Retire like a pro: Follow in Chiefs’ footsteps to plan your personal ‘Super Bowl’

After a long successful career, it may feel like you’re prepping to defend your own Super Bowl title in retirement. If you’re preparing for retirement, you can take some lessons from how the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the 2023 season.

Breaking down your retirement into smaller phases can be really helpful. This is just like the Chiefs preparing to win another Super Bowl. The Chiefs get to “the big game” one day, one practice, one trade and one game at a time.

The post-season rest: After each season, the Chiefs take some much-needed rest. This is time to heal from injuries, spend time with family and mentally decompress. At the twilight of your career you’ll likely need to do something similar.

Decompressing after a long career: Regrouping and figuring out what you want to retire to is possibly the most important consideration in planning your retirement. Whether you’ve absolutely loved your job or you’ve been grinding it out, there’s significant stress surrounding the transition into retirement. Having a clear idea of what’s going to fill most of your time in retirement will help give your next chapter purpose and direction moving forward.

Setting the team for next season: The Chiefs make key changes in the off season by trading or drafting talent to ensure a well-balanced and cohesive team of players and coaching staff. For your retirement you’ll need to engage with financial planners, estate attorneys, accountants and other members of your retirement team.

You’ll need a good offense through diverse streams of income, proper portfolio construction and tax-saving strategies.

You’ll need a solid defense through proper insurance and estate planning.

Your retirement plan is like the head coach’s playbook to guide you, the quarterback, as you lead your team (or family) to victory.

Camp Mahomes: The next phase for the Chiefs is some light practice during “Camp Mahomes” in Texas. This helps the team bond in a different setting and start gearing up for the next season. For you, this may mean socializing with other retirees as you fine-tune your plans. You can start building circles of friends outside of work and testing the waters with other activities.

Organized team activities: As the summer continues, things start to get a lot more serious, just like the last couple of years before retirement. The Chiefs begin organized team activities, mini-camp and training camp.

No contact phase of practice: As you get closer to the real deal, start running through the motions. For you this may mean an extended vacation at home to see what your days might look like post-retirement. It’s about getting everyone in the same place and ready to rock.

Running “retirement drills” might sound a little corny but really thinking through the “plays” you need to establish is critical to ensuring you’re never caught off guard.

It’s game time: In the final phases before the season we can start to see team dynamics unfold. We get the first glimpses of what the season, or retirement, will look like. We’re done practicing. It’s time to play for real.

Preseason games: In preseason games, the Chiefs are setting final plays and making fine adjustments going into the regular season. You’ll be “running plays” based on recessions, not whether the other team is rushing or passing. You’ll be taking your last vacation days and handing over final projects at work.

Regular season: Finally, it’s kickoff time for the regular season, which is what we’ve all been waiting for. No more excuses: the regular season and your retirement are here. You and the Chiefs will need consistent wins.

There may be some injuries and setbacks along the way, but you have to get the critical plays right. Losing isn’t an option and you have to nail the big games. You must be able to overcome any setbacks.

The playoffs and the Super Bowl: For the Chiefs, the end goal is going to the playoffs and winning another Super Bowl. The biggest difference is the Chiefs get to do it all over again next year. You only have one chance to achieve your most important goals in life.

We can tell you from experience that retirees who focus on fulfillment and family will feel more successful in retirement. Don’t wait to plan your retirement. Start planning today.

Clint Haynes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional and a member of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City. He is an adviser with NextGen Wealth in Lee’s Summit.