Not an island: the importance of social connectedness in retirement
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Even though there have been very few local COVID-19 cases, the pandemic is really starting to take a toll on us here in the North West and New England. Six months since the first COVID-19 cases arrived in Australia, it’s the social isolation that is having the greatest impact on most of us.
As human beings we are social by nature. Research shows that social connectedness is one of the most important drivers of our mental wellbeing. We thrive when we have close, trusted personal relationships with others.
In the same way, connectedness to your professional advisers is important, especially in retirement. It pays to deal with someone local who you can trust. Someone who you can share your vulnerabilities with and who can lend an empathetic ear. Someone on your side, who knows you, understands you and can share the journey with you.
No man is an island
The 17th century poet John Donne said it best, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”.
We are not meant to go through our lives self-sufficient. Human beings are inherently social creatures. As far back as we can trace, humans have thrived in social groups.
Today staying connected to the people who matter to us is more important than ever, especially for retirees. Research shows that social connectedness is good for our mental and physical health. It has a positive impact on our identity, sense of purpose, self-worth and confidence. It can even help us live longer.
COVID-19 is making social connection harder
While we’re not in an enforced lockdown like Victoria, the pandemic has still impacted our social lives. Just because we are allowed to travel around NSW and visit friends, it doesn’t mean we should. For many of us, it simply feels irresponsible to be out and about.
And while the NBN and Zoom teleconferencing have been fantastic, there’s no substitute for genuine, real face-to-face interactions with the people we care about.
Relationships are key to retirement advice as well
In the same way, personal connection plays an important role when it comes to retirement planning. Some super funds and financial institutions think that financial advice should always be provided in a punctuated, transactional way. That suits their business model which is to sell you their investment products cost effectively.
While transactional financial advice provided by a stranger may be okay under certain circumstances, it’s not suitable for everyone. The best retirement advice is provided by someone you trust in the context of an active, long-term relationship.
Retirement is a time of vulnerability for most of us. In fact, CoreData research shows that most of us don’t actually retire at the time of our choice. We are forced into retirement by things out of our control. Like personal health issues, needing to care for a loved one, or being made redundant from our job.
The same research shows that most of us find it hard to recover and enjoy a satisfying retirement. Unless we have an active relationship with a financial adviser.
At When Financial Solutions we are based in Tamworth and deliver retirement advice to clients in the New England and North West. We regularly have appointments across the region including Armidale, Inverell, Moree and Narrabri.
We are flexible in how we provide our services. We are happy to meet with you face-to-face either at one of our offices or even at your home. If that’s not possible, we can video-conference or use the phone. It’s up to you.
But most importantly, we provide a safe environment to talk about sensitive issues. We know that what’s your personal business should stay your personal business. Especially when you’re experiencing a major and stressful life change.
And we’re not judgmental. It’s okay, we’ve all made mistakes. We respect your previous decisions and help you make the most of your circumstances.
You always have options. Retirement is long, and it pays to have someone by your side helping you make the right decisions. When you do, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ you’ll live a satisfying retirement but ‘when’.
Michael Bowman and James McMaster are co-founders of When Financial Solutions. This article is general and does not consider your personal circumstances. If you would like advice specific to you please give us a call.