Another Dimension to My Practice

October 2nd, 2011

I started working in the life insurance industry on June 21, 1965. My last assignment with my company was a six year stint in Hong Kong. Living in Hong Kong was very stressful but also very remunerative. When that assignment ended in September 1997, my wife Mary and I decided to retire.

One year later, it was very clear to me that I was not ready to retire. I went back to work with the same company and worked as a consultant until the company was sold in May 2000. I retired again.

Several months later, I received a call from a friend of a friend. The company was developing an interesting insurance administration application and I worked for them until the owner burned through his $25 million and closed shop. So in June 2004, I retired again.

Somewhere along the line, I read that one third of the Canadian population was going to retire in the next ten to fifteen years. Having done it three times myself, I thought that some of those people were going to need some help. That motivated me to start studying for my Certified Financial Planner designation which I achieved in May 2006.

Thinking back on my experiences as a retiree, it occurred to me that the issues that most troubled me were not financial but lifestyle. I was filling my time, but I did not find what I was doing fulfilling. In October 2010, I heard a presentation by Amy D’Aprix, a faculty member of the Canadian Academy of Senior Advisors. She talked about a range of lifestyle issues affecting seniors that I found very interesting.

I went to their website and perused their syllabus. I decided to start the self-study approach to certification. This took six months and involved listening to 25 webcasts over the Internet. The lessons covered a wide range of topics e.g. chronic illness in seniors, caregivers, long-term care, nutrition and fitness in seniors. The content was of great interest to me, both professionally and personally. The chapters most useful to me personally were the sessions on spirituality and religion, and on end of life planning. The qualification process ends with a three hour, multiple-choice examination which I passed in May 2011. This gave me my Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA) designation.

I am a firm believer that lifestyle issues are as important as financial issues in retirement. I tell my clients that I can put together their financial  retirement plan in weeks. I warn them that it can take years and a lot of trial and error to put together a lifestyle plan.

William Jack