By Caroline Hall
My husband and I work with a great financial advisor, Dana Brewer of Birchwood Financial Partners in Minnesota, who not only invests our assets but also makes sure we have life insurance, long-term care insurance, an estate attorney, etc.—all the resources needed for a secure retirement and estate plan.
Retirement planning is actually a three-legged stool:
1) Financial planning aims to ensure adequate resources to fund the rest of your life.
2) Estate planning aims to ensure that your assets are structured to minimize taxes and maximize survivor benefits.
3) Life planning aims to ensure that you have a blueprint in place for maximizing meaning, purpose, relationships, and adventures so that the next chapter of life is the most fulfilling chapter ever.
The first two legs of the stool are no brainers. For most of us, saving for retirement began with our first paycheck. Making a will often happens when we acquire assets and/or children (in no particular order). These two legs create infrastructure for safety and security in our later years—a blank canvas to fill with myriad possibilities. And yet, designing what goes on that canvas—how we’re going to live– tends to get the shortest shrift of the three legs.
Why? A couple of reasons:
- Historically, retirement hasn’t lasted all that long. If you retired with a gold watch at 65, you probably had less than a decade left, so golf, some trips, and a little grandchild-sitting were a super way to fill that limited time.
- Also, before you retire you’re busy doing what you do, so why not wait until you have all the time in the world to figure out how to use it?
Time to shoot those reasons down. Baby Boomers are healthier than preceding generations. If we retire in our 60s, we likely have 20+ productive years ahead. That’s enough time for even the most avid golfer to get bored. Second, retiring can feel like falling into a void. Given the loss of identity and community associated with your job, it’s important to create a launch pad for your new life in advance by paying attention to your purpose, your relationships old and new, and what brings you deep pleasure and meaning.
It’s time for life planning resources to join the team of professionals helping to guide you to your next chapter of life. And for financial advisors and estate attorneys looking to broaden their range of services and expand their client base, offering retirement life planning is a leveraged value-add for clients and a marketing advantage for your firm.
And that’s where Life Reinspired, a program that invites participants to dream and plan their future, can play in.
We’re talking to Dana Brewer about delivering programs to Birchwood’s clients. (My two sons and nine grandchildren live in Minnesota, so it’s always a pleasure to visit Minneapolis except in January.) And we’re connecting with other financial advisors and estate attorneys to discuss how to round out their retirement planning offerings. If you’re one of them, give us a call.
It’s not enough to make sure your money will last as long as you do. Just as important is how you’ll deploy those resources to live your very best life for the rest of your life. The next chapter can well be your best one ever. But it does take thought.