For most people, retirement represents a significant lifestyle change. Not only does their daily work routine end, but they no longer earn a salary from an employer or receive income from their business or professional practice. The dual prospect of having more free time but less income can be both liberating and stressful at the same time.
Ivy League Financial Advisors has been working with pre-retirees and retirees since 1996. We understand the financial and the personal aspects of this immense life transition. That’s why our retirement planning process begins with detailed discussions about our clients’ plans and hopes for retirement, as well as their concerns about how much money it will take to maintain their desired standard of living.
With an understanding of where the client is headed, we can bring our expertise as retirement planners to bear. Our purpose is to build a retirement plan that our clients can live with—literally and figuratively.
Pre-retiree planning usually begins with a reality check: Given your stated age of retirement and your lifestyle goals, are your current savings and spending rates on a path to provide the retirement you envision?
We answer this crucial question by developing a detailed cash flow analysis and balance sheet. Our aim is to identify current and projected assets for retirement. From there, we can project a client’s retirement income needs, incorporating adjustments for lifestyle choices, as well as medical costs, inflation, and other factors. We compare those costs to income that the retirement asset pool is likely to yield, and we add in other sources of income, such as pensions and Social Security. (Also, our Social Security planning review looks at the income impact of starting Social Security early vs. delaying it as long as possible, and the options for spouses to optimize their Social Security elections.)
When we see a shortfall in income, we will review available options, such as: increasing savings to build a bigger nest egg; deferring retirement for an additional year or more; or scaling back on optional expenses in retirement.
As a client reaches retirement, we continue to refine the plan and manage investments to enhance security.
When retired clients come to Ivy League Financial Advisors, our focus is slightly different than it is for pre-retirees. Without several years of income available to build the nest egg, we look in greater detail at the income that is coming from retirement savings, pensions, Social Security, and other sources. Using financial projections we assess year-by-year whether those assets will be sufficient.
In looking at retirees’ investments, we often find that investments have not been allocated properly. Some retirees are invested too conservatively, given that their projected lifespans in retirement are 20 or 30 years, or more. Over several decades, inflation can ravage even a substantial portfolio, thus leaving little for later years or for a financial legacy to family members and charities.
On the other hand, some retirees are invested too aggressively or without proper diversification of their assets. When they were working, they used their income for living expenses, and so a loss in their portfolio did not affect their lifestyle. But in retirement, financial losses can have serious effects—as many retirees learned when the financial crisis sent equities downward in 2008-09. Portfolios that were poorly diversified during that time have still not recovered, and retirees are living with the consequences.
We believe we have developed a way to handle the two major stresses in retirement; cash flow for current income needs and growth to offset the effects of inflation.
Wrapped inside every Ivy League Financial Advisors retirement plan are other considerations that affect everyone, such tax planning, insurance analysis, and estate planning. Mistakes in these areas can undermine even a well-funded retirement, so they are always important variables.
Contact us today to start making your retirement more secure. An initial consultation is free.
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11 North Washington Street, Suite 250, Rockville, MD 20850