That is until they get to retirement themselves and suddenly realize there’s more to the story.

For example, it’s easy to hear financial advisors arguing for and against the 4% rule and the 60-40 portfolio, but very few of them debate psychology. And we need more critical thinking from our industry on this topic, because that way we can create new ideas, beliefs and behaviors in dealing with the transition away from work. We can also use these debates to pinpoint the values and virtues we want to live out in retirement.

I don’t want advisors to miss this point, because there is no single or universal definition of a successful retirement. Everyone, even financial professionals, needs to develop his or her own very personal vision and approach.

At a recent conference, I offered the attendees an opportunity to challenge the status quo ideas about traditional retirement by pondering these questions:

• Why do we still have retirement ages?
• Who does retirement help and hurt?
• What would be different if we didn’t have retirement?
• What harsh truths about it do we as a society prefer to ignore?
• What does it mean to live a good life in retirement?
• What do we lose or give up in order to reach retirement?
• Where does a person’s self-worth come from in retirement?
• By what standards do you judge yourself and how will that change in retirement?
• What is the biggest waste of retirement?
• Does everyone have the same rights in retirement?

These are just a few of the many questions I have stockpiled for people to consider. The goal, again, is to get people thinking beyond the dollars and cents.

3. When Clients Are Friends
One of the key factors in a person’s retirement transition is their social network. We all know about the challenges that clients have staying connected to co-workers when they leave the workplace. Despite their intentions to stay in touch, however, their relationships end up fading because they are no longer connected to those people by work.

Advisors face an even bigger hurdle because our business is highly social and we consider many of our clients to be friends. And advisors who are otherwise good at calculating things likely haven’t calculated the loss of these relationships over time. Without the essential connections, your clients/friends are likely going to start getting advice and market insights from someone else, and that will cause your social networks to start shrinking.

That’s why it’s essential for advisors on the verge of retirement to start thinking more about the relationships that are important to them and how they hope to keep or strengthen them during the transition.

Pulling The Cord
Consider all these problems together and you see why advisors don’t want to retire, and why they have a problem pulling the cord to make it happen.

It’s a complex situation with a number of layers and factors to consider, which is why it may make sense to add a retirement coach, or someone trained in non-financial areas, to your stable of professionals helping you make the transition.

Robert Laura is a best-selling author, nationally syndicated columnist and president of the 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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