One of the biggest mistakes I find that people make is misunderstanding what retirement is. Many think it is the end goal — in other words, they look at the act of retiring as being the finish line. The reality is that there are distinct phases of retirement and as planners we need to understand them and know how to adjust our planning for them accordingly.
Most people understand the different phases of our working years - we search for something to do after college, start a business, have kids, do the soccer coaching thing, go on vacation with the family, send them off to college (they may even come back) and then we enjoy our alone time while accelerating our savings for retirement. All of these stages are understood, and as planners we have a sense of the time frames and planning strategies to help our clients achieve their specific goals.
But how well do we do when it comes to recognizing the different stages of retirement and helping our clients achieve those goals? I find that most people don't know what they don't know about retirement, and it is our role to uncover for them the issues they are facing before it derails them. So, what are these retirement stages? And, how can you plan for them? Let's take a brief look at each one.