This is a direct quote from a new client I met with last week. There were St Patty’s day decorations on the sliding glass door there in the kitchen and we joked about Irish booz (I don’t drink..never have) being the best part of the “green holiday”. Of course, I was there looking at their financial plan, and frankly, they weren’t in too bad of shape. That didn’t mean Mike was happy though. Too much in spending and debt (a nice little credit card he didn’t know about really made him happy. Marriage is funny that way) and too big of a mess of the budget and what goes where and no real plan. Mike was agitated! Something not all that uncommon now-a-days.
Mike is looking at being unemployed by the end of the year. The shop where he works is going under and he’s trying to figure out how to get from here to retirement. He’s a saver but Shelli isn’t, and he took a pretty good hit back in 2008 so he’s just now back to where he was then. He’s not sure where to invest because he’s been reading http://www.cnbc.com/id/101418280 and he doesn’t have time to watch the market 24/7.
“Where’s the magical pot everyone talks about. I’ve tried to be good and save, though we haven’t been perfect. We’ve saved a lot. I’ve been employed consistently until now, I’ve made some decent real estate investments (though, to be honest, they’ve used these gains to pay off debt or buy a toy or two more often than not) followed the buy and hold strategy, but then I read the other day about sequence of gains risk and the real effects of loss and all of a sudden I’m not so convinced that traditional planning works.”
Mike was citing Ric Dalberri, founder of Retirement USA and there are dozens of others out there who cite this statistic as well. I’m not sure who the real source is, but if you look through all the statistics, it’s very apparent that the system is broken. If you’re doing nothing about it, you’ll end up like 95 out of every 100 Americans who won’t have what they need at retirement. Of course, there is always Social Security (we hope!) but actuarially speaking that won’t last another 20 years.
The good news for Mike, and for you and me, is that there are things we can do to secure our pot of gold. We don’t have to stay uneducated about what loss really does to us and our true returns, we don’t have to just act like we know what sequence of return risk means, we don’t have to put our faith in the greed of Wall Street. We can take control and create a secure retirement. We can learn things like how to pay our mortgage off in 2/3 the normal time with virtually no change to our budgets and spending habits, we can learn how to suck 2 times as much out of our retirement while protecting those funds from the fluctuations in the market, we can learn how to outdo Obamacare by building our own health insurance fortress (and save some money at the same time). For Mike and Shelli, we’ve put them on the path to retirement freedom. We’ve found that pot and it’s getting filled with gold as we speak. They’ll be alright. Now it’s your turn!
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