At first glance, you might think retirement planning and skydiving are completely different. With retirement, you leave work and kick up your heels. With skydiving, you jump out of a plane. They’re completely different – right?
Actually, retirement planning and skydiving have more in common than you may realize. They both require planning, a degree of risk and a very deep breath.
Done right, retirement planning and skydiving are both life affirming and can greatly enhance your quality of life. Done wrong, and that’s where things can get messy.
What Retirement Planning and Felix Baumgartner Have in Common
On October 14th, 2012, Red Bull athlete and professional daredevil Felix Baumgartner woke up in the morning and ascended to space in a helium balloon. It took him two and a half hours to reach his well-planned altitude of 38,970 metres.
Then, in a move that redefines ‘taking a deep breath’, that’s exactly what he did – and then he jumped.
You can imagine what happened next. Baumgartner fell for about four and a half minutes (that’s a lot of falling!) and reached a maximum speed of 844 miles per hour before he finally pulled his parachute for the remainder of his jump.
All told, Baumgartner fell for 9 minutes. Yet, while that’s just a blip of time in a 24 hour day, what the world did not see just how much time ‘Fearless Felix’ and his put in to plan the jump – seven years, from envisioning the idea, to creating the team and doing the physical and psychological training he would need to take that historic leap.
Now, let’s talk about you…
Retirement Planning is Your Turn to Jump
You’re probably not going to jump from the stratosphere any time soon (although, coincidentally, a 60 year-old Google executive named Alan Eustace beat Felix’s record just two years later, so you never know!). Still, retirement is a jump of its own. And just like jumping from space needs plenty of planning from start to finish, the same principles need to be on the table when you plan your ‘jump’ from the work world to whatever comes next.
At Alitis, our job is to help you do that. We help you plan, from the moment you start thinking about retirement, to the strategy, maintenance, and behind-the-scenes work, right up until that day when you clock out for the last time.
There’s a lot that needs to go into that to ensure your landing will be a smooth one. With that in mind, let’s talk about three essential steps you should take during this important stage in your life.
Step 1 – Have a Plan With the End Goal in Mind
With Felix Baumgartner, the goal was to jump from 38,970 metres so he could set the record for the highest skydive of all time.
That was his number. You’ll need one too – although it will be in time and dollars rather than metres.
This plan may be more complex than you might think. You’ll need to factor in your post-retirement goals, government or company pensions, CPP, OAS, investments, cash flow, your net worth and a variety of factors you can’t leave to chance.
It’s your retirement. Plan to get it right.
Step 2 – Build a World-Class Team
You don’t jump from space without a world-class team, and possibly a rocket scientist or two. It’s the same with retirement planning. It’s a big leap to leave the work force and that steady source of income.
When you do retirement planning, you talk to people – lots of them. And you need a team of qualified financial professionals to help guide you through the labyrinth of factors you will inevitably need to address as you start your journey to your pivotal final day at work.
Felix had a ‘Technical Director’. You’ll need a qualified ‘Financial Advisor’. And that person may add to your team, with wealth managers, accountants, lawyers and insurance advisors, in varying capacities.
Your Financial Advisor essentially acts as your Chief Financial Officer – they’re right there with you each step of the way.
Step 3 – Mentally Prepare Yourself
It takes more than a pep talk to jump from 38,970 metres. It takes years of physical and psychological training – and while you likely won’t need a team of psychologists to make your jump, retirement is a leap of its own.
After all, you’ve worked most of your life. Now you’ve got a little, well a lot of, free time on your hands. Are you going to sit at home and watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island all day? Or are you going to travel, volunteer, take courses, fitness classes, learn new skills, spend more time with family and/or all of the above?
There is no wrong answer to that question (12 hours a day of Gilligan’s Island? Sign us up!). It’s simply something you need to think about in each stage of your retirement planning.
Retirement isn’t just about numbers. At Alitis, we get that – and we’re here to help with as much mental preparation as we do with numbers.
Alitis Can Help With Your Retirement Planning
Our job at Alitis is to help with your jump. Among many other things, we’ve helped a wide variety of folks with retirement planning, from creating the ‘End Goal’ to Team-Building and Mental Preparation it takes to make this important transition we all need to address.
There’s a lot to consider with retirement planning. So do it right. Feel free to reach out to any of us on the Alitis team to learn more about how to plan for retirement and the many factors that go into this big jump.
Until next time.