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'You’d be crazy…'

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The transition from paid work to retirement is not without its sleepless nights. Beyond the simple fact of losing one’s daily interactions with co-workers, lunches at the comfy deli down the street and the all-too-familiar commute, retirement brings a whole host of new worries.

Recently, a client who was facing this transition approached me after having received a lump-sum buyout offer from General Motors’ pension plan. It was a sizable sum offered in lieu of the monthly paychecks he had been collecting and would continue to collect for the rest of his life. What began as a simple question of “Should I or shouldn’t I?” turned into a myriad of variables to be considered and scenarios to model. After all, this was a big decision for this new retiree.

This client had also posed the same question to a broker with a very large, big-name firm only to receive a response roughly paraphrased as “You’d be crazy to take the lump sum because nobody can guarantee a better rate of return than you’d get from the pension.” That was the extent of this broker’s advice? “You’d be crazy…”?

After sifting through the seven potential scenarios my client and I identified (such as “What happens if you choose the pension income option and you pass away before your spouse?” and “What happens if either of you need some form of long-term care?”), my client recognized that there was planning to be done and not simply rates of return to chase.

As advisors, we need to recognize that rates of return are certainly an important factor, but they are just one of many factors to consider in real-life retirement planning. Our clients deserve to learn all that is at stake when making important decisions about retirement. They want to know what questions they should be asking before they make major financial decisions—and they want facts, not hyperbole.

When we take the time to look deeper into our clients’ circumstances, we stand to gain substantial benefits for them as well as build deeper relationships with them. Peer deeply into your clients’ financial futures, and you can help them anticipate needs they may not even know they have.

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Adam Cufr is a founding principal of Fourth Dimension Financial Group, LLC. He is the creator of the web-based coaching program The Life Insurance Blueprint, a prolific blogger, and an expert author on Ezine Articles. For more information, go to


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