With clients (and many advisors) fearing that they'll run out of money during retirement, either due to poor planning or a catastrophic illness, there is one conversation that is often overlooked. It is the one about balancing the goal of achieving a fully funded retirement with the goal of living a happy, fulfilling life before you get there.
My dad worked for more than 45 years to build up a substantial nest egg for his retirement. He sacrificed, saved and scrimped. He didn't travel. He didn't buy expensive things (as a Yankee, I think he was genetically incapable of it, but I digress). When he retired, he'd socked away a bigger nest egg than anyone in his family ever had. He was incredibly proud of his accomplishment and looked forward to retirement more than just about anyone I've ever met.
My dad died of cancer just a few years after he had his retirement party. As I worked on this issue's feature stories, I kept thinking about all the things he never got to do because he was so concerned about outliving his money. My family would have preferred that he had, frankly-as would your clients' families, and your family, if they were given the choice.
As you read about the new crop of metrics that will influence your clients' retirement portfolios ("The New Math of Retirement," by writer Dave Lindorff) and the challenges of traditional long-term care insurance ("Long-Term Scare," by Associate Editor Mason Braswell), keep in mind the most important retirement advice you can give your clients or yourself: "Prepare for tomorrow but live for today." If you can structure a portfolio that allows your clients to do both, then you can say you've done your best work.