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Preparing for Retirement | Non-Financial Retirement Planning

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Susan Latremoille, co-founder Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors joins host the podcast to discuss the planning non-financial aspects of retirement, which are often overlooked by pending retirees, including:

  • Who is Susan and what does Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors do?
  • The importance of planning your retirement lifestyle and having meaningful non-financial conversations.
  • The difference between being financially ready to retire, and being mentally ready to retire.
  • What are the common pitfalls people fall into when it comes to the non-financial aspect of retirement?

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Chris Cooksey: Hello, and welcome to the Advantaged Investor, a Raymond James LTD. Podcast, a podcast that provides perspective for Canadian investors who want to remain knowledgeable, informed and focused on long term success. We are recording this on April 2, 2024, I'm Chris Cooksey from the Raymond James corporate communication and marketing department, and today, Susan Latremoille, co-founder of Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors joins the podcast. Today, Susan and I will be discussing the non-financial aspect of retirement, which is often overlooked by pending retirees. Welcome to The Advantaged Investor, Susan. Thank you for taking the time today to join the podcast, I hope you're doing great.

Susan Latremoille: Thanks, Chris. It's a pleasure to be here with you.

Chris Cooksey: Very good to hear that. I'm glad you are in such a good mood. It's a very important topic. Very interesting topic, I would say. And while I have a few more years to go, retirement planning is definitely becoming more and more interesting to me as I careen towards that age. So, Susan, a lot to get to - if you're ready, can we jump in?

Susan Latremoille: Yes, sure. I'm ready, Chris.

Chris Cooksey: Awesome. Now, Susan, let's just start off with something easy. Let's just learn a little bit more about you and how you, how you got to this point.

Susan Latremoille: Sure. I'd be happy to share that with you. So I was a financial advisor for 38 years, working at three different firms actually throughout my career for the majority of the time that I was in the industry. I'm going to talk a little bit about how I got into the financial services industry. I was working with high-net-worth clients, so people that had affluence, either because they had been very successful in their careers or professions, or because they were business owners. And I really enjoyed being a financial advisor and helping people plan their, their, their financial future and manage their wealth. So, it was both in a planning capacity as well as money management. What I started to observe though, Chris, was that as people started to transition into retirement, many of them were not as happy as they thought they would be. They were looking to retirement as this ideal time of life where they were free and they got to do exactly what they wanted. But in reality, a lot of them were struggling. And I felt that, that financial advisors in the industry, the financial services industry really has a role to play in helping people integrate both the non-financial side of their retirement life along with the money side. So that's what really drove me, after I sold my practice at the end of 2019, it really drove me to tackle this issue and to work with advisors and the public and clients alike to work with helping them really transition successfully.

Chris Cooksey: Excellent. Now that transitions nicely, maybe we can just learn a little more about Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors.

Susan Latremoille: So Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors is our company which I co founded and partner with Marianne Oehser, who I met when we were both part of the Retirement Coaches Association. So this is a body in the U.S. that certifies and licenses retirement coaches and is a place that we all gather when we're solving the future needs of retirees from a non-financial perspective. We met and we decided that Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors would be the ideal vehicle to work with both the financial services industry and with the public. So, we really offer, we have two sort of branches of what we do. One is working with financial advisors, and the other is working with individuals and couples. And so, for financial advisors, we want to arm them with the resources and the tools to work successfully with their retirement age clients. And for clients, we want to offer a place that they can go to really understand what's next for them, to help them design their ideal next chapter. It doesn't have to be retirement in the traditional sense of the word, which if you look in the dictionary, retirement actually means to put out of use and nobody wants to be put out of use. So what is your next chapter? And that's the piece that we fill in when we're working with people.

Chris Cooksey: As you mentioned off the top there, obviously some people, they're very successful in life. They've got enough money to do what they want to do, but they get to that point and maybe, defining who they become is the issue. Let's discuss the importance of sort of planning your retirement lifestyle and having those meaningful non-financial conversations when it comes to retirement.

Susan Latremoille: Yes, exactly. Well, you made a good point when you talk about people that have been successful in life and in their careers because what we found is there's a correlation between how successful they are and how much of a struggle retirement is. Surprisingly enough, you'd think that if you were successful in career and life, that retirement should be easy. But actually, we found on the contrary, the people that have been used to being in the limelight, to being the, the go to person, having that power, being responsible directing teams and clients and so on, when all of that is stripped away, They really struggle with who they are. And so if, you know, contrast that with somebody who's had a very boring, let's say, factory job where they've just been putting a widget in a, in a box every day for 40 years, I'm sure they are delighted to retire and to do whatever is next, regardless. So you mentioned that success doesn't always translate into success in retirement. That was really a wake up call for many people to realize that the two that success doesn't automatically happen in retirement. We want to really tackle that issue with people and help them make sure that their whole life, their whole next chapter is as successful as their career once was.

