Preparing for retirement isn’t just about money
Barry LaValley – Retirement expert
RP: Moving from full-time employment to retirement is a huge transition.
You need to start thinking about it long before you plan to retire.
Barry LaValley is an author and financial educator, who specializes in
preparing for retirement.
BL: If we want to just focus it on when you plan to leave the paid workplace,
and go off and do things that you want to do, then I would say within 10 years
of that, and then 5 years, and then 1 year, and you just ramp it up. So that by
the time that you are ready to move into whatever you call this new period of
life, that you have a pretty good idea of what the possibilities and the
RP: A common mistake that people make in the run-up to retirement is
focusing too much of their attention on insuring they have enough money.
It’s even more important to think about what you really want to do with the
rest of your life.
BL: We still have this idea that retirement is the golden handshake, the pot at
the end of the rainbow. And it’s not.
The Japanese call it ‘second life’, and all that means is that you get to a point
in your life where it’s life balance as opposed to lopsided leisure, achieving
life-long goals, as supposed to just purely having fun. It’s about focusing on
the things that are important to you, by first identifying what those are. It’s
about living a life on purpose… I could go on and on and on about all of these
things that it brings up the potential to be. But it is not a 30-year long
weekend, it’s not a permanent vacation, it’s not bells and whistles and sky
rockets. It’s just life. But it’s life on your terms.
RP: If you’re approaching retirement and don’t yet use a financial planner,
there is a very strong case for hiring one.
But remember, at this stage of life, it’s not really a conventional financial
adviser that you are looking for.
BL: I’m not sure at this point in our lives it’s an adviser that we need, as much
as an educator, a mentor for some who need it, a catalyst and a coach. So
the role changes, because the advisor becomes a more important part of a
client’s life, in just helping the client move forward to do the things the client
wants to do. So I see the adviser role to be probably more important than at
any other time in a client’s life.
RP: Retirement is an exciting opportunity. There are all sorts of things that
you might want to do.
But it requires serious deliberation. And you should to start that process
sooner rather than later.