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Retirement is more than money

People should take a holistic view to retirement planning, says an American expert.

Thursday, February 12th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Money, money, money. Is that what saving for retirement is all about? No, according to American ageing expert Dr Phillip Randall.
He says planning for retirement is a much broader subject and people should look to take a holistic approach to their financial planning matters.
Recently he was in New Zealand preaching this message to financial planners in an Armstrong Jones-sponsored roadshow.
Randall says in the United States employers are starting to embrace holistic financial planning programmes to help their employees (of all ages) prepare for retirement.

Part of this is in recognition that that the traditional linear cycle of life is changing. In the past the stages were fairly distinct. You were born, get educated, work, retire then die. Nowadays people are much more flexible in their lives and chop and change between, work, education and even periods out of the work force.
Randall says work provides more than just money or income. For many people the money is just part of the reason - they also work for fulfilment, identity, social contact, challenges and prestige among other things.
Therefore when people retire they have to find ways of replacing these things.
He says retirement planning also encompasses health, accommodation and learning how to use all the time that becomes available.
Health is a priority and it is a good idea, in Randall's view, that everyone has a "baseline health inventory".
To do that people should get hold of their medical records and they can find out if previous generations have suffered any problems which are likely to be genetically passed on.
Likewise people should give some thought to where they want to live. Should you remain in the family home, or should you live in an apartment, a retirement village, or the bach you bought years ago at the beach?
In Randall's concept of holistic financial planning more than just a financial adviser is involved. He suggests it should include other professionals such as your lawyer, accountant, physician and psychologist.
From a financial planner's point of view they should look at their business as helping their clients for a "greater cause" rather than just money.
Their job is about helping their clients prepare for retirement, however their skills are in just one area so they should call in others, such as accountants and lawyers to help do the job.
Randall says it's important planners stick to their core competencies in the financial area.
"If you don't have the core competencies bring in others to enhance your service delivery," he told planners.
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