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Retirement Planning: Like an Equation

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

I’ve been working with a few different couples recently who plan to retire soon.  For many, preparing the turn for this new chapter provokes both excitement and anxiety.  I often say that retirement planning is like a giant equation:  there are many inputs to the left of the equal sign that influence the outcome of retirement to the right of the equal sign.  Each variable on the left can be modified with stress testing to see just how far it impacts the success of the outcome of retirement on the right side of the double parallel lines.

A couple of people told me they were most worried about keeping their investments in the market where negative returns would impact their income.  We found a solution where they could modify an input:  we can reposition their money to create an income stream that was not tied to the volatility of variable returns without significantly affecting the retirement they desired.  With enough money, this risk is not too difficult to solve for.

I would be remiss as an advisor if I did not discuss the most common risk for most people to the success of their retirement portfolios:  a large, unplanned and recurring expense for an unknown duration.  Most often, this is caused by a long-term care need.  In fact, about 70% of people age 65 and older will need some form of long term care services in their lifetimes (1).  We can model the impact to a retirement portfolio quite clearly.  If the right side of the equation goes red, meaning negative, different types of insurances may be helpful.  We model the cost of the insurances and how that outlay affects the quality or success of retirement; did it improve or worsen the right side of the equation, which is the success of retirement.

Retirement planning has many variables.  Fortunately, with testing and modeling we can see the impact to the overall chances of success or failure, because retirement planning is like a giant equation.

LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Wealth Management 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 advise or recommendations for any individual.