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Retirement: The First 8,000 Days

It’s a surprise to no one that retirement isn’t what it used to be. By 2022, a third of people between ages 65 and 74 will be working. People are living longer. A woman turning 65 today can expect to live for another 22 years, or about 8,000 days.

MIT AgeLab, published a piece recently titled “8,000 Days: An Entire Phase of Your Life Waiting to be Invented.” It maintains that unlike the three 8,000-day phases of life that precede it – Growing, Learning and Maturing – this last phase, which it calls Exploring, can be ill-defined, unstructured and, for many, unsettling. Most people plan pretty well to get there, but then what?

Instead of planning for retirement as a single state, MIT AgeLab suggests dividing retirement planning into its own four phases to “ensure that realistic plans are in place so that a couple’s or an individual’s well-being does not suddenly, nor greatly, change due to controllable factors.” These four phases are:

The value of wealth advisors is often measured in successfully getting their clients to retirement. But with retirement lasting up to 22 years or more, that might be only half the job, as this study shows. The four phases of retirement illustrate the many needs people have to get themselves through retirement as well, and the enormous value an advisor can provide in responding to those needs.