A quiet revolution is going on in the retirement planning industry. As a financial education company working directly with pre-retirees and retirees, we at Financial Finesse see evidence of it every day in the faces and questions of Baby Boomers who are preparing for a transition that is both exciting and terrifying, in numbers unheard of before. Increasingly, the questions are not financial. They are personal.
Retirement planning is slowly evolving into a multidisciplinary field that includes not only accumulating assets for retirement and managing/protecting them within retirement, but also integrating retirement as a key transition in life. Some of the nation’s leading experts, including the Institute for Retirement Education (InFRE), the National Endowment of Financial Education (NEFE), and AARP are beginning to approach retirement planning as an integrated field, combining traditional financial planning with life planning to ensure that pre-retirees are able to make a successful transition to a retirement lifestyle.
The idea is so radical that it is easy to dismiss. After all, why should it be the financial planner’s responsibility to address non-financial issues related to retirement? The better question is “Why shouldn’t it be?” An integrated approach to retirement planning presents tremendous opportunities for planners to distinguish themselves as resource partners for the 77 million boomers preparing for this transition.
There are literally thousands of books on choosing a career, most high schools and virtually all colleges offer career planning, and there is a whole industry devoted to coaching professionals around how to build a successful career. But who helps senior citizens prepare for a successful retirement? Who helps them to decide what kind of lifestyle and activities will be the most fulfilling based on their individual needs, personalities, and talents? Who will help them determine where they should live and how to psychologically cope with not working and with aging? What about managing their health?
To prepare, pre-retirees must seek a variety of professionals to prepare for all aspects of their retirement lifestyle. Such professionals may include financial planners to help them accumulate and protect a retirement nest egg, therapists and life coaches to help them adapt to living in retirement, real estate agents to help them select retirement communities and doctors to manage their health.
For the most part, experts do not consult each other, so many people face situations where advice they have been given in one area does not take into account other areas of their life in retirement. They may have diseases that are not accounted for in their financial plan or significant retirement assets but only vague notions of the kind of lifestyle they want in retirement.