Ultimately, this is all about what clients want! They want to make a full-circle decision that makes sense on many levels. They want to be confident about why they are leaving work and find ways to replace those workplace emotional needs in their personal lives.

It’s not enough for advisors to provide a framework and context for a retirement decision. Financial firms are uniquely positioned to help clients also begin to plan and develop their feelings of autonomy, social belonging and competency outside of the workplace. That means helping clients find a new sense of purpose and direction, building their social network to engage with others, and finding new ways to either use their existing mastery or find new things to master.

If you can’t take this on yourself, there are also retirement coaches now—people whose sole job is to take people through the retirement process by helping them develop a written, non-financial plan for everyday life. Like accountants and estate planning attorneys, retirement coaches will not only help your clients but also provide reciprocal business. It’s an emerging industry with an innovative approach that has come directly from reverse engineering the traditional retirement planning process.

People have been reverse engineering things since they started making wheels and carriages. Consider the Romans. In 264 B.C., they had succeeded on land but were behind in naval warfare, historians suggest. But during the First Punic War, they were able to take apart and study a Carthaginian quinquereme. Using the design, they were able to design a fleet of powerful ships.

Like the Romans, we have the power to reverse engineer things, including retirement planning. In short order, we can build a fleet of happy, healthy, and connected clients in retirement. It starts by stepping away from age and assets and looking deeper into their psychological needs. 

Robert Laura is a best-selling author, nationally syndicated columnist, and president of Wealth & Wellness Group. He is a seasoned conference speaker, corporate trainer, and founder of The Certified Professional Retirement Coach Designation, which focuses on the non-financial aspects of life after work. He can be reached at [email protected].

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