Achieving the retirement your client has always dreamed about requires both lifestyle AND financial planning.

When preparing for retirement many Australians seek advice on how to fund their retirement. But how many actually stop to think about what life in retirement is going to look like and what they are going to do for the next 20-30 years? 

According to Jon Glass who runs retirement coaching service, 64 PLUS (www.64plus.com.au), “setting up to live a happy and fulfilling retirement requires more than just financial advice and choosing a hobby. It’s about creating new meaning and self-worth that lasts for the long and enjoyable decades of retirement.”

Of course some retirees will have a clear idea on how they want to live their post-work lives and will quite happily slot into retirement. But others may struggle. A change in routine, a loss of self-worth (previously defined by work) and a sudden change in lifestyle can create an absence of day to day meaning and purpose. This in turn can lead to confusion, melancholy, frustration, illness and even isolation from family/community.

A retirement coach can help

Retirement coaching can help pre-retirees and retirees find meaning and purpose in life after work. And before you say this all sounds rather ‘fluffy’, the fact is many retirees need help. They think that with the right financial plan in place everything else will just come naturally—and this is often not the case.  “It’s good to have more money than less but it turns out that the emotional aspects of retirement are much bigger than this,” says Jon Glass.

It’s good to have more money than less but it turns out
that the emotional aspects of retirement are much bigger than this

In the US there are a growing number of retirement coaches and we’re starting to see the same in Australia. We have approximately over five million baby boomers moving into retirement¹. It’s no longer a destination, it’s a journey, and the need for developing a plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement may potentially outweigh the need to prepare financially.

How does it work?

The relationship between retirement coach and client is built on the same foundations as your client relationships: trust, effort and time invested. In fact some advisers may play the role of the retirement coach themselves. What’s evident however is that a client’s purpose doesn’t simply just announce itself.  It requires the coach and client to engage on an emotional level, for the right questions to be asked at the right time and for the client to speak their mind freely and without embarrassment.

According to Peter Black, a Retirement Options Certified Coach at Peter Black Coaching (www.peterblackcoaching.com), open-ended questions about the future that can help your client clarify their options in retirement may include:

  • What will people say about you at your 60th/70th/80th/90th birthday party or ultimately at your funeral?
  • How will you replace the inherent benefits your business/career/job provides (i.e. identity, income, purpose, socialisation, time management and utilisation)?
  • How much are your plans dependent on the good health of you, your partner and other family members including aged parents, adult children and grandchildren?
  • What will you and your partner talk about at that daily coffee when either of you no longer have your business or work as an anchor?
  • What thought have you given to having an encore, portfolio or slash career?

By engaging with and listening patiently to the individual (or couple), a retirement coach can help the client identify the lifestyle that meets their life goals, well-being, and ultimately their happiness.

Retirement coaching service and your practice

You may already be fulfilling the role of retirement coach yourself which is terrific.  For others, it may be something to think about doing or working with a retirement coach. For instance, similar to outsourcing estate planning, tax or legal advice, you can outsource a retirement coaching service to an independent professional.  And when your client has a good experience from this value added service, it can only reflect positively on you and your practice. 

¹”Boom or bust? ‘5.5million moving into retirement’”, www.senior news.com.au, 14 July 2017.