What are your images of retirement? How do you picture yourself enjoying your hard-earned freedom? It’ll take savvy holistic planning to achieve your vision. It starts with holistic financial planning, but it includes planning for the non-financial aspects as well. Trusted advisors can be valuable assets in your holistic planning for retirement.
Our guest is Chad Willardson, President, and Founder of Pacific Capital. I talk with Chad about his observations on retirement planning and:
- Why he founded Pacific Capital
- Why he does what he does
- What key differences he sees between people who are successful in retirement and those who struggle
- Common mistakes to avoid in planning for retirement
- What surprises his clients most about life in retirement
- The challenges entrepreneurs face in planning for retirement
- What people should look for in a financial advisor
- Key takeaways from his book Stress Free Money – and a preview of his upcoming second book
Chad joins us from Southern California.
Chad Willardson is the President and Founder of Pacific Capital and is a Certified Financial Fiduciary®, Accredited Wealth Management Advisor and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor. Before founding Pacific Capital, he spent 9 years at Merrill Lynch, where he ranked in the top 2% of over 16,000 Financial Advisors nationally. Chad is the author of the Best Selling Book: Stress Free Money: Overcome These Seven Obstacles to Find Financial Freedom. Chad is passionate about financial education and believes that with the right tools and resources, people can be empowered to make smart money decisions. He loves to help people organize their financial life, clarify their goals, and make decisions that lead them to a successful and fulfilling life. A native of Orange County, CA, Chad and his wife of 17 years live in Corona, CA with their five children.
On Purpose & Meaning in Retirement
“People who are successful in retirement have a lot of meaning and purpose. They don’t just stop cold turkey. Most of them have other ideas or pursuits, whether it’s hobbies, businesses, charitable giving, charitable time, and spending time with their grandchildren in a productive way. I feel like the people who actually retire to something rather than retire from something are much more successful. It’s one thing to say, I’m going to stop work at age 60. It’s another thing to say between age 60 and 70 here are my 10 big goals or the big things on my bucket list that I really want to focus on. And I’ve seen people really, really thrive after they stopped their primary career and even explore new opportunities that they never thought they could do, like starting a business with a grandson or learning how to do something new, like getting into cycling or getting into art or traveling with your family. There are so many things that I’ve seen people do in retirement. That shows me that you really need to have a game plan. It’s it could be a 10,000 days journey. And to, to just simply think, well, I don’t have to do anything anymore, you’re kind of setting yourself up for failure.”
On Priorities in Retirement
“I think people, once they get to retirement, they realize that there were a lot of things they weren’t doing often enough, like self-care and taking care of their health. I’ve seen many people just work themselves so hard, work so many hours, with so much extra stress, that they’re finally able to really take better care of themselves. And relax and do things that are more fulfilling than doing something just for a paycheck. It’s definitely on the unfortunate side, but I think the healthcare costs are typically a negative surprise. It costs more than they expect on the positive side. And I feel like people are busier than they would ever have dreamed of. My parents, when I talk to them, they have a full schedule. And to me it’s sometimes it’s like Well, how do you have a full schedule? You’re totally retired. But when you go through their activity list on their calendar, they’ve got so many things that they’ve planned and committed. And they’re excited about that. They’re just doing a lot more than they ever thought they would.”
On An Exit Strategy for Entrepreneurs
“I think entrepreneurs often assume that there’ll be able to work until they are done and just easily decide and pick up and leave. But most entrepreneurs actually don’t make it to that point. There could be many reasons. It could be something that happens in their industry. If you look at COVID, many businesses have adjusted or had to be closed because of the extended restrictions on the ability to stay open. So there are a lot of things that people just don’t realize it’s not as cut and dry when your paycheck depends on you. So you’ve got to really have a plan, not only for your business and your business succession or your exit strategy but also personally, when you’re going to stop working and begin to live a retired lifestyle if you will, it’s a lot of different things to plan for. If you’re an entrepreneur, I’d say my advice for those crafting an exit strategy is to engage with professionals who have helped others transition before. So there’s no reason to try to do everything by yourself, definitely work with a team of professionals who’ve helped other people execute their own exit strategies, because there are a lot of things you don’t think of – especially if it’s your first time selling a business or retiring. There’s going to be a lot of things that come up that you just hadn’t prepared for. And if you can seek great professional counsel beforehand, you’ll have more of a sense and you’ll have more confidence as you’re making those big decisions.”
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