What’s in your retirement plan? Hopefully it’s more than just what’s in your wallet.
Google “Retirement Planning” and you’ll see pages of sponsored ads and websites talking about finances, pensions, social security, investments, managing assets and risk, and portfolios. But Google has it all wrong because in reality, your financial plan isn’t retiring. You are. And you need to plan for the event and transition in that way. From a whole person perspective.
So why does Google continue to get it all wrong? For a number of reasons.
1. Traditional Focus
Retirement planning has historically been heavily centered around financial aspects. The traditional view of retirement has been primarily driven by the idea of saving enough money to sustain one’s lifestyle after leaving the workforce. As a result, conversations and advice around retirement planning often revolve around maximizing retirement account contributions, investment strategies, and calculating the appropriate withdrawal rates. This emphasis on finances can overshadow the importance of considering other aspects of retirement.
2. Tangible Measure
Financial planning provides a tangible measure of preparedness for retirement. People can quantify their retirement savings, set specific financial goals, and track their progress over time. This concrete approach makes it easier for individuals to assess whether they are on track for a comfortable retirement. It’s human nature to gravitate towards tangible goals and metrics, making financial planning a more apparent focus for many. It’s far more complicated to consider what retirement will mean to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Your identity.
3. Fear of Outliving Money
The fear of running out of money in retirement is a significant concern for many individuals. People worry about ensuring their financial security and being able to cover potential healthcare expenses or unforeseen emergencies during retirement. Consequently, this fear drives individuals to prioritize financial planning above all else, as they want to protect themselves from financial uncertainty in their later years. But the reality is that no one has a crystal ball when it comes to predicting the financial market and economic times. And, the fact that we’re living longer means many retirees are pursuing interests that oftentimes have an income attached to it.
4. Lack of Awareness
Many people may not be fully aware of the emotional and psychological challenges that can arise during retirement. While retirement is often portrayed as a time of leisure and relaxation, it can also bring significant life changes and adjustments. The lack of awareness or discussion around these non-financial aspects can lead people to overlook their importance in retirement planning. Many retirees are discovering that the idea of leisure and relaxation isn’t fulfilling enough, and they are pursuing new interests to create that sense of purpose they had in their career.
5. Cultural Norms
Just look all around you. Societal norms and messaging often revolve around financial success and material comfort. Google is a prime example. The emphasis on accumulating wealth and achieving a certain standard of living can overshadow the need to consider other dimensions of retirement. Consequently, people may view financial success as the ultimate marker of a successful retirement, while neglecting other essential elements of a fulfilling post-work life.
The complexity of retirement planning can be overwhelming, and emphasizing financial planning alone simplifies the process. Focusing solely on finances allows people to concentrate on one measurable aspect, making it easier to tackle and track progress. Additionally, financial planning tools and resources are more readily available and accessible, contributing to its dominance in the retirement planning landscape.
While a financial plan is undoubtedly a crucial component of retirement planning, it is essential to recognize that a fulfilling retirement requires attention to the complexities of the whole person. The reasons mentioned above, such as the traditional focus, fear of financial uncertainty, and lack of awareness, have contributed to the perception that a financial plan is all a person needs for retirement.
However, embracing a holistic approach that considers emotional well-being, social connections, finding purpose, and redefining identity will lead to a more rewarding and peaceful retirement transition and journey into a new chapter. By expanding the focus beyond finances, individuals can pave the way for a balanced and fulfilling retirement experience and live life by design.
I’m putting together a workshop that will dive deeper into this notion that retirement planning should be way more than having your financial plan in order. It’s scheduled for mid-September. Be sure you’re on the waitlist so you’re the first to know about it. You can join the waitlist here. And, if you want to get started right away, you can take the free, fun Zone of Genius quiz.