Retirement is the culmination of years of hard work, planning, and dreaming, but every individual retirement journey is different. Some people dream of extensive traveling, others think about moving somewhere warm and lounging on the beach, and more still just want more time with their families. Whatever someone’s retirement dream may look like, it takes careful planning, saving, and a realistic outlook to make those dreams come true.
Bryan Cannon, a Certified Financial Planner™, has accompanied many on their journeys toward retirement. Now, he has put his years of experience and expertise into a new book, “Retirement Unplanned: An Expert Guide For Navigating The Crossroads of Retirement With Confidence.”
“Having no plan is still a plan,” says Cannon, “it’s just not a good one.” His hope is that his comprehensive guide will help people navigate the crossroads of retirement with confidence.
Cannon was inspired to write “Retirement Unplanned” by his clients, who each had their own particular approach to retirement. “In consulting countless clients over my career, I have encountered so many situations — both good and bad,” Cannon explains. “I’ve consulted with extremely successful families who struggle, and those with modest incomes do everything they could ever have dreamt of during their retirement.”
The defining difference Cannon witnessed between these different clients was always the small moves made along the way at each crossroad, including decisions made that led to success or failure. Decisions to save or spend, move or stay, or make a major gamble that either paid off — or didn’t. These are all decisions people make throughout their lives that ultimately affect their retirement journeys.
“My hope is that anyone approaching retirement can pull a few big nuggets out of this book to help them make the right decision at the various crossroads on their journey to retirement,” says Cannon.
“Retirement Unplanned” is meant to be a comprehensive guidebook for anyone heading toward retirement — either imminently or many years down the road. For Cannon, retirement is far more than a money-centric concept.
“There’s no doubt that money is important, but the key to a successful retirement is going into it knowing what gets you out of bed,” explains Cannon. “If you spend your life simply working and not exploring what truly makes you thrive, retirement will be quite boring.”
Cannon focuses on not just saving and investing, but also honing in on one’s passions. Many people spend their working lives doing not what they are passionate about, but rather what allows them to support themselves. Retirement is the time to really indulge in hobbies, travel, and things that bring joy.
The goal, in Cannon’s estimation, is fulfillment — not just financial security. “The folks who properly prepare for retirement by honing in on their passions in advance have a much greater chance of a truly fulfilled retirement,” he says. He also cautions against procrastination in retirement “unplanning,” and suggests creating personal spending, savings, and overall retirement goals and diligently working toward them.
“If you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there? Don’t wait for retirement to understand what will get you out of bed when the alarm clock is no longer necessary,” he says. His book is full of thought-provoking exercises to help planners make the right turns at the all-important crossroads of life pre-retirement.
Myths and misconceptions
There are quite a few myths and misconceptions surrounding retirement that Cannon is attempting to debunk within “Retirement Unplanned,” including the major misconception that having substantial funds automatically secures your future. While a healthy nest egg can lend a certain level of comfort to the retirement process, without solid planning, it can disappear in an instant.
“I have witnessed multimillionaires suffer due to poor planning and lifestyle choices,” says Cannon. “Financial security and a fulfilling retirement are not guaranteed solely by wealth.”
Decisions are made, and consequences are lived — even in retirement. Throughout his book, Cannon uses real-life examples to share how different people have navigated the various crossroads facing them as they approach retirement, and how they can handle their funds once retirement arrives.
“Retirement Unplanned” is a guide for anyone — from the fabulously wealthy to lower-income planners, and fastidious savers, to those who need a little more inspiration to start to sock away their funds. Cannon hopes his book will help anyone glean valuable insights and significant takeaways to enhance their personal retirement journeys.
The challenges of retirement
Retirement marks a momentous occasion — a new chapter in one’s life that, for some, could span nearly a third of someone’s life. “Having control over your debt and spending in advance is certainly critical, and comprises the essential building blocks of a successful retirement,” Cannon explains. “However, I would argue that discovering your purpose is just as important.”
Human beings — especially those in the United States — often get their sense of identity through their work, but this can leave people feeling lost and untethered once they retire. Once work is over, what comes next?
“Retirement Unplanned” aims to inspire its readers to begin the process of discovering who they are and what makes them tick earlier, rather than once their career ends.