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  • Emily Macpherson

How to Avoid Retirement Choice Paralysis

Retirement Choices

Life seems to become ever busier and I usually find myself rushing from one activity to the next without much choice over what comes next. With a minute to stop and think as I sat down to my desk on Friday morning I found myself with a dilemma, which task should I tackle first. I could continue with the client report I had almost completed the previous day, I could start formalising the marketing strategy I have been contemplating, I could review the first draft or my book or I could make a start on the study material for the pension exam I am sitting next month. Choices choices! After pondering the options for a good five minutes I realised that excessive choice was actually preventing me from progressing with any of the important activities I could have been undertaking.

In 2000, S Iyengar and M Lepper conducted research in to the popular notion that the more choice we have the better. Their studies showed that people are more likely to purchase Jams or chocolates when presented with a limited array of 6 choices rather than a more extensive array of 24 or 30 choices. In addition, subjects reported greater subsequent satisfaction with their selections when they were made from a limited set of options. This ‘choice paralysis’ often occurs when we are contemplating our personal finances and when making ‘retirement’ choices in particular. There is a danger that, with so many options now available to us at retirement, we end up not making decisions at all, or being dissatisfied with the decisions we do make even if they are the right ones.

So how can we avoid this choice paralysis and ensure that we are satisfied with our choices? By better understanding our own highest values we can discount inappropriate options, options that don’t fit with our goals and beliefs and options that don’t serve us in living our values.

With the remaining options, a better understanding our values enables us to see the pros and cons of different solutions more clearly, simplifying choices and enhancing levels of satisfaction once choices have been made.

Having worked with clients facing the vast array of retirement choices over many years I have been able to develop a proven process to avoid retirement choice paralysis. The first and most critical stage in this RETIRE process is to reconnect you with your highest values, this provides the foundation for a meaningful financial plan and a more fulfilling retirement.

Please e-mail if you would like to learn more about the RETIRE process.

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