Retire To Something, Not From Something

Retire To Something, Not From Something

July 12, 2023

Your financial plan is set. It looks great and has been stress-tested. You are ready and this is the day you have looked forward to…retirement.

You no longer have to work for income. You are beholden to no one, no company, no more email chains or meetings in Kansas City next Tuesday.

You have arrived. So why is it you do not feel better about it? There is something that is muting all of that joy. What is it?

The answer may surprise you.

After all, who thought the financial aspects of this whole retirement thing would be the easy part? But it turns out, in many client situations, it is just that.

Saying goodbye to day in day out

I can imagine some of you saying, “What? Yeah right! When it is time for me, I’m done, no problem!” And that may be. This is not something everyone deals with, but we run into it often. Think about it for a minute. You work at a career, day in and day out, for decades, 30-40 years. You trade your Monday through Friday to make a living, build a life, and provide for your family.

While not everyone truly loves what they do, most do enjoy their work and it gives them satisfaction. Now, after annual meetings with your knowledgeable and follicle-challenged financial planner, you just leave work and it is all okay. Stop right there.

Going from 40-60 hours a week, earning a living, to no work on a dead stop can be very difficult mentally. As many of you have heard me say over the years, the very stewardship that got you here financially is the same trait that can now work against you to give up that paycheck and turn on income from your investments. This is very real and we work with clients to coach them through.

Are you emotionally ready to retire?

In the end, once we have determined through your plan that you are financially ready to retire, we focus on making sure you are emotionally ready to retire. This aspect is key to being happy in this much-awaited next phase of your life and is often overlooked.

After 25 years of working and coaching clients through this big decision, the truth is indisputable; you must retire to something, rather than from something.

How do we do it? How can we work through this emotional part of retirement? We advise clients to give themselves some grace. While you have indeed waited and wished for this day for many years, it is a learned lifestyle just like any other. When you first went to work you didn’t have it all figured out on the first day, maybe not even in your first years. Retirement is no different. We tell clients it will come with time, to not overthink it.

Do it gradually

The next step is gradually moving into this next phase. This can mean many things, including cutting down your time slowly in your current working position. We are seeing more and more of this happen. Companies have been reluctant to let go of good, wise, and experienced talent. They are encouraging employees to stick around on a more limited schedule to help ease any transition to new employees who will take your place.

If this is not an option, another part-time position may be. This could take place within your same profession, as a consultant of some type, or with a career or industry that has nothing to do with the career from which you are retiring. The point is to slowly transition from working those full-time weeks to less and less time. At some point, the grace you give yourself works with you, and you realize you are not only ready to retire, but you are also looking forward to it. 

One size does not fit all

This is not one-size-fits-all. Clients over the last 25 years have come from varied backgrounds, careers, and situations. And as varied as those were, so were the plans we designed to move them from their working years to being retired.

As you see, while there are many nerdy and wonderful technical aspects of building a sound and sustaining financial plan, there are some emotional components as well.

We will continue to work through those as we coach and walk alongside you in navigating your future. If you have questions or concerns about your upcoming or recent retirement and we have not yet had this conversation, please let us know. We look forward to helping you, too, discover this about yourself and come up with a plan that is unique to you.