This month’s post is the first in a series focused on retirement. A word of caution: this series may challenge — and hopefully change — the way you and your clients think about preparing for retirement. Let’s start with how you think about retirement and position that perspective through a new lens. You won’t need binoculars or even a calculator, just an open mind to think about your clients’ retirement future.

Here is the question: When someone sets out to climb a mountain, what is typically the goal? Think for a minute. If you ask your clients they will usually respond, “To get to the top, of course!” While this is not incorrect, the answer should really be to make it to the top of the mountain and to make it safely back down.

Now, think about preparing for retirement using the mountain climbing example. Through all of your years of employment, you are working and adding value with your employer while also saving and spending. The problem facing people today is that we have not saved and invested enough on our way up the mountain (during the accumulation phase), but we still want to enjoy the lifestyle we have grown accustomed to on the way down the mountain.

Ironically, the fear among many retiring Americans is not dying too soon, but rather living too long. Many today are outliving their money, which is posing significant challenges in their retirement years. We also see many retirees working part-time jobs to provide supplemental income. While this is not something many of us want to think about, it is a reality we need to understand.

Okay, back to the mountain. Our goal once we reach the peak of the mountain (our retirement age) is to be able to enjoy life’s pleasures with family and friends on our way back down. Unfortunately, the traditional approach to retirement income distributions is not giving retirees the amount of money they need in retirement or the confidence that they won’t run out of money.  While there is not a magic number for retirement, there are different strategies that can help your clients prepare for their journey back down the mountain and quell the fear of running out of money. I can show you how to help clients enhance their retirement income, while also building in more guarantees (that they won’t run out of money) by using both retirement assets (such as 401(k), IRA or 403(b)) and whole life insurance. After all, wouldn’t it be better if we could show clients how to have more retirement income coming from less assets but — and here’s the exclamation point — with more guarantees? 

My next post will begin to unravel the traditional thinking of retirement distribution that will allow clients more retirement income with more guarantees. To get ready, you might want to pull out your calculator.

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