Howard column: Financial responsibilities, redefined for retirement
I am a first-born child – you know the research laden “responsible one?” Whether birth order, or DNA, it has been part of my identity as I make my way through life and obviously had an impact on my career path.
When it comes to retirement finances, we have all heard what “responsible” actions entail and your traditional financial services industry encourages. Look and define your goals, get your estate plan in order, save, create a budget, rebalance your portfolio, position for taxation options, eliminate 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, fully ensconced in or a few years away from your fall season. Let’s unpack a new take on response — abilities as you head down your road to retirement.
What is your response when you think about “retirement?” Freedom, optimism, excitement or fear, worry, dread? Do you have this response because of what has been pushed at you from the media, your social narrative, or the voice in your head?
Consider if you rewiring for something or retiring from something. In my 25 years of client interaction, people who intentionally envision what they want this season of life to look like and embrace uncertainties transition more productively than those who stare in the rear-view mirror, relieved by what they are getting away from. When a proactive, “choose to” stance is taken instead of the default “where did all the time (or money) go” you build on your agency to facilitate positive change in your life.
Choose your attitude. Every day, you get to respond to life. Tough stuff happens to people every day. There will be health challenges, relationship angst, financial debacles, yet we have the opportunity to show up for ourselves and to support each other resolutely. Viktor Frankl put it so eloquently — “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.”
Is this a season you are looking forward to or concerned about? Your response to the opportunities and challenges will radiate your character assets or illuminate your character liabilities. Your financial behavior flows from your beliefs and your identity. 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 — whether assets or liabilities.
Your ability to prepare, educate and empower yourself from a whole-life perspective for this season will not only generate more meaning throughout, but free you to enjoy it more deeply. How will you delve into, plan for, and talk about the emotional, physical, spiritual, relational, and financial components that are intricately interwoven?
While financial assets are extremely important, a holistic mindset will optimize how those financial resources are utilized. How will use your them 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 based on your unique life variables. It is not complacency to the tax environment du jour, it is strategizing how to build or access income streams in tax-efficient ways to maximize your long-term cash flow needs. It is not burrowing your head in the sand when it comes to estate planning. It is entering into conversations and understanding the implications of the legacy you want to leave. It is not succumbing to “someday I will,” but responding with curiosity and “today, I am.”
Your birth order doesn’t need to matter when it comes to making the most out of this amazing season of life. Just look at your response – abilities differ. However, if you want a good birth order laugh — check out @tj-therrien on YouTube or Instagram.
Danielle Howard is a CFP® and CKA®. Wealth By Design is located at 76 Eagle Claw Circle, Glenwood Springs where they help you “Optimize Financial Possibilities and Unfold Life Potential”. 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.
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