Many investors have become worried about the future of their retirement plans during this pandemic. Between health concerns, the volatility of the stock market and forced isolation, it’s safe to say that there has been both reason and opportunity to question what our future in retirement might look like.
It’s important to realize that while we have not faced anything quite like the COVID-19 virus before, we have faced health concerns, market volatility and isolation — albeit not at the same time. Everyone has experience that they can lean on to get through the components of this crisis. Clients should see this as an opportunity to learn four key lessons about retirement:
1. Have a plan.
Clients who had a financial plan before the pandemic should have more confidence today than those who did not. Unless goals change, the plan should not. When the current medical uncertainty ends, clients likely will have a very clear picture of priorities — which is essential for planning for the later years of their working life. They also may find out priorities are very different than they thought they would be.
2. Create a schedule.
As important as planning finances are, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Just like many people who’ve been working from home, many new retirees struggle with what to do during their days. One way they can maintain their sanity is by developing a new schedule that works for their new situation. What things do they want to make sure to continue?
Encourage them to create time blocks for priorities to make sure that the things that are important to them still get done. Creating an overall schedule for the days and weeks can prevent them from feeling like Bill Murray’s character in the movie, “Groundhog Day,” who relives the same day over and over again. I know more than one person who, when working from home, has wondered, “What day is it again?”
3. Have a purpose.
During their working lives, many Americans find their purpose and identity in their work. The recent work-from-home period has caused many people to re-evaluate the importance they place on their work identity. When they exit the workforce, many retirees are forced to do a similar evaluation.