Fitness – the quality of being suitable to fulfil a particular role or task
Being financially fit has different meanings to everyone. Out of many entrants into a race, there are only one winner (sometimes a tie), there are those who are super competitive and finish in the top-ten or twenty and there are the finishers who also get their medals. But, there are always those who did not finish (DNF) due to fatigue or injury which can (in most instances) be traced back to a lack of preparation.
An unfit person should NOT enter into a race. A body which is not trained to the conditions of physical exercise, stand a high chance of sustaining an injury and consequences are sometimes fatal. There are numerous reports of participants who died during a race and sometimes they might have been fit, but shouldn’t have participated due to illness shortly before the race and ignored medical advice.
Similarly being financially fit for retirement also requires preparation, without which, failure can almost be guaranteed.
Those who successfully cross the finish line before the cut-off are seldom without preparation. Even if they admit to not having put in as much as effort as they should have, at least they participated with an idea of what they let themselves in for. These athletes made informed decisions which may vary in nature. Some would have developed their own training and nutritional plans based on research and personal experimentation. Others might have consulted a personal trainer / coach to motivate and educate them and these athletes may finish the race either in a better time or in better shape than those around them.
Retirement preparation can be done by D.I.Y. but will require some homework and self-effort. For greater probability of success, the assistance of a financial planner in their role as a coach could be considered. They may identify an unnoticed ‘talent’ (opportunity) or ‘defect that may cause injury’ (risk) if unattended which may be the difference in failure or success in completing the Retirement Race.
FOR THE WINNERS & TOP 20 FINISHERS
I am sure these dedicated athletes train harder than most, but what distinguish them from the midfielders who also put in hours of dedication?
More often than not, winners are professional athletes with a support base of other professional role players starting with at least a coach. The coach will develop a training program, tailored specifically to the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses, fitness level and goals. The coach will often approach other experts to assist in nutritional guidance (nutritionist), injury treatment (physiotherapist) or movement adjustment (biokineticists). The collaboration between these professionals MAY come at a financial cost, but even though result are not guaranteed, the flipside is that without their assistance NOT-WINNING is an almost guarantee.
A good financial planner (coach) will be able to identify a particular need and appropriately advise or consult a specialist, be it a specialist estate planner, asset consultant or trust advisor, to inform a client on a suitable solution relevant to their own set of circumstances.
The race to retirement may not be smooth. In fact, some of the ‘injuries’ / risks athletes may encounter on their journey to retirement include death of a breadwinner, retrenchment or divorce are just a few. The ability to identifying these risks beforehand and planning around them by either preventing them or insuring them may be the difference between successful or unsuccessful retirement training programmes.