Retirement is Not the End of the Road; It is the Beginning of the Open Highway

By Jackie Heater

I was scrolling through Pinterest over the weekend as I often do, and came across a wall hanging with the quote “Retirement is not the end of the road; it is the beginning of the open highway.”  I even snapped a screenshot and sent it to my co-workers because it’s a very true statement and something we try to help our clients realize whether they are pre-retirement or already in retirement.

One thing we’ve learned over the years is that there are various types of retirees:

  1. There is the retiree that is ready, has fully embraced the idea completely, has planned for it financially and can’t wait for that last day of work. They’ve already made plans to volunteer, travel, babysit the grandkids, or spend more time on the hobby they never had time for.
  2. There is the retiree that is burnt out on the job they worked at for years, they’ve planned for retirement and they are ready, but they just don’t want to stop working completely. Maybe they have a family farm that suddenly they can spend more time working, or they may simply want to find a job that is low stress, fun and keeps them in contact with people.
  3. The final retiree keeps talking about retirement and all the things they want to do when they retire but they just can’t make the break. This retiree has let the job define who they are, they’ve been the leader of their team or company, they are the go to person for all questions and they feel that if they retire the company may suffer, but they themselves are suffering an identity crisis.

We all hope that we are indispensable to our company or the boss. Realistically we know we aren’t, but it still makes you feel good when you come back after a few days off, the boss meets you at the door and says, “you are never taking a vacation again.”  Let’s face it everyone’s ego likes a little of that.

At Gertsema Wealth Advisors we’ve learned in our conversations with our clients that along with the “What If’s” of retirement there is also a mental aspect to it as well.  Part of the conversation with your advisor and your spouse must be how you feel about stepping away from the job, will you be the same person and how do you find your new identity.  Is it another part-time job, is it volunteering or being able to spend more time with your family?  Those are important things to think about, because retirement should be an exciting phase in your life, just as your marriage, the birth of your children/grandchildren, the purchase of your first home or finally having an empty nest.  All are new and exciting beginnings that should be embraced and can be if you have a good financial team to hold your hand on the road to retirement.  Your Advisor should be talking to you not only about the investments but also your goals, your plans, your What-ifs.  They should also be consulting with you and your tax preparer or CPA to be sure you are making the best decisions to reduce your taxes as much as possible.

Retirement is a few years away for me, and even though I can maybe look at it a little more objectively because of the job I have it’s still a scary/exciting thing when you really think about it.  I’ve already asked myself the question, “Can my office survive if I retire someday?”  I suspect they can and will, but it doesn’t mean you don’t worry about your company continuing to succeed after you’ve worked years to help build.  I also think of things like:

  • Will we have enough money to retire comfortably?
  • What if one of us gets sick and needs some type of long-term care?
  • What am I going to do with myself all day, every day?
  • Can I possibly spend 24/7 with my spouse, or will one of us have to find something to do to get out of the house?

With the technology we have available Gertsema Wealth Advisors can help you work through all those questions that come up pre-retirement and during retirement.  Once you’re retired the planning never stops and we can help you enjoy that well-deserved retirement and hopefully eliminate some of the stress.  Remember, “Retirement Is Not The End Of The Road, It’s The Beginning Of The Open Highway. “

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