Nonfinancial Life Planning with Bruce Godke

December 1, 2023

Nonfinancial Life Planning with Bruce Godke

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Nonfinancial Life Planning with Bruce Godke Show Notes

We have a very special guest for a very special episode of The Guided Retirement Show. We’re thrilled to have soon-to-be retired Modern Wealth Executive Advisor Bruce Godke join Dean Barber for our 100th episode!

Bruce joined Dean in the financial industry 18 years ago and is getting ready to embark upon an amazing journey. And as part of this amazing journey, Bruce is launching a nonfinancial life planning program, Your Encore, at Modern Wealth. Today, Bruce and Dean are going to talk about some important aspects nonfinancial life planning to help people prepare for retirement.

In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:

  • There Are Financial and Nonfinancial Life Planning Aspects of Retirement Planning
  • Some Exciting Details About the Nonfinancial Life Planning Program Bruce Godke Will Be Leading at Modern Wealth
  • The Importance of Defining Your Retirement Lifestyle
  • How to Be the CEO of Your Retirement

Bruce Won’t Be Wasting Any Time with Living His Best Life in Retirement

As Bruce’s 65th birthday approaches, the financial plan that he built for himself with Dean is coming to fruition. Bruce and his wife, Heidi, are excited. They’re moving from the accumulation phase of their lives into the decumulation phase, meaning retirement.

Bruce and Heidi love traveling and learning about new cultures, so they’ve been planning a very special trip for several years to kick off retirement. From mid-January to mid-July, they’ll be taking a worldwide cruise and will stop at 96 different ports around the world. Our team at Modern Wealth couldn’t be more excited for Bruce and Heidi.

A Financial Plan Isn’t Complete without Nonfinancial Life Planning Components

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of planning that needs to be done from a financial perspective to prepare for retirement. But without the nonfinancial life planning aspects—your specific needs, wants, and wishes—your plan will never be complete.

Dean and Bruce have witnessed a lot of people enter retirement that have lost their sense of purpose because they haven’t factored in the nonfinancial life planning aspects of retirement.

“While they may be financially secure, they find themselves like a ship without a rudder. And it’s because they didn’t take the time to think about the nonfinancial life planning aspects of retirement.” – Dean Barber

Bruce Will Still Have an Important Role at MWM in Retirement

Bruce isn’t proud to admit it, but he was a bit of a workaholic for much of his career. It got to the point where Dean told Bruce that he needed to take more vacations. Bruce and Dean both know that many other people, including several MWM clients, have been in a similar position. That’s exactly why Bruce will be leading a nonfinancial life planning program at Modern Wealth as a part of his retirement.

Ask yourself this question. What does work provide for as well? Obviously income, but it can be much more than that. When you’re at work, we might feel a sense of community.

When Bruce comes to the office, he usually takes a tour around the building and says hello to everybody. Then, throughout the day, he works the rest of the MWM team.

“In many ways, my colleagues are my friends. It’s my social outlook. Work hasn’t only provided me money; it’s provided me community and a sense of identity.” – Bruce Godke

What’s Your Identity?

Whether you’re working or in retirement, what’s your identity? Most people usually say their job if they’re still working or what their job was if they’ve retired. But is that really who you are? We certainly hope there is more to your life than work. As you’re heading into retirement, you need to define your retirement lifestyle. What do you want your life to look like in retirement?

For Bruce, what he does and who he is have become intertwined. But he has built a forward-looking financial plan that’s designed around his retirement goals. He’s worked on defining his identity for retirement so he doesn’t suddenly feel lost and wondering what to do in this new phase of life.

“When people retire, they lose a lot of things. They lose income (their paycheck), community (seeing their coworkers every day), sense of identity, and what I like to call the cadence of their life.” – Bruce Godke

Having a Sense of Community

Think about it. During your career, you’re likely waking up at the same time every day and then going to work. You’re probably eating lunch at a certain time each day depending on when you have meetings during the week. And then you go home from work at a certain time.

Bruce has become very comfortable with his daily work routine. He’s also read several studies about the loss of identity going from a working life to retirement, so nonfinancial life planning is something he takes very seriously.

Having sense of community is a big deal to Dean. Dean watched as his mother lost her community. Her community was her two sisters and her parents, but they’ve all passed. Now, her community is her five children and grandchildren. Well, they’re all busy and have things to do.

She has needed to make an assertive effort to make additional friends and find additional activities and things that she can do. Otherwise, she sits in her home and is miserable. How do you find that sense of community?

