Tracey A. Baker, CFP®
Tracey A. Baker, CFP®President, Financial Adviser, Principal

As I meet with clients and prospects to discuss retirement planning, I usually greet them with more “lifestyle” questions than they might expect.  I’ve always been a strong believer in the concept that you need to be going “toward” something, not just “leaving” something to feel fulfilled.  This is especially true to the monumental decision on when to retire from working life.  That decision is so much more than financial.  It wraps up a person’s entire sense of self and seriously impacts your happiness going forward.  Money is not the goal; it is simply a means to that end.  The life you want to live is the goal!

It’s understandable that you may not have clarity on how that journey will look.  I describe it as having a foggy windshield.  Slowly, over time, I hope by talking through the options, clients will have more expanded conversations among themselves.  It seems like when we’re in our 30’s, the dreams come easily. My 29-year-old son can tell you a dozen things he wants to do when he retires.  I don’t know why that exercise gets harder as we get closer to actually stepping away.

Some plans beyond working can be simple, such as losing those stubborn twenty pounds, beginning a regular exercise routine, or learning a new language.  In fact, did you know that many universities and community colleges allow seniors to audit classes free of charge.  Imagine learning in a college setting again when you’ll really appreciate it!

Many retirees offer their time and talents in the community as volunteers. I can’t recall the last time I toured a museum, art gallery, church or cathedral where the guide/docent wasn’t a retiree.  What a great way to stay active and sharp while giving back!

There are a few common things all people want in retirement.  Everyone wants a safe and comfortable place to live, with access to good medical care and the financial independence to afford those things.  That’s really it.  That’s where we come in, to help make sure that the financial side of the equation will support successful retirement, however YOU define it.

So, looking ahead, what do you want to do after you retire? Do you plan to stay in the area? Are you retiring for good or just from your current career? You will have the gift of time.  Have you given any thought on how you want to spend that time? Do you love to travel or are you a hobby person? What’s your dream? Where is your happy place?