Helping to Plan for a Secure Retirement

Are we ready to retire?

When Frank and Mary came to us, they were really getting serious about retirement. They had worked hard and saved diligently to accumulate a significant nest egg. They had talked with a financial advisor who handled some of their money and they used the online calculators to estimate how much income they could draw from their investments in retirement. They had taken a hard look at their Social Security estimates. Still, they realized that the decision to retire is a big one. They would only retire once (they hope), so to be confident, they wanted the professional advice of a team that had guided many people through this transition before.

They had questions:

  • Happy senior couple holding hands and walking on the beachWhat would healthcare costs be in retirement?
  • How much can we take out of our investments each year and how is that impacted by how the stock market does?
  • Are our investments allocated properly to provide secure income and growth over our lifetimes?
  • What other investment options are out there that we might not be aware of?
  • When should we start collecting Social Security?
  • Which Medicare plan is right for us?
  • Can we afford a second home?
  • What if we ever need nursing home care – will that destroy our nest egg?
  • Is there anything here we are missing?

And that was just the financial stuff. They also had questions they had asked themselves that weren’t all that easy to answer:

  • Am I really ready to go?
  • When I do retire, I know what I’m retiring from, but what am I retiring to?
  • Who will we be, what will we do, and how will our relationship change?

We sat down with Frank and Mary and went through all of their concerns in detail. They provided us with copies of their investment account statements, their Social Security benefit statements, an old pension Frank had from a prior job, and more, and we asked them plenty of questions to get a thorough understanding of their goals, plans, comfort level with risk, and their attitudes about retirement and the lifestyle they want to live in the future. We spent time with Frank and Mary and answered their questions and collaborated with them. A lot of things were much as they had expected. They found that they were in fact in good shape for retirement and their plans to travel and spend money in retirement were realistic. They felt great about that. There were also some surprises. Healthcare costs if they retired prior to age 65 would be crazy high. They were shocked to learn how expensive some of their retirement annuities were. They suddenly came to understand why those investments did not seem to grow like their other accounts – it was because of the high fees that were being internally deducted in those plans! They were also surprised to find that they could actually reduce the risk level in their investments and by doing so would actually increase the amount of income they could confidently draw out in retirement. They learned about the required minimum distributions that they would have to take from their retirement accounts starting at age 72 and discovered that this would push them into a much higher tax bracket than they had considered down the road. We shared strategies we could use to manage this. And they were surprised to learn that because of their great health and longevity in their family, they would likely be better off waiting to take Social Security until age 70, but could take it sooner if they preferred.

Through all of this, Frank and Mary found that their personal connection actually grew even stronger as they shared their feelings together and came to common understanding. Frank and Mary hired us to help them - not only through the complexity of the transition to retirement, but to be ongoing partners with them in managing their investments and navigating retirement over the long haul with them. If you have similar circumstances as Frank and Mary and would like to sit down with us for a conversation please give us a call! We’d love to chat.

Actual performance and results will vary. These case studies do not constitute a recommendation as to the suitability of any investment for any person or persons having circumstances similar to those portrayed, and a financial advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation.