Establishing objectives is a fundamental step of any planning process.
The Registered Retirement Consultant/Conseiller en Retraite and Conseillère en Retraite should help the client be as specific as possible in stating their retirement objectives and their desired lifestyle that they anticipate will result. These objectives must be gathered and recorded and should be both quantitative and qualitative in nature.
Retirement objectives should also be realistic and objective rather than idealistic or hypothetical. Frequently, a client will state their objectives vaguely, such as ‘I want to retire comfortably, at an age when I can still enjoy it.’ The RRC/CR should encourage and assist the client to be more specific and reflect anticipated lifestyles, as in the following examples:
- I want to retire at age 60, with an equivalent income of $40,000 per year and travel at least once per year to Florida.
- If possible, I would like to retire before age 65, while being able to maintain my current lifestyle and to take at least one major vacation per year.
As a Registered Retirement Consultant/Conseiller en Retraite and Conseillère en Retraite you are helping the client paint a picture of their future life, and you are offering solutions to make their preferred lifestyle achievable. Including a lifestyle perspective to planning will add a dimension to the client-RRC/CR relationship that enhances the RRC/CR role.
When aiding the client in setting their objectives, the RRC/CR should encourage the clients to ask themselves questions about their expected lifestyle, as in the following examples:
- Where do I want to live when I am retired?
- Do I want to take on a second career?
- Will I keep busy with volunteer work?
- Do I want to travel, engage in any hobbies or go back to school?
In addition to helping identify their objectives, these types of questions will help the client to prepare psychologically for retirement. In addition, the objectives themselves can become powerful motivators, giving the clients the resolve to make the current lifestyle changes that may be required to achieve their retirement objectives so that they can live their expected retirement lifestyle.
There is a distinct possibility that the client may not be able to achieve all of their retirement objectives, and that in fact, some of the objectives may conflict with each other. For example, many clients want both financial security and early retirement, but it may not be possible. Therefore, the RRC/CR should encourage and assist clients to assign priorities to each objective.