What Is Missing From Most Retirement Advice

Tony’s thoughts about this: For those of you who have not yet ‘retired’, know that it will be dramatically different from your ‘before retired’ years. Planning for those years, if you expect to enjoy life and consider your retirement a success, is essential.

My days as an active, looking for new clients financial person are on the wane. But my interest in taking care of existing clients and finding ways to help others have not diminished. To that end I offer you these useful comments from Kevin Brock.

Kevin Bock, Impact Partners, July 5, 2018

After nearly 30 years in retirement and legacy planning, I’ve noticed some common threads that could devastate many retirement plans! Most people don’t know where to turn or what to expect as they get closer to retirement, and they may think that they have everything taken care of … Wrong!

Before we proceed, here are some thoughts on the two main professionals who many people think have everything taken care of for them.

If you’ve met with your lawyer and think you have everything taken care of, ask yourself: Are they licensed to give financial/insurance advice? Most aren’t. Do they have a working knowledge of taxes and how to minimize or potentially avoid them? Is their main source of income from retirement and estate planning (not administration), or do they do other things and use wills and estates as just a sideline?

If you’ve been working with an investment advisor, have they coordinated a plan that covers income planning, asset planning, tax planning, health care planning, legacy planning, and legal planning? I believe these are the 6 most important parts of proper retirement and estate planing!

Now: Do you still think everything is taken care of?

As we mature and become retirees, things change. Our needs change; our wants and desires change; our goals change … and our retirement and estate plans need to change to meet these new needs, wants, desires, goals, and concerns!

As we age, we may need others to help us occasionally. We may eventually need help with daily living activities, like eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and maintaining continence. Some other considerations may be the need for mental support or companionship, transportation, meal preparation, managing household needs (cleaning, laundry, trash, yard maintenance, etc.), help with medication, finances, and more!

Does your lawyer or advisor have a depth of knowledge in these areas, and can they direct you to quality resources that can help with in-home care, personal care homes, or assisted living placement when staying at home is no longer an option?

So, do you really have everything taken care of?

A good retirement and estate plan should cover most, if not all, of the above areas. You should have a good way to access these resources when needed.

Another area that may be important is protecting your assets from creditors, family members, catastrophic medical expenses, and taxes. For example, did you know that probate and inheritance taxes are optional and can often be reduced or eliminated with proper planning?

So far, is everything taken care of?

Have you ever known someone who was left with a mess when their loved one passed? Their estate may have been substantially reduced by fees and taxes, and the confusion may have taken years to clear up because the family contested a will. The family split up because of arguments, many times because things aren’t spelled out in detail in the last wishes. Most parents don’t want strife after they pass, but fighting and arguing is not a rarity! Simple planning gets simple results. Effective planning gets effective results.

Did you know that when some people die, their estates can become public knowledge at the courthouse? In my experience, I have seen salespeople go to the courthouse to find out who got what, get their personal information, and call them to sell them windows, siding, doors, or whatever else. If you have a will, it will most likely direct your estate into probate, be delayed, and become public knowledge.

Did you know that, with proper planning and beneficiary designations, you could keep your estate private? With proper planning, it can be distributed in a few weeks or months instead of 1-2 years or more!

So, how do you find a professional who can handle most or all of your future needs? It can be difficult. People want more of their needs handled under one roof or with one professional who is knowledgeable about what is available in the categories I mentioned above.

When you are searching for a professional to help you with your retirement journey, ask them how much experience they have with income planning and guaranteed income you cannot outlive, asset planning, tax reduction planning, health care planning, legacy planning, and legal planning. Find a professional with a depth of knowledge in as many of these areas as possible. They don’t have to be a CPA or an attorney, and you may need to include these qualified advisors in your plan. If your main advisor has a working knowledge in all of the above areas, you can potentially reduce holes, gaps, and problems that can derail your wants, needs, goals, and desires in retirement.

In nearly 30 years, we rarely have had someone come into our office who truly had everything taken care of. There is no perfect plan, but there are effective plans that can reduce surprises in the future!