Planning for a secure retirement should include planning for a happy retirement. You can help your clients think about what will give them a sense of purpose after their work years. Here are four key questions to help guide that conversation.

Planning for retirement is about more than just creating a basic financial plan—it’s about planning with purpose. Unfortunately, most clients are so focused on saving for retirement that they lose sight of some important quality-of-life considerations.

I wrote earlier about five items that form a framework to help clients develop thoughtful financial plans.

But advisors don’t need to stop there. You should ensure that every aspect of a client’s post-retirement life is considered. Retirement planning should not only be about securing a client’s financial future, but also about how to enhance quality of life as they age.

That’s why it’s crucial to drive conversations beyond financial implications when advising clients. Below, we present four pivotal questions that advisors should ask clients to help them retire with purpose.

1. What’s the right ‘work’ for you?

Today, many people are extending their time in the workforce out of a need for income, social connection, and/or purpose. This could mean people are staying at their same job for longer, switching to a new company, shifting to part-time, or even changing careers. However, your clients will want to retire fully at some point—after all that is what you are helping them plan for.

Unfortunately, many people find that fully leaving the workforce can be a difficult transition. Going from having a purpose, contributing to something outside of yourself, and interacting with people outside of those you live with, to having a surplus of free time on your hands is a stark contrast to the lives clients are used to living. Perhaps that is why some people actually unretire and rejoin the working world.

To ensure that your clients make the most out of retirement, you need to make sure they plan how to spend their time. This plan of action could include anything from working in a different capacity than before, investing in hobbies, or focusing on family. Financial implications, education, technological training, and other unique requirements should all be considered if necessary to make these transitions.

Pro tip: Consider if continuing education, volunteer work or part-time work makes sense for your clients. Maybe it is spending additional time caring for a family member. Regardless, making sure clients have a good idea of how they will be spending their newfound free time or whether they want to work in a different capacity is extremely important to prevent them from feeling lost or bored.

2. Where’s the right place to live?

Where to live in older age is unfortunately rarely discussed or planned for. Though many envision retirement as an extended vacation, clients must be realistic about what they can afford as well as where they can have their needs met as they age. This could mean relocating to another state where they are closer to family and where affordability is better.

This could mean clients leaving their current homes even though most aging adults would rather stay. When you also consider maintenance, staying where you are becomes less realistic, especially as more people age alone.

An additional piece of this puzzle is where the retiree’s family lives, especially as they might have to rely on some form of familial caretaking in the future. Ensuring that clients have an idea of where they want to live and who will help take care of them is necessary to ensure that they have the money to live the way they want in advanced age.

Pro tip: Consider engaging any adult children, where appropriate, in these discussions of what the client and his or her family may want as they age. This can make aspects of planning easier since everyone will be on the same page and have proper expectations.

3. Who are the right people to see more frequently?

Staying engaged in community and familial life is a good way for retirees to stay socially engaged and looked after by others. Since retirement often brings about significant changes in daily routines and social interactions, maintaining meaningful connections with family, friends and community members is an important way to counteract feelings of loneliness and loss of purpose.

These connections not only provide emotional support but can contribute to a sense of belonging and community, contributing to a fulfilling retirement journey.

At Taylor Financial Group, we host monthly women’s events for our clients. These events help our older, retired, and/or widowed clients find a sense of community. As a result, many of these women have become friends, and they even hang out outside of our women’s events.

Pro tip: Help your client consider their friends and their “chosen” family. Will these people still be around? Is there still a support system in place where your client is planning on retiring? Also consider throwing client events for your retired or older clients so that they have a chance to interact and build community.

4. What’s the purpose for each day now?

Research actually indicates that retirees who lack a comprehensive “plan with purpose” often experience feelings of disorientation and dissatisfaction, potentially leading to cognitive decline. Like any phase of life, getting the most out of retirement requires clear goals to work toward. Knowing what someone wants to achieve can help advisors give advice to clients on what meaningful activities will help them attain a sense of purpose. People deserve to have the time to explore life past their career. Those who maintain a sense of direction in retirement are more likely to experience greater satisfaction and overall well-being.

Pro tip: Suggest that your client explore any new hobbies, interests, or passions before they retire so they have a clearer picture of how they will want to spend their time. Building the costs for their hobbies and interests into their financial plans can help ensure that clients feel empowered to enjoy themselves in retirement.

Helping clients plan for successful retirement requires more than a financial plan. By offering guidance on how to retire with a purpose, advisors can significantly enhance their clients’ retirement experiences.

As an advisor, part of your job is guiding and preparing people for the next phase of life. These discussions will serve to create even deeper relationships with clients and can even help advisors to connect with clients’ children and family—potential future clients!


Written By Debra Taylor, CPA/PFS, JD, CDFA – 2024