Wealth Strategies: Retiree personalities
Milestone Wealth Management Ltd. - Dec 16, 2016
When we think of retirement, we generally think of financial planning items, such as sources of income, pensions, government benefits, income tax, estate planning*, and the like.
When we think of retirement, we generally think of financial planning items, such as sources of income, pensions, government benefits, income tax, estate planning*, and the like. The truth is that a very large part of good retirement planning is actually psychologically driven. Many financial planning discussions focus on the purely financial aspects of one’s life in retirement, but miss the personal goals, interests and passions of the individual. Once these more human aspects of the retirement plan are brought to light, one is likelier to have a clear sense of what will (or won’t) motivate them in the next stage of life.
Numerous studies on the subject of retirement transition reinforce this idea. A good example of such studies is that of now retired University of Maryland Professor Nancy K. Schlossberg, who is an expert in the area of transition. She herself admits that her own transition to retirement wasn’t as easy as she’d initially thought it would be. Like any major transition, she says, finding your retirement path requires “a fair amount of floundering and searching”. One of her coping mechanisms was to dive into research and writing. Her first book on retirement involved speaking to 100 retirees, from all walks of life, with the hopes of uncovering how and why some cope well and others do not. Through this process she was able to determine six different “retirement personalities” as follows:
- Continuer- Identifying with and continuing some aspects of their professional life. A prime example of this is University Professor Nancy Schlossberg herself that stopped teaching but continued research and writing.
- Adventurer- They see retirement as an opportunity to make big changes in life: getting (another) degree, starting a new career, opening up a bistro etc.
- Involved Spectator- While no longer actively involved in their previous work, compensates by exposing themselves to the people, ideas and activities that made work rewarding; think art museum director who still visits museums.
- Easy Glider- They can easily separate from their past working life, like to choose activities that appeal in the moment, and aren’t bothered by not having an agenda.
- Retreater- Someone who doesn’t have the energy or motivation to participate much beyond daily routines. The retreat may be temporarily necessary, but unless they figure out how to switch gears, this could be a dead end.
- Searchers- Almost all retirees fall into this category at some point or another; trying to find their niche in the post-work world.
The truth is that most retirees will likely shift from one type to another during their retirement phase; a very natural and normal tendency. What isn’t encouraged, however, would be to fall into the Retreater or Searcher category forever. This is why it’s so crucial to have these types of personal goal-oriented discussions in addition to accounting for all of the financial planning details. The two go hand-in-hand, of course, and will make for a far more enjoyable and rewarding retirement at the end of the day.
*Offered through Canaccord Genuity Wealth & Estate Planning Services