Retirement Planning: Beyond Dollars & Cents

“Retirement is a time of great change, and a chance to begin an exciting new phase of your life. But like anything done well, it takes planning. While everyone thinks they are ready to retire, not everyone is truly prepared.” – Retirement Options Coaching

Financial planning for retirement is crucial. It takes center stage in retirement preparedness, as it should. Concerns such as, “have I saved enough, will I be able to cover [my/our] medical bills, or will I have enough to leave to my family?” are tough questions to plan for and to truly answer. To compound things further, despite the average life span in the U.S. continually climbing in the last 50+ years, retirement age has not kept pace. Therefore, an increasing number of people are living well beyond their expectations in retirement – sometimes 20 to 30+ years longer. And because they were not expecting to, they were wholly unprepared. A number of recent studies, including one from GoBakingRates.Com show that 1 in 3 Americans have no money saved for retirement, and the large majority don’t have enough saved. So without question, many of us need to do more (maybe a lot more) to get prepared. Hop to it!

But to narrow the point for this article, let’s be positive and assume you’re not a part of the unprepared mass, and you’ve taken the necessary steps towards financial preparedness. Now it’s on to the next step in retirement planning.

Embracing non-financial retirement plans and expectations

There are many other significant areas in retirement life that also require attention, planning and consideration aside from finances. We know many are financially unprepared, so it’s likely, many including those who are financially prepared, have done little to no planning or even considered asking other questions about their own retirement. ”What will I do to fill that time with purpose, meaning, and productivity? How do I plan to stay healthy, engaged and even flourish in retirement? Can I or must I reinvent myself? Do I need to work? What will that journey look like for possibly 10, 20 or 30+ years in retirement?”

Part of finding this balance and ensuring a positive experience in retirement is changing our attitude toward aging and embracing it as a time of gain, not loss. Messiah Lifeways, Coaching in particular, believes in changing the conversation about aging. In late 2016, we began to offer the Retirement Options Coaching (ROC) program to reinforce this ideal. ROC helps retirees plan for their next phase of life by assessing, focusing, and guiding retirees through a Life Options Profile™ which concentrates on 6 key life arenas:

  1. Career and Work
  2. Health and Wellness
  3. Finance and Insurance
  4. Family and Relationships
  5. Leisure and Social
  6. Personal Development

A Life Options Profile evaluates these six parts of retirement and provides personal, practical, and a relevant self-portrait of one’s lifestyle needs and strengths. It also provides insight and guidance on transitioning from your current lifestyle to a new retirement lifestyle. Suggested reading, powerful questions and client exercises work in conjunction with the Life Options Profile, which enables retirees to examine and plan for a more fulfilling, healthy, and productive lifestyle and can help balance many of the other attributes vital to a successful retirement.

How can you tell if you are prepared? Answer these eight short, seemingly straight-forward questions to help you determine if you are retirement ready.

In retirement, do you have a plan for…

…exercising your mind for continued, personal learning? Yes or No

…changes in income, health and/or lifestyle that may affect your financial security?  Yes or No

…maintaining your sense of purpose and self-worth? Yes or No

…how you will purposefully spend your time with fulfilling activities and interests?  Yes or No

…interaction with others to build and maintain enjoyable relationships? Yes or No

…managing family commitments to aging parents, children and grandchildren? Yes or No

…where you will reside? Yes or No

…making adjustments to ensure a healthy attitude towards life and retirement? Yes or No

Give yourself 1 point for each question you answered ‘yes’ and zero for ‘no.’ Then add up the total. If you scored a 6 or under, you could benefit from taking the Life Options Profile assessments and working with a Certified Retirement Coach to develop a personal retirement plan. To learn more about this valuable program, rates, or to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, contact the Messiah Lifeways Coaching office at 717.591.7225 or email



Lifeways Coach named 1 of 50 new global Retirement Planning Coaches

Career Partners International’s Retirement Options Certifies 50 Retirement Planning Coaches

Retirement Options Certifies Global Coaches for Use of Non-Financial Retirement Planning Assessments

Columbus, Ohio (PRWEB) August 10, 2017 — Retirement Options, Career Partners International’s leading global provider of retirement coach certification and readiness assessments, has helped over 50 new global coaches to achieve the designation of Retirement Options Certified Coach. This certification allows the expert use of Retirement Options Retirement Success Profile™ and LifeOptions Profile™, two non-financial retirement planning assessments designed to help individuals plan for and enjoy a more fulfilling retirement.

Those recently certified include David Huckle, Shirley Low, Lori Cooper, Janice Geiges, Matthew Gallardo, Robin Kennedy, Nancy L. Saunders, Ph.D, Karl Jackson, Amy Harbison, Guy Ripley, Sandee Lammers, BJ Hance, Vicky Walker, Barbra Bell, Charles Baker, Wendy Pentland, Annie Walsh, Steve Wrigley, M.A., Lisa Engleson, Douglas Passanisi, and Kathleen Johnson.

