Is your retirement planning all about how much money you need?

One of  the discussions I have with clients is around what’s important to them.  These discussions are about getting deeper than just the financial aspects of their life, it’s understanding what fulfils someone.  What do they want to be able to do, not just today and tomorrow but in the future as well.

Golf Green Island
(Photo credit: jurvetson)

Recently I had a discussion with a client named Mick. At the age of 48, Mick is clearly going to meet his retirement objectives by age 60 which is his desired retirement age. He will have well in excess of what he needs financially to meet his lifestyle goals. So from a financial point of view – everything is on track, he’s ahead of target.

As we started to talk more broadly around what’s important in his life we talked about health and we talked about pastimes. He is really passionate golfer but for the past two years he hasn’t been playing much golf because of an ongoing back injury. What he really wants to do in retirement is play a lot of golf. Bust it was what he said next that really hit me. he said that if he is unable to play golf due to his back when he is 60, he may as well keep working!

Turned out that up until a couple of years ago he’d been going to the gym regularly and that his back injury wasn’t causing many problems for his golf. But then he got busy at work the last couple of years, he wasn’t going to the gym and his back had flared up. The discussion became around lifestyle and health and what we need to do to make sure that when he turns 60 he’s going to be able to live the way he wants to live.

So we talked about the need from the get back to the gym and address the issue now. If I’d focused only on the financial issues we would never have uncovered what was really important to him. I could well have gone the next 12 years thinking he was going to have a great retirement and realised this all too late.

5 comments

  1. Hi Dave,
    Great point made well, we need to develop deeper relationships with our clients. What can be difficult is getting the client to really value the intangible benefit you’ve delivered.
    Cheers

    1. Hi Simon,
      Thanks for the feedback! You’re right the discussion around this intangible value is not as clear cut as for example how much tax a strategy will save.

      I position it around talking about investment and goals.

      Will my client be happier if they achieve none or only some of their goals but have outperforming investments. Or will they be happier to have investments that don’t perform as well but achieve what is important to them.

      Cheers,
      Dave

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