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Jump in the Pool

Written by Lee Stoerzinger, CFP®

You work your whole life. You do what you need to do to save for your future. Maybe you hit the ‘magic’ age that your employer says will maximize your benefits, or you simply just turn the societal normal retirement age of 65. You have looked at your expenses, figured out what to do about health insurance, and your estate planning documents are in order. The plan looks great and all you need to do is cross the threshold and make it happen. Just as you get there, something inside creates doubt in your mind. Are you sure you can do it? You aren’t going to have any more paychecks. What will you do? What if the kids need something? You’ve been working 40 years. What will you do with your time?

Over the years, we have seen stories like the one above unfold over and over. We go over the plan with clients in detail, assuring them that all is right with the world. Yet, right after being presented with the information, they convince themselves they should get a few more projects done at the office. Or maybe they will need some money for some unforeseen event and they should just work two more years. That is, until we start asking questions which connect with other parts of their brain—emotions, legacy and intellect. After all, how could someone have nothing but excitement in their eyes about the freedom retirement presents and at the same time talk themselves out of it completely? There’s much more going on here.

When someone is presented with facts showing certainty about something, such as retirement, and they choose to work several more years, I’m going to go out on a limb and say they really don’t actually want to get up every morning and go to work. It’s about fear of the unknown. It’s about uncertainty and stepping into unchartered waters. It’s about how they were raised, what they think about money and change. While you might agree and think this is obvious, I might say, fair enough. However, I also say that there are far too many people who don’t follow their dreams and stay working because they become captured by doubt and an inability to process through these things.

This presents a great example of the difference between what many people think financial planning is, and what it actually is. We so often think it is just about the money and spend so much of our time analyzing investments from every perspective. The reality is that financial planning is about processing through all of the hard questions, such as what our legacy looks like, how we want to serve something greater than ourselves, and how we truly want to spend our time. The financial and investment piece fits into that plan, not the other way around, as we so often see. We have found that when the two sides are combined and work toward a greater goal, there is more harmony on both sides. There is clarity and meaning to the life plan and greater confidence in the investment plan because it is guided by sound required returns, not chasing markets. This is a belief from which we do not waiver and the results we see in our clients’ lives make that easy.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.