Retirement is not a destination. But years ago when I started it seemed that way. Retirement was the end goal, a time you worked your whole life for. You had finally reached a plateau, enough money or a certain age and you decided to leave your job. It was kinda like kids getting out of school, people were excited…they were giddy about it. Some had countdown timers, ‘I got 471 days till I retire!’ this race to the ‘finish’ was very much a goal based solely around financial readiness. It was driven by common questions: when do I get social security, when do I get pension, when can I get my 401k – these are the steps everyone else takes, so when can I take those steps to?
Often times there are dreams about moving to Texas, Florida, North Carolina. Dreams about going on a cruise and sort of just, sailing off into the sunset. The kids and grandkids would visit and this would become the new pattern of your life.
As I supported these folks in what they thought they wanted, a consistent theme surfaced and I found over time the impact of the disruption issues were more of a big deal than my younger self and my clients thought. The disruption issues of healthcare, of having friends who had not yet retired, who were all still at work. They didn’t have the 100 different people at work to run into at the water cooler each day and they missed it.
Now in retirement, they found themselves wondering about these things, about ‘what happens if my spouse passes away, will I be ok?’ ‘What do I do if something happens to my children?’ ‘What if my children move 1000 miles away and they don’t visit as much as I’d like’. There was an observed ‘emptiness’ with retirement presenting different issues that we needed to consider.
It was all of these observations and the learnings we drew from the questions and choices our clients made that has morphed the way Gentian views Retirement Planning and got us to where we are today. We saw clients make that move to Florida but we also saw many move back again. Sure the weather was great, but their family was here so why wouldn’t they stay here a good portion of the time…or all the time?
Suddenly this anticipated stage of life became physiologically challenging and we saw the need for support beyond the finance and numbers.
As a result, Gentian Retirement or the Gentian way of retirement as we call today, and its three vital components emerged. These are the tools we now use to help you define your truly fulfilled retirement: Plan It, Live It, and Give It.
Plan It. | Planning spans the entire length of your life. In ‘Plan It.’ you are preparing for retirement from a dollars and cents perspective. Planning is of course, the base of retirement and the element we are conditioned to prepare for.
But a new level of planning needs were coming to light. Common retirement age used to be 65, but then we reached a shift. Markets got very good and people began to retire at 59, 56, 55….so we had to find different rules to accommodate this and address the new challenges that came with it. At all ages we need to consider what you will do with all your time and energy? You’ve worked your whole life, now what?’ This ambiguity of life was just too much for some and they began to blend in with their background, their light dimmed and sadly we saw their health suffer as a result.
And of course, not all were struggling, many were thriving! Those who found a new drive for themselves, be it their kids/grandkids, their hobbies, maybe they want to take a more active role in a community organization and ‘work’ unpaid for the next 20 years. It was these things that gave way to the Live It element of Gentian Retirement. The key here is to treat this change as nothing more than a transition.
Live It. | What do you value more than money? What is your purpose now? How can you live healthily? How can you live life with great passion? Our happiest clients showed us that working toward these answers is key to finding true fulfillment in retirement and we’ve built our business around that now. So what is retirement today for Gentian? It’s more of a lifestyle change, we invest time into planning for the whole person, for health, fulfillment and finance. We carefully consider longevity because for some, your time ‘in retirement’ will span longer than the length of your career itself and that heavily influences the way we plan.
Live It looks different for everyone. Some of our clients transition to another vocation, paid or unpaid. Some focus on doing great things in the civic community. Some want to do great things for a charity, for their family and for others. Finally having the time to take care of themselves gives way to a new focus so the Live It side of the Gentian Program supports this exploration and helps us align finances to help make all of the above possible.
Give It. | And the third stage of our program addresses the abundance that we have created in life. How do you give away what you have in a great way minimizing what Uncle Sam takes? What are the most impactful ways to give to a charity or your family? How can you support the things that are important to you in your community? We help you consider your legacy and by that I don’t mean having a building with your name on it. It’s the fibers with which you weave into others.
Gentian Retirement | Plan It. Live It. Give It.