Financial Advice, Leisure Time, and Retirement

Financial advising has traditionally been limited to financial matters. But, as one of the premier financial services firms, Ameriprise Financial, has recently announced, “vision and planning are as important as money in achieving retirement fulfillment.” It turns out that many people spend more time planning their vacation than they do planning how they will spend their leisure time in retirement.

“Leisure time” may seem a bit of a misnomer, since many people keep on working on a part-time or volunteer basis once their formal careers are over. However, if you are doing what you want to do when you want to do it, you are presumably experiencing “leisure.” But, does it make sense for financial advisors to be concerned about how well their prospects and clients are doing in planning their leisure time? Yes. Financial advisors should be aware of the five stages people go through -as identified in the Ameriprise study – before and after retirement. If the goal of financial planning is to ensure a fulfilling retirement, then attention must be paid to how that retirement time will be spent. Such consideration is particularly important during some of the retirement stages.

For example, the second stage of the retirement process is identified in the study as “Anticipation”. During this stage people are excited about the coming prospect of retirement, but also are anxious about what they will do, concerned about their loss of identity, and worried about losing social contacts. Helping clients deal with these issues by giving them good resources for leisure time planning can be an important aspect of the whole retirement planning process.

The fourth stage of retirement is “Reorientation”. Some people in this stage, which occurs after the “honeymoon” phase of retirement is over, come to the realization that their leisure time planning was faulty. They don’t have enough enjoyable things to occupy their time, or activities that they thought would be fulfilling fall short of that goal. At this stage too, a financial counselor who is concerned about the whole retirement picture, not just the monetary part of it, can provide a valuable service to clients and prospects.

Financial planning professionals can now offer a more balanced and complete counseling service to their clients and prospects by helping them think through the many possible leisure activities available for their enjoyment. Savvy financial counselors can help people make the difficult retirement decision while aiding in their discovery of fulfilling and rewarding ways to spend their retirement years.

Copyright 2006 Decision Time Tools, Inc. All rights reserved.

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