Retirement planning's
home stretch

Have you ever watched Olympic runners in the final seconds of a race? No matter the distance they’ve run, the athletes muster all their resources for their last, best push toward the finish line.

As I work with clients facing retirement, I see the same intensity in their eyes. We teach our clients that saving for retirement should be a marathon, not a sprint. But the closer clients get to the finish line, the more motivated they are to finish strong.

In 1932, behaviorist Clark Hull observed this phenomenon, calling it the goal-gradient effect. He found that the closer the goal, the faster and more driven we become. Yet in the case of retirement, clients may find they’re farther behind than they expected to be.

So how can we help them make the most of this last stretch?

Remind them to keep breathing

As the reality of retirement approaches, your clients may wish they could delay the transition, working longer before they begin drawing down their retirement assets. They’re not alone: In 2017, an astounding 78% of Americans said they expected to retire later than they were originally planning. Yet working longer may not always be an option: 48% of 2017’s retirees ended up leaving the workforce earlier than they expected, mostly for reasons beyond their control, such as health issues or downsizing.1

Your action step: Help clients remember that they can’t stop time, but they can focus on being prepared for their retirement transition, whenever it may come.

Help them to stay in the race

You may have clients who believe that, as they get closer to retirement, they should start exiting the stock market to protect themselves from market volatility. Whether they’re feeling good about their current account balance or worried about the risk of market movements, clients can make emotional decisions that may jeopardize their goals.

Your action step: Remind them that keeping a portion of their money invested in the market may help them meet their retirement income goals.

Fuel a strong finish

For some clients, the confidence to cross the retirement finish line may come from knowing they have a strong income plan. Understanding how much income they’ll have in retirement can make their goal seem clearer – and more worth achieving.

Your action step: Consider whether converting a portion of clients’ portfolios to an annuity with guaranteed accumulation and income benefits, such as Lincoln Max 6 SelectSM Advantage, an optional living benefit rider available for an additional charge with a Lincoln variable annuity, may help them feel confident in the last sprint of their retirement planning.

If you’d like more information on how your clients may benefit from a plan to help grow and protect their future retirement income, contact your Lincoln representative. And don’t forget to follow us on  LinkedIn  and  Twitter   for regular insights and tips on income planning conversations.

1Employee Benefits Research Institute, Issue Brief No. 431, March 21, 2017,



Christopher H. Price, JD, LLM, CLU®, ChFC®, AVP, Advanced Sales is our new blogger. For more than 22 years, Chris has helped advisors and their clients accumulate, distribute and transfer annuity assets by using a holistic approach. In 1983, he began his career as a trust officer with Sovran Bank (now Bank of America). Chris moved into financial planning, and followed that by managing an insurance agency that served some of the wealthiest families in the country. In 1994, Chris joined Delaware Investments, formerly a member of Lincoln Financial Group, where he was responsible for the product management of Delaware mutual funds and eventually Lincoln variable annuities. From 2000 to 2004, Chris used his expertise to help financial advisors and their clients with advanced case issues. In 2005, he transitioned to the Lincoln Advanced Sales team. Chris holds a BA in history from Vassar College, and law and master’s degrees from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary.