I’m fortunate to have been able to talk to hundreds of people in their fifties and sixties about their plans for retirement. And I recognize that there are two things a lot of people have in common that actually stops them from achieving a successful and secure retirement plan.

I’m going to share with you how we discover the perfect retirement plan.

And then I’ll share two things that the financial industry is doing that actually prevents people from achieving that goal of the perfect retirement plan.

Our firm, Streamline Financial has been around for 22 years, so we’ve been helping people plan for retirement for a while now. We looked at how the financial industry does retirement planning and we saw that there were a lot of flaws. We wondered why aren’t more people living the dream retirement that the commercials and the billboards seemed to promise us? The kind of retirement with:

  • no worry
  • confidence with finances
  • fulfillment
  • excitement

Reason Number One

People get sold the wrong kind of retirement plans by sales people disguised as advisors. Anybody can call themselves a financial advisor, and the majority of advisors out there are just sales people. They might work for a company that recommends every solution to your money problems can be solved with an annuity or a life insurance product. Or, they might work for one of the big XYZ firms, and coincidentally, they recommend only mutual funds that share the same XYZ firm name––which ends up, a lot of times, costing you probably more than it should.

This is tough because I know advisors who are like this. They’re good people, but they’re constrained by what they can do to help their clients. So, here are a couple ways to figure out if your advisor is a salesperson or not:

  1. Ask, if we end up working together, how do you get paid? If it’s through commissions from the products that you buy, then they might be a salesperson.
  2. If they’re presenting you with an investment plan and the only investments that you see have the name of their company on the mutual funds or ETFs, then they might be a salesperson.

Now, even if you can avoid the financial salesperson and find a real fiduciary advisor who’s really good, many of them are still missing a crucial part that makes up your successful retirement plan. That leads us to …

Reason Number Two

Even the best advisors, many of them, only focus on the money piece of retirement. Yes, figuring out that money piece of retirement is critical, but there are two other factors that you need to create your perfect retirement plan.

If you figure out the financial piece, but you ignore the other pieces, it will create misalignment in your life. What I mean by this is, have you ever heard of the rich person who is still miserable? Here at Streamline, we’ve seen proof that retirement without fulfillment is the ultimate failure. And the sad news is that many people in retirement, they don’t figure this out until it’s too late and they can’t figure out why they feel this way.

We’ve had the opportunity to watch a lot of people retire. Many of them didn’t do it well. But at the same time, there’s a handful of people who are living their perfect retirement. Over time, we began to study what those people doing. We realized that there are specific things that these people are doing, that everyone else wasn’t.

So, we began to incorporate these specific things into our retirement planning system. We found that people who are happiest in retirement have the following three things in common:

  • They had the income they wanted without having to worry about the markets.
  •  They had the lifestyle they wanted, where they had a tremendous amount of freedom to do what they wanted.
  • And then they had purpose where they felt this passion and fulfillment for their life.

That second point, lifestyle, is important. But a lot of people, once they achieve the ultimate lifestyle, they stop there. The happiest retirees know there’s more to a fulfilled life, than the ultimate lifestyle. The people we’ve seen do it well have been the ones who knew that life significance is as important as life style.

Think about the journey or path that you’re on today. Are you incorporating life significance into your retirement plan?