Planning for happiness is the future of retirement

07 July 2021 Henry van Deventer, Liberty Chief Specialist Advice Model Design

Retirement as we know it is changing in ways that makes financial advice both more complicated and more meaningful. People no longer just want advice about financial security. They want to know how they can live their best lives, achieving the goals and aspirations they've always dreamed of. Along with this is a deeper need to understand how their money can empower a broader sense of happiness.

The old idea of retirement, being something a person does when their working life finishes at age 65, when they are expected to park themselves on a shelf and wait for time to run out, is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

This notion is being replaced with a sense that there are a great many adventures and achievements that can happen in life's journey after work. Financial advisers are waking up to this and some are building really powerful practices giving life to this idea, enabling clients to move forward in a meaningful and rewarding way.

To better understand how to enhance meaningful retirement advice, in my experience the following guidelines are worth considering when it comes to crafting a financial plan for retirement:

1. Up to the age of 75 retirees remain pretty active. They typically live the same life they did prior to retirement – often more so due to the extra time available to them - and tend to continue enjoying the same activities they always have. Helping clients define what the purpose, experiences and relationships will be that will make this phase as rewarding as possible is hugely important in this phase.
2. Between 75 to 85 retirees start slowing down somewhat. Homes tend to get downsized, often with a focus on moving to retirement communities. Medical expenses also start going up and priorities like travel start taking a back seat, often because the kids start visiting them instead of the other way around.
3. The frail stage of retirement sets in around the age of 85. Lifestyle expenses are much reduced, but medical expenses become critical as health issues become more prevalent.

Considering these points as a core roadmap for your retirement proposition tends to open up rich possibilities for enhancing the value of your retirement planning experience.

Finding out what clients really want to do with their lives and what goals are achievable given their particular circumstances enables advisers to provide a level of depth and meaning in their client discussions. This aligns them much more closely with the issues that truly matter to clients.

Creating a roadmap that clearly identifies rewarding experiences, meaningful relationships and enabling a sense of purpose provides retirement with a deep sense of meaning and reward. This may well include continuing working even if there is no longer a financial need to do so.

To ultimately evolve retirement planning to a point where true meaning can be provided to clients in their golden years, it’s no longer a case of clients only asking: "Will I be OK?"
It's also about asking: "Will I be happy?"

Financial planning that can take all of this into account requires a great deal of flexibility. This not only requires the technology to bring these discussions to life in a way that clients understand. It also requires products and solutions that can provide the necessary security and flexibility.

By learning to focus on the areas that truly enable happiness for our retired clients and building an advice process supported by the technology and products to bring it to life, retirement planning shifts from a dreaded necessity to a truly liberating experience.

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