Email FacebookTwitterMenu burgerClose thin

Do You Need a Retirement Coach?


While undertaking a life transition, it helps to have a personal cheerleader and mentor. Retirement is jarring, thrilling and intimidating, and it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed or uncertain about the road ahead. That’s where a retirement coach comes in, offering practical guidance and support to help you navigate this new chapter like a pro. They help design a retirement lifestyle – including health, housing and lifestyle needs – uniquely tailored to you. In order to find a personalized plan you may want to speak with a financial advisor.

What Is a Retirement Coach?

A retirement coach is a professional who helps individuals plan and navigate their transition into retirement. They guide and support individuals approaching retirement or who have already retired, helping them make informed decisions and create a fulfilling retirement lifestyle.

Retirement coaches typically work with clients on various aspects of retirement planning, including financial considerations, lifestyle choices, personal goals and emotional well-being. They assist individuals in identifying their values, interests and aspirations for retirement and then develop a customized plan to achieve those goals.

Remember, retirement coaches are not financial advisors or therapists. While they may recommend general financial tips and offer emotional support, their primary focus is on assisting individuals in creating a purposeful and fulfilling retirement lifestyle.

Reasons to Consider a Retirement Coach

The specific services retirement coaches offer vary, but they often include the following:

  1. Financial Planning: Retirement coaches can help you assess your financial situation, evaluate retirement savings and develop a budget for retirement. They may also collaborate with financial advisors or provide referrals to retirement planning professionals.
  2. Lifestyle Design: Retirement is not just about finances; it also involves deciding how to spend your time and pursue fulfilling activities. Retirement coaches help clients explore their passions and goals and create a plan to incorporate those into their retirement lifestyle.
  3. Transition Support: Retirement can be a significant life change and many individuals may experience a mix of emotions, such as excitement, uncertainty or even anxiety. Retirement coaches provide emotional support, helping clients adjust to the changes and navigate any challenges that may arise during the transition. For example, for retirees feeling a loss of purpose upon leaving the workforce, a new aspiration or project can renew their enthusiasm for life.
  4. Goal Setting and Accountability: Retirement coaches help clients set realistic and meaningful goals for their retirement and provide accountability to ensure progress. They help individuals identify their priorities, establish action plans and track their progress toward achieving them.
  5. Creating a Schedule: Transitioning from a structured work life to retirement can sometimes leave individuals feeling lost or lacking a sense of purpose. Retirement coaches assist in developing a schedule that incorporates meaningful activities and routines. They help clients identify their interests, hobbies and goals and create a daily or weekly schedule that provides structure and a sense of fulfillment. This way, you’ll devote time towards what’s meaningful instead of whiling away the hours on the couch.
  6. Managing Physical Health: Maintaining good health becomes increasingly crucial as individuals age. Retirement coaches help you develop healthy habits like exercise routines, nutrition and preventive healthcare. They also help clients accept and adapt to any physical limitations they may experience in retirement, assisting in finding alternative activities or adjusting expectations to accommodate their health needs.
  7. Fostering Your Social Life: Retirement often changes social dynamics as individuals may lose regular contact with work colleagues or experience shifts in friendships. Retirement coaches help clients navigate this transition by exploring new social opportunities and developing strategies to build and maintain meaningful relationships. They may suggest joining clubs, volunteer organizations or social groups that align with the client’s interests and values.
  8. Guiding Expectations for Family Relationships: Retirement coaches support individuals in navigating this change by facilitating open communication, helping retired spouses set shared goals and facilitating new activities or interests to enjoy. They also assist in developing strategies to maintain healthy boundaries and address any challenges that may arise in relationships with other family members affected by the retirement transition.

Retirement Coach vs. Financial Planner

A retirement coach helping a client.

A retirement coach and a financial planner have distinct roles and focus areas, although there may be some overlap in the services they provide. Here are the key differences between the two:

Retirement Coach:

  1. Focus: A retirement coach primarily focuses on the non-financial aspects of retirement. They assist individuals in creating a fulfilling and satisfying retirement lifestyle by addressing personal goals, emotional well-being, lifestyle choices and overall adjustment to retirement.
  2. Services: Retirement coaches offer guidance and support in areas such as developing a retirement plan, setting goals, creating a schedule, exploring hobbies and interests, managing relationships and adapting to the emotional and social aspects of retirement.
  3. Approach: They take a holistic approach to retirement planning, considering various aspects of your life beyond finances. They help clients identify their values, aspirations and priorities to create a retirement that aligns with their unique needs and desires.

Financial Planner:

  1. Focus: A financial planner primarily focuses on the financial aspects of retirement. They assist individuals in managing their financial resources, planning for retirement and achieving their financial goals and security.
  2. Services: Financial planners provide expertise in investment management, retirement savings strategies, tax planning, estate planning, risk management, investing and optimizing income sources during retirement. They help clients create a financial roadmap and make informed decisions to secure their financial future.
  3. Approach: Financial planners analyze an individual’s financial situation, goals and risk tolerance to develop personalized financial plans. They help clients optimize their assets, manage debt, minimize taxes and make investment choices aligned with their financial objectives.

Therefore, while retirement coaches may provide general guidance on financial matters related to retirement, they typically collaborate with financial planners or refer clients to them for specialized financial advice. Conversely, financial planners don’t address a retiree’s emotional and lifestyle needs.

How Much Does a Retirement Coach Cost?

Retirement coach fees can vary depending on your region and specific needs. That said, most retirement coaches charge between $100 and $300 per hour. While it may seem like a hefty investment, financial advisors usually charge 0.25% to 1% of your wealth annually.

For example, a financial advisor for a $500,000 retirement account might charge several thousand dollars per year, mounting higher expenses than a retirement coach’s flat rate. Therefore, it’s best to identify your needs and choose a professional to help you reach your goals.

How to Find a Retirement Coach

When searching for a qualified retirement coach, reaching out to friends and family is an excellent starting point. Specifically, if someone in your network or circle recently retired with a retirement coach’s help, they’ll have pointers and references to share.

In addition, it’s advisable to seek a Certified Professional Retirement Coach. This certification demonstrates that they have met specific training and continuing education requirements that The Retirement Project administers. Remember, a Certified Professional Retirement Coach should have obtained at least a high school diploma.

The same caveat for financial advisors exists for retirement coaches: anyone can offer their services as a retirement coach, with or without certification. Therefore, certification helps divide the wheat from the chaff, distinguishing professionals committed to providing quality services.

Coaching is a skill that requires time and dedication to develop. Fortunately, multiple institutions and courses are available to help coaches sharpen their skills. Some notable programs in this field include Retirement Options and Retirement Life Plans. They provide valuable training to equip coaches with the necessary tools and knowledge to assist individuals in their retirement journey.

Bottom Line

A retirement coach talking to a client.

A retirement coach can provide valuable guidance and support in navigating the transition into retirement and creating a fulfilling retirement lifestyle. They focus on the non-financial aspects of retirement, helping individuals set goals, develop a schedule, manage relationships and adapt emotionally and socially. Ultimately, finding the right retirement coach is about finding someone who understands your unique needs, can guide you effectively and supports your journey toward a fulfilling and satisfying retirement.

Tips on Retirement Coaches

  • A retirement coach is crucial for envisioning the life you want and taking steps to accomplish it. On the other hand, a financial advisor will help you afford everything you might want and need along the way. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Financial security makes retirement both realistic and enjoyable. Chris Hogan, a former employee of Dave Ramsey, whose books and podcasts are a perfect blend of coaching and financial advice, can help you retire comfortably.

Photo credit: © Krstic, © Penn, © Productions