“It’s an interweaving of emotions and actions.”
Money isn’t just about numbers. For the financial planner who is sorting through the nuanced goals of her clients, a successful retirement strategy is also about the very personal hopes and dreams of an individual or family.
“Some of the life questions that come up around retirement are emotional responses,” says Jennipher Lommen, CFP®️, EA,, who completed a Personal Financial Planning certificate at Extension in 2015 and launched her own firm, Wildflower Financial, LLC. in Santa Cruz in 2017.
“It’s never too young to start, but realistically often people in their late 50’s or early 60’s have moved beyond putting kids through college and sometimes their mortgage is paid and they can shift their focus to supercharging their retirement savings,” she says. “What you do relates to how you’re going to draw down on your money and also how you’re going to spend your time.”
Lommen, who provides comprehensive financial planning as well as focused financial planning, will be a panelist in Retirement Tools and Processes: Guiding clients through the retirement planning process, a May 17 discussion for prospective and current financial planning students, alumni of the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Personal Financial Planning certificate program, and members of the Financial Planning Association.
“There are moments in a meeting with a client when you have to step outside of pointing to the numbers and talk to people about how they feel about the different milestones that are coming up,” Lommen says.
People, of course, differ widely in their goals and expectations. For some, they want to make sure they have a plan for their life, to focus on their family or specific projects. Some adults are supporting children even into their later years, which pushes out their own retirement. Others will want to relocate, maybe they’ll move to a big piece of land that they can tend, while others want to downsize or find a home where they can age in place or live closer to services they’ll need.
“In the context of meeting with a client you’ve got to move back and forth between thinking about money and the practicality of things and people’s emotional response,” Lommen says.
While many clients are in their 50s and 60s when they begin seeking advice, some are much younger and can learn about early savings and the magic of compounding interest. Depending where they are in their lives, it can be a long planning process or an abrupt change.
“You want to understand how the client’s own personal vision and goals translate into a plan that feeds into the larger financial picture. It’s an interweaving of emotions and actions.”