Retirement Options Certified Coaches are equipped with the tools, training and support to effectively coach the largest demographic in the world. Become certified in the administration, feedback and application of two world-class assessments, the Retirement Success Profile™ and LifeOptions Profile™, to help clients prepare for and enjoy a more fulfilling retirement. Available exclusively to Retirement Options Certified Coaches, these assessments deliver the accurate, personalized, and comprehensive information you need to provide high impact retirement coaching.

Over 800 worldwide coaches certified through Retirement Options use the scientifically designed assessments to evaluate retirement readiness and establish the foundation of retirement life plans. Retirement Options Certified Coaches have successfully assisted thousands of individuals, couples and employees of corporate clients in assessing and exploring areas of their lives such as work, family, leisure, wellness, and personal development. They are experts on the subject of retirement planning and are regularly asked how to best prepare for this major life transition. The Retirement Options Webinar Certification Course is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) for Continuing Coach Education (CCE) hours.

Founded in 1989, Retirement Options is the industry leader in retirement coach certification and retirement readiness assessments. Through its two retirement readiness assessments, the Retirement Success Profile™ and the LifeOptions Profile™, Retirement Options provides a foundation for individuals to plan for and enjoy a more fulfilling retirement by exploring various aspects of life impacted by retirement such as work, family, leisure, wellness, and personal development. Retirement Options is a division of Career Partners International.About Career Partners International.
Founded in 1987, Career Partners International is a leading provider of Outplacement, Career Management, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development services from more than 300 offices in over 45 countries. Employers around the world trust Career Partners International’s local market experts to provide the best possible outcomes for employees across Canada, the United States, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific regions.


The Stark Reality of Retirement Savings in America

“In one form or another (home or facility-based), as people age and/or become frail they will need someone to help care for them. That care will cost money, and that money has to come from somewhere. As the government’s ability to pick up the tab becomes more limited, people need to prepare to bear much of the financial burden on their own.” -Chris Orestis, President and founder of Life Care Funding Group

Many Americans seem to have the same attitude about saving for retirement as they do about eating healthy or exercising. They’re each something we know we ought to do, but when push comes to shove, many of us simply fall short. We know we must save for retirement, but don’t due to a number of obstacles or excuses such as loan debt, saving for a child’s college education, bills, “not making enough” to save and so on. But according to Cameron Huddleston, Life + Money columnist for GoBankingRates, “Although all of these things can put a strain on our budgets, they don’t necessarily make it impossible to save for retirement.”

First, lets focus on the collective shortfalls. In a recent article from GoBankingRates, Elyssa Kirkham shares her perspective on statistical data regarding retirement savings (or lack of) here in the U.S. The GoBankingRates survey was conducted as three Google Consumer Surveys, each targeted at one of three age groups: millennials, Generation Xers, and baby boomers/seniors. Each age group was asked the same question, “By your best estimate, how much money do you have saved for retirement?”

Respondents could select one of the options as displayed below:

  • Less than $10K
  • $10K to $49K
  • $50K to $99K
  • $100K to $199K
  • $200 to $299K
  • $300K or more
  • I don’t have retirement savings
Retirement Savings Statistics in America

figure 1

The infographic (figure 1) shows the stark results of this survey. One-third of those surveyed have nothing saved for their retirement. Though this 33% includes those age 18-54 along with Boomers and Seniors age 55+, the data doesn’t get much better even after you isolate those age 55+. The percentage does drop, but only to 28% as indicated on the (figure 2) infographic. Regardless of the sample size or margins of error, these stats are unnerving nonetheless. A number of other studies support similar findings. See the Motley Fool article 20 Retirement Stats That Will Blow You Away, which paints an even grimmer picture statistically.

Retirement Saving Statistics by Generation

figure 2

Longer Life Spans Changes Retirement Reality

We are all living longer, therefore the likelihood and need for long-term and health care services increases and thus the paying for these needs. But as we can see, many of us are not prepared or will fall short. Even for the 33.1% age 55+ that have saved $99K or less, the reality of long-term care costs can quickly eat those reserves when you consider the national median cost for one year of nursing care in a semi-private room is $82,815 or $43,539/year for assisted living (or personal care)¹. Most of these boomers and seniors with little to no savings will need to rely on Social Security income for basic needs. Social Security should be a supplement, not your sole income source. Additionally, many may need to apply for other funding sources like Medical Assistance (Medicaid) to pay for  their long-term care needs. These funding sources leave less latitude for viable and desirable care options. Furthermore, many people are misinformed about what and how long Medicare and medigap plans will cover long-term need. The short answer – they don’t cover much. Many will face a harsh reality when the time comes for the care they need.

