Why you need a retirement coach to help you avoid serious mistakes

retirement, retirement planning, retire

Why you need a retirement coach to help you avoid serious mistakes

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4 minute read

If you know of, or have read about leading successful sportspeople, they all have one thing in common. They have a coach—several coaches in fact. Psychology coaches, fitness coaches, skills coaches. Perhaps even a nutritionist coach. Why would top athletes (and other professionals) pay for so many coaches? Especially when the coach isn’t as good as the rugby player, tennis player, or track athlete in their chosen sport?

How many times have you retired?

Let’s face it, without time travel or a Tardis, you can’t go back in time and start again. Since you can only retire once from your full-time career, it makes sense to do it right.

In this case practice doesn’t make perfect; you only get one go at it.

No training. Little to no warm-up. Few guidebooks or videos.

You could ask an uncle or a brother-in-law, but guess what? Their retirement was different to how yours will be. At best this would only be of limited utility.

Ready for your leap into the dark?

Why you need a retirement coach

A great coach will have two things: experience and expertise in this specialist subject.

A coach can help you. They will guide you, train you, mentor you, develop you. A good coach will hold you to account and not let you off the hook.

On Sunday mornings at rugby and football clubs across the land, you can find hundreds of excited children running around. Usually like headless chickens, but we can forgive them for their enthusiasm.

The children are not alone. They are surrounded by coaches—many of them amateur and working their way through the coaching levels—but some are professional. They are not there as child-minders.

Children are taught about the rules and laws of the game, as well as positioning, technique, skills, and special drills, what to do and where to be. Without it, the sport would be 80 and 90-minutes of chaos on grass.

Do you really want your retirement to be chaotic?

How a retirement coach can help you

Like going to a surgeon for an operation, it’s reassuring to learn that they have done hundreds of similar procedures.

The same goes for a good retirement coach: you won’t be the first retiree they have helped. They may have helped hundreds, and as a result have a bag full of tips and ideas for you. They pretty much know what lies ahead for you. Not just what happens, but how you will adjust.

A great retirement coach will put you at ease in these anxious times—feeling calm and in control is a good start.

You may be asked about your own experiences and skill levels, your knowledge of finance and money. You could also be asked questions concerning your financial, physical and mental fitness, or about your family position and support system. They might also ask about your family history and longevity, and your medication, interests, hobbies, and exercise.

All of this gives your chosen coach a good idea of where you are now in your pre-retirement. The seniority of your career position is also a key consideration. What ‘uniform’ are you wearing: a ward sister; a vice-chancellor; a colonel; veterinarian; or even a FTSE board director? Rank and status are powerful when working, but your uniform is stripped from you at retirement. Think about that.

Over the course of days, weeks, or months you will be in unfamiliar circumstances, perhaps at a supermarket checkout with a large queue of busy shoppers behind you. Fumbling with the technology as you slowly scan the products will only invite sneers and shrugs. Former rank means nothing now.

Adjust, adjust, and adjust again

Look ahead. How long have you got? Possibly 25 to 35 years.

Look at your retirement positively. It’s not simply the end of something (your career or family role), but it’s also the start of your own Prime Time. These are your years. No boss to report to. No train to catch. No ladder to climb. Your children are grown up and the mortgage is repaid.

The day is yours to do with as you will.

But what are you going to do every day, week, month, and year to occupy yourself? This is where your retirement coach comes in. They will help you plan, prepare, and give this some intensive thought. Prime Time can’t be wasted tidying the loft or weeding the garden, meanwhile, Radio 4 and a newspaper will soon become tiresome.

If you are a keen golfer you could reduce your handicap playing with your friends—but only if they have retired around the same time as you. You could sit and relax on a beach in the sunshine for a few weeks. But then what?

Adjusting also involves the spouse or partner you share the house with, plus any children who live there. Always remember that it is you who is retiring, not them.

Don’t expect your partner to drop their routine, hobbies, or social life simply because you are twiddling your thumbs—that could all end badly. There are three things you need in your prime Time life:

  • Fulfilment
  • Meaning
  • Purpose

If you lack any or all of these, you will soon be in trouble.

Find your passion

There is probably something you have always wanted to do or learn, but you were too busy working to do it. This could include writing a book, playing the saxophone, or learning conversational Spanish. Squeezing in the odd hour here and there just didn’t cut it, so you gave up.

Prime Time opens up a host of opportunities to learn new skills and become an expert. Want to be a Blue Badge Guide and present history to tourists? Then go ahead and learn. Are you a keen cyclist and know the Yorkshire dales like the back of your hand? Then start a cycle tourism business and take groups on your favourite routes. Fitness, fresh air, and financial rewards plus social recognition fantastic.

Your glide path to retirement

Hopefully you won’t have a sudden retirement that comes out of the blue. Good coaching starts about five years before you ‘land’ at the airport of choice. This gives you time to plan and save, as well as to create a network and learn the ropes. This will hopefully allow you to gently scale down from five days a week.

Despite the kind words in your leaving card about popping back in, once you leave your work you will soon become forgotten. Forget it.

Trying to network from home while unemployed will be far more difficult than from your workplace beforehand. Don’t waste the opportunity.

There are opportunities to learn new skills before leaving your current role. Don’t hit the ground stone-cold, but hit it running.

These could be the best 30 years of your life; live them well.

If you think a conversation with an expert financial planning coach could help you, contact us today to arrange an appointment with a chartered financial planner.

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