Adjust Your Thinking About Retirement!

My partner, Stewart Welch, wrote an article recently about how retirement can be hazardous to your health, and how people should develop what he calls a “4th Quarter Plan.”  For most, developing this plan can be difficult as it is hard even to know where to begin.  My team deals with hundreds of client families in the retirement phase of life, and below are some tips from clients that seem to manage retirement successfully:

  • Create Realistic Expectations

Often people’s expectations about what retirement will be like don’t match the reality.  Think about experiences in your own life where you worked toward a significant goal or event.  Far too often, when the event finally arrives, they disappoint because of the lofty expectations we surrounded it within our minds.  The key here is to temper your expectations of what this next stage of life will look like.  By doing so, you will put yourself in a better psychological position if retirement is not what you thought it would be. 

  • Prioritize Your Physical Health

While your physical health should be a priority throughout your life, many let it slide due to the day to day stresses associated with work.  In retirement, no longer strapped with the pressures and commitments related to work, you now have time to make up for all those missed workouts.  Beyond the obvious visible benefits, studies show regular exercise increases the brains release of endorphins, which reduces stress, anxiety and generally improves your mood.  Focusing on this important, but often overlooked, area the transition to retirement can become a far more pleasant one where you will look better and feel better! 

  • Challenge Your Brain for Mental Health

One of the best things for mental health in retirement is to continue challenging yourself by learning and experiencing new things.  While certain experiences, such as traveling can be quite costly, one local program, The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Alabama, offers lifelong learning and engagement at an affordable cost.  Several of my retired clients participate in this program, and they speak highly of the social and educational opportunities it affords.  With programs in Tuscaloosa, Greater Birmingham, Gadsden, Greensboro, and Pickens County areas, locations are convenient for almost everyone in Northern Alabama.  If you would like to learn more about the OLLI program, please visit their website at

Remember, regardless of what plan you adopt for retirement, make sure you have one!  I once had a commander in the military tell me that “Hope is not a method!”  Do not “hope” for a great retirement; make it happen with a little planning!

Follow The Welch Group every Tuesday morning on WBRC Fox 6 for the Money Tuesday segment. 

Fox 6 Talking Points:

  • Create Realistic Expectations
  • Prioritize Your Physical Health
  • Challenge Your Brain for Mental Health (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; 

Marshall Clay CFP, JD, is a Partner and Senior Advisor at The Welch Group, LLC, which specializes in providing Fee-Only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. Marshall is a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.  In addition, Marshall is a frequent guest on local television stations as an expert on various financial planning matters.  Visit The Welch Group Web Site at Consult your financial advisor before acting on this advice.