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3 Reasons Why Retirement Income Planning Needs a Holistic Approach

Mark Zaifman   |    Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 12:33 PM

holistic financial planning

This description is taken from Wikipedia:

"Holistic health is a concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole. As defined above, the holistic view on treatment is widely accepted in medicine."

When I began my practice over 10 years ago, I followed the holistic medical model. Like many solo practitioners, I started off giving talks in various local venues, the most powerful were at the Integrative Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa. We developed a series of talks we called Financial Wellness and from that time to present, I have incorporated those holistic health principles into my practice.

All areas of our financial lives should be looked at holistically and retirement income planning is no different. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider the holistic model when approaching or entering retirement.

holistic financial planning1) Your joyful life depends on it

As you make the transition from working most of your adult life to suddenly being “retired’, if history is any indication, many of you are going to take a ride on the emotional rollercoaster of your life, loaded with twists and turns you can barely imagine in your wildest dreams.

Although each client’s ‘transition story’ is unique in terms of their actual experience, most clients have been willing to share with me their true feelings about what it’s actually felt like emotionally, especially during the first few years, when they made the leap from full-time work to retirement.

And here’s what I found most intriguing about their compelling stories. Money, money concerns/stress, was not an issue at all in terms of adjusting to their new lifestyle. That’s because right up until the day they officially said adios to their job, career, sold their business or practice, they were following a carefully developed, regularly monitored and updated, strategic financial roadmap we co-created that made it abundantly clear all systems were go from a cash flow point of view.

Where they ended up deriving the most comfort was from the work we did together during our pre-retirement planning sessions. This entailed modeling various what-if scenarios that not only focused on their money but their multiple lifestyle choices they would soon be facing and challenged with such as….

  • Will you or your partner feel the urge to reinvent yourself and launch a new career?
  • Will one of you want to pursue your passion of volunteering for a cause near and dear to your heart that you did not have time to pursue when working full-time?
  • Will you both, or will one of you want to take up a new sport or set off on exotic travel or perhaps living part-time in other countries around the world?
  • If a couple, how will you structure your time together and not drive each other crazy now that you’re together all the time while at the same time ensuring enough time for your individual personal development and growth?

These are just a few of the many vital topics we discuss during pre-retirement planning. And instead of following the old and stale retirement planning model which focuses almost exclusively on how to manage your investment portfolio and how much you can safely spend each year - a much deeper, thoughtful and respectful holistic discussion of your money and your life increases the odds your transition to the new world of retirement will be a success and life will feel joyful.

stic financial planning2) Your happy marriage/partnership depends on it

For lots of people, the word retirement conjures up all sorts of negative and often scary feelings. Instead of being excited and inspired by all the options and possibilities this next phase of your life has to offer, often just the opposite occurs and those same options that makes one person in a relationship leap for joy could make another person feel very anxious.

The old ‘Mad Men’ model of retirement planning looked at couples as one unit and in most cases, back in the day, women had very little input if any. The new breed of retirement planning focuses on each person in the relationship as an individual first and as a couple second.

Each person’s unique relationship with money, their money history, their money story, their long held dreams and aspirations, their fears as well as their hopes are all brought to the forefront without judgment and with understanding and empathy.

It’s at this point, when both partners in a loving and committed relationship truly understand not only where their mate has been in terms of their relationship with money, but where they may be headed, that money harmony and true peace of mind around your combined future is yours for the taking.

It all begins with listening, maybe for the first time in a long time, to what’s really in your partner’s heart, to make your shared vision and dreams of a joyful future together become your reality.

stic financial planning3) You will become fearless and empowered

If you’re someone that has worried about money most of your adult life, get ready for the olympics of money worrying as you transition to retirement. Because so many of us lead busy lives, consumed with raising families, earning money, hopefully planning for the future, there’s scant time left to worry about money.

As you move from a very productive and busy lifestyle to one loaded with much more free time, you’ll have more than ample time to worry about money. And again, if you’re a money worrier by nature, this old habit will be happy to take its place front and center in your life and demand your attention as often as it feels like. Instead of feeling empowered, money worrying has the complete opposite effect of making you feel disempowered.

Will holistic retirement income planning alleviate all your money worries immediately? Not even close.  But like an organic vegetable garden that has not been tended to for a very long time, that richness that lies buried beneath the ‘worry weeds’ and years of neglect is fertile soil, waiting for new seeds of abundance and prosperity to be planted.

Little by little, baby step by baby step, this once neglected garden of money worries is being replaced with a garden of self-empowerment and fearlessness. As your relationship with money gets stronger and healthier, so does your internal garden of abundance and prosperity.

This new inner self-confidence you begin feeling around your money and your future slowly but surely begins taking the place of the usual habit of worrying. One smart financial decision after another smart financial decision after another is the nourishment you feed your inner garden. As this garden grows and becomes vibrant, so does your sense of empowerment and fearlessness around money.

And before you know it, you have broken the habit of worrying about money. You now are able to see all of life’s possibilities. For you, the journey of life has just started, and this time around, your money worry habit is not invited. Bon voyage!


holistic financial planning


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