The Problem with Retirement Income Planners

I think that retirement income planners are generally great people. Particularly if they are based in Sussex…

But there’s a fundamental problem with all retirement income planners.

We aren’t retired.

We haven’t actually experienced retirement. And, of course, a retirement income planner, who has retired, and then gone back to work, isn’t retired anymore! There are only a few other situations like this in life where you can’t go back – starting work and parenthood spring to mind.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t help you, but it does help us to understand the characteristics required to be a good retirement income planner. As well as the usual ability to handle mathematics and uncertainty, my experience is that two personality traits are particularly necessary in our business:

  • An ability to listen. It’s really important to listen to clients when they are telling us about the real experience of retirement. We need to listen time and again, and to identify what the concerns of retirees are, and to gain an understanding of how this is changing. Louise tells me that this is just an excuse for me to be nosey, but I’m convinced that my “curiosity” helps me to develop better plans for all of our clients.
  • A commitment to lifetime learning. Funding your retirement expenditure using investments, in one form or another, is a new profession. It wasn’t long ago that most people’s retirement took place on a specific date and their expenditure had to be matched to the amount their employer gave them as a final salary pension and a state pension. And it’s not long since people spoke about their lifespan as “three score years and ten”. So, it’s not surprising that our knowledge of the factors affecting our financial health in retirement continues to grow. A good retirement planner will continuously be seeking out new research and data to help their clients. Regular readers of this blog will know that I seek out information about retirement planning from around the world.

The inspiration for this post was a couple of webinars which I have attended about methods of retirement income planning, where the speaker told the audience where they were going wrong and how they had worked out the formula for retirement planning. Of course, they didn’t take questions at the end!

I hope that I can overcome the fact that I haven’t retired by having listened to my clients’ experiences over the years, continuously learning, and using that learning to help our clients make the most of their life post work.

Philip Wise |

Managing Director and Chartered Financial Planner


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