Retirement Planning

Everyone has a picture in their mind of what retirement looks like, our job is to help you paint it.
John Drohan, Main Effort Financial

At Main Effort we believe the simple phrase, “All roads lead to retirement.” In our financial plans, everything we do will support your journey down that road. We recognize that “retirement” comes in countless shapes and sizes so our plans are customized to the individual person or family. Whether you see yourself spending your days surfing on a Southern California beach or taking grandkids to the park on Wednesdays and Fridays, all retirements have one thing in common, the “retiree” has left her or his full-time job and has decided to do something different, even if that means working for himself rather than someone else.

We’ve simplified this down to 4 phases of the retirement journey:

Phase 1: The “go to work” phase
Phase 2: The “I can see the barn” phase
Phase 3: The “surf’s up” phase
Phase 4: The “Academy Award” phase

Phase i: Go to work

For most of us, this is far and away the longest phase of the process. This is simply the phase where we as adults enter the workforce and start the clock towards retirement with our first day of real work. Another name for this phase could also be called the “grown up” phase which is when we leave the nest and stop living off of our parents and leave childhood behind. Depending upon which direction you decide to take yourself, or which direction circumstances may choose for you, your preparation for retirement begins here. It begins with establishing the ability and opportunity to begin saving for the long term. We’ll often say to our young clients that retirement is a lifetime away in the beginning but as we tend to find out, time seems to move a whole lot faster the older you get.

It is during this phase that we encourage our clients to save, save and save some more. There are many targets and milestones that will happen before retirement, but those who make the effort to save set themselves up for success when this phase starts to reach its end. Our investment strategies for retirement assets are driven by the amount of time before we reach the next phase. Simply put, the longer one has before they reach retirement, the more risk they can assume with respect to investing. We create an investment plan for you as well as advise you on your preliminary estate plan. We stay with you during this phase providing unbiased consulting and judgement on anything and everything that will take you towards retirement as well as framing your estate plan to follow retirement. Your job here is to live your life while we help you to stay on track.

Phase 2: I can see the barn

We make this a distinct phase because of how critical it is in the retirement process. This is the phase when people make the transition from thinking that retirement is a lifetime away to putting a date on the calendar as to when they will make their big change. Usually this phase can begin as far out as 5 years before one’s estimated retirement. It is important to note that deciding when you will actually retire is a process that often doesn’t come with a definite date until it is imminent (less than a year). In this phase we simply begin the process of transitioning to retirement. We change asset allocations and investments, we discuss Social Security strategies, we make plans to control and eliminate debt, make decisions regarding real estate, to name a few. It is also important that we revisit the estate plan in this phase in order to make any adjustments while we begin finalizing the retirement plan. We reduce risk exposure and make the preliminary income plan on what you will need to supplement income in retirement.

Most of all, we help clients start to clear up what their retirement might look like. AS stated previously, everyone’s retirement is going to look differently.

Phase 3: Surf’s up

The day has finally arrived and retirement is here. Whatever shape your retirement has taken, you are now here and it’s time to enjoy it. As retirement money managers, our job above all is to ensure that our clients don’t run out of money in retirement. Accounts are built to generate perpetual income mitigating as much risk as we can. We also attempt to build a “spending account” for clients during this phase that will enable them to be able to truly enjoy these “young” retirement years without having to invade their income generating assets. With luck, clients are in good health so now is the time for them to go do all of the things in their lives that they have been saving to do. Many people refer to these times as the “golden years” however at Main Effort we call them the “surfing years”.

Phase 4: Academy Award

This is the phase where you’re actually recognized for winning the game and you receive your award. This comes in the form of you being fortunate enough to have lived a long life and have the ability to pass on a legacy to loved ones, charities or both. You will have enough income as well as have the ability to cover contingencies such as potential long term care situations. The investment and asset management focus now is to position portfolios to achieve future purposes while still being able to sustain income. Make no mistake, this is not the end of the road, it is only the end of worrying about sustaining assets for your own use and now identifying assets that you will become your legacy.

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