Barry LaValley/ Retirement expert
RP: In the run-up to retirement, people often say they want to try new things and get the
most of out of life.
But there’s something that psychologists call continuity theory, which often stops that
To put it simply, we instinctively prefer to stay as we are.
Retirement expert Barry LaValley says a good financial planner can help you to match
words with action.
BL: My view on it is, you do as much as you can as quickly as you can, and hope you can
do it for thirty years. I believe life is meant to lived. Now that doesn’t mean that, in the first
years of you being in control of this life, that you take all your financial resources and
squander them. Because one of the big fears — and justifiably so — is you might outlive
your money. At the same time, you don’t want to be a prisoner to anything, particularly
your financial resources. So, figure out what you’ve got — my grandmother used to call it
cutting your coat by your cloth, you’ve got to figure out how much cloth you have — and
then just go and live life to its fullest. Because, you see, life will change and there will
come a point — may come a point — when you can’t live the life that you want. And in the
meantime, I don’t want you to enter that period of life going: “Darn, I wished I had.”
RP: What, then, are the main contributors to a fulfilled retirement? Barry suggests there
are five important ones.
BL: I think we should focus on what positive psychology actually tells us that happiness is,
based on our responses internally to the world that we live in. And there’s five conditions
that people should be aware of, each one of these contributes to happiness, and they are:
one — that you should have positive engagement in life, you should really feel like you’re
outlook and everything is going to be as optimistic as you can make it. So, positive energy.
The second is going to be your engagement in life itself: feeling that life has purpose,
feeling that there’s a reason for you to get out of bed. The third one is your relationships:
you know, we get more from our relationships than anything else that we do, as it relates
to healthy ageing. The fourth one is meaningful activities: doing things that are important,
things that make us feel relevant, make us feel like we have value. And then the fifth one is
achievement: we need achievement, we need them each and every day.
RP: So, when planning your retirement, those are the five key things you should focus on.
No, none of them has very much at all to do with money. But they are all issues that a
good financial planner can help you with.