferences into consideration we have the resources and solutions available to build on traditional portfolio analytics to understand your current exposures and relevant sustainability factors.  We can set targets to improve the sustainability of your portfolio based on your personal objectives and measure performance data over time.

Contact us today to learn more!  Sustainable investing can drive positive social or environmental impact alongside financial results, allowing investors to accomplish more with their money.  Opportunity awaits.

Laurie Renchik, CFP®, MBA is a Partner and Senior Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® In addition to working with women who are in the midst of a transition (career change, receiving an inheritance, losing a life partner, divorce or remarriage), Laurie works with clients who are planning for retirement. Laurie is a member of the Leadership Oakland Alumni Association and is a frequent contributor to Money Centered.


**Year over year growth in sustainable assets in the U.S. 2012 to 2016. Source: Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Raymond James Financial Services and are subject to change without notice. Information contained herein was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Information provided is general in nature, and is not a complete statement of all information necessary for making an investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. There is no assurance these trends will continue or that forecasts mentioned will occur.  Investing always involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss. No investment strategy can guarantee success.

Webinar in Review Blog: Staying Safe with Best Practices

Contributed by: James Brown James Brown

In today’s technology environment, information is just a click away. Sadly, bad guys looking for your information are just a click away also. Good security practices can protect you from becoming prey while you are on the Web.

The Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® offers some best practices on how to protect your accounts and your information.

Basic Security Hygiene: (Minute 1:15)

  • Prevention
  • Updates
  • Firewalls
  • Safe Browsing

Mobile\Wireless Security: (Minute 6:50)

  • Limit your transactions
  • Make sure the network is the right network
  • ·Turn off what you are not using

Passwords: (Minute 11:10)

  • Bad Practices
  • Good Practices

Final Solution: (Minute 25:00)

  • Your Backup Plan
  • Backup best Practices

James Brown is an IT Manager at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®

Can You Have a Purposeful Retirement?

Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP® Sandy Adams

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It is quite often we find ourselves as financial planners delivering the good news to clients that their financial plans are on solid footing and their retirement goals are on track, only to hear from the client that they still don’t feel that they are “ready” to retire.  These clients, while financially prepared, express that they don’t feel they have put enough planning into the practical side of retirement – what will we do every day that will give our lives meaning, purpose and joy?

A book I found recently gives guidance for clients struggling to design the next phase of their lives. Hyrum Smith, the author of Purposeful Retirement: How to Bring Happiness and Meaning to Your Retirement, provides tips, tools, and stories based on his journey through this very process.  In his words, “The rest of your life can be the best of your life” if you have the right attitude, embrace this stage, and bring enthusiasm to the process.  He finds that folks entering this phase are in one of two camps – those who can’t wait and those who will need to be dragged into it kicking and screaming.  It is important to identify which camp you are in and check your attitude at the door.

Takeaways from “Purposeful Retirement”:

  • Being proactive is the key to transitioning well into retirement. If you simply let yourself drift into retirement, you can become lost without the purpose or structure that your work life provided. 
  • Take charge of planning your next phase by defining your mission, your purpose and core values which will help direct how you spend your time in retirement.
  • The book offers options for how to take your purpose and translate it into action on a weekly and daily basis.
  • Fear or losing your identity or role is a key fear for many entering retirements.  For those folks, asking, “How will I make a difference?” will help fill that gap.
  • For many, retirement is not a solo endeavor (we do it with our spouse).  The book offers lessons on how to retire well as a couple and make adjustments that may need to be discussed and made to make retirement successful for both of you.
  • Just because you are entering into the last phase of your life doesn’t mean you are dead yet!  This can be your most successful, joyful, fulfilling phase of your life – if you are intentional and embrace it with enthusiasm.

Financially planning for your retirement is just the first step in the process.  Emotionally and psychologically planning for the last phase of your life may be the more challenging part for some – especially if you don’t want to coast to the end.  “Purposeful Retirement” may be a good place to start, and/or or have a conversation with your financial planner about other ways to help you plan your NEXT best phase of life.  We are always here to help!

Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.