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After retiring as an advisor with Richardson GMP late last year, Susan Latremoille launched SuccessDNA in January to help people determine how they want to live in retirement. (Photo by Kevin Van Paassen for The Globe and Mail)Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

When John Klaas retired in 2010, he envisioned projects and adventures far removed from those he spent doing during his previous 27 years as a financial planner at MD Financial Management. Yet, it wasn’t long before he was pulled back into that world. Now, he is steeped in coaching the next generation of financial advisors.

“I didn’t think I’d want anything to do with financial services when I retired,” he says. “But I gravitated back to it when I realized that I had something more to offer.”

Although Mr. Klaas has devoted time during his retirement to leisurely activities like playing the trombone in a local band and gardening at his home near Halifax, he has also co-founded the Canadian Retirement Mentoring Group, a think tank that aims to improve Canadians’ retirement by mentoring the public and their advisors, and helped launch the annual student financial planning competition with the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP) as an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University.

Now in its sixth year, coaching students in the IAFP’s Annual Student Presentation Competition has been one of the most rewarding experiences and greatest accomplishments of his career, Mr. Klaas says.

“I so enjoy the perspective that they bring, the new things they teach me and their freshness and enthusiasm. I get more out of it than they do,” he says. “It’s interesting to repurpose the skills from my professional career and use them in a different way.”

Mr. Klaas isn’t alone. Almost one-quarter of retired Canadians have tried to re-enter the labour market, according to a 2019 Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce survey. Although half of survey participants cited financial concerns as a reason, 59 per cent said they returned to work for intellectual stimulation.

Susan Latremoille, former director, wealth management and wealth advisor with the Latremoille Begg Group at Richardson GMP Ltd. in Toronto, was looking back on three decades in financial services when she realized she wanted to embark on a new challenge during her retirement.

After years of observing clients who were unhappy in retirement despite having helped them setup comfortable financial plans, she wanted to help clients find fulfillment in their new stage of life through travel, work or other aspirations.

While navigating her next steps, Ms. Latremoille took a self-assessment test called SuccessFinder that helped her explore what she wanted to do with her talents and skills.

“I realized that I’m still interested in business. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, I love helping people, and I’m in this demographic myself so I see the good and bad of retirement,” she says. “I knew that travelling and babysitting my grandson weren’t going to be enough, and it was inspiring to me to think of creating something new.”

During the five years that she wound down her financial practice and transitioned her business to more junior associates, Ms. Latremoille was also thinking about how she could channel her skills and experience into a new endeavour.

After leaving her financial advisory practice at the end of last year, Ms. Latermoille launched SuccessDNA in January. In that new venture, she focuses on helping people determine how they want to live in retirement by creating a plan for a successful “life portfolio,” which includes considerations that people tend to forget about while working on saving and building a wealth portfolio, she says.

“The pursuit of money is not the ultimate goal. It’s using money to enable you to do certain things and give you freedom of choice, and I’m expanding on that idea of helping people lead a rich life,” she says. “It took this journey to get here. It was a natural evolution and it took that time to get clarity on what I wanted to do.”

The inspiration to take on new projects tends to happen as advisors begin to navigate the process of transitioning their businesses. While Angela Knight van Schaayk was assessing how to sell her practice, James C. Knight Creative Insurance Planners Inc. in North Bay, Ont., she noticed new ways that she could make contributions in her community.

She sold her practice to Gallagher Benefit Services (Canada) Group Inc.’s local office and remains involved as a part-time consultant, focusing on strategy and growing the business.

At the same time, Ms. Knight van Schaayk also joined regional organizations, including the Rotary Club of North Bay and the Northern Policy Institute, at which she focuses on policies and issues in which she could contribute the insights gained as a financial planner.

More than anything, Ms. Knight van Schaayk says she’s exploring projects in retirement that she didn’t have time for while she was focused on her practice full-time.

“It’s been very liberating because now I’m focused on things I’ve never done before,” she says. “[Financial planning is] a vocation and you never lose the desire to help people. I initially felt guilty about not doing something to help people, and that’s why I got into these other projects. That’s just who I am. You still want to feel you’re relevant.”

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