An recent article by Patricia Marx in The New Yorker magazine detailed the very expensive steps many well-to-do retirees are taking to help them with this transition: hiring retirement coaches. She calls them cheerleaders for a team of one: you. Sometimes the goal is to find a new career path, but just as often it is to develop a plan to make retirement as close to perfect as money can buy.
In a process not that dissimilar from employments coaches, the client is asked all sorts of question about what makes him or her happy, what they would do if money were no object, and what a perfect life would look like. Various personality tests may be administered to help pin down your level of satisfaction in areas as diverse as career, marriage or relationships, fun, personal growth, and financial issues.
Over the course of meetings both in person and on the phone that may last months, the retiree is helped to be "the person you allege you want to be." Retirement coaches don't judge or analyze, they act as an expensive support person. Ms. Marx cites fees that range from a few hundred dollars to $150,000. The author talks about a few of the major figures in this industry that are located right here in Phoenix.
Hold on, I can do this!
Well, that caught my attention. I live in Phoenix. I used to be a consultant. Since there are no guidelines, I can be an "expert" in retirement. I can find some personality tests on-line if I need one for someone who wants my advice. One of the most influential retirement coaches owns a Lear jet to fly in clients. I can't do that but Greyhound still has pretty attractive rates.
So, I thought about what I could do to start raking in the big bucks from those who can't figure out what to do with their free time. I could have an expensive seminar at one of the resorts in town where I have some snazzy Power Point shows about gratification and finding your passion. I could have a special phone line installed so clients could reach me whenever a crisis of confidence hits. I'd need to brush up on the proper lingo, like "core values" or "clarified goals."
I'd probably have to upgrade from my 4 or 10 year old cars if I have to meet someone at the airport. My house isn't set up for meetings so I'd have to arrange for an office in one of the executive suites around town. Oh, and I'd need a corporate name: "Bob's Satisfying Retirement" isn't going to cut it. Someone who pays me $10,000 a month for my thoughts expects a snappy company name.
Now, this is getting exciting. I tell Betty we can afford that trip to Europe next year. I'll take care of the grandkids' college costs. That old rug downstairs will be replaced.
Then reality strikes: I've been giving this information away for the last few years on this blog. All anyone would need to do is read old posts, for free. True, I wouldn't be talking with anyone on the phone and I couldn't agree to be only one person's retirement coach. But, that is a small price to not pay for world class insight and advice.
OK, Ok...my tongue has been firmly planted in my check for the last few paragraphs. There really are very highly paid retirement coaches who help people figure out what they should be able to figure out on their own. But, I'm not one of them, nor do I want to be.
I'd love to have some advertising on this blog to help cover my costs. But, my reasons for blogging on satisfying retirement are not monetary. I do it as a creative outlet. I do it because I enjoy it. I do it as a way to help others. I do it for the tremendous friends I have met along the way. I do it for folks who send me letters of appreciation and support.
So, big-time retirement coaches in Phoenix, you can relax. You'll get no $300 an hour competition from me.