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WHEN TO RETIRE? LIFE IS A BEACH

Amir and Jen were living a comfortable lifestyle. They felt they were doing a lot of things to prepare for retirement, but just couldn’t be sure when they could retire with confidence.

During our initial consultation we found that they were very organized. Amir came prepared with a spreadsheet showing all of their income and expenses, along with a balance sheet showing their investments, cash and other assets, and their total liabilities.

We spent the bulk of our first visit learning about their biggest concerns and helping them define what they wanted to accomplish with their wealth, with a high degree of specificity. We learned that they wanted to know when they could retire, how much they would need to support their current lifestyle, and whether they could they afford to buy a beach house. They were also not sure if they were managing their money well or investing properly.

Together we identified several strengths, as well as some areas that could thwart their future plans. After mapping their current income and liquid assets, including cash and investments, against their expenses to see, based on current facts, when they could reasonably expect to stop working, we also tested their plan for market corrections, high inflation, premature death, disability, or need for long term care support. We prepared a scenario analysis to see if they could get that beach house, and how much they could afford.

Our investment review process indicated that their investments in their 401ks and brokerage accounts, which were growth oriented, did not align with their investor profiles, which were growth with income. In short, they were unknowingly taking on more risk without the greater potential for returns, so we rebalanced their portfolio with a selection that aligned with their more moderate investor profile.

They had plenty of life insurance, more than they needed actually, and adequate disability and long term care insurance coverage. The way they owned their life insurance was problematic, as it could create unnecessary estate taxes.

Their legal documents didn’t address digital assets like their email accounts, Facebook, and Linked In accounts. In addition, it had been over 10 years since their estate documents had been set up, so we recommended they have them reviewed by an estate planning attorney. By coordinating our work with their attorney, the attorney’s fees were lower and she also addressed the titling of their life insurance.

This had the added benefit of reducing the amount of life insurance needed along with a premium reduction.

Jen and Amir now have a decision to make. When to retire? With the knowledge gained from having a financial plan, they can either retire at age 62, if they buy the beach house, or age 59 if they do not buy it.

The hypothetical example above is for illustrative purposes and is not representative of any actual experience. Individual results will vary.