Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.”

Love it or hate it, it is as true today as in any time in history.  Advances in technology and the speed and access to information is the most evident, especially over the last decade.  Something else that has been changing over that same period and has been evolving for almost four decades is retirement planning.  And it’s not just how we plan for retirement, but with whom and for how long.

In our younger years, the concept of retirement planning seems so far away, and many equate it to getting older or becoming their parents.  Retirement planning takes a back seat for many during our family years and then further supplanted during the “tuition tunnel” for many.

Long gone are the days of “the company will take care of me” Decades ago people spent their entire working years at a single company only to collect a pension in addition to social security.  That was retirement planning.

The advent of the 401(k) all but replaced the company pension and ushered in a new era and increased the need for retirement planning.

We are all living longer, or at least we can do so.  That adds a new wrinkle to retirement planning.  The increasing need to make sure we don’t run out of money before we run out of life.  When will you stop working for money and have your money work for you?  How many decades will that be?  How many decades of living post working are there compared to the decades spent working?  This is an important consideration in retirement planning, as most individuals “retire” at their peak spending and earning years and aren’t all that interested in drastically changing their lifestyle.

Who can we turn to for assistance with retirement planning?  That landscape has changed, too!  No longer are you limited to product salespeople.  You can conduct your retirement planning with a fiduciary.  A fiduciary is bound to ensure that the recommendations they provide are the best possible option for your situation given your disclosed information at the time, the law as it exists, and your desired goals.

Retirement planning and life are full of choices. If you find you are not living the life you want for yourself because you are having trouble accepting and making changes, consider a planner who is also a coach.  They aren’t abundant, but they are out there.  They can help you move forward.  They recognize that our brains can actually change and adapt, especially with the proper tools and coaching.

The best thing we can all do is to live our lives in alignment with our values, and to not fear change, but embrace it.  This will not only allow us to achieve our goals but has the potential to affect change in our personal lives and in the lives of others as well.  That is the true measure of successful retirement planning!