Last week, Paul B. Brown of The New York Times published an article entitled, “The Five Stages of Retirement Planning Angst.” This article is an enjoyable read and clearly shows the various stages that many people feel while facing the concept of retirement planning. In fact, we see many of these emotions while speaking with our clients. Therefore, we would like to discuss these emotions, and recommend that you read the original article as well.
Retirement planning is a larger-than-life and often daunting prospect. Many people feel overwhelmed by the concept for a number of realistic reasons. For example, life is expensive, and many people feel strained in their finances already, so the concept of saving sufficient funds to support them during their retirement can seem impossible. Also, there are many factors and aspects that go into retirement and many people can choose to ignore their planning due to a lack of understanding. There are even some that simply hope that government programs and the kindness of their children will be enough to support them through their elder years.
Well, retirement planning, like estate planning, doesn’t magically happen – you have to do the work! In the article mentioned above, they list five different stages that people go through when it comes to facing death and how those apply to retirement planning. The five steps are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Brown states that he had felt all of these emotions when he was informed that he and his wife needed to save eight times their current annual income as the minimum for their retirement planning.
In the denial stage we believe that this information must be incorrect. The financial planner must be crazy or he must have spoken incorrectly. The amount needed seems impossible to reach! However, we soon move past this stage to the bargaining level, where we try and get around the amount we need to save and the work required to do so. We try and create other scenarios that may work.
We next come to the depression stage. Now we start to feel hopeless about our planning and feel that we will never be able to get there, that we will fall short. We feel upset and disappointed that we will have to start living more meagerly in order to set money aside for our retirement. Hopefully this phase is short lived and we can move on to the final and most important stage of the cycle: acceptance.
Once we accept the inevitable, we can finally start to make the necessity a reality. Now we can start to work out the realistic ways in which to set aside the proper amount of funds to support us in our future. We can work successfully with our financial planner to ensure matters are done properly and that wise investments are made. We can calmly and clearly look through our various options that can be used towards our benefit. We accept the fact that we can do our best and then keep moving forward. We will prepare as best we can, and will cross any unseen bridges as we come to them.
For more information on the importance of planning ahead, please contact our office at 888.222.1328.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.