Photo by Bob Green

So many questions to ponder.

How will you receive your income from your Lump Sum investment accounts…Monthly, Quarterly, as needed? Are you familiar with the need to pay estimated Taxes quarterly? How might you reduce this tax liability? Tax Efficient investing is critical for all taxable accounts With low interest rates as the New Normal, at least for now, how can one generate the income necessary to maintain one's standard of living? How much cash should one hold as a reserve? Have you calculated when you will begin to receive social security benefits and if so at what cost to your Future Self? Perhaps you should delay benefits until you attain Full Retirement(66-67) age or until age 70? 

You get the idea.  These are the things you should be thinking about.  

Will you continue working in your field, perhaps at a reduced level? Might you like to try something else or settle for a Red Jacket as a “Greeter” at a Box Store? Perhaps you will be happy to become the “default babysitter” for your grandkids. Will you volunteer? Take tennis lessons? Buy a Motor Home and tour the back roads you were always too hurried to explore?Will you travel as a live aboard or enjoy boutique hotels and rustic inns? Should you remain at home, will you garden or watch Oprah re runs wondering what ever happened to Mrs. Cleaver? Will you play more golf, exercise more and read extensively? 

What does Retirement mean to you? What resources do you have? Which current expenses can be eliminated or at least dramatically reduced? Which expenses will you gladly carry forward into Your Life after Work? When you no longer earn a paycheck will you be able to remain in your home…Do you even want to? Drive the same kind of cars? Remain members at the Club? Should you ponder relocating, what criteria might you use and how will you weight the many factors before you? 

We all have heard about the increasing costs of Health Care, Long Term Care along with uncertain footing for Medicare. I have learned from 35 years of experience that one cannot plan for or fund for every contingency. Life Insurance Companies have all of the product actuaries on staff, protecting their interests. Who is protecting yours?

To me a successful retirement is one wherein one is empowered to live a Life of Choice and Fulfillment. In general the fewer limitations be they physical or economic the better! Some things such as Long Term Care are better addressed as policy benefits and or riders in a professionally designed life insurance program than as a standalone policy wherein the insure retains the right to raise premiums as often as they wish in the Future. One benefits from unbiased financial advice more than from a product salesperson.

. Caveat Emptor!

We need a plan visualized from 10,000 feet! A plan with a Big Picture perspective; A plan with clear goals for near term “must haves”, near term wants and the same drill for long term  must haves and wants. We know that Total Return Strategies work best, especially in periods of very low interest rates. .Never sell into fear. I have observed time and again how commission brokers (as well as some aggressive Advisors) have marketed certain income driven investments to seniors based on high assumed rates of interest and implied low risk. Not so for long. Examples would include MLPs, Non- traded REITs, Indexed annuities, Variable Annuities and GNMA funds. 

We see such offerings made to seminar attendees. Again Caveat Emptor! . They sound like this: : “Our investment strategy guarantees your principal while allowing you to participate in upward movements in the stock market….And should you wish to enjoy Lifetime Income that you cannot outlive, well by golly,this is your lucky day!.

We believe that the value of conflict free advice is great; that the focus on the client’s best interests is critical to success The Industry Standard of : suitability is dangerous because most financial professionals know more about this area than their customers. And therefore, much like a black belt in karate or a professional fighter, are held to a higher standard when charged with assault. An investment fiduciary places the client's interests ahead of her own or that of her firm. Don't you deserve the best advice rather than suitable advice?.. How do people choose a restaurant? Do they look for the best food or just suitable food? When buying a car do they seek the best deal or just one that is suitable? When planning a vacation do we check and compare prices and accommodations on line or do we gladly pay the full rack rate? We believe there is value in knowing that everything that is being done for you is intended to benefit you first and on an ongoing basis.

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Important questions you should be asking:

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