Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth
These are the wise words of Mike Tyson, former world heavyweight boxing champion.
It’s not his most famous quote, and maybe not even the most relevant from a retirement perspective (“Time is like a book. You have a beginning, a middle and an end,” probably beats it).
Tyson would probably have told you that the first thing to do would be to avoid getting punched in the mouth.
He avoided this by employing people to tell him how to avoid the punches (people like Cus d’Amato and Kevin Rooney); people who had learnt their coaching trade and had shown other boxers what they needed to do, time and again.
They knew where the punches might come from, and how they could best be avoided.
A good retirement planner will share many of the attributes of D’Amato and Rooney. They will have learnt the skills to coach you through your retirement, and they will love their trade.
They will have been through similar situations with many other clients.
They will help you to avoid the mistakes that others will have made in the past, and you should feel like they are in the ring with you.
But as Iron Mike would tell you, you do need to be ready to get punched in the mouth, and you need to know what to do when the punch lands.
From a retirement perspective, you need to be ready for the new and the unlikely.
Any decent Financial Planner should be able to explain the impact of a market crash on your financial plan (the effect is different once you have retired than when you are working), but that’s hardly new.
With increasing lifespans, it’s become increasingly common for the problems of adult children to affect our retirements. The poor health of our children or their marital breakups is having an increasing impact on retirement plans.
Cognitive decline and the increased use of the Internet can make the retiree increasingly susceptible to fraud, and a good retirement planner should help you to defend yourself well against this type of attack.
If your retirement planner has helped other clients with these sorts of problem and can explain what to do if it does happen, then it’s reassuring to have them in your corner.
Beyond that, though, we also need to know what to do if something entirely unpredictable happens – the lucky punch that gets through.
Now and then, something comes up that none of us had predicted (recent changes in legislation spring to mind).
A good planner will have given some thought to things which could go wrong but haven’t yet (like a shock rise in interest rates or a prolonged failure of the internet) and will have worked out what to do if they do happen.
But I’d have confidence in a boxing coach who didn’t panic when something unpredictable happened, who was surrounded by good people to discuss the options with, and who was open-minded about solutions.
I’d have the same confidence in a retirement planner with the same attributes.A good retirement planner will show you where punches could come from and what to do when that financial punch lands Click To Tweet