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Am I on Track for Retirement?

Rus Hunt, CFP®

That is one of the most common and important questions that a financial advisor can help answer for a client. It is a common question, but the answer is unique to each individual or family. It is easy to find a calculator online for answers. After plugging in your planned retirement age, retirement income, retirement assets, and life expectancy, you will then receive an amount you can spend each month during retirement. Based on the answer, you may decide to work longer, save more money, or feel confident in your progress toward retirement. Of course, this strategy is certainly better than no planning and hope for the best. Hope is an excellent quality to have and can sustain us through life’s challenges, but it is not a great approach while planning for retirement.

A reliable answer to the retirement readiness question requires comprehensive planning. There are some all-inclusive online resources available for the do-it-yourself type of person. However, I would strongly encourage anyone to use a professional to help establish a retirement plan. For example, if I decide to do a plumbing project myself, it may work out or end up with a flooded house. On the other hand, if you do your retirement plan yourself, it may work out, or you may find yourself going back to work at age 72 when your expenses exceed your income. I have learned through experience that money spent on professional help is most often money well spent.

The planning process that we engage with clients starts with a discovery meeting where we ask dozens of questions beyond defining goals and gathering financial and tax statements. We strive to understand what is truly important to our clients in this meeting, not just the facts provided on a financial sheet. From this meeting, we can then develop a comprehensive financial plan to review with clients. Of course, adjustments and updates can easily be made if need be. Once the strategy is in place, it is not just put on the shelf but is reviewed in every client meeting to measure progress and make any course corrections. The financial plan covers investments but includes estate planning, insurance needs, tax mitigation, and asset protection. The result of this process is to provide clients with a complete and dynamic plan that enables them to be confident as they approach and then live through retirement, knowing they will be able to focus on those things that are most important to them.

Rus Hunt, CFP® is an Advisor with Rather & Kittrell. Rus is available at [email protected].

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