How to Define Your Retirement Goals Like John

“Do you have an idea of when you’d like to retire?”

Early in our conversations with new clients we’re working on fact finding and identifying goals, so we like to ask if an individual or couple has a general idea of when they’d like to retire.

Often, potential clients explain that their goal is to retire at age 62 and I’d argue that retiring at 62 is part of a BIGGER goal for the future.

Let me quickly share a little bit about a long-time Know My Plan client, John.

John’s great, a man of few words—in our meetings, his wonderful wife, Elizabeth, does 95% of the talking.

John spends the majority of our Zoom calls lounging on the sofa behind his wife, while diligently listening in.  On a recent call I asked, “So what’s the dream?”

John popped up in the background like he was shot out of a cannon! (Elizabeth and I both had a good, startled chuckle)

“I want to retire at 62.  I need $10,000/month in today’s dollars. I want to have a small house in the mountains.  I want to eat the best Indian food possible and watch the NHL network.”

I can promise that I will never forget the clarity and precision of his answer.

He then followed-up:

“Are we on track?  Tell me what we need to do to make this happen?”

I was fully confident that he would have run through a wall if that was what was required of to fund his detailed retirement dream.

It’s incredibly powerful to have a vivid vision of your goal.  Knowing exactly what you want can often help fuel the work necessary to get you there.  That said, we work with hundreds of clients and your vision of the future might not be quite as crystal clear as John’s, and that’s also okay.

I’ll encourage all of you, however, to self-reflect every once and a while and give yourself permission and encouragement to think: “What are we saving for, what’s the point of all this?” Here’s a good place to start:

• What do I want to do?

• Where?

• With who?

• What are some other details?

• What do I think this life will cost?

Helping people define their goals is one of the most fulfilling elements of financial planning.

If you or someone you’re close to could use help aligning their finances and establishing a financial plan, please reach out to us, we’re accepting new clients and eager to help. 

Cheers, Nic

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