We all have different drivers, hopes, fears and dreams. For clients on the cusp of retirement or in retirement, the current market conditions, social isolation and health risks have converged creating a multitude of concerns and questions. They need assurance, empathy, clear conversation and leadership. They need coach like advice to prepare them for uncertainty ahead.

Retirement is transition from your old life to a new life. There are challenges and rewards. The experience is different for everyone.  There is no such thing as an average retiree. Jon Glass, Retirement Coach, 64Plus says that they are a diverse range of individuals with hopes and fears. ‘Some are excited by retirement while others are nervous. Some are exuberant and social, while others are shy and retiring.’

Jon states that retirement experience can differ depending on the individual and the life stage the client is in. For those in pre-retirement they consider “What can I expect from retirement?” And for those in retirement they reflect “Is retirement everything I expected it to be?”. The transformation can be challenging and equally rewarding.


As a retirement coach Jon aims to guide his clients, not direct them. Jon says “A coach’s job is to listen, ask open ended questions and to guide, not solve.” For a client, the process of being coached or mentoring helps clients discover personal drivers, fears and needs, and develop a strategy for retirement that are based on their own decisions and individual needs.

Allianz Retire + research shows that only 54% of married or defacto couples feel emotionally prepared for retirement and more recently retired have a greater appetite for financial advice, due to a lack of confidence in their financial position.

The role of a retirement coach and Adviser share some common objectives around setting expectations for the future. Addressing the question, “Is retirement everything I expected it to be?”

While many individuals believe they may be financially prepared they may not be psychologically prepared for change they experience. Financial Advisers can play a crucial role as a coach, to help clients think about retirement, life style and identity more holistically.

Like any good coach, the door should always be open for a chat. Advisers can maintain a line of communication via any technology that suits their client. What’s important is that you ask the right questions and listen carefully. Don’t jump to advice or solution mode.

Empathy and support

The right question can help open up deeper emotional conversations and provide advisers with insights into a client’s goals, needs, risk aversion and fears.

“79% of retirees state that social connections with family and friends, are an important part of their life, based on Allianz Retire+ research”

In the shadow of Coronavirus, many older Australians are still learning to cope with time isolated at home. As lock down restrictions ease and market conditions improve they still need support and guidance. Not just in the financial sense.

There is one question that can tell you a lot about every aspect of your client’s concerns. ‘How are you coping?’

The bridge of understanding

The transition from an old life to a new life is not always easy or predictable. Retirement is different for everyone. Understanding what makes your client feel fulfilled, gives them meaning and purpose, guides their strategy for retirement and financial goals.

Jon says, “there’s no menu for retirement. You can’t ask a client to read a menu carefully, tick the boxes and enjoy your retirement. Retirement is a deeply personal thing.”

The bridge from working life to retirement can be complex for some people to navigate. The coach’s role is asking questions that help clients understand:

  • How they will replace routine?
  • What validates them?
  • What loss of identity they might face?
  • What brings meaning to their life?

While these question answer deeply personal concerns they also inform the income and lifestyle they require in retirement.

Uncertainty continues to loom large on a range of fronts, including market instability, health threats and restrictions to freedom of movement. The resumption of normal life and pursuit of retirement plans may be curtailed for some time, requiring adjustment of priorities and expectations.

Advisers can provide a positive focus on future retirement objectives and encourage clients consider a diverse range of retirement activities to help them bridge the gap between working life and retirement.

Change of plans

Working occupies a significant part of life. It fills days. It can also contribute to identity or sense of purpose. And importantly it provides the income that it contributes to retirement savings.

Ill health or forced retirement can end a client’s working life much earlier than expected. It’s always good to discuss the likelihood of unforeseen circumstances and direct your client’s focus to how they might overcome the challenge and bolster resilience. Ask open ended questions and listen carefully.

  • What are the things you’ll be glad to remove from your life, e.g. commuting time to and from work?
  • In the case of ill health what are your current plans for dealing with this issue?
  • Do you have plans for finding another form of work?
  • What are some of the opportunities that could present themselves?

The right questions can help clients prepare for the unexpected. They set expectations and encourage clients to embrace change and own a solution.

Retirement is personal

This segment of the population are fearful of loss and are struggling to make sense of conflicting information about the impact of Coronavirus on their lifestyle and retirement savings.

There’s no specific menu for retirement. And your clients may be desperate for answers, looking for someone they can trust, a sounding board and good advice.

You need to build a bridge from present day to retirement by asking your clients the right questions. By honing your coaching skills you’ll gain invaluable insight on your clients’ retirement objectives. You’ll build deeper relationships and through the generosity of spirit you’ll generate happiness. And you will develop a retirement strategy that your client will embrace.

This article sets out general practice management topics and insights from the Allianz Retire+ Crucial Conversations webinar series held in June 2020. Statistical research quoted in this article is sourced from the Allianz Retire+ Next Chapter research conducted in August 2019.

During these challenging times, your clients’ irrational thoughts can seriously undermine their ability to digest complex concepts, strategies or advice that may be in their best interest. With your clients’ trust you can have difficult conversations, provide reassurance, support, and exchange ideas on how the right portfolio can deliver retirement income, now and into the future.

Allianz Retire+ can help you navigate these crucial conversations and provide the insight you need to understand retirees’ hopes and fears, and provide the tools and information you need to create effective retirement portfolios.

This article sets out general practice management topics and insights from the Allianz Retire+ Crucial Conversations webinar series held in June 2020. Statistical research quoted in this article is sourced from the Allianz Retire+ Next Chapter research conducted in August 2019.