Giving more than financial freedom in retirement

3 min read

Published in ifa 7 August 2017.

For advisers there is a large role to play in making sure your clients know what they’re doing as they enter the retirement phase. While finances can play a big role, it’s not just about the money – it’s much bigger than that.

I was recently at the farewell of a work colleague who was retiring. About to turn 60, he was set up for an early retirement and making plans to travel, enjoy life and just move on from working for around 40 years.

At the farewell, his manager, who is in his 30s, said this was the first retirement he was witnessing at work. To be honest, I had to think back to when I last witnessed a colleague retiring and I had to think back over 25 years to my first job in a newsroom when one of the old newspaper graphic artists retired.

It was interesting that in financial services we talk about retirement constantly, with superannuation often at the top on our financial services agendas. But yet for those of us in in marketing and other non-client facing roles, we don’t often come into actual contact with retirees and what they are really thinking.

In his own leaving speech – my colleague said he was able to retire before the official retirement age because of salary sacrificing and rolling over superannuation.

It was a real message from him – and one we are constantly giving without necessarily having this first-hand experience.

To see a colleague and friend of mine actually benefit from this, this made it different – closer to home. And it also was somewhat rewarding to know our messages really do ring true when people take notice.

My colleague was happy to have secured his retirement and be able to afford a lifestyle to suit him and his family.

Of course there is a lot more value in advice than just sorting the finances.

Retirement is a stage of life that has to be prepared for practically – financially and also emotionally.

It’s probably not surprising that there are links between wellbeing and retirement. My colleague shared that his brother had trouble adjusting to retirement when he had retired early a couple of years before. Although he had many other interests and was active in the community, it became clear that he needed to focus on his wellbeing as a priority.

Speaking to others who were nearing retirement age about this, many said they could certainly understand how stopping work could have an effect on your wellbeing, because often our work is associated with how we feel, how we feel valued and your contribution to society. And of course, there is also the social aspect of work, which when you stop – you may miss seeing and interacting with people throughout the work day, including on your commute as well as in the office and with clients.

It’s one of those key life stage moments, and a period of transition. You have to understand what you’re likely to miss, and how you’re likely to feel, and what you’re likely to do.

Will you have people around you that you want to hang out with? Will you have enough to do, will you miss too much of your previous life?

My colleague was going cold turkey into retirement and said he would not be working part-time or in an advisory role.

Often people have a transition to retirement strategy – and while some may consider this an arrangement with tax advantages, it’s more than that.

This is a good opportunity to really act in your client’s best interests – are they mentally ready to take the step into full-time retirement or is there something else they need to do first to help support them?

Listen to their concerns. For some, the money side of things are more important – for instance for my father, as soon as he knew he didn’t have to work and could afford not to, he never looked back – but for others it’s more about the community of the workplace, the value of the work and the satisfaction of their clients.

If you can listen to what your clients’ real concerns are and help them, the value they receive from you and the feedback they will give will be a great help to your business and to the reputation generally of financial advice and advisers.
 

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