Broker Check


July 19, 2019

Simply stated, my goal as an advisor is to obtain a better outcome for my client. Some examples might be:

  • A better retirement
  • A better inheritance for the family
  • A better charitable plan
  • A better business exit strategy

 That sounds simple, doesn’t it?  But let’s dig a little deeper. 

 Let’s start with retirement. What is a better retirement? Well, in order to know what a better one is, we need to know what kind of retirement exists or is in the cards now, as “better” is a comparative term. 


To measure the current state of retirement, we start with an analysis of all of the resources available to fund retirement (assets, current and future income streams) and compare that with an analysis of the cost of retirement (annual lifestyle cost, income taxes). To do this we need to know or make assumptions about:

  • Current and future income streams from employment, pensions and Social Security
  • Average annual current after tax spending
  • Inflation
  • Health costs
  • longevity
  • Risk and performance characteristics of retirement investments


The more we know and the less we assume, the more accurate the analysis will be. In addition, depending on the specifics of the situation, we need to wrestle with a few concepts such as:

  • The order of depletion of accounts – when portfolio withdrawals are needed to support lifestyle, what amounts should be taken from which accounts? Sounds like a simple analysis made at the time of withdrawal, but did you know that you might be able to inject great efficiency by having planned in advance for a particular order of depletion to maximize portfolio income value?

  • Sequence of return risk planning – addresses portfolio income and longevity protection in the face of low or negative investment returns early in retirement. Did you know that you could actually plan for this risk in advance of retirement instead of planning to react to it and hoping you are lucky?


Now this is starting to sound complicated. Well it gets worse. Your retirement is actually financially connected to your estate and legacy, charitable and business exit strategy planning. Trying to plan in each of these areas in isolated silos ignores that connection and it ignores the efficiencies which may be had by eliminating coordination gaps that arise when planning in unconnected silos.

I have found that most of my clients at first believed that picking the right investments is the beginning and end of good planning and that all the rest is ancillary and beside the point.  I think the opposite is actually the truth. 

Why do we invest?  We invest our capital to achieve our greater goals in life.  Therefore, we do ourselves a disservice in taking the expedient simple view when there is much more to know in order to make good financial decisions.  Instead, why not ask…how will my decisions impact the likelihood of achieving my goals? 

Shouldn’t we be measuring our place on the continuum to our goals?  Isn’t that what it’s really all about?  Now that is the complicated part where most people need help. 

If you would like to know where you are on that continuum, help is available.   Remember, we are here to help.  Why guess if you don’t have to?