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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

The field of dreams

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“You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”
– Ernie Harwell, legendary sportscaster

With October upon us, many Americans are turning their attention to the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series. I am always intrigued by the excitement and drama of it all ?? 1/2 when the stakes are so high for each team (even more so when my beloved Red Sox are still playing).

As advisors charged with helping our clients achieve their retirement dreams, there are actually quite a few lessons we can learn from baseball managers who successfully guide their team through the postseason.

For baseball managers, success begins by having a long-term view during the 162-game regular season. They proactively manage risk during the season by conditioning their players, resting superstars occasionally to prevent fatigue, etc. They don’t get too caught up in short-term performance, knowing that a four-game losing streak, for example, has very little impact on the team’s long-term success.

Sounds a bit like advising clients during the accumulation phase of retirement, doesn’t it? As clients save, we help them proactively manage risk. We encourage them to have a long-term view of market performance, reminding them that a brief market losing streak has very little long-term impact on a retirement portfolio as long as the wins outnumber the losses over the long haul.

But the post-season is a whole new ballgame. During the playoffs, baseball managers employ strategies that address the urgency of the situation. After all, that same four-game losing streak that had very little overall impact on the regular season would now mean the team heads home without that coveted World Series trophy.

Similarly, advisors must help our senior clients employ different strategies during the distribution phase of retirement savings. For example, protecting against a poor sequence of market returns is critical — that brief market downturn that had very little overall impact during accumulation can be devastating to a portfolio during distribution, especially during the first several years. In addition, we must help our clients manage other distribution-specific risks including inflation and longevity. Of course, we must also protect against unforeseen health-related opponents that can drain a retirement portfolio quicker than a Curt Schilling fastball.

Unlike baseball managers, however, advisors have insurance solutions at our disposal that can guarantee success for our clients during their post-season.

With the looming retirement of 78 million baby boomers in the U.S., we must strive to increase our understanding of distribution-specific risks, and the full range of innovative insurance products and annuities that can help guarantee income for life. With insight into this specific topic from leading economic and financial experts, the MDRT Boomertirement Web site ( is a great place to start.

Our clients are counting on us to lead them to financial victory. It’s time to step up to the plate!

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