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Do You Have a Retirement Game Plan — Or are You just Winging It?

May 23, 2018

Game Plan vs Improvising

When I’m not in the office, I enjoy building things around the house — once I’ve gotten together a game plan for it, at least. A few weeks ago, my wife told me that she was going to Lowes to buy some premade closet organizers. (You know, like the ones I’ve been saying I was going to get to work on for two months now?) I took her hint to get the project started. After determining the steps to build what I had in mind, I was able to build and now, I’ve even got the closet organizers to prove it.

Building anything is a lengthy process. You’re always better off doing your due diligence rather than running at something haphazardly and hoping it works out in the end.

When I start a project, I want a plan in place before I even make the first cut. I want to know all the measurements, cuts, angles, and the amount of material needed to complete the project. What I don’t want is to be half-way done and realize I made a mistake at the beginning. I don’t want to go back to square one. At the end of the day though, I know at worst my mistake means I’ll have to start re-cutting some wood to get things back on track.

However, when it comes to retirement, that “re-cut” you might have to make could involve you going back to work — something no one wants to hear.

Most of us don’t retire just so we can sit at home and watch TV. We want to travel, see family, spend time with our spouses, go fishing, play golf, read a good book; in short, all the things we couldn’t make time for while embroiled in the daily 9-to-5 grind. But how can you make sure you can do what you want in retirement?

The answer is simple: planning.

You have to figure out:

  • How much income you’ll need
  • Where it’s coming from
  • How to make it withstand varying market conditions
  • Whether it can be flexible or stable

In theory, all advisors should be having a sit-down conversation with you and building out a solid game plan. My fear is that they’re not.

I’ve met with many prospective clients who have advisors just letting them wing it when it comes to figuring out their retirement plan. This should be a game plan meant to financially support you for the next 10, 20, 30 or even more years. This is not something you want to improvise along the way.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a project or if you’re trying to find the answers to build a retirement plan to meet your goals—you need a game plan to follow. Once you’ve done that, you’d be surprised how much peace-of-mind having a solid plan in place can give you, rather than just hoping for the best.