Here at Blue Sky, we spend much of our time encouraging our clients to retire earlier than they imagined. But for some, retirement is daunting. It can be a leap into the unknown.
No wonder many people delay making the decision.
I had a lovely conversation the other day with a single lady who retired from her professional career only a few months ago. We had a meeting recently just to see how she was getting on.
It was fascinating to hear how she was feeling and I really appreciated her sharing her thoughts. I think it’s fair to say she has been through somewhat of a ‘judder’. Whilst we had discussed retirement in depth previously, she shared with me that she realises now she wasn’t fully prepared for the reality of the situation on a mental level.
“Work in many ways defined me. It gave me a sense of purpose. I was driven by my own need for independence. I have never wanted to rely on anybody and I was determined to save, save, save to create security for the future. Yet, I always hankered after material dreams but could never allow myself to indulge, for fear that I would never have enough. The manifestation being that I always ‘made do’ with what I had. In truth, I felt a slave to my own existence.”
Then Blue Sky came along!
We re-organised her pensions and created a tax efficient investment programme after modelling various financial scenarios.
“It has taken me 7 months to adjust my thinking. However, a significant amount of my time has been taken up sorting out a late relative’s estate. As sad as this has been, going through the belongings made me realise that material things don’t matter… it’s about feelings and memories. It’s no good hoarding things in a quest to give you comfort. It made me think that with the time afforded to me by retirement, I would ‘declutter’ my life and this is what I am doing. It feels great!”
At the outset of our financial planning journey, this client and I had spoken about being empowered by retirement. We talked about using her new-found freedom to redefine her sense of purpose. There was a need to create different objectives.
Routine is a big factor upon retirement. Some struggle because of the lack of it! My client talked recently about recognising that she used to complain about being ‘stuck in a rut’ and how life seemed to be very predictable when she was still working. Yet when she embarked on retirement, the lack of structure to her days was unnerving.
She admits to initially feeling guilty. Having a sense of being useless. Now she has come out the other side and is thinking ‘bring it on’. An attitude of ‘anything is possible’ prevails. She went on to add “I can do what I want, whenever I want, and it feels brilliant now”.
Our message to all potential retirees… Retirement can be whatever you want it to be, but make sure you have a plan and are working with someone who can help you on your personal journey.