Knocking on wood, crossing fingers and holding on to rabbit’s feet are common superstitions associated with good fortune. Breaking mirrors, walking under ladders or crossing paths with a black cat are linked to bad luck.

Superstitions can take a variety of forms, but they aren’t typically associated with the retirement transition. You don’t hear about people breaking wishbones on their last day of work or asking their advisors to round their account balances up if they contain a “13” or “666.”

Yet, the reality is, people assume that the odds will favor them in retirement if they reach a certain age and asset level. As if reaching age 65 with a million dollars in savings is a sure bet for a successful retirement. But that’s like assuming Tom Brady won’t throw another touchdown pass against your home team because you’re sitting in a special chair or wearing a certain hat or shirt.

Superstitions are commonly associated with astrology, fortune-telling and paranormal entities. Financial professionals may not look to the stars or into crystal balls for their clients nearing retirement, yet there are some non-supernatural superstitions that clients have anyway:

• That when they reach a certain age they will be prepared for retirement;
• That by attaining a certain savings level they will make retirement better or easier;
• That Medicare eligibility will save them money and cover their medical needs; and
• That more time and fewer distractions will enable them to create the lives they have always dreamed of.

The reality is that a client’s age, portfolio value, debt level, health insurance status and flexible schedule won’t make them happy, healthy, relevant, loved or better connected, nor mean that their new life in retirement is more meaningful or valuable than before.

Some people feel better with a four-leaf clover. Others feel more secure and happy with extra money, insurance and time. But those things don’t bring happiness by themselves—don’t bring retirees closer to family and friends, don’t force them to follow that exercise routine they planned when they stopped working. These factors don’t help if they have put their skills and abilities on a shelf and are watching too much TV news. You don’t need a palm reader to foresee these problems. Nor do you need rocket science.

What both professionals and clients miss is that retirement doesn’t eliminate work, it simply reorients it. Sure, people don’t have to get up and go to work and muster through boring staff meetings or deal with an annoying boss, co-worker or time line anymore. But they need to do specific things to ensure their health, happiness and relationships, and these things will take an equal amount of work and effort, if not more, than what they were doing before.

I would be remiss if I didn’t disclose that I have a few of my own superstitions. And I’m not alone. One survey suggests that approximately 44% of U.S. adults are superstitious to some degree, and 9% of the respondents said they are very superstitious. The psychology of these beliefs and behaviors is that they offer us ways to soothe anxiety or prepare our brains to deal with unknowable situations. When we develop habits around them, we feel we have some influence or control over events.

Researchers looking at superstitious behavior in sports showed that, even though the beliefs didn’t win athletes better outcomes, the placebo effect was enough to make it worthwhile. The American Psychological Association says many people know that their rituals or beliefs don’t really affect outcomes, but that doesn’t mean people are ready to let these beliefs go.

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