Your Encore

Helping people identify their community in retirement is at the heart of what the program Bruce will be leading is about. It’s going to be called “Your Encore.”

Bruce’s vision of Your Encore is similar to going to a great concert. At the end of that concert, all the concert goers beg the performer for one more song—an encore. Usually, the performer plays a special song(s) that touches them deeply.

If you’re heading into retirement, what are those things that are going to fulfill your dreams? This requires some introspection.

“What have you been dreaming about doing your whole life, but didn’t have the time to do it? What activities have brought you joy? And what are your unique skills that others can benefit from?” – Bruce Godke

Our goal is to help people get answers to those questions as a part of the Your Encore program. Take some time to answer those questions on a deep personal level. For example, think about volunteer organizations that have in their charter things that are important to you. Maybe there are some classes that spark your interest that you help you set some specific personal goals.

Finding an Accountabilibuddy

Bruce thinks an important element that we’ll incorporate into the Your Encore program are accountability partners. We’re going to be matching up people in the Your Encore program based upon their goals to keep each other accountable.

Bruce is in a unique situation to provide this advice because it’s something that he’s witnessed. He’s helped people with these things, not just the financial side, but with coaching people through the non-financial life planning aspects of this.

There Can Be a Big Mental Block to Overcome Going into Retirement

Dean recently had a conversation with someone who he’s been working with for quite some time who has had a big mental block on whether they’re going to be OK after making the transition from work to retirement.

They’ve had enough money to retire for a few years now and could even have twice as much spendable income in retirement. That mental block is mainly centered around what they’re going to do every day in retirement now that they’re not going to work. Dean was up front with them that is going to take some time to get over that mental block.

“Sometimes people have this honeymoon phase for the first five to six months of retirement where they’re super excited and have a few things planned that you’re going to do. But then as that starts to wane, you really need to do some deep thinking.” – Dean Barber

Financial Independence Is a Huge Accomplishment, But What Are You Going to Do in Retirement?

Again, think about what’s important in your life. Bruce and Dean have witnessed countless people achieve financial independence. It’s truly an amazing feeling to have the clarity that you know you have enough to get to and through retirement and doing the things you want to do without being reliant on a paycheck. However, that elation of financial independence can be short-lived if you can’t get over that mental block.

That’s why we’re launching Your Encore to help people get over that mental block with building a retirement lifestyle and finding a strong sense of community.

As Dean thinks about how people could benefit from Your Encore and the nonfinancial life planning that it’s going to be geared to provide, he’s thought about several clients he’s worked with over the years. Back in 1989, Dean was working with an individual who was a doctor that was considering retirement. Dean told him that he achieved financial independence and could retire, but he was still scared.

He said it wasn’t about the money. He had a sense of purpose and people needed him. This person was wondering what was going to happen when people didn’t need him and when he no longer had a sense of purpose and community?

Why Nonfinancial Life Planning Hits Home for Dean

Dean was obviously a lot younger then, so he couldn’t really relate to this person as well as he can now. The best that Dean could do was explain to him what it was like watching his grandfather, who went into retirement thinking he’d live until 76 because that’s how long his father lived.

However, Dean’s grandfather ended up living until he was 87, and ended up having to move in with Dean’s parents for the final years of his life. Dean doesn’t want anyone to go through that same experience, which is why he’s so passionate about financial and nonfinancial life planning.

Not Working Longer Than You Need to, Unless You Truly Want to

The doctor Dean was working with finally retired, though. About 18 months after he retired, he reached out to Dean, and they had a conversation that Dean will never forget.

“He said, ‘I wish I would have done this sooner. I had lost the identity of who I was and what was important in my life. And I had allowed my work to become my identity when that really wasn’t who I was.” – Dean Barber

Instead of coming to that realization 18 months after retirement, we want to start coaching people on what’s important to their life prior to retirement. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing with the nonfinancial life planning education we’ll be covering in Your Encore.

By thinking about nonfinancial life planning one or two years before retirement, we’re hoping people won’t have a shock to their system of not knowing what to do in retirement or where to find a sense of community. That way they can begin putting these processes in place prior to retirement.

“To Dean’s point about his doctor client, he didn’t become that. That was always him. But he had become this other person. The identity was solely that of being a doctor. He needed to pull all of that off to really reveal who he really was.” – Bruce Godke

It took it took time for that to happen, though. The whole idea of Your Encore is to do that nonfinancial life planning before retirement so that you can make the most of your retirement.

