Financial advisors need to start talking with clients about retirement satisfaction—rather than just retirement finances—to complete both parts of the retirement equation, says one advisor and life coach.

“Many retired people are embarrassed about talking about their unhappiness in retirement. They think they are supposed to be happy, but they aren’t,” says Beau Henderson, owner of RichLife Advisors LLC in Atlanta.

Henderson is the author of The RichLife: Ten Investments for True Wealth and radio host of the Retirement Resource Show, which is aired regionally. His clientele range from the mass affluent to high-net-worth individuals, and from retirees to pre-retirees who are 10 to 15 years away from retirement.

He says he has seen numerous examples of the happiness problem both in his practice and during the question-and-answer portion of his radio show.

“Within five to 10 years, advisors will be regularly starting conversations with clients about what they want to do in retirement, rather than just if they have enough money to do it,” Henderson says.

“Winning at retirement isn’t just about how much money you have saved in the bank; it’s also about preparing for the social and emotional issues that can arise,” says Henderson. “Money alone does not guarantee you will have happiness or even satisfaction.”

He adds that advisors can take a proactive step toward transitioning clients to retirement by determining how closely their identity is tied to their work. He says one of his clients was an airline pilot who could not deal with the loss of his work identity when he retired, and he subsequently became clinically depressed. Another client is a former teacher who became bored within six months after retiring. She returned to teaching by substituting at a church school and is now more satisfied with her retirement.

“Make sure your clients invest in relationships outside of work,” says Henderson, who believes it’s necessary to have the types of discussions that go beyond spreadsheets and finances. “See if they want to travel. There is a dark side to retirement in the loss of social activity and potential isolation that needs to be dealt with.”

One of Henderson’s clients had been in business in Atlanta with four other people for 40 years, and he was the first of the five partners to retire. He assumed his social life would continue as it had, but he was wrong. This left a big void in his life that he tried to fill with just his spouse.

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