Retirement Theory is the embodiment of our planning philosophy.
Over the years, we have studied numerous retirement planning processes, each with their own strengths and limitations.
Our approach relies on rational, evidence-based planning strategies designed to deliver what our clients want most: a secure and comfortable retirement lifestyle.
We believe that retirees should strive to eliminate as much risk as possible to secure their essential needs. Much like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we must cover essentials first before attempting to cover our wants and legacy wishes. Historical averages and future projections are useful, but in retirement you only have one attempt to get it right. From that perspective, the cost of failure is exceedingly high.
Beyond the more visible risks of investing, there are many more that need to be addressed while planning a secure retirement. These include: Healthcare and long-term care costs, inflation, overspending, divorce, liability, pre-mature death, and extended lifespans.
With the above "Safety-First"1 and risk management principles in mind, we construct the remainder of our clients' portfolios be dynamically aligned to their personal retirement goals. Our focus is on getting the most spending ability and, if desired, legacy potential, from your assets and income sources.
Tax-efficiency is at the core of every planning decision we make.
The complex and ever-changing tax code presents one of the most daunting challenges in retirement. We believe that a deep focus on tax-planning is paramount to optimal retirement outcomes. As the oft-quoted Judge Learned Hand eloquently states:
“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes.”
Finally, we are keenly aware that retirement planning processes continue to evolve. To that end, we are staunch proponents of continuing education. And while our guiding principles remain the same, we embrace the changes that may improve our clients’ outcomes over time.
1. The term "Safety-First" was coined by "Retirement Research" founder Wade Pfau, PhD CFA, RICP in 2012. It essentially defines a philosophy of covering essential retirement needs with protected income sources, including Social Security, defined benefit pensions, annuities, and government bonds.
Throughout our work together, we adhere to several planning process beliefs:
Let's face it. Retirement planning can be complicated. The last thing you need is to wish you had a translator every time you see your financial advisor. Even the most complex planning strategies can be communicated clearly-- without financial jargon! How else can you make a sensible decision on something so important?
"What risks are associated with this investment strategy? What costs or fees might I pay? Is there another option that we might consider?" These are all questions that should be answered-- without you having to ask first. Your comfort and trust during the planning process is among our highest priorities.
There are a lot of moving parts to your financial life. And those parts are often highly intertwined. Even when they don't appear to be. A change within your portfolio, for example, might affect your Medicare premiums. Your car insurance limits could impact whether or not to roll over your 401(k)! Retirement planning should be comprehensive in nature; addressing all the parts of your financial life and coordinating them together for the most optimal outcome.
Retirement planning is an ongoing process. As your life evolves, so does your financial picture. Taxes and law changes are perpetually in a state of flux. Market conditions shift, and your tolerance and ability to take risk do too. Even your priorities may change over time. We are there by your side, every step of the way, to guide you through the financial journey of retirement.
You are a unique individual. The path you chart on your retirement journey does not fit neatly into a canned financial questionnaire. Every client we work with has their own story to share. They have their own needs, challenges, and opportunities. Our specialty lies in learning about you and tailoring a plan for the life you want to live.
"Have I saved enough to retire? Am I on track? Are my investments set up sensibly? What risks haven't I thought about, or prepared for? " These are all common worries of people without a plan. We want to make sure those nagging questions are answered and set you on a path toward gaining what you want in life. Having the clarity of knowing where you stand, and which direction to head, is tremendously empowering!