We are all on a search for significance. It is an instinct that may lie dormant for years but surfaces later in life when people reflect upon their accomplishments (or lack thereof). We begin contemplating on what we consider to be the most important things in life. Improving relationships with family and community, a commitment to improve spiritual understanding, assisting a worldwide charitable organization or local service club are all areas that may take center stage later in life. It is paramount that your financial advisor understands where you stand on these matters.
What is it that you want to achieve during your lifetime? Have you accomplished it yet? If not, now is the time to focus and commit to your goals. As your life winds down, what is it that provides true fulfillment? Is it to see your children become independent and successful? To travel extensively and experience different cultures across the world? To leave a philanthropic legacy to the institutions and charities that you value most?
For many people, family matters most. The goals and aspirations of many retiree’s center on being part of the lives of their children and grandchildren. They want to be an integral part of the cycle of life, and that is how they perceive themselves remaining relevant into old age. We regularly have specific discussions regarding these topics with clients. What is their unique, detailed definition of relevance?
Their answers are quite varied and have everything to do with their financial planning decisions. Clients often mention how important it is to them that their loved ones remember them with fondness and admiration. How are those memories made? By celebrating the holidays together? Regular croquet, scrabble, or monopoly competitions? Vacations to other continents? Once the objective is determined, the necessary costs can be estimated and the steps to achieving the objectives can be mapped out. Sometimes the solution may mean postponing retirement or repositioning investments. If this is the case, it is imperative that the client is fully aware.
We also discuss the advisor’s role in assisting clients with attaining their definition of relevance. The advisor can ease the client’s concern about outliving their money so that they can progress through life confidently and focused on their priorities. Toward that end, we focus initially on defining those priorities and then proceeding with the specifics and details necessary to accomplish them.