Financially Speaking: Retirement- A Financial Decision or an Emotional Decision?
By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF® Accredited Wealth Management Advisor® Accredited Investment Fiduciary®
When you hear the words “Retirement Planning” the natural association is financial. How much money have you and your spouse accumulated throughout your working years? What is a reasonable distribution rate to determine the monthly income need from your nest egg? How long does that money need to last? What other sources of income are available such as pension or social security, and what is the best combination of election options – in other words, when to begin receiving those benefits and in what form, single, or some form of joint selection? One would think the mathematical equation of retirement should be objective, fairly straightforward. Unfortunately, it is not that clear cut. Our equation takes a big subjective turn when we ponder questions like, How long will I live? How long will my husband or wife live, and how do I make sure he/she is financially taken care of? What will happen in the future with inflation, healthcare expenses and the like? It’s always been funny to me to think of something that seems mathematical as having a subjective side, but in the financial world, we solve for that with probabilities and simulations. So, financially, we can arrive at a decision point rather effectively. But in my years of working with individuals and couples planning for and contemplating retirement, there is another side. The emotional side, which kicks in as our retirement date is nearing.
In many cases, we’ve spent our entire adult lifetime building our career or our business. I know I have, and for me personally, the dedication of building my business has been like raising a third child. I look forward to my day’s agenda. I am gratified when I have been of value to others. I like to keep mentally sharp. So, when I talk with people about retirement, I can relate to their emotional trepidations about this major lifestyle change. Many times, it is a feeling of ambivalence. On the one hand, there will be time to devote to personal projects, hobbies, and interests. On the other hand, leaving what you’ve spent a lifetime building is a big step. Letting go of the income from your job or business is often a cause for anxiety, especially when that means you will have to start taking from the nest egg that you’ve been building for decades. So, is retirement a financial decision or an emotional decision? Most times, it’s both.
If this describes you, my advice is to spend a just amount of time thinking through and talking about these considerations. Often, I’ve worked with people for a year or more emotionally preparing for the next chapter: retirement. As with any major decision in life, the better prepared you are, the more confident you will be stepping into that new chapter. For the retirement chapter, it takes both financial and emotional preparedness.
(Author’s note: Due to industry regulations, I am prohibited from responding to any online comments. I welcome you to contact me via e-mail: [email protected]).
LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or [email protected]. www.SchulferAndAssociates.com
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Accredited Wealth Management Advisor SM and AWMA® are trademarks or registered service marks of the College for Financial Planning in the United States and/or other countries. The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation is earned through the Center for Fiduciary Studies.