Chris Cooksey: It probably has to be a difficult transition for someone if you're used to having your emails sent. Answered right away or that phone call returned and, you know, maybe they notice it takes a little longer. So that definition of who you are as a person, I would imagine, becomes very important.

Susan Latremoille: Exactly. Exactly. And that's one of the, the pitfalls that we find that when we're working with people and we've, we've sort of condensed the, the number of pitfalls into a little acronym which we call SIPS. It doesn't mean that retirement is all about sipping coffee, but it does stand for some of the pitfalls, some of the issues that people face. The S of SIPS stands for a social connection, and that's really one of the issues that people face when they retire is that they lose their network that was connected to their work or to their business. And they often think that because they worked with somebody that they're going to become lifelong friends. But what they often find is that those friendships sort of fall by the wayside after six months or a year, because there's no longer that connection that they have to the work or to the goals that they were achieving when they were with that person. So social connection is one of the issues. And we know that loneliness in society is rampant, and it's particularly rampant in this retirement phase of life because of this loss of social connection.

Then moving on, you touched on this a little, a couple of minutes ago, when we talk about identity, your business card, when you're working, opens doors, it's the, you, people often think that they are that CEO, that general manager, that executive, whatever, and when that business card is useless. In fact, You might as well rip it up after you've retired because it doesn't open those doors anymore. Then people suffer from that loss of identity. Who am I now that I'm no longer who I was when I had my career?

And then we move on to the P in SIPS, which is purpose. When we're working, our purpose is pretty well defined. We have financial goals to meet, perhaps if we're involved in a company. We have clients to serve or customers that we have to attend to. So everyday we get up, we know what has to be done that day. When you're retired, it's often difficult for people to find purpose in the day to day. And that loss of purpose adds to kind of an aimlessness, kind of, and it can also lead to kind of being depressed, lonely, and worse. So purpose is critically important to maintain a healthy life in in this phase of life. And then the final last stands for structure. Again, when we're working, our days are punctuated by 9 to 5, let's say, and weekends are off. But the loss of structure, while it's very appealing initially in retirement, it becomes quite a problem when people start sleeping in, turning on the TV, watching too much news, maybe having a cocktail at noon, another one at 4 o'clock, and we can anticipate what happens from there.

Chris Cooksey: Slippery slope.

Susan Latremoille: A slippery slope. Exactly. So those are some of the issues that we, that we try and deal with when we're working with clients at this stage of life.

Chris Cooksey: Yeah, that makes sense. Now in terms of you know, being ready to retire, as we said, what is the main difference between financially being ready to retire and, say, emotionally ready to retire? What do people go through in your experience?

Susan Latremoille: Mm hmm. Well, let's just tackle the financial side first because that's really the focus for most financial advisors is, and that's what I used to think when I was a financial advisor as well -- my job is to get my clients ready financially for retirement, and that involved coming up with savings and investing plans and doing financial projections and RIF calculations and so on, and that is critically important. In fact, in the book that I published last fall called Nine Steps to a Rich Life Retirement, step number one is to ensure you have adequate financial resources. Don't even contemplate retirement unless you know that you can afford it. So I'm not diminishing the importance of financial planning, and that's where good financial advisors and wealth professionals focus their attention. But this side of the non-financial side, being emotionally and mentally ready for retirement is a whole different ball of wax. And people don't tend to think through this very carefully before they enter retirement. So why it's important, is to combat some of the pitfalls that I've alluded to and talked about with the SIPS problems, but it's also important from a financial perspective because if the financial advisor doesn't know what your lifestyle plans are going to be, the fact that you want to RV and travel across Canada, or that you want to buy a vacation home, or that you want to take up car racing and you're going to be spending a lot of money on cars, these are all really important for the financial advisor to build into the financial plan. In an ideal world, people have their retirement lifestyle plan and their retirement financial plan, and they integrate the two. And that, to me, is the ideal, and it's the way that I think the future will unfold for baby boomers, for people that are retiring into their next chapter.

Chris Cooksey: Now, in terms, we went over the pitfalls, SIPS, of course. Now, how do you work with someone to make sure, I was going to say their SIPS are looked after, but that sounds like a little too drinky to me, but like how do you, how do you acknowledge the SIPS as you outline them to plan for this?

Susan Latremoille: Right, so at Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors, we actually have created a five step process. And the first step is that we ask our clients to do a behavioural assessment, which then I interpret and give them back, really, a reading on who they are at this stage of life. Because let's face it, when you're young, you often go into a career path or something that means that a lot of your hobbies and interests kind of fall by the wayside as you focus on career. So at the retirement stage of life, it's really important to get back to that essence. Who are you? What are your interests? What are your capabilities? What motivates you? What are your priorities at this stage of life? And once we uncover that, there's a lot of work that we do with our clients dive deep into what's inside them.

