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Retirement Readiness Quotient: 12 Questions

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What’s their RQ?

One of the steps in assessing whether a reverse mortgage might be right for a client is knowing how close they are to retirement (assuming they’re not already retired, obviously). Some people might be closer than you — or even they! — believe, while others may profess to want the leisure life, yet aren’t prepared emotionally, mentally or financially to make the transition.

Gene Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., author of The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain, has developed a 12-point questionnaire to help people determine their Retirement Readiness Quotient. You may wish to share it with your reverse mortgage prospects. This tool could also be part of a presentation for senior centers, Rotary Clubs, and any place else you choose to speak to older adults about the reverse mortgage option.

12 Ouestions To Ask About Retirement

These questions require some serious consideration. Cohen states, “If you have not given much thought to any of these questions, or if you do not have many good answers for them, you are probably not well prepared for retirement.”

1) Why are you thinking about retirement now? (Give yourself 1 point for a clear answer, 0 points if your reasoning seems fuzzy or you are simply uncertain.)

2) Do you really want to retire? (1 point if yes, 0 if no). Significance: This seemingly simple question is an excellent predictor of success in the transition to retirement. It asks you to consider your deepest desires and motivations, not just what you “think” you ought to do or what other people expect you to do.

3) What do your family and friends say about you retiring? (1 point if they think you’re doing the right thing.)

4) Have you considered whether you want a complete or partial retirement? Have you considered part-time or temporary work, or even a less-than-fulltime small business venture (emphasis on “considered”)? (1 point if you’ve considered the options, even if you choose full retirement.)

5) Are your finances sufficient to carry you through your retirement years while continuing to enjoy your current lifestyle? (1 point if yes to both parts of question; 0 if no to either part.)

6) Have you attended a retirement preparation program or seminar focused on financial planning? (1 point if yes, 0 if no.)

7) What gives you a sense of meaning and purpose in life? (1 point if when you write it down and read it aloud you feel you’ve adequately identified what gives you a sense of meaning and purpose; 0 points if your reasoning seems fuzzy or you are simply uncertain.)

8) What specific types of activities and experiences are important and fulfilling for you? (1 point if your description of how your plans relate to what is important to you makes sense.) Significance: Your answers provide a window on how well you really know your mind and how well you have planned how to accomplish what is important to you.

9) Have you attended a retirement preparation program or seminar focused on social planning (e.g., community activities and interpersonal endeavors)? (1 point if yes, 0 if no.) Significance: Prospective retirees often fail to adequately plan how they will actually spend their time in retirement. Floundering in these areas can lead to frustration and a disappointing retirement life.

10) Have you developed outside interests, hobbies, volunteer activities, or areas of new learning? (1 point if yes, 0 if no.)

11) Have you planned new activities that would allow you to interact with people on a regular basis and that offer chances to form new friendships? (1 point if yes, 0 if no.) Significance: making new friends is often more difficult in retirement, and loneliness is associated with a host of mental and physical ills.

12) During retirement, will making only a modest contribution in volunteer activities be sufficient for you? (1 point if yes, 0 if no.) Significance: People who have had satisfying and personally meaningful careers can find the transition to retirement difficult if they do not plan for other ways to make a difference. Such people might consider a phased retirement so they can continue with fulfilling work while starting their retirement.

Scoring:

12 points: You’re in position for a great retirement!

10-11 points: Your retirement will likely be highly satisfying.

8-9 points: Your retirement could have problems that are likely fixable.

6-7 points: You could be challenged by ambivalent feelings about retirement, requiring a solid effort to bring your situation up a notch.

3-5 points You are potentially in the trouble zone where your retirement might not work well unless you make a major effort to get it on track.
0-2 points: You are in jeopardy of having an unfulfilling retirement, requiring an all-out effort to improve your retirement prospects.

 

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