I always ask, ‘what’s the reason you’re retiring?’ That usually helps frame the conversation, if they can or can’t afford to retire. If they’re retiring because of ill health then I know we’re not going to discuss delaying retirement, so I think that is really key.
I ask their income and expenditure expectations, about any overhanging debts.
I ask what their family situation is like, if they’re married, what’s the income requirement coming from the spouse? How many children have they got? Any grandchildren? What’s their expectation from you in retirement? Sometimes it might be, ‘well I’m retiring now because I’m going to be the babysitter’. That’s fantastic, you don’t need lots of income. Or, are you retiring now to help your children out because they can’t work due to illness? In which case, you’re going to help them out in terms of finances as well.
My final question is about what they expect from me. A lot might say, ‘I just want you to give me a massive return’, so it’s managing those expectations.