Bob and Susan are a very typical, happily married couple with three children. Bob is a CEO at a successful company in Philadelphia, and Susan retired from her career as a teacher to raise their children. They spent their lives working hard, not thinking much about the future or their long-term financial situation.
As Bob tells it, he woke up on his fiftieth birthday and had an epiphany. For the first time, he realized that he and Susan needed to start preparing for the next phase of their lives – retirement. Their kids were growing older, two of them were already in college, and soon, Bob and Susan would be empty nesters. They had discussed their future before, and they were looking forward to having the financial freedom to work less and do more – travel, fish, play tennis, and spend more time together.
However, Bob and Susan didn’t have a plan in place to achieve that lifestyle. In fact, they had spent very little time evaluating or organizing their financial lives. They had a collection of 401ks, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, 529 plans, annuities, and insurance policies, but they had never defined their goals, calculated what they needed to save, or set a household budget. They were confused, disorganized, and starting to panic, so they called us for guidance.
Bob and Susan’s situation is not unique. Many people have a portfolio – a collection of financial products – but they don’t have a plan. So as retirement draws near, it can lead to overwhelming financial considerations and, for some people, fear. We knew that we could help ease Bob and Susan’s concerns and set them on the right path for the future.
We started by having a deep conversation with Bob and Susan about their financial hopes, dreams, and goals. Some couples don’t envision the same type of future, which can lead to challenging discussions and decisions. We helped them establish what they wanted to accomplish and what they were willing to do to get there.
With those goals in mind, we helped them to organize and simplify their current finances, providing a holistic and comprehensive view of their situation. We then designed a date-and-dollar-specific plan for achieving those goals, and we put it in writing. Bob and Susan committed to each other that they would maintain the discipline required to execute their plan, and they mutually agreed to work with our team as their “accountability coach,” to ensure that they continued down the right path.
We now meet with Bob and Susan regularly to evaluate their progress against their plan, discuss potential course corrections, and make adjustments to maximize their financial management.
Bob and Susan no longer feel confused or stressed, and they are right on track to achieve the future they’ve dreamed about.
Turning 50 is a milestone event, as children start to become independent and retirement is within sight. Financial planning is critical at this time to ensure that you can achieve your goals. Here are some of the key lessons we can learn from Bob and Susan:
- It’s important to define what your retirement will look like – and establish a shared vision with your spouse; only then can you appropriately create a plan to achieve that vision
- A collection of investments, assets, and products is a portfolio, not a plan. A plan will establish, in writing, the appropriate mix of these items and their value
- A plan only works if you’re committed and remain accountable
If you’re approaching retirement without a plan in place, we can help. We’ll work with you to create a step-by-step roadmap and timeline to enable the future you deserve.