We know they’re coming but don’t want to acknowledge them!
As I sit to write the blog for this month, I can’t help but reflect how my life has changed over the past month with what seem like normal life events. What are these life events? Well both of my sons have had graduations. I know many of you have been through this process and I welcome your advice.
My older son, Bryce recently graduated from college. He attended Wofford and while he spent most of his time playing baseball, he did focus on enough academics to graduate with a double major in four years while being a college athlete. For the 4 year completion part, I am very proud and thankful to him for his hard work. As I paid my last tuition bill to the college in January (by the way, exhausting his 529 Plan fund which was clearly limping to the finish line in regard to funding his education), I had a great sense of relief that I had actually educated my first child and he was on track for graduation.
As I sat at his graduation this Spring, many thoughts went running through my mind:
– Wow, this 20 some years has sure gone fast!
– Will he be able to get a job?
– Will he be able to keep a job if he gets one?
– Have we done enough to prepare him to be on his own?
Sitting there, full of pride for his accomplishments and the man that he is becoming, I reflected on my denial that my son was about to be his own man, with his own agenda and responsibilities.
Speaking of denial, my younger son graduated from high school and the term “empty nest” keeps coming up. I hear this is when you get back to being friends with your wife and not just being parents for the children. I am totally stoked for this transition but for some strange reason, I am worried about what I will do with myself when I’m not chasing one or the other of my boys around to their activities or sporting events. Brock will be heading off to Columbia to pursue his college experience, and I have all the same questions and worries I had when sending my Bryce 14 hours away from home. I am truly in denial that this is happening.
Another example of denial and transition happened to me professionally this month when I was working with a pilot who was approaching his mandatory retirement. As we spoke, he used the word denial because he was convinced that the FAA was going to extend the mandatory retirement age. He had just ignored planning for his transition and denied that it was going to happen. He chose to cling on to the hope that “the age change” would happen in time. Well, how many times did we hear the change was coming from age 60 to 65 before it actually happened? A lot. It took years before it changed.
As I counseled him through this “mental” transition process of considering himself a retiree as opposed to an active pilot, I was reminded of what we all are worried about or desire to know.
DO I HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO RETIRE AND WHAT WILL MY LIFESTYLE BE IN RETIREMENT?
It has been proven that the best way to combat our fears of transition (financial and lifestyle) and change is to plan a course of action and pursue our goal. I have found that many times my self-created fear and anxiety is unnecessary and could have been mitigated with just a small amount of effort.
The way we answered that question for him was to prepare a comprehensive financial plan.
This plan was completed at the last minute (just weeks before his 65th birthday) and would have brought him more comfort and a sense of relief if he would have focused on his transition much sooner. Through this process, we answered his biggest question and he found out that he had planned successfully. And that yes, he did have enough money to fund a quality lifestyle in retirement.
In working with pilots for many years, I know that retirement is a very difficult transition to focus on and plan for, so please take advantage of having our complimentary snapshot financial plan put together for you, and maybe the process will calm some of your worries.