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Retirement Transitions: Be Like Jack

By Joshua C. Beas, CISP, CDFA®

Lead Advisor

Congratulations, you’ve made it to 2021!  2020 certainly saw its challenges from multiple perspectives, but it is behind us now and it’s time to look forward.

Taking this approach, you have worked diligently with your financial advisor at CooksonPeirce to stay focused on your long-term goals and achieved a level of wealth that has brought you to make the decision to retire in 2021.  This is a commendable milestone that often was paved through sacrifice, saving, managing career and family responsibilities … and maybe a little bit of luck. 

This portrayal of wealth that has helped so many people make this same decision is monetarily identified.  Wealth, however, goes beyond this one component that cannot necessarily be identified in a well-concocted financial plan.

Where’s the Rule Book?

So what now? This is a question I often receive from clients looking to make this same transition.  This stage of life is supposed to be about freedom, balance, exploration, and a new level of connection.  Without a rule book, though, how can it be embraced? 

Often, an identity has been built through position and career advancement that has gauged how successful you are.  But without pay raises, reviews, and titles, how does one know they are going to be successful in retirement beyond what a financial plan has blueprinted and/or career accolades?

Let me be the first to tell you that retirement has a workload that will introduce you to challenges, tasks, and acceptance that will make this phase of your life more meaningful, significant, and fulfilling.  This workload culminates from a series of dimensions beyond the financial component to include mental, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual areas that will develop a more encompassing aspect of wealth. 

Some of you will be able to figure these out on your own, but others will need guidance from a professional coach or spiritual leader.  Those who can be sure-footed with this transition will not waste the first few years of retirement trying to figure out who they are now, fall into a rut of laziness and unappreciativeness, or push away family and community.  Instead, you will reconnect with lost passions and hobbies, become involved in the community, work around physical limitations, and reconnect with a spouse or family members.

Jack’s Story: Leaving a Legacy

This may all seem unachievable or overwhelming, but I can tell you it’s not. Consider Jack, a friend of mine who lived a wealthy life through embracing the various life dimensions mentioned above.  During his career, Jack worked as a physicist for a Fortune 500 company where he helped develop and patent multiple innovative products.  As a family man, Jack and his wife had four children whom he raised on a small historical farm in New York. 

Soon after Jack retired, his wife fell ill and she ultimately passed.  But Jack did not allow this to be an anchor on his life.  Instead, he moved to a retirement community where he worked out, hiked every day, and participated in ongoing activities.  He also did volunteer work at his local library, mentored graduate students in math and physics, and led tours at the local museum. 

Jack attended his high school reunions to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. He also embraced various forms of technology to stay current and be able to relate to a younger generation. Jack also maintained mental sharpness by reading countless books and spending months out of the year hiking by himself in the Adirondack Mountains, where he felt most spiritually connected.  He also spent quality time with his children and grandchildren and regularly helped them financially. 

Jack ultimately passed at the age of 94 due to cancer. He left a legacy financially for his family and also for his community.

What Wealth Truly Is

Retirement doesn’t come without challenges or problems. As Jack’s story illustrates, however, it’s how you choose to overcome them that helps you understand what wealth truly is.

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