As a financial adviser, you’ve spent countless hours advising clients on how to prepare for retirement. You’ve worked with them to create a plan to help them achieve their retirement goals. But what you likely haven’t given yourself enough credit for is the many hours of coaching and counseling you’ve provided to prepare your clients for retirement from a psychological perspective.
Active listening, brainstorming, sharing best practices, discussing their plans and celebrating their life accomplishments all fall into this category. And while that aspect of being a financial adviser may go overlooked in our industry, it is very critical in reassuring clients. Now it’s time to do the same for yourself.
Your own path to retirement should not only include the financial aspect, but also these critical considerations to prepare you for the next stage:
HAVE YOU DOCUMENTED A PLAN?
You need to have a well-thought-out plan, which should include who your successor is, what your timeline looks like and how your practice will be transferred, as well as any monetary considerations to which you and your successor agree. Documenting your plan not only solidifies the details but also prepares you mentally for your next chapter, as having a written document makes it all the more real.
It doesn’t matter if your timeline is a year away, five years or even 10 years down the road. It’s important to lay out a goal for yourself to work toward and give yourself something to look forward to accomplishing. A plan will also help your mind get used to the idea, making the transition that much easier.
HAVE YOU SHARED YOUR PLAN?
You’ve helped family members, colleagues and clients with their goals during your years as a financial adviser. They deserve to know your plans as well. Sharing your plan with this group early on in your process is meaningful in two ways.
First, it provides each of your practice stakeholders plenty of time to prepare for what is next. In the case of family, that will mean their getting comfortable spending more time at home with you, while for clients that will mean less time together from a professional standpoint. For your successor, a plan provides a clear path for them to take over the practice. As it is important for you to get mentally prepared, it is equally as important for your family, clients and successor to ease into this change as well.
Second, it provides an opportunity for these individuals to become your retirement partners and provide a shoulder to lean on, if needed. Some have likely been through it already and can share their experiences. Sharing your plan will also give them permission to celebrate your accomplishments and thank you for your support throughout the years. The kind words you will no doubt hear will help you realize the value you have provided to your clients and provide some level of professional closure for all.
HAVE YOU CONSIDERED YOUR NEW ROUTINE?
You’ve built a routine over many years, and exiting or scaling back will definitely change how your day unfolds. You will no longer need to go into an office, call clients back, interact with investment partners or outside wholesalers, etc. Like any change, it will take some time for you to build new routines, and many advisers find this both exciting and worrisome as they get closer to retirement.
The good news is that you have total control over what your days will look like, and spending some time thinking through this will help you get more comfortable with the change. Revisiting your hobbies, reviewing your bucket list and discussing activities with your family and friends, will all help demystify the “unknown” aspect of retirement.
Retirement is something many workers look forward to reaching, and rightfully so. It is an accomplishment in and of itself. You’ve earned the right to step away by working hard for your clients and building a practice that you can turn over to a successor. Preparing yourself mentally for your exit will go a long way in making it as successful as possible. Now it’s just up to you to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
[More: Being mindful about retirement]
Robert Goff is vice president of succession and acquisition consulting at Raymond James.
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As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.