“I’m very excited and thankful that Modern Wealth has given me this platform to do this.” – Bruce Godke

Using Your Vacation Time

Getting started on nonfinancial life planning can be the hardest part. If you’re 18 to 24 months from retirement and have plenty of vacation time to take, Bruce and Dean both encourage you to take it. That can be a huge help with getting into the nonfinancial life planning mindset and not being attached to your job as retirement approaches.

“So many people have not taken a full two-week vacation, let alone a one-month or six-week vacation.” – Dean Barber

With one-week vacations, people can be stressed out in the first few days, finally get to relax in the middle of the vacation, and then all the anxiety comes back two days before going back to work. That doesn’t give you a chance to unwind.

It’s Never Too Late to Start Nonfinancial Life Planning

Bruce and Heidi are both thankful for Dean for encouraging them to take more vacations over the past few years. That’s allowed them to really develop their true sense of identity and community prior to retirement. If you’re like Dean’s doctor client, though, and are struggling with nonfinancial life planning in retirement, Bruce has a message for you. It’s never too late to start nonfinancial life planning.

“For those that have recently retired and are starting to feel this anxiety, it’s not too late. For those that have been retired for three, five, 10 years, it’s never too late. But it’s imperative that you start now.” – Bruce Godke

Going Through a Prioritization Exercise

While Your Encore is a new program that we’re starting at Modern Wealth, nonfinancial life planning has always been important to us. One thing that we implemented a long time ago as part of our Guided Retirement System is a prioritization exercise that we take clients and prospective clients through.

The exercise is designed for each spouse to express what is the most important thing in their life. We would go through a series of 15 different things. They range from spending time with the people you care about, paying less in taxes, not being a burden to your loved ones, etc. We have each spouse prioritize those different things and then have a deep conversation.

“In almost every instance, it’s served as an opportunity for each spouse to be heard not just by us as financial planners, but by their spouse.” – Dean Barber

There have been so many times where we’ve seen spouses learn things about each other during the prioritization exercise. Once each spouse goes through what’s important to them, we explain to them that they’re going to be with each other a lot more than they were when they were working. Then, we mesh what’s important to each of them together.

Money Likely Isn’t the Most Important Thing to People

In all the prioritization exercises Dean has walked people through, there hasn’t been one time where people have said that money is the most important thing to them. It usually doesn’t even make the top five.

“Money is the fuel that allows you to do what you want to, but you still need to identify what it is that you want to do.” – Bruce Godke

What’s the Most Important Thing to You?

Think of it this way. You’re not retiring from something; you’re retiring to something. Oftentimes, it’s the top priority for most couples entering retirement to want to spend more time with their kids and grandkids. If that’s the case for you, what’s preventing you from doing that?

Bruce and Dean have had many people tell them that they’re too busy to do so or that they don’t have the money to travel to see them. If spending more time with family is the most important thing to you, we’re going to prioritize that within your plan accordingly so that it can happen.

Family is the most important thing for Dean. So, ever since all of Dean’s kids have moved out of the house, he and his wife, Kim, have planned a family vacation each year so that they get to see them. They plan each vacation two years in advance and pay for everything.

“All our kids need to do is get the time off work and show up. When you give them two years in advance, they’re going to show up.” – Dean Barber

Time Is Our Most Valuable Commodity

Dean and Bruce both treasure every minute they can get when all their families can get together. They know very well that that time is precious. Bruce and Dean have worked with several couples where one spouse has passed away well before the other one. While we hope that doesn’t happen for you and your spouse, it’s important to know that if you get widowed, you really need to go through the prioritization exercise again.

Dean went through a prioritization exercise with a client who lost their spouse a few years ago, and their top priority was getting her family together as often as possible. The client’s children don’t live in the same city and have busy schedules, so planning vacations well ahead of time like Dean has done was important.

But even with planning vacations well in advance, there can still be other mental blocks that come up. For example, Dean’s client had planned a family vacation a few years ago, but then 2022 hit. It was a tough year in the financial markets with stocks and bonds being negative. It was the worst we’ve seen for both stocks and bonds in a long time.

Defining True Wealth

Dean’s client had planned a family vacation in the mountains and was nervous about going through with the trip due to the poor markets. One month prior to the trip, they called Dean wondering if they could still afford to do the trip. It was built into the client’s financial plan, so there was clarity that the trip could still happen.

