I have always heard that personal stories are the most impactful. I believe that to be true, as I would much prefer to read an article based on experience as opposed to a hypothetical theory. With that in mind, I would love to share with you my story about “Retirement” Planning.
I began working for Lincoln Financial Advisors some 17 years ago. As many of you can relate, the days seem to go by slowly, but the years so fast that we don’t even know how we arrived at this place in our lives. When I began working for Joel and Bob, I really had no knowledge of this industry…I did not even own a life insurance policy of my own, nor did I know a mutual fund from a stock or bond. Although my husband had been saving for years into a retirement plan, neither he nor I paid much attention to it. Our hope was that when we did retire, it would be sufficient to provide us a comfortable lifestyle.
As you can imagine, “hope” is not a very good retirement plan.
When my husband began talking in earnest about his desire to retire, I can tell you that I started to panic a little. It is never easy to discuss finances with an outside person. Finances are a very private matter. Joel and David had mentioned it to me in the past (apparently I am not getting any younger), but I was not ready to reveal so much about myself. However, being in this business for a number of years, I came to realize that before we could comfortably make that decision for our family, we needed to do some financial planning.
The process was an eye opening experience for us. Gathering all the information about our assets and income was the easy part. However, sitting down and listing all of the ways we spend money, was enlightening to say the least. From all of the years of doing financial planning for clients, I know that creating this expense analysis is the most critical part of planning. If you are not completely honest about your family’s spending, the information you get from the financial plan will not be valid. What did we discover? Apparently…I spend a LOT of money on clothes.
Once the financial planning process was complete, WPP assisted me with obtaining the answers to the following questions:
- Are our assets enough to support our lifestyle, given a conservative rate of return and the way we spend money with only my income?
- Will we run out of money if we live longer than expected?
- Would a health event throw us off track?
- Are we adequately insured?
- Is our portfolio efficiently allocated given our tolerance for risk?
Having a financial plan provided us the information we needed to make the decision. My husband retired in 2015. Without the assistance of WPP, we may not have made that decision, because I would not have been confident to do so.
Perhaps you have been wondering if financial planning is right for you. Although my situation may be different from yours, there is no time like the present to plan.