Personal Finance column: Financial responsibilities redefined for retirement
I am the first-born child — you know, the “responsible one.” Part birth order, part DNA, it has guided me through life and obviously had an impact on my career path.
When it comes to retirement finances, we have all heard what the “responsible” actions entail: Work towards your goals, get your estate plan in order, save more, create a budget, rebalance your portfolio, get out of consumer debt. It can feel like a box of “should” does, leaving you wrapped up feeling pressured with a bow of guilt on top.
You may be imminently facing this time of life, or it may still be a few years away. Let’s unpack a new take on response/abilities as you approach the season formerly known as retirement.
What is your response when you think about “retirement”?
Are you rewiring for something or retiring from something? In my 23 years of client interaction, the people who intentionally create a vision of what they want in this season of life transition more productively than those who only look in the rear view mirror, relieved by what they are getting away from. Take a pro-active, “choose to” stance instead of staying in the default “where did all the time (or money) go” mode.
Choose your attitude. Every day, you get to choose your perspective on life. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
— Viktor E. Frankl
Is this a season you are looking forward to or dreading? Your response to the opportunities and the challenges inherent in this season will reflect your character assets or illuminate your character liabilities. Your financial behavior flows from your beliefs. Are you resourceful, creative, relational, grateful, joyful? Build on the character strengths that will undergird your transition into elderhood. Age magnifies that which already exists — assets or liabilities.
You have the ability to prepare, educate and empower yourself on a whole-life perspective for this season. How will you delve into, plan for, and talk about the emotional, physical, spiritual, relational and financial components that are intricately interwoven? Don’t focus solely on your investment account returns. Look at how you will use your financial resources to support you in living a life of no regrets. It is not lamenting on the question “Will Social Security be around for me?” It is researching your best strategy to optimize this resource based on your life variables. It is not complacency to the tax environment du jour, it is strategizing how to access income streams in tax-efficient ways to maximize your long-term cash flow needs. You have the ability to be a victor over, rather than a victim of, your life and financial circumstances.
It is time we retire the contrived notions of aging that no longer serve us and truly make the most of your response/abilities in this beautiful season of life.
You can download a copy of my financial affirmations — one for yourself and one for your spouse or a friend. Check out our e-course where you can learn more about how to look at your responsibilities differently.
Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. Her office, Wealth By Design LLC, is in Basalt. Visit her at http://www.wealthbydesign4u.com. Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.