“Is it odd to feel sentimental about a 403(b) rollover check?” This question came from a newly-retired client who had reached the final checkbox on his retirement to-do list. Depositing that check was the final step of his 31-year career, closing the door on the certainties of full-time employment and stepping into the unknown.
Approaching retirement feels a little like reaching the last pitch on a mountain you have been climbing for years and seeing signs that the summit is nearing. What will the view be like? What’s the trail like on the other side? Is there a trail on the other side? Are my quads ready for a descent after climbing for so long?
It doesn’t need to be a scramble on the way down as long as you plan for it. Our team is there to guide you now, just as we were there to help you up the mountain – to identify your priorities, to create and implement your financial plan, to leave you free to explore that trail. When you work through the process of retiring with an advisor, you have a guide through the technical process of how to retire. But what about the mental transition?
Gerontologist Barbara Waxman uses the term, “middlescence” for this time of life. Similar to the more familiar term, “adolescence,” it’s a time of change and choices. Not a particular age, but a stage of life marked by physical changes and milestones. She and her husband spent a year “repotting” in Italy. More like a gap year after high school, or a foreign exchange year, Uprooting, even temporarily, can be a chance to disconnect from the structure of everyday life and to consider what shape we want our lives to take once we leave the structure of full-time responsibilities.
I refer to my job in client service with the private wealth team as my “pre-tirement job,” and while I’m not in a rush to move on, now that I’ve transitioned to working part time, I can’t help thinking about what’s next. Vicki Robin, the coauthor of “Your Money or Your Life,” calls retirement “the freedom to pursue a higher purpose – to grow spiritually, to learn, to create and to serve.” She says that becoming financially independent “launches you into what may seem an identity crisis but is really a big fat opportunity to find yourself in freedom.” It’s a relief to know that I don’t have to have all the answers the day I retire, and it is okay to keep looking.
Your AWMI team wants to help you get to a place where you can feel free to keep learning and exploring in your retirement instead of worrying about finances. It’s a privilege to be a part of the team on the journey to get you to a place where you have the financial freedom to choose your own path.