For example, I had a recent client who, on the behavioural assessment, which is called SuccessFinder, scored very high in the humour category, and he was very presentable, and I said to him, you know, have you ever thought about acting, modeling? When he started to do this deeper introspection, he realized that all his life he'd wanted to write a comedy show, write comedy scripts, but he'd never done it because his career was always front and center. So here he was at 65 years of age, uncovering something about himself, which had always been there, but he'd never had a chance to pursue. And this is what we find when we're working with people. Some people, it's maybe writing that there's a book inside them. For some, it's volunteering. For some, it's getting their fitness and their health back, and they're going back to the gym. For many, it's self development, taking courses, studying something so it could be any number of things. But we help people get in touch with that that's inside them. And then we help them make a plan, and the model that we use for the planning is called your happiness portfolio for retirement. And it consists of eight, let's call them asset classes, just like a financial portfolio.

And like a financial portfolio, the happiness portfolio should be balanced and diversified. So we look at the eight areas of life, all non-financial. We don't do any financial work ourselves. And we help them plan this happiness portfolio for retirement. And then people come out of it saying, you know, I really am going to put my name forward for a board seat, or I'm going to sign up to volunteer, or I'm going to go back to school, or I'm going to join a gym, and we hold them accountable, because I've seen too many plans get filed in the bottom drawer never to be seen again, and we really want our clients to thrive in this stage of life, so we want to really help them. And then they get on with what it is they've declared they want to do, but the whole process really ends up with people being exuberant about their next chapter and having a detailed plan that they can follow to keep them on track. Of course, you can always course correct. That's not cast in stone. You can do any number of makeovers, do overs that you want, unlike financially. So, but it does get people really excited and clear about what they want in their next chapter. And that to me is the real value of it.

Chris Cooksey: I love the accountability part. I've been recently having conversations with one of my kids and they have made a declaration. I'm like, well, that's the easy part, like saying you're going to do something or wanting to do something. That's the easy part. What are you going to actually do now that the work starts? So the accountability is huge, obviously. Now just for the last question here, do you have any final words, if someone's coming close to retirement, like what's your number one piece of advice or any final words you would share with the audience here?

Susan Latremoille: I would say number one is to, as I mentioned before, ensure you have adequate financial resources and that requires you to work closely with your financial professional to have run the projections, to know where your income's coming from in retirement. There's no there's no avoiding that because if you're going to enjoy retirement and travel or do the things you've always wanted to do, money's involved. So number one, have a good financial foundation under you, but then don't leave the planning until it's too late. In other words, ideally, you would start with your lifestyle planning three to five years ahead of when you're actually going to retire. Formulate some of those ideas, those dreams, and those goals. And that's not always possible, so many people wait until they know what their end date is, their retirement date, and then they start to plan. And that's fine too, but just as long as you have a financial plan. So other people go off into what we call the retirement honeymoon phase, which is that beautiful time of life where there's no alarm clock, no boss, your time's your own. It's a life of freedom. And that is wonderful. It's a great way to recharge and rejuvenate after probably maybe some cases, 30, 40 years of a career. But the issue is the honeymoon, like all honeymoons, and you know, Chris, you're married - they don't last forever. So once the honeymoon is over, then people start to say, now what?

And that's where this issue of retirement lifestyle planning becomes so important. There's really no perfect time. I think it's different for different people, but I think it's critically important. The other final aspect would be that I would share the, your plan with your financial advisor because they need to know. whether you're going to need additional income from your portfolio, whether you've got additional money to put in, they need to know really where you stand in terms of your lifestyle. They can integrate that into the financial plan and projections as well.

Chris Cooksey: Oh, that's amazing, Susan. I found this really interesting. Maybe, if you want to let people know where they can go, should they want more information for with you?

Susan Latremoille: Yeah, I'd be happy to. So I'm on LinkedIn, of course, Susan Latremoille, but our website for Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors is just that, If you're interested in my book, it's on Amazon in hardcover, audio, and ebook, Nine steps to a rich life retirement, Live well, give back, leave a legacy. And the other book that I mentioned is my business partner Marianne's book, Your Happiness Portfolio for Retirement, It's not about the money. And that's also on Amazon in those three versions as well. So lots of ways to connect with us and, and we be delighted if people do want to contact us and just have a chat about what their retirement lifestyle plan looks like and see if they need some help getting there.

Chris Cooksey: Well, I really appreciate your time, and I want to thank you for sharing all these great tips with our listeners today. Thank you for your wisdom, and I hope we can do this again in the future, and maybe we'll drill down deeper in some of this stuff. But thank you very much.

Susan Latremoille: Great, Chris. Thanks. It's a pleasure to be here.

Chris Cooksey: Reach out to us at Subscribe to The Advantaged Investor on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Please contact your advisor with any questions you have. On behalf of Raymond James and The Advantaged Investor, thank you for taking the time to listen today. Until next time, stay well.

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