“The relief that she felt is something that money can’t buy. Ken Osiwala says that true wealth is something that money can’t buy and death can’t take away. It’s experiences. It’s things that are important to you.” – Dean Barber

Doing What’s Important to You Is Core to Your Encore

Your Encore is going to be designed to help people think through these things. Bruce is going to be working with our CFP® professionals to reiterate that if something is important to their client, it needs to be built into their plan. Our team will work together to figure out what needs to be done so that you’re doing the things that are important to you.

“It’s integration and coordination of the financial and nonfinancial life planning aspects of retirement to make a full life.” – Bruce Godke

Dean was quick to admit that he’s quite envious of the worldwide cruise that Bruce and Heidi are taking. Kim isn’t so sure about staying on a boat for that long, so Dean has some more convincing to do.

You Can Be Financially Independent and Choose to Keep Working If You Enjoy It

Dean knows he’s a few years away from being able to take a trip like that. However, he does know that he’s financially independent because he has a financial plan that tells him so. Dean could retire tomorrow if he wanted to and never work again, but he loves his job. So, Dean enjoys the best of both worlds by working and taking a lot of vacations.

“I take ample time off and I’m passionate about it. It gives me purpose right now and it gives me great community.” – Dean Barber

At some point, though, Dean knows he’ll want to do something else besides work. While Dean enjoys helping people with financial and nonfinancial life planning, he’s also thankful to have a good friend that he considers as a mentor in Tony Lewis. Tony was also a guest on The Guided Retirement Show, so make sure to tune into his episode as well to learn how to be the CEO of your retirement.

How to Be the CEO of Your Retirement

Tony is 77 years old and has lived a very fascinating life. He was the general who ran the entire air parade for Desert Storm. Tony retired as a three-star general. After serving in the Air Force, he became the CEO of ConAgra. Then, he retired from ConAgra at 55 with more money than he could ever spend in his life.

So, he found his sense of purpose in mentoring business owners. Tony helps them find balance between work and home and growing businesses. At 77, Tony is as active and mentally sharp as anybody that Dean knows that’s in their 50s.

Before Dean sat down with Bruce for this episode of The Guided Retirement Show, he reached out to Tony for some words of wisdom that he thought would be good to share about nonfinancial life planning heading into retirement. Here’s what he told Dean.

“As a retiree, understand that your community, checkbook, calendar and the clock are constantly on your mind. One should consider partnering with a caring team who understands just how important these things are.” – Tony Lewis

Are You Ready to Do Some Nonfinancial Life Planning?

Bruce also knows Tony and can attest that Tony is truly living his best life because he’s found his sense of purpose in retirement. Lessons that Bruce and Dean have learned from people in the past allow them to do the things that they do so they can make a great impact on people’s lives.

Bruce’s goal of Your Encore is to help people find their sense of purpose in retirement, all while fulfilling his sense of purpose in retirement. Dean can’t wait to see what Bruce’s encore looks like.

“It’s going to be a joy for Bruce. It’s going to be something that he’s passionate about and something that he’s going to help a lot of people with. I’m excited for Bruce.” – Dean Barber

And Bruce is obviously excited as well. He’s looking forward to seeing Your Encore come to fruition and achieving what he believes to be his calling. Bruce won’t be back on The Guided Retirement Show for at least seven months, but you can count on him being back on soon after his trip. Bruce looks forward to sharing videos and photos of his trip, and hopes to help you through Your Encore.

Reach Out to Us with Any Questions About Your Encore and Nonfinancial Life Planning

We’re excited to share more details about Your Encore, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, if you have any questions about this program or your nonfinancial life planning, we want to hear from you. You can start a conversation with us below to begin seeing what nonfinancial life planning will look like for you.

Schedule a Meeting

We look forward to discussing what nonfinancial life planning will look like for you and want to thank all our dedicated Guided Retirement Show listeners for helping us get to 100 episodes. Make sure to tune into for Episode 101, as Dean and Chris Rett, CFP®, AIF® talk all about Financial Planning 101 for our Season 9 finale.

Watch Guide | 2023 Market in Review with Garrett Waters

00:00 – Introduction
01:47 – Bruce’s Next Step
02:57 – Working Life vs. Retirement Life
– Regaining a Sense of Community After Work
09:43 – A Stories About Careers, Identity, and Retirement
14:40 – Making Every Night Friday Night
– Prioritizing Your Life in Retirement
– Defining True Wealth
22:25 – Congratulations Bruce
24:10 – Ending with a Story

Resources Mentioned in This Article

Investment advisory services offered through Modern Wealth Management, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management, LLC, does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.