• John D. Gentry, CFP®

Visualization & Retirement Planning

Updated: Feb 25


Recently, in a meeting with a 401(k) plan participant, the softer side of retirement planning came up. By "softer side", I mean the qualitative, harder to define stuff that many analytical personalities have great difficulty discussing. I simply asked "where do you see yourself in retirement?" and I got the deer in the headlights look. Think about where you want to be and what you want to do when regular paychecks have become a thing of the past. Will you travel? Sell your home? Play golf? Ski? Private clubs or municipal courses? Vail or Greek Peak? I've had this discussion with clients and prospects thousands of times over the decades. This one inspired me to get my copy of The Prosperous Retirement, by Michael K. Stein, CFP® off the shelf and review some sections.


This particular individual is an employee at a client firm, but is not a financial planning client. Like many others that I’ve met with over the years, he hasn’t thought about what he wants to do in any detail, at least not the details that can help develop a sound plan. I always try to help people: “visualize where you want to be and what you want to spend your time doing” as a starting point to preparing a plan. This can help inform the budgeting process, so that it includes the expenses associated with doing what you love. These pastimes are the difference between a subsistence retirement and A Prosperous Retirement. Michael does a good job of laying out a process to develop a sound plan, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a comprehensive guide to navigating this process on their own, or as a reference to any financial planner checking their process.


Visualization, in the retirement planning process, is about understanding yourself, identifying the things that are important to you, and including them in your plan so you can make them a reality. It is very personal. Making it so personal increases the likelihood of planning success. Planning success is about more than just saving enough and investing successfully. It’s about ending up where you want to be, and having the financial resources to enjoy that place.


If you’d like to have a conversation about how I can help the retirement planning process be more personal by helping your employees visualize their own “Prosperous Retirement”, then reach out to me at jdg@assetstrategy.com.