Have you actually thought much about retirement? Do you, like many, intend to get around to thinking about it …. sometime?

Do you love your work so that you fool yourself into believing that you will never retire? That your circumstances will never change?

For years I have talked to CEOs and organizations that did not see any reason to think about the changing nature of retirement. Anyone with relatives over 85 (the fastest growing demographic in the USA) caught on fast though.  What happens when our lifespans are commonly passing 80 years but our work-lives are barely half that? And our systems and many mindsets are still geared for early retirement with some years of play…. then simply disappearing?

A century ago, we worked until we died or became disabled. The Depression and WWII gave us Social Security and pensions. Starting in the 1970s, a ‘golden age’ of retirements was supported by personal savings plus defined pension plans plus Social Security – at least for those in larger companies and government.

Retirement has both financial and personal aspects: many of us don’t plan for either.

Most important: do some personal ‘what-if’ planning. Studies show that women still are more likely to be the care-givers. But anyone can, as I have, end up caring for several older relatives in their last years. Dealing with the medical, emotional, and physical issues is not easy. All these and others related to aging family take far more time and energy than you expect — even if you can afford good help. And this hits your business directly, often disastrously.

For those of us fully invested in our work, planning the personal side is even harder than the financial. Yet it is critical too. Think of all you gain from your work. How will you replace those positives – respect, recognition, creativity, learning, whatever – when you retire? If you plan to work forever, what will you do if you cannot?

Retirement and disability issues are all more difficult if you are a business owner. Whether you stockpile larger emergency funds, buy disability or key-man insurance, or take other steps; you need to discuss what might happen with your family, your partners, and other advisors – and plan!

Got employees?

Offering simple retirement options is attractive in hiring and retaining staff. Your benefits broker can show you a wide range of retirement savings options and employee assistance programs to support the emotional or care-giving aspects.

But you also need to think about what you plan to do when a valued employee suddenly is confronting elder care issues or an ill spouse. You may not have to comply with specific laws, if you are small enough, but you will find it hard to
decide what you should do in the heat of the moment.  And whatever you do will create a precedent for future cases.

Do It Now!

Put a little time on your calendar in the next 2 weeks and think about the retirement related issues you face personally and in your business. List the advisors you have who can help. Get this on your planning horizon now and make your life easier tomorrow.