PENSIONS and PLANNING for a LIFE You Want …8

How will a PENSION fit and provide for the LIFESTYLE YOU WANT TO ENJOY?  In this 9-part pension series from recent surveys and interviews we've been discussing:  (i) LIFESTYLE ...  (ii) PURPOSE...   (iii) LEISURE....  (iv) TIME...  (v) IDENTITY AND ROLES...  (vi) ANXIETIES...   (vii) ramping up SAVINGS...   Now moving ahead to question 8 we explore how to open up and fulfill our personal retirement dreams...

Your response to Survey Question #8: 

Pensions and Planning for a Life You Want . . . 

As we’ve grown in life some changes required planning, others did fine without it.  Kindergarten went okay.  Higher levels of education however took planning, preparation, homework and assessments along the way.  Developing a career or business also never happened by accident but through hard work, diligence, and ongoing planning you're already familiar with this.



Let’s say now you will transition into “New-Retirement.”  This will look rather different from the career(s) you’ve had these recent decades.  And as we “graduate” into retirement living we don’t want to ever fail or be put back.  Going forward is good – even into new kinds of work and contribution as we choose – but never go “back”.

So should we suppose this process is like kindergarten – needing little effort -- or does it deserve the concentrated focus we’ve put into other achievements we’ve enjoyed in life?   Let's explore this together . . .

Pic _ graph Q.821% say “I want a written Financial / Retirement Plan for Life-To-90+”.  They wisely realize they don’t have such a plan.  They may own a home, some other savings, a pension and so forth, but they realize what they’re mostly lacking is the overall “picture” or “map” of how this contributes to the life they want to live!

35% in our surveys say they already have a plan.  In most other surveys we find a number between 14% and 20%. The higher result here at 35% arises for a few reasons.  Respondents include my clients who have comprehensive plans.  Owners/managers in business are here too, and may have “some kind of a plan” to influence their retirement.  As well there are those who believe they have a plan simply as they bought some investments and receive statements --- but that’s not a plan! people who believe estate planning is done by having a Will.  Broadly speaking we can say 70% of people over 50 have neither a current Will nor an effective Financial Plan.

28% say they have “ideas in mind but no real plan; cannot afford it now.”  They’re honest, and I believe they deserve better.  This is where we should realize the value of at least a basic plan which we can update every couple of years to mark progress and shape resources into the Life they want to achieve for retirement.

They certainly have “ideas” so let’s discuss these!  We can arrange a basic financial plan without fee or cost as an initial consult.  One way is meeting to set out key principles and directions at no cost, until people graduate to a fee-based plan to focus forward more strongly.   Another way is when we waive planning fees for financial strategies we’re helping to implement.  Either way, people can get certified planning while keeping their money in their pocket.



18% checked an answer that is bluntly honest and one hopes they would reconsider:  “For better or worse I’ll take whatever comes.”  There’s no decision, no clarity, no movie that captures their future dreams and living.  They don’t know, cannot say, if poverty will befall them 5 years, 15 years, or later in retirement.  They’ve no idea what income will support them long term, what life they can afford, what gifts or estate they may leave for loved ones.

A couple was living very modestly, fearing that retirement would be dark and dismal, “all downhill”.  Their one request was to take a Caribbean cruise before they die.  After a little time – and no expense on their part – we confirmed how their small pension, home equity, and savings, could fulfil a vital dream.  I explained how they could certainly enjoy a first cruise in early retirement, and likely another two or three years later… Perhaps again at a later point...

What can this mean for your pension choices?



Owning a written financial plan can make all the difference!   Nothing takes the place of a well-conceived, certified financial plan.  And if a few stories can share the positive impact of this for you, pause afterwards to ponder how we can personalize this now for your own wishes and unique circumstances, …your vision, your dreams, what you hold dear for your future.  This is about PLANNING for the LIFE YOU WANT.    So tell me, what is the life you want?  Then we’ll know how to best focus our planning!

Pat was retiring early with a passionate dream to immediately build a business from her career experience.  Our planning process linked how to commute the pension into two amounts, one of which would provide seed capital and a basic income during her business start-up.  Selling the business in ten years or so would provide a new and sizable nest egg besides her remaining pension account.  The value of “planning” was helping her see in advance how these factors would work together.  We also identified the team competencies that would accelerate her start-up and expand her results for a lucrative exit strategy.

George knew he had to retire from the red-tape and 24/7 pressures as a university professor.  His wife knew it; his doctor knew it; I knew it.  His plan was to open a consulting business, dial down his blood pressure, and enjoy life again.  How would he replace earnings with the “new retirement career”?   Could he draw occasional sums from the pension for extended travels and other opportunities?  Could he increase his pension income whenever he would choose to reduce personal earnings?  Could he also avoid the “60% survivor” scene so wife or surviving family would have his pension’s full value after he was gone?  More of George’s story is on page 38 LOW and a brief glimpse into the planning process that made all this possible.

Bryn had strong philanthropic goals as she retired with a sizable pension.  Her husband, already retired, had sufficient pension already to more than support their every need.  Highly successful children needed nothing in this from their parents.  Our planning process focused on Bryn’s passionate support for an international charity.  Would she draw the traditional fixed pension and give a monthly sum to her charity while living?   Or would she commute her pension to gain greater freedom for charitable development throughout her lifetime …and even in her estate?  Her choice naturally should arise from a conscientious planning process to align family wealth and pension with her personal goals and comfort now and forever.

Other stories too are in LOW.   One person needed to double-up their pension income to manage extremely high health costs while living.  Another was anxious at cut-backs from pension under-funding.  Bill (LOW p.43) faces a special challenge because he wants as little risk as possible, yet either option of staying or leaving the pension has specific risks.  Staying in a pension may force 30% cut in his retirement income, while Scrooge-like interest-rates can destroy a privatized pension arrangement (unless one can has Life Income Mandates / or enjoy video).

Do we want more risk or less risk?  … Income sooner, or more income later?  Want more control?  Are we confident in how a pension plan is funded today, or will we feel more confident in a Personalized Pension Plan?  Which set of choices will give the retirement income you need, the survivor income your spouse needs, the estate value your family needs? 

What personal values guide your choices in these areas …and how will you make such choices unless you can hold in your hands a CLEARLY PERSONALIZED FINANCIAL PLAN …lighting up your future, 20, 30, 40 years for yourself and those dearest to you?

Time for professional support and certified financial planning?  Let's discuss how we can protect and preserve the LIFE you choose -- phone or email me today.

Brian Weatherdon, MA CFP CLU CPCA CRC, MDRT.   905-637-3500 x 223
627 Guelph Line, Burlington, Ontario. L7R 3M7.   1-877-937-3500 FREE x 223
Ret.Coach SEALCertified Financial Planner.  Certified Retirement Coach. 


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