Reinvention in retirement

Darrin Shannon knows all about the ups and downs of moving into retirement. After an injury cut his career on the ice short, the former NHL star moved into delivering game-changing financial advice

WP: How difficult was your transition from the NHL to financial advisor?
Darrin Shannon: Once I got it into my head that hockey was definitely not happening anymore, the transition was not tough at all. It did take a little bit of time because I was forced to retire from my dream job at such a young age. It was a challenge to learn everything about this industry. It’s
constantly changing, whether that’s compliance, news or an updated product. Just like anyone getting into this career, I have to be constantly in learning mode.

WP: What’s the most enjoyable thing about being an advisor?
DS: Dealing with people and the challenges that come with it, and trying to help people accomplish their goals. I’m not always dealing with people when things are good for them. Life is about experiences, both positive and negative, and that’s what helps you to continue to grow. In some regards, I look at it from a sports perspective: You win some; you lose some. You have good days; you have bad days. But that’s the job – I love it because of that. When things are going well, it makes you feel so good because you know you stuck with it and stuck with your client.

WP: How has retirement planning changed?
DS: Careers are becoming more transient, and people are less likely to be with the same company for 40 years nowadays – that changes things. Also, people are healthier and living longer. People need to understand that there are options for them in retirement. On my end, I have to let people know that they have the option to work past retirement, retire earlier or work part-time. 

WP: So do Canadians have to change the way they view retirement and the way they approach it financially?
DS: I certainly think people need to look at their planning differently. There’s a couple of ways of doing that. If you’re living longer, you either need to save more money or work longer. Either way, from a financial point of view, people need to evolve and think about those things on an ongoing basis.
People need to be more proactive, and they have to find an advisor they’re comfortable with. Planning for retirement is changing, and part of that responsibility falls on advisors, but it’s also on clients to be more involved.

WP: As an advisor, how do you deal with changing attitudes toward retirement?
DS: Every scenario is different. You have to ask all clients to be honest about their own position, to take a good look at what they want and how best to use what they have. If a client knows they’re only going to be in job for the next five years, they need to plan around that transition. Hopefully clients are willing to keep on top of their financial situation with an advisor they trust.

WP: Only 27% of Canadians say they expect to be fully retired by 65. Why do you think that is?
DS: People are living differently. My parents were married at 21 and had kids. I got married at 27 and had kids, and my kid may not get married until age 30. The bulk of your costs occur when your kids are young, and if that happens later on in your life, it will change the dynamic of how you spend
your money. It means people are pushing the ball back a bit from a financial perspective.