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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Relationships in Retirement

As a species, humans are social beings. We feel most comfortable when surrounded by those who have mutual feelings of love, trust and understanding. Our family, friends and colleagues are important throughout all phases of life and retirement is the time when we need companionship most.
As your clients adapt to retirement, loved ones can help them through the rough patches and assist in appreciating the good times.

Most people recognize that when they retire, relationships they have with people from work will change drastically or become a distant memory. In the beginning, we may stay in touch but as months pass, meetings and correspondence dwindle. Eventually, there are occasional thoughts but little to no interaction. In retirement, your clients need to forge a new path, let go of some relationships and build new ones.

To be successful socially, your clients need to work at keeping up with current friends and be proactive in seeking new ones. This means continually going to social events and gatherings, meeting people and sending out positive signals of interest. Encourage your clients to take time to introduce themselves when in the company of new people and inquire about their backgrounds and interests. If a client shows interest in them, in most cases they will reciprocate and new relationships are formed.

As part of a client’s relationship planning, have them consider their service providers. This includes their spiritual leader, doctor, insurance agent, accountant, lawyer, advisor (you) and neighbor. A spiritual leader provides guidance, their doctor, insurance agent, accountant, advisor and other service professionals provide professional advice and neighbors, peace of mind when your client is away and camaraderie when at home.

Many successful retirees have shared with me how enhancing the relationship with service providers has enriched the bond, often from simply supplier to friend. And it doesn’t take much – a note of thanks, a card recognizing special events including birthdays, a call to enquire how they are. One lady reported that she bakes cookies for the staff and doctor when she visits her local health clinic. She said, “When I show up with my favorite chocolate chip cookies, the staff beams with appreciative smiles and sincere thanks. They often say how I’ve brightened their day. We all feel great and a little bit closer.”
Recognizing people for being in our life is a very personal gesture and how your client does it will vary from person to person, relationship to relationship.

Cy is constantly rewarding those in his social circle. He recognizes the birthdays of his accountant, financial advisor and life insurance agent. When asked why he takes the time and effort to remember their birthdays, Cy’s answer is, “These people are important to me. They play a critical role in my life and help me keep my financial and personal affairs in order.”

Take the time to talk with clients about their plans to find and meet new people. Share with them the secret of enhancing relationships with service providers. Clients will appreciate your caring and concern and in turn you’ll enjoy your job a little more.

Richard (Rick) Atkinson, Founder and President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is also author of the best-selling book, Don’t Just Retire – Live It, Love It! Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others. Rick now offers ‘Women’s
Only’ retirement planning workshops. To contact Rick, call 416-282-7320 or Twitter: @dontjustretire.