When Christine Fahlund of T. Rowe Price asked a packed crowd of NAPFA advisors on Wednesday afternoon if they had clients who weren't prepared financially for retirement, nearly every hand went up in the audience. Almost the same number also agreed that their clients were not psychologically prepared for retirement, either. Speaking at a breakout session at the NAPFA annual conference in Chicago, Fahlund then laid out a way to improve retirement preparation for clients while also giving them hope and helping advisors to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

"It's all about the 60s," said Fahlund, a CFP, a Ph.D. and a former fee-only advisor herself. She described those years as the age that for many years was considered "Nirvana" for clients who hoped to retire and spend that decade of life enjoying all the activities on which they had delayed gratification while working. With the Practice Retirement program (recently trademarked by T. Rowe), Fahlund said advisors can tell clients, "Yes, you have to keep working, but you can start playing" as well. She also argued that the research is clear that "lives built exclusively around leisure do not deliver the satisfaction level hoped for," which has led to what she calls the "unretirement trend."

The program encourages people who have reached age 60 to begin 'practicing' retirement by cutting back on the number of hours worked to start exploring on a part-time basis those activities that they envision themselves doing once they are totally retired. As an example, she said that some clients might see themselves as wanting to travel around the country in an RV. "So buy an RV and try it for a few months," the program would suggest, or even better, rent an RV and discover whether such a lifestyle is really rewarding.

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James J. Green

Jamie Green is editor of Jamie Green Reports, an advisor-focused writing, editing and shepherding service. He can be reached at [email protected]. Jamie is former Group Editorial Director of the Investment Advisory Group at ALM Media, where he had overall editorial responsibility for ThinkAdvisor.com and Investment Advisor and Research on Wealth magazines, monthly print magazines that have served advisors of all kinds for more than 30 years. In more than 30 years of experience in print and electronic journalism, Jamie has been covering the investment advisory industry since 1999. In the 1990s he worked for nine years at The New York Times, where he was editor of TimesFax, an electronic version of the newspaper of record now known as TimesDigest. In the 1980s he was editor of Tele/Scope, a pioneering electronic news service based in New York, and was editor of Telecommunications Research, a monthly journal. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College in Granby, Massachusetts, and studied theology on the graduate level at St. Anthony-on-the-Hudson, Rensselaer, New York.