What kind of vacationer are you? Do you like to plan out every detail of your trip down to the minute, or would you rather show up and see what happens? I’ve known couples that have spent entire vacations apart because they had such different perspectives on this. One spent their time enjoying the beach, while the other explored the history of the island.

There’s no wrong answer on how you like to spend your time. In fact, some very regimented and organized people that I’m friendly with leave the planning behind and live like free spirits on vacation. Making the decision to not have a plan was actually part of their plan.

When the discussion turns to retirement, do you think you should you have a plan? I’m not just talking about a financial plan, we all know you need that, but rather a plan on what you’re going to do with your newfound freedom. For instance, have you always dreamed of spending the days fishing, or playing golf? Perhaps you plan on volunteering for a cause that’s special to you, or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language.

While figuring this out should be the fun part of your retirement, it’s important that your financial professional asks you these questions as well. They should want to know what you’re plans are for your retirement, and how you plan on spending your time. It’s not that they’re being nosy; a good financial advisor should ask you those questions so they can help build a strategy that allows you to do the things you’ve always dreamed of.

Money shouldn’t be the focus of your retirement, but rather the engine that helps fuel your passions and dreams. If you already know how you’re planning to spend your time, then it’s critical to have confidence in a financial plan that can get you there.

It’s important to work with a qualified financial professional who asks about more than just your money. You should feel like you and your financial advisor are on the same team working for the same goals. If you don’t have that relationship with your current financial advisor, or have never worked with a financial advisor, it’s time to make a change.

Many financial professionals offer a complimentary introductory meeting so they can get to know you better. This is a great first step in finding someone you feel comfortable working with. So whether you’re a planner or a wing-it type of a person, don’t ignore the importance of creating a solid financial plan to help you get the retirement you’ve always dreamed of.