Recently, I spent two days at a conference focused on income during retirement. I want to tell you a story I heard that you will probably think sounds familiar, but the tone I will set today may shed new light on it.
One of the speakers talked about his grandfather, who worked for the same company for 30 years, did everything by the book, and followed his financial advisor's recommendations. He not only had a great pension and his social security, but had also made a point of saving all of his life in order to provide a great nest egg to enjoy with his wife during retirement. At 65 he walked away from his job, sold their home, and started living his golden years with his wife at hand in a cabin on the lake, with all his grandchildren as a big part of his life.
Every year on my birthday, he would send me a card and tell me how I had made him feel over the past year… and insert $25 into the envelope. This was a tradition he kept and still keeps today with my children. The only difference is that 10 years ago the $25 turned into $10. The kids don't know the difference. They are always so excited to get anything, but you know Grandpa does. You know it must bother him immensely that he can't give the full $25. It isn’t that Grandpa did anything wrong - he did everything right and his financial advisor did right by him. It was just the simple fact that Grandpa is now 31 years into his 20 year retirement plan.
So let's go back 31 years ago to 1983. Do remember what a gallon of gasoline was? ____ What about a gallon of milk? _____ It’s no wonder Grandpa's plan became faulty. He still has the same pension and social security he had in 1983, but not the same expenses. So here are my three questions to you:
- Do you think you will never need an increase in income in retirement?
- Will you be able to afford to take a hit in your income in retirement?
- #What do you think the impact of taxes will have on your retirement? Will they go down, or will they go up?
Notice I didn't ask you about your life expectancy or the cost of your health care during retirement. That is because those answers are variable. The answers to my three questions are not. The good news is that unlike Grandpa's advisor, we have the tools to help you plan against all of three of these questions as well as the variables. We all want to be comfortable in retirement. What is your plan to make sure it happens?