Our quarterly newsletter offers members helpful articles and insightful commentary from the thought leaders and trendsetters in our profession.
Mission #1: Retirement Coaches Can’t Let The Term Retirement Wellness Get Hijacked!
When you think of the term “wellness” what comes to mind? A stress and worry free day at the spa? Yoga on the beach with waves crashing in the background? A challenging, yet health-conscious bike ride for charity? Perhaps meditation accompanied by burning incense?
What comes to mind when the word retirement is added? Do you conceptualize Retirement Wellness differently? Is it now all about having enough money in retirement to do what you want? Being able to afford good health care, name-brand prescriptions and specialized doctors to remain fit and strong? Maybe it’s being able to help a grandchild pay for college, a son or daughter buy that first home, or give extra to your church, Alma Mater, or favorite charity?
If the way you think of “wellness” has anything to do with money, then we are losing ground to the big, well-known financial companies who are trying to make retirement wellness about the dollars and cents instead of the mental, social, physical, and spiritual aspects.
Reality is, Retirement Wellness has very little to do with money. Simply put, anyone who thinks the right amount of money can keep them happy, healthy, and connected, or that money can fix a marriage, give kids a leg up, or serve as a short-cut to health, is only building a retirement plan on quicksand that slowly but surely will consume everything they hope to have in retirement.
Everyone, at some point, realizes what life is (and is not) about. Not that money is inherently evil, or that people don’t need to save and invest for retirement, but we can’t let society continue to be brainwashed into believing retirement wellness can be measured with financial charts, graphs, or in dollar signs. It can't be quantified, but instead, it can be seen, felt, and experienced. Fact is, you could be sitting next to a millionaire and never know it, however, if you're sitting next to a happy, healthy, relevant, and connected person, you can genuinely sense it... and are drawn to it.
A more appropriate working definition of Retirement Wellness is the process by which one prepares to replace their work-identity, stay connected to family and friends, keep mentally and physical strong, and spiritually active. With the proper mindset and with their beliefs and behaviors in line, then and only then should new and existing retirees tackle the financial issues. Its basic psychology, common sense, and easily summed up by one of retirement’s best kept secrets, running out of money pales in comparison to running out of family, friends, health and, ultimately, time.
The overriding reason financial services companies want to hijack the term “wellness” is simple. It’s the Holy Grail when it comes to capturing the largest segment of baby boomer wealth. The term “wellness” concisely captures the essence of an ideal retirement. Visualize a healthy, vibrant retiree finishing a steep hill climb, joining hands around a campfire with their spouse and grand kids, laughing with friends over dinner and drinks, or interacting with others in an educational setting. The company that can convince retirees that the best way to achieve all this is through a financial product will not only win the wellness war they will dominate those who let them… but it’s not happening on my watch!
That’s why we as retirement coaches have to take concrete steps to insert ourselves and the work we do in the retirement planning process. It starts by joining me in the movement and marshalling this message out to the media and our clients. Are you in and ready to make a difference?
Robert Laura, CPRC
Founder: Retirement Coaches Association