What You Should Know About Life's "What Ifs"

November 07, 2016

I usually tell people that there’s a big IF right in the middle of life. Just as you never know what may happen in the game of Life, there are many “what ifs” when retirees begin to plan for their retirement. For retirees and soon to be retirees, there are many ifs running through their minds. One of the biggest retirement planning concerns is if they will outlive their income. The good news is that there are products, processes and plans available to help mitigate longevity risk (outliving one’s income).

We typically address three core retirement planning scenarios with our clients:

  1. You Live Too Long
    In this scenario, we check that you have income funded with products that help minimize the possibility of you outliving your income.
  1. You Die Too Soon
    In this scenario, we closely evaluate what things will look like if you pass away. This includes items such as your legal documents, estate planning and proper planning of income continuation to your spouse, children and/or heir(s). Normally, we will also carefully evaluate life insurance options and Social Security to help ensure your spouse, children and/or heir(s) are protected.
  1. You Become Disabled
    In this scenario, we help ensure retirees have a plan in place that will pay you an income regardless of whether you’re able to work. We typically evaluate disability insurance, long term care and other strategies to help ensure you will not be a burden financially to your loved ones if you become disabled.

One of these three scenarios could happen to just about everyone. As you can see, we put our focus on strategies rather than specific products to help protect you in these various scenarios. Just as you wouldn’t build a house around a faucet, we don’t build retirement plans around specific products. Just like the classic food pyramid illustration, we want to build a retirees financial plan with a strong base. Many people build their financial plan upside down by starting with products and rates of return. They get it all wrong. 

Instead of products, we want to talk about the problem. The problem that many Americans are going to have, regardless of what financial planner, product, or process they use, is having enough money accumulated to last a lifetime.

There’s an old saying that you either have a will or the state you live in has a will for you by default. It’s the same with retirement planning. You either work with someone who is well trained in retirement planning or you’re that person by default. This is a scary thing for most people and it’s absolutely essential to ensure the right person is in the driver’s seat of your retirement.


Opinions voiced on this blog are not intended to provide specific advice and should not be construed as recommendations for any individual.  To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial, tax or legal professional.  Please remember that investment decisions should be based on an individual’s goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk.  There are no guarantees that any investment strategy will meet its intended objective. Estate planning can involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations.  You should consider the counsel of an experienced estate planning professional before implementing any strategy.