Articles like this are not here to scare you, but to serve as a wakeup call to initiate, bolster and/or realign current retirement savings strategies. It’s not too late and of course it’s never too early to save for retirement. Connect with a financial advisor or your employer to see what you can do create a healthier retirement fund. Also if you’d like to become more savvy at saving for retirement by getting a better handle on long-term care costs and coverage details, please consider attending “The Cost of Aging” workshop presented by Messiah Lifeways Coaching on May 18, 2017. Click here or call the Coaching office at 717.591.7225 for more information or to register for this upcoming workshop.

For the full article from Elyssa Kirkham, 1 in 3 Americans Has Saved $0 for Retirement,  please click here.

Info graphics and certain excerpts of this article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.

¹Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, April 2016


Planning For Retirement? Panic vs. Prep

After recently reading an article It’s Never Too Late to Start Planning Your Retirementby Tom Lauricella from the Sunday, May 26 edition of the Wall Street Journal, it motivated me to re-evaluate my own retirement savings. The article chronicles very briefly what you should be doing for retirement at each decade starting in your 20s up to your 60s and beyond. It’s a fairly benign article that at least gets gives you some benchmarks for your retirement planning. This led me to research some other articles that gave more detail and specified “aggressive” amounts that financial experts suggest you have squirreled away each decade until retirement. This additional reading then led me to some massive indigestion. It really has me rethinking my retirement strategies. What I thought was a healthy sum is not so.

The “Bad and Ugly”
After a roll of antacids, I decided to poll number of friends, peers and co-workers to see what their feelings were on this topic. I asked at what age they thought they should truly start planning for their retirement, when they actually started to save, and how much they felt they need to have saved when that day comes. Somewhat predictably, I found many co-workers and peers, which just so happen to work in the senior care industry, had different answers from those who work outside the industry on when you should start. My very unscientific results showed that those who work in the industry typically answered that you should start saving and planning in your early 20s or starting with your very first job! Basically they felt as soon as you had a job that offered benefits like tax sheltered annuities (TSAs) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) you should start saving. While those outside the senior care industry on average answered slightly later to start. Our exposure to the retirement industry, I feel, gives us more foresight and a better grasp on the cost of care, so we tend to embrace the idea of saving sooner. However, it didn’t necessarily translate into those respondents actually starting any earlier. I think in some cases it was more about hindsight. Now the amount needed to retire comfortably was kind of all over the place for both groups; ranging from about $500,000 to my personal favorite “one beeeellllliion dollars” (a la Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies). One reason for these different answers is the age range of respondents in relation to inflation. For those of us 25+ years from retirement, one beeeellllliion dollars may not be too farfetched, ok maybe a little.

According to the 2013 Cost of Care Survey done by Genworth Financial, the average annual cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home in Pennsylvania is $94,619. They then compound that cost by 5%, which represents the annual growth rate based on the survey. If my CFO’s math is correct, in 35 years at age 74, I could end up paying $529,919 for one year of nursing care! Even if you compound the cost at 4% that would still be $373,375/year and a “bargain” at $266,245/year compounding for 3%. You could then multiply that by 2.2 years, which is the national average length of stay in a nursing home in 2012, according to the government’s latest National Nursing Home Survey. Stomach churning yet? Let’s not forget about other medical bills like healthcare premiums and co-pays or potential needs like home care or a personal care home. And who knows what Medicare and Social Security will look like then. Now you may appreciate my indigestion.

The “Good”
Lets also look at the bright side. Relatively speaking our earning potential will also compound and inflate at similar rates and hopefully so will our return on our investments. This blog is not a scare tactic or a suggestion that it’s a time to panic. It’s simply a prompt for you to think more clearly about saving for retirement. Plus, after my own personal panic attack, more Tums®, and a good night’s sleep, my anxiety subsided a bit. I realized it’s never too late to start, but also it’s never too late to restart. We need to better prepare and not panic about retirement savings and reevaluate TSA and IRA contributions and buckle down on spending less and diversely saving more. Also it may be a good time to talk things over with your advisor or broker. I’m sure he or she misses you greatly.

Here at Messiah Lifeways, we strive to change the conversation about aging, but we also like to start conversations about aging, even if it might be rather scary in certain cases. Also I would like to thank everyone who participated in my “very unscientific poll.” After collecting many of the responses, I began to think and hope that maybe after being asked these questions and then reading this blog, you won’t be blindsided and thus be better prepared when it comes to retirement. And hopefully when that time comes, we can say, “I saw this coming” and we can all rest a little easier.

Check out some of the good, the bad, and the ugly links:

Tips for Planning Your Retirement

7 Tips for Saving for Retirement with a Late Start

Ultimate Guide to Retirement

Seniors in 48 States Face Serious Income Shortage

How much should you have saved for retirement so far by age?

Retirement Planning, Decade by Decade

How Much Do I Need to Retire?