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Piecing together the retirement puzzle

by Owen Mulhern CFP®

It seemed like a great idea to start the 1000 piece puzzle on that rainy weekend.  The family coming together to share in the excitement and challenge of putting together the various shapes and colors was almost too much to handle.  Oh, what fun we were going to have!  

Then, we poured the pieces onto the table.  The 1000 random pieces that needed to be organized and coordinated in a precise fashion were revealed to our awaiting crew.  Wow.  We all agreed that 1000 puzzle pieces was a lot of pieces.  The task seemed too difficult, too time-consuming, and for some of us just flat-out overwhelming.  A few of our participants chose to amuse themselves with other activities, while the not so faint of heart charged forward to begin our monumental endeavor.   

The primary tasks were evident to all; organize the pieces that have a flat edge to create the border, and then group the remaining pieces based on color and the picture on the front of the box.  These steps, and these steps alone, were the key to making any progress on our journey.  There were so many puzzle pieces to consider, and in that chaos, we had to find some order, process, and make small but meaningful progress.  That is when it actually got fun! 

Have you considered all of the “puzzle pieces” of your retirement financial plan? 

Have you emptied the financial “box” on the table to reveal just how many tasks await you?  When that box is emptied, many families are faced with unknowns, challenges, differing priorities – not knowing where to start, many choose not to start at all.  They choose instead to put the pieces back in the box because they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of financial items to organize and many don’t feel armed with the know-how or confidence to get started. We at Financial Coach are not surprised by this.  Here are a few items that today’s modern retiree must contend with:  

Social Security and Pension claiming strategies, Medicare/Medigap eligibility, How to invest and allocate retirement savings, How to get income from savings and investments, Legal documents and estate planning strategies, Gifting to kids and grandkids, Aging parents, Buy a second home or spend the money on travel, College and higher education savings, Long Term Care insurance, Continuing Care Community. 

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  These are big decisions, some of which are in fact irrevocable.  The information is out there, but much of it is either confusing or conflicting.  We know that the consequences of making the wrong decision can be severe, so we avoid that pain by making no decision at all.  Well, ignoring the issues will not make them go away.  It’s time to get organized, take a deep breath, consult a second set of eyes, reorient yourself with the big picture on the box, start with your edges to create a border and begin to put the pieces together.   

Our Retirement Gameplan Process creates 2 substantial outcomes for families who are either retired or approaching retirement: 

  1. Competence – We take the time throughout Your Retirement Gameplan process to educate you on the advantages and disadvantages of your options.  Your decision-making becomes well informed and your plan ends up being appropriately aligned with who you are and the life you want to live. 
  1. Confidence – With the financial pieces now organized, and the priorities and tactics set, your viewpoint on life and “what’s next” will change.  The view through this new lens will reveal that you are not only prepared for life’s challenges but capable of taking advantage of life’s opportunities.  To us, that is an exciting worldview. 

Getting to this point is not an easy task, but it is unbelievably rewarding.  Like the 1000 piece puzzle, you must first face the challenge head-on and take the first step.  Raise your hand, ask for help, and be willing to make some short-term sacrifices for long-term success. 

At Financial Coach we become your partner in organizing all of the pieces, taking inventory of what you have and what may be missing, and then lay out a roadmap for your future financial life.  Once the puzzle border is built, the picture is clear, and the financial foundation is set, you will be amazed by what you are capable of.   

Investment Advice offered through FC Advisory LLC, a registered investment adviser doing business as “Financial Coach” and as “New Wealth Project”.  This content is provided for informational purposes only.  Views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FC Advisory, LLC.  Information provided is not and should not be interpreted as investment, tax, legal, or other professional advice or recommendation by FC Advisory, LLC or the members of our firm.  Always consult the appropriate professional regarding your specific situation before implementing any options presented or inferred.  FC Advisory LLC, All rights reserved.

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