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Portage County Farmers Market

Imagining Retirement

By Portage County Business Council

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF®
Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM
Accredited Investment Fiduciary®

I met with prospective new clients recently who were contemplating retirement.  Like so many others, they have worked hard, dedicated themselves to a career and raising a family, and have been strong savers.  When I asked them what the most important thing was that I could help them with, they agreed that it was designing a retirement plan that would give them security and balancing reasonable growth of their portfolio with a sense of not having to worry about buying things such as groceries or a new car.  When I asked what concerns or worries them, they said that it was how outside factors that they can not control, such as a reactive stock market, affects their money and in turn, their security.

The gentleman went on to explain how, as some of his colleagues began to retire, he started to imagine his own retirement.  He said that at first, he imagined the feeling of no longer having the stresses of his career.  He imagined more free time:  time with his wife, time to do the things they love to do, and the freedom to have a schedule that wasn’t centered around work.  Imagining retirement was like a dream filled with all sorts of excitement!  Then, his thoughts turned to “Oh crap, how is this going to work?”   How does one go about making the right decisions of where to invest retirement money, which social security options do he and his wife choose, which accounts to withdraw money from at what time, how long will the money last, what if unexpected expenses occur, how does one know when it is the right time to retire?  The majority of current retirees do not have pensions, so these are anxieties we commonly hear and work through.

We were able to create retirement projections and simulations.  We stress tested the plan by putting it through the market performance of the previous decade, how their portfolio would be affected by factors out of his control, such as the market losses that occurred in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008.  We found that with their planned rate of withdrawals, they did not need to take on a high amount of risk/reward.  The stress that their portfolio did not withstand, however, were large, recurring and unplanned withdrawals such as those that may occur if long term care is needed.  This is also a relatively common finding in retirement planning, and can be addressed with a plan.

By the end of our second meeting, the plan demonstrated a new perspective.   With prudent preparation and clear projections, even the most significant concerns can be addressed and sometimes eased, when imagining retirement.

LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.