Progress Reviews: The What and When

In Articles, Estate Planning, Income Planning, Investment Management, Long Term Care, Social Security, Tax Planning, Weekly Articles by Adam Cufr

We’re in the business of helping people by building retirement plans with and for them. Perhaps for you. As part of that process, we meet regularly to ensure that the plan is still on-track to achieve your objectives. In light of that commitment to regular progress reviews, it’s fair to ask the question, “What will we discuss at our review and how often should we have reviews?”

If you know me at all, you won’t be surprised when I say that it depends. Every plan is different and every family we serve has unique needs. As a result, each progress review is unique unto itself. There are many similarities that I’d like to point out though, because the fundamentals are somewhat universal.

Here are topics that we typically discuss at progress reviews:

  • Have your objectives or circumstances changed since we met last? Naturally, life happens and your plan can and should be adjusted accordingly.
  • How have your accounts performed? Investment accounts in the markets have been (and will continue to be) on a wild ride, while annuities, Long Term Care Insurance, and life insurance tend to act very predictably because of their guarantees. Does performance dictate any changes in your plan?
  • Have any new planning strategies or product developments occurred that may impact your planning? This one is on me. As you’ll read about in the upcoming print Steward newsletter, a new product enhancement may make long term care planning accessible and appropriate for many more people than in the past. Should you incorporate the new strategy into your retirement plan?
  • Is there technology or administrative assistance that we can provide you to improve your experience? Sometimes just logging into an account online can become a challenge. And once you’ve accessed the account, what information can you glean to help better understand your investments? Dave is our technology and operations guru, and he enjoys helping our clients in this regard. 

Frequency of Progress Reviews

The benefits to a commitment of regular progress reviews cannot be overstated. So how often should we do them? At a minimum, annually. In fact, once a plan is setup and running, an annual review is often the right pace for many people. However, for those who are still getting the pieces in-place, semi-annually or quarterly make more sense.

Many of the reviews we perform are with families that we’ve worked with for years. Earlier in those relationships, we asked you how often you’d like to meet for progress reviews. If that pace no longer feels right, please let us know and we’ll make the adjustment. If you’re not sure what your progress review frequency is, simply click ‘reply’ to this email and share your thoughts with me. We want you to feel on-track and this is one means to accomplish that end.

One of my favorite quotes is from former heavyweight champ, Mike Tyson. He said, “Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.” While retirement planning isn’t usually a contact sport, a sinking market or fears of terrorism and worldwide unrest can feel like getting punched in the mouth when the financial stakes are so high. When you’re heading into and through retirement, the stakes become quite high indeed. Tyson’s wisdom should remind us that plans should be revisited regularly.  

I hope this guide helps a bit. Again, hit reply to this email if you’d like to discuss your next progress review.

All the best,

Adam Cufr Signature

Adam Cufr, RICP®