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October 2, 2023

Redefining retirement: Help your clients navigate new retirement realities

Retirement is no longer a straight path to later life, as the new realities of retirement have made it much more difficult to navigate. Today, people are living longer and redefining what retirement means to them personally. A financial advisor’s primary responsibility is to help clients build and manage their wealth so they can adequately fund their later years. In addition, advisors play a pivotal role in helping clients plan for new retirement realities by guiding and inspiring them to embrace their senior years with confidence and purpose.

Retiring the word “retirement”

Longevity is influencing many seniors to continue working after the age of 65, which means age is no longer a barrier to professional growth and productivity. According to research, 60% of Canadian retirees and pre-retirees say that their ideal retirement includes some form of work.1 In the new retirement reality, no specific event, date or age marks the beginning of retirement. That next phase is now defined as any point in time when someone is ready, willing and able to choose, on their own terms, how they may want to spend their later years. Hence, the word “retirement” should be retired and replaced with something more appropriate. At CI Advisor Consulting, we use the term “ChoiceTime years” to articulate the new retirement realities. What term would you choose? 

Three stages of later life

To help your clients plan their ChoiceTime years more effectively, it’s important to understand that there are actually three stages of later life – it’s not just one big event. Each stage has its own unique characteristics, risks and expenses. The three stages consist of the active stage, followed by the leisurely stage and, finally, the sedentary stage. Here’s a short summary of what your clients might expect at each stage.  

During the active stage, seniors will still have a lot of energy and be highly motivated to do more of the things they love. For example, entertaining friends and traveling the world. Alternatively, some seniors will want to continue working in some capacity. All of these activities can have a big impact on a senior’s income and time. 

The leisurely stage is characterized by seniors spending more time at home and wanting to age in place. This may lead to renovations that will bring more comfort or address needed repairs to maintain the home or provide mobility modifications for easier accessibility. Renovations can be expensive, particularly at this late stage in life, and these costs could negatively impact a senior’s ability to cover their other expenses. 

The sedentary stage is a time when seniors slow down considerably. According to research, almost 75% of seniors will experience a serious health issue during this stage and will no longer be able to live independently, likely requiring some type of assisted living support.2

Armed with the knowledge of what clients could experience during each of these three stages of later life, you can help them plan accordingly. 

Financial planning

Financial planning for the ChoiceTime years typically involves determining a client’s income needs based on projected future expenses, both planned and unplanned. The standard age for calculating these projections used to range from 80 to 85. However, life expectancy tables now show the standard age should be closer to 90 or 95. Greater longevity is dictating that clients’ plans for their ChoiceTime years also include sustainable withdrawal strategies to drawdown their assets in a way that will ensure their money lasts throughout their lifetime. 

Lifestyle planning

The financial services industry places much emphasis on helping clients save and invest for retirement, and while building a sizeable nest egg is important, lifestyle planning for later life is also a crucial part of crafting a sustainable financial plan. Lifestyle planning considers factors such as desired travel, hobbies, healthcare needs and potential living arrangements. Neglecting lifestyle considerations can lead to financial shortfalls or unexpected expenses that may disrupt a client’s later life. A well-crafted lifestyle-oriented financial plan empowers clients to enjoy their golden years without financial stress and affords them the freedom to pursue activities they cherish most.

Redefining retirement is not only about financial security, but it’s also about finding purpose and fulfillment in the latter stages of life. Lifestyle planning should be an integral part of each client’s retirement financial planning. By providing personalized and comprehensive later-life plans, financial advisors have a unique opportunity to differentiate themselves and empower their clients to successfully navigate the new retirement realities. 

CI’s Advisor Consulting offers a practical workbook for later-life planning, as well as educational presentations for advisors and investors that can help advisors prepare their clients for the years ahead. Talk to your CI Sales Representative to find out more.


1 Source: Age Wave 2021.
2 Source: AARP, 2020 Retirement Risk Survey – Ipsos.


About the Author

Bruno De Pace

Bruno De Pace

Director, Practice Management
CI Global Asset Management

Bruno is responsible for supporting advisors within CI Global Asset Management’s key channel partner network in the areas of professional development and practice management. Bruno is a skilled coach, consultant, and presenter who has worked with thousands of advisors across the country, helping them build highly successful businesses and deliver more value to their clients.