Around 10 years ago, I was meeting with my 67-year-old client - let’s call him Jim – for his annual financial review.
I asked him about his retirement plans since he had been eligible to retire and receive a full pension with his employer for the past couple of years. He told me that he didn’t mind continuing to work, but I could tell there was something bothering him, so I asked him to tell me more. His voice started to crack as he explained that he had serious concerns about his wife, Heather’s failing health and that was keeping him up at night.
As Jim opened up to me, I learned that he was terrified about something happening to Heather while he was at work, and not being there to take care of her. At the same time, he was quite afraid that they wouldn’t be able to maintain their standard of living if he were to retire now.
A few days later, we got together again, to review the comprehensive financial plan that I had put together for their family. Jim was surprised and relieved to learn that they would in fact have no trouble meeting their financial needs if he were to retire now. He could stop working immediately and spend more time with his wife instead. I encouraged him to do just that. He took a deep breath and made the decision, giving himself permission to retire, trusting that everything would be okay.
Six months later, at Heather’s funeral, Jim put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes and said, “Shawn, I’m well aware that if it hadn’t been for you encouraging me to retire when you did, I wouldn’t have been able to spend so much of these last six months of Heather’s life with her.”
This is why I do what I do.