What does “reckless” mean? Merriam Webster says “marked by a lack of proper caution, careless of consequences.” Unfortunately we know people who are taking a reckless attitude towards retirement.
What are some clues that your client is avoiding the subject?
You might approach the topic of reckless behavior if you hear some of the following 10 statements.
1. The government will take care of me.
Social Security is mean to be a supplement to your retirement income, not the sole source. The government is more likely to find a way to consider it taxable income.
Instead: We need to do a retirement income projection and talk about your lifestyle in retirement.
2. My kids will see I’m provided for.
They have their own lives. Their own kids. It’s costing them everything they earn to educate, feed and clothe them. They are secretly hoping you will pay for their college tuition, not move in with them.
Instead: You want financial independence, not to be a burden to your children. Lets see what we can do.
3. If worse comes to worse, I’ll sell the house.
This might be a problem if your kids have moved back home. You will still need someplace to live. Retirement communities probably start at a couple of thousand or more per month. The house might have a home equity loan or an outstanding mortgage.
Instead: Downsizing might be an option, but lets start saving today so downsizing is the option of last resort.
4. I have plenty of time to plan.
Your client might be 45 or 55 years old. Time passes quickly. They should be putting away the maximum amount possible into their 401(k) at work and their IRA account.
Instead: Time flies. Remember when you started college? Four years seemed like forever. Looking back in senior year, you wonder where the time went. You should start saving, the earlier the better.
5. I’ve been at my firm for 25 years.
What could possibly go wrong? Loyalty isn’t valued like it was. During the pandemic lots of people were laid off, but not rehired. You can’t count on working until you choose to retire.