The Million-Dollar Questions Everyone Preparing for Retirement Should Be Asking

Making your retirement dreams a reality requires a blueprint. You may have dreams of traveling more or buying a second home. But to make those goals a financial reality you need to consider where you want to travel and how often; or determine the geographic region where you’d like to purchase a second home and how much square footage you need.

For many people, reaching that level of specificity with retirement planning can be a challenge—but it’s a critical step in the financial planning process.

Two Scenarios to Help You Think More Deeply About Your Financial Plans for Retirement

To get our clients really thinking about what they want to do with their money in retirement, we have a couple of key questions we’ll often ask. These questions are not all that complex or sophisticated, but what they do is get people thinking about their finances in a different way.

If you’re starting to prepare for retirement, ask yourself these two million-dollar questions:

1. You have a million dollars that you can’t give to your kids and you can’t invest. You have to spend it. What are you going to spend it on?

For the majority of people, this is a tough nut to crack. Typically after we ask this question to a couple, there’s a long pause. They stare at each other for a minute, lost in thought. Then they say something like, “Wow, that’s an amazing question. We never really thought about that.”

At Wealth Impact Partners, most of the clients we work with are first-generation wealthy. And almost universally one of their core values is thrift. They don’t mind spending money, but they want a good value.

The thing is, you don’t live your whole working life—30-40 years—being a value-conscious person and then get to retirement and suddenly become a big-time spender and ramp up your lifestyle. It doesn’t happen that easily. People think they’re going to be able to do it. But it’s very difficult for a person to change their mindset in that way.

What this question does, with that high dollar amount and those limitations, is it makes you think more concretely and specifically about your retirement dreams. It also makes you think about spending in a different way, starting to shift that mindset a little bit.

2. You have another million bucks. You can’t give it to your kids. You can’t spend it on yourself. You can only give it to charitable causes and organizations. Who are you going to give it to?

This is another important question. Many of the people we work with have strong income heading into retirement, their asset base is going to continue to accumulate, and they’ve got time on their side. If for no other reason, giving to charity is something to consider for tax reasons.

But it goes beyond that too. Moving into retirement, many individuals aspire to make a positive impact on the world through increased philanthropy. They want to use their money to do more that matters. The thing is, when they find out they have the dollars to take that next step, they realize they don’t have a plan for how they want to do it.

Again, it’s all about moving your dreams from the abstract to the concrete. It’s taking this idea of “we want to give more” or “we want to help people” and turning it into something specific and actionable.

Like many of our clients, you may have given to charities in the past but not in huge

Answer These Questions to Create a Clearer Picture of Your Financial Future

For individuals and couples nearing retirement, these are challenging questions to answer. But they are also important and exciting ideas to ponder. To ensure you have the money to maintain your lifestyle and do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing in retirement, effective financial planning is key—and that all starts with having a clear vision for your future.

Think about your own answers to the questions above. Talk about them with your partner or family members. Allow yourself to dream a little bit. Then take the next step to plan your finances to align with your goals.


The material contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual nor does it take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors. Any tax advice contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended for public dissemination. Further, you should seek specific tax advice from your tax professional before pursuing any idea contemplated herein. This advice is being provided solely as an incidental service to our business as insurance professionals and investment advisors.

Neither Wealth Impact Partners, Valmark Securities nor its affiliates and/or its employees/agents/registered representatives offer legal or tax advice. Please seek independent advice, specific to your situation, from a qualified legal/tax professional.

Securities offered through Valmark Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Valmark Advisers, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. 130 Springside Drive, Suite 300 Akron, Ohio 44333. (800) 765-5201. Wealth Impact Partners is a separate entity from Valmark Securities, Inc. and Valmark Advisers, Inc. BSW Inner Circle and AES Nation LLC are separate entities from Valmark Securities and Valmark Advisors.

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