Where are my Golden Years?

Wide-eyed and fresh to the working world, Joe was excited to embark on his brand new career.

On his very first day, he signed all of the legal documents, including his W-2 and benefits form.  The HR representative then shook his hand and and directed him to the 401(k) line.  It was here that Joe was told that if he followed all of the rules, worked diligently, and put his money away into a qualified account, he would be financially stable enough to provide for his family and would ease toward a comfortable and easy retirement.

Thirty-five years of stress, dedication, and fulfillment within the working world, Joe is ready to start enjoying those well-deserved “Golden Years”. He thinks of traveling to a remote beach resort with his wife, Ruth Ann, visiting his grandchildren as much as possible. He wants to hop on a cruise or two, do yard work and perhaps fix that drippy faucet. Joe wants to do it all.

How fitting, however, that while Joe is dreaming away about glimmering seas, giggling toddlers, and an exotic koi fish pond in the back yard, he glances over his account statement to discover a halting reality—a suffering Wall Street has sucked his retirement funds dry, turning those Golden Years into more of a tarnished copper.

His once-Golden Future is strapped into a Wall Street rollercoaster, uncertain about the inflation factor, tax rates and his rising healthcare costs.

He buttons up a blue polyester shirt, feigns a smile as he greets countless shoppers at the front door and sighs. “Welcome to Wal-Mart,” he musters.

Joe’s situation, though sad, is not too uncommon.  I often hear stories like these from retirees who have come into my office. They’re scared.

Joe’s situation, like many others, can be avoided.

To alleviate that common fear for retirees, I ask my clients a few important questions in order to unveil their past and understand where they expect to be in the future.

  1. Do you want to be protected from any negative market risk?
  2. Are you interested in participating in a portion of the S&P 500 positive years?
  3. Would you like to lock in all gains every year with an annual re-set?
  4. Do you want to guarantee an income for life?
  5. Would you like to grow tax – deferred?
  6. Are you interested in having the LUC (liquidity, use and control) factor with your money through penalty free withdrawals?

Once I go over this foundational questionnaire with my clients, they are soon able to find the path to much-needed peace of mind.  Most of the solutions I place forth for them have never once been made known to them before.

They realize they can travel, they can visit the grandchildren, they can relax on the beach and enjoy life without the fear of being on the market rollercoaster.  By finding out their financial wants and needs, I am able to reassure them that any financial gains made in the year will be locked in.  This is important to remember because “Recovery is not Gain.”

Retirement shouldn’t be synonymous with disappointment. Joe’s story doesn’t have to happen to you.

Don’t treat the rest of your life like a financial gamble. Ask yourself those types of questions early and prepare your funds.

For more on Carla Chastain, click here: www.chastainfinancial.com