Impact – Wealth Management


Retirement: A New Season of Life

We can probably all agree that just about nothing in life lasts forever. Life is full of changing seasons.  

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca (or Semisonic for all the 90s rock fans.)  

Seeds of the Season  

Spring always makes me think of my dad. He loved spring. Every year he planted a garden and almost every year he’d make it just a little bit bigger. My dad died on March 21st – the day after the first day of Spring – in 2019.  

This time of year, when greenhouses are popping up and stores put packets of seeds near the checkout lanes, I always think about planting a garden. As a kid I absolutely loved to eat fresh peas right out of the pod. And nothing beats a homegrown potato. I think about planting a garden but I never do it.  

It’s too much work. I would have to till a garden spot or talk my husband into building beds (I’m not sure which would be harder). I would have to remember to water the garden. I’d have to build a small fence to keep my dogs and the bunnies from ruining my crop. I would have to plant seeds. I would have to get down on my hands and knees and pull the weeds.  

Nah. I won’t put in the work that’s required to produce a garden like my dad did. And we all know that if I don’t put in the work there’s no chance that a garden will magically appear in my backyard. I will not reap a harvest of delicious vegetables. If I want some fresh veggies I’ll have to find myself a farmers market and pony up the cash to take some home with me.  

The Retirement Season  

Money Seeds  

We all know that if we want to reap a financial “harvest”, then we have to plant “money seeds” in our 401k’s (or other investment vehicles) in the “spring” of our life. If we don’t do this work then we likely won’t have a very robust income stream in the retirement season. There’s no “farmers market” for retirement income.  

Like planting a garden, there’s more work to be done than just simply planting the “money seeds”.   You have to make sure you have a diversified portfolio. No one wants a garden completely full of carrots alone and you don’t want a portfolio that’s too concentrated in one company or sector of the stock market either.  

You have to watch out for bunnies that hop in and eat away at your crop. They seem little and harmless, but over time a little bunny can eat up a lot of your hard work. Portfolio fees work like little bunnies eating away at your money.  

And just like when your zucchini needs to be pruned so it doesn’t take over your whole garden, sometimes your portfolio needs to be rebalanced.   There are a lot of things to consider from a financial perspective. Many people don’t have the time or the knowledge to figure it all out and so they consult with a professional to help them tend their financial gardens. That’s where financial advisors come in.  

Planting Flowers for Retirement

As a financial advisor, I help people plant their hypothetical money gardens. I help them tend and water and when the time comes, I help them harvest. This is pretty much essential to a healthy retirement.  

Money is great. Vegetables are great. But man, what is a garden without flowers?  What is life without relationship? 

The saddest things for me to watch are things I see way too often… a client who’s been so focused on planting money seeds that they forgot to plant flowers along the way, or someone who’s so focused on growing their money garden that they use all of the harvest to plant more seeds and never really stop to eat a few peas from the pod.  

Life is all about sowing, reaping, and sharing. No matter where we look, we can’t get away from this concept. Relationships bloom when they’re tended. Hobbies bring us joy when we take the time to develop them. And isn’t it better when we’re generous with our time, talent and resources? Planting those kinds of seeds brings us an even more diverse harvest! But only you can do this work. You can’t hire someone to develop relationships or hobbies for you.  

Sometimes we get so focused on the financial harvest that we forget to tend our relationships, our hobbies, our passions. Sometimes we get so focused on growing our gardens that we forget the reason we planted the garden in the first place!  

Retirement is a season… it’s a new beginning that comes from some other beginnings end. There will be an emotional adjustment. It’s a huge life change. You’ll need your money, but you’ll also need your hobbies and your relationships more than ever. Don’t forget to plant these seeds (and tend, weed, and water them) along the way!