Uncertainty: The Scourge of Retirement

You have worked long and hard to accumulate enough wealth to retire. It has taken skill, guts, determination, sacrifice, resilience, and maybe even a touch of luck, an inheritance, or some combination thereof. Now you are here on the precipice of retirement, more than ready to enter a joyful era of comfort and certainty.

Wait, did I say “certainty”? Well, that is indeed what we wish for, but most of us are instead afflicted by a nagging angst about the future-and just how sure of it we can be for ourselves and our loved ones. It never quite goes away, although you can scare it into the shadows by rationalizations or by the ragged and worn mantras of the financial industry. You have heard them all: You have enough to survive and recover from any storm. You can take X amount yearly and have an XX level of certainty about not running out of money.¬† You can become more frugal if you need to. You can “just hang in there” and not get emotional or irrational if things are bad; the cycle will change yet again. You’ve heard all this, but you want to know if it is wise to believe it, or if it is in fact an agenda to keep you just as you are.

Financial uncertainty takes a few main forms which have a common underlying refrain. The usual culprits are concerns about taxes, market volatility, and perhaps care costs. The common dark chorus is: Will I have enough?

Will I have enough under any circumstances? Even with market volatility uncomfortably high and taxes now near an all-time low? What about unexpected care costs, kid and grandkid support, etc.? Then there is the national debt…how and when are we going to pay that piper?

You probably did not get where you are by avoiding facing issues head on. Life has taught you not to get married to ideas merely because they are common, comfortable, or convenient. You know that unfaced problems only grow bigger with time. Are the issues of tax and market risk really any different?

You may not get proactive advice from honest, hard-working CPAs busy doing tax returns, and your street-level brokerage may seem to have little interest, incentive, or experience in telling it like it is. But a 50% tax, for instance, is not unthinkable nor unprecedented, which means you could end up with half of the IRA/401k/pension money you think you have.

An impartial financial professional held to the fiduciary standard can help you separate from the trivia of a hot purchase or a slight increase in return and focus instead on tools with guarantees, lifetime income, age-appropriate financial vehicles, and potential growth. It is understandable that you may now want less of investments and more of reliable insurance contracts.

An independent financial advisor can help show you the pros and cons of several alternatives for mitigating tax, market, and care risks. A significant market reversal is inevitable and arguably quite overdue. It could be gradual, ensnaring you in emotional hope for recovery as it slides south, or precipitous, doing considerable damage before it can be stopped.

Would you value a second opinion on the tax competency of your plan? Would you benefit from exchanging the potential of stronger growth for some guaranteed retirement income? Your level of certainty and the security of your family may be worth some investigation with a financial advisor held to the fiduciary standard who can bring experience, creative alternatives, and New Vision to your retirement.

Any references to security and lifetime income, generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investment products.  Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

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