Briefcase Study

January 2015: Briefcase Study

In Briefcase Study, Estate Planning, Income Planning, Investment Management, January 2015, Long Term Care, Social Security by Adam Cufr

Each issue of The Steward will include a brief case study. In it, strategies will be highlighted that we utilize in solving problems and creating opportunities for our clients. We hope you’ll enjoy this case study and find some wisdom in it that may help you in your own planning.

“So, compared to others, how are we doing?”

This question came up recently and it comes up often and I love it when people have the courage to ask. Don’t you secretly want to know if you’ve saved more than your friends or if your income is higher? It’s easy to tell if your house is bigger or if your car is more expensive. But when it comes to retirement planning, we all would like to know how well we’re doing, right?

In reality, the question is equally as useful as asking whether a size 10 shoe is good or not. I can tell you it’s better than a size 11 but you’d likely stare at me blankly, waiting for me to explain further. So when the question is asked: “How are we doing?” we should not be surprised when the response is: “Well, what are you trying to accomplish?”

As an example, we work with families who have multiple homes. While I celebrate their ability to accomplish their dream of having two homes, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Why? Because at this time in my life, my most valued resource is time. If I could be granted just one wish, it would be more time to focus on interests of mine, and maintaining two homes runs counter to that goal. In fact, I would love to have a smaller house than we have now, but my wife and five daughters clearly have the majority vote on that matter. For others, the second home provides tremendous joy and utility. That’s fantastic.

As a standard response, I answer “You’re doing great!” in response to the question of how one is doing financially. Consider the fact that you’re meeting with a person to determine how to best handle the money you have saved that you will need in the future. Think about that. Not only can you remain fed and sheltered, but you have extra money! That alone says you have done well and deserve to celebrate.

Practically speaking, the goal of retirement planning is to reach a point where your accumulated assets can provide you with enough income to sustain your lifestyle for the rest of your life, without having to go to work for a paycheck. Based on your needed or desired lifestyle costs, your number is different than anyone and everyone else’s. Some wear a size 10 shoe and others wear a size 11.

If you’re considering whether or not you’ll meet your income goals when you’d like to be retired, please schedule time with us to build a plan. Your enough number is yours alone and as such, you owe it to yourself to discover what it is. Let us help you.


Adam Cufr, RICP® (Retirement Income Certified Professional®) is a financial advisor and founding principal of Fourth Dimension Financial Group, LLC providing personal finance and retirement planning services. Adam is a Columnist for Retirement Advisor Magazine. He is also a sought-after media commentator and thought leader. Adam was named one of The 20 Most Creative People In Insurance in 2015 and is a columnist for Retirement Advisor Magazine and the author of Off the Record – Secrets to Building a Successful Retirement and a Lasting Legacy.

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