Bringing, as I do, a contrarian point of view to wealth management helps me encourage my clients to have a clear-eyed approach to investing. It is that kind of unbiased, honest assessment that holds the key to remaining committed, long-term, to market-driven investment strategies—which, if you see them through, can help fuel purpose-driven retirement planning.
So what is a purpose-driven retirement, anyway?
The answer will be as different as each person you ask, but among the majority of clients
I serve, three objectives underlie their retirement planning:
- Never running out of money during their lifetimes
- Providing for survivors after they’ve passed
- Preserving and expanding their contributions (both monetary and physical) to philanthropic pursuits aimed at making the world a better place.
Don’t assume that only the last of those serves the “purpose” part of “purpose-driven retirement.” In fact, all three do.
After all, you must first be secure yourself in order to extend a hand to others.
Providing for your survivors, meanwhile, sets an important example: That caring for others begins at home. If you couple that example with encouragement that your beneficiaries too help others, you’ll be pursuing one of the most important indirect forms of philanthropy, passing the ethic along.
With these first two objectives satisfied, philanthropic retirees can then turn their attention directly helping those in need. I believe that the cause(s) one chooses to assist is no less important a decision than the form their help takes. No single need is more pressing than any other; the question is, what touches your heart?
I’ve opted to put my philanthropic efforts into a school for orphaned children in India, a hospital in my neighborhood, and a homeless shelter in the inner city. Does throwing your weight behind efforts to help addicts speak loudest to you? Or is it the battle against workplace bullying? Perhaps you’ll join the Peace Corps, or collect clothing to spur micro-enterprise in poor communities abroad, or start a brand-new effort addressing an issue you believe is being largely ignored at society’s peril.
Where you choose to do good is a highly personal decision. That you choose to do good, and preserving your ability to do so, I believe, is the greatest gift of our golden years, both to those who receive what we give, and of all the gifts we give ourselves.