The 11 Biggest Retirement Mistakes

“Do You Know If You Are Going to Make Mistakes Many Retirees May Make…that Could Cost You a Fortune and Jeopardize Your Retirement Security?”

Because if you’re not sure, you aren’t alone!
I don’t know if you know this or not, but according to the Social Security Administration 96% of Americans are not able to fund a retirement that will last for their lifetime…allowing them to live the lifestyle they wish to live! This is the case for highly compensated people as well as average wage earners.

Pretty scary stuff, when you think about it! Do you know why this is? Well, in our opinion, it’s because people simply aren’t given the proper knowledge of how to correctly handle their finances when they retire from the company, or when they change jobs! This is true, even though most retirees have accountants, lawyers, stockbrokers, company provided assistance, etc.!

It’s frightening when you think about it, but your retirement doesn’t leave much room for ANY mistakes. Right? I mean, this IS NOT A DRILL! This is your one shot at retirement, and you.

Cannot Afford To Make ANY Mistakes! Period.

See, do you really know, and I want you to be honest with yourself, EXACTLY how to make the RIGHT decisions on issues like:

  • With the price of the stocks all over the place, how do you decide if you should sell some or wait? If you want to diversify, which shares should you sell? What about the tax consequences?) Should you buy traded options to protect the price? How should you handle your company benefits? Do you know how to decide what to do with your stock, and stock options?
  • Should you take a lump sum distribution? If so, how? What should you do with it? How much in cash, how much elsewhere? Who should be the new trustee or custodian? Will your retirement distribution money be subject to IRS penalties you’ve never heard of? Should you receive money now or wait until later?
  • Are you protected from traps the IRS has set, as well as from other retirement financial disasters that can actually cause you to lose much more than the IRS ever could take?
  • What would happen if someone became ill and needed long term nursing care? Who pays? How much? What if you don’t have enough money? What does the government do?
  • Do you know how to avoid having as much as half of your money being grabbed by the tax man?
  • Are your assets titled in the absolute, most dangerous way? (Hint- Most retirees make this enormous mistake!) Have you set up a virtually bullet proof asset protection plan?
  • What kind of insurance should you now have? Do you keep what you had, or change it? Are you going to be overinsured and waste money on needless coverage? Do you know how to figure out which choices will best suit your family’s new situation? And most important…

Do You Know If You Will be Likely To Have Enough Money, After Taxes, To Live Your Life The Way You Wish To…For As Long As You Live?

Have you analyzed all the options and choices available to you so you can make educated decisions from a fully informed standpoint?

These are just a few of the questions that must be answered. If you don’t… you’re likely to be the next victim of the greedy IRS, or to run out of money! If you make even one big mistake… look out! After all, you only retire once, so you cannot afford any mistakes! You must make the right decisions the first time!

These issues demonstrate how retirees are constantly at risk to see their retirement security and peace of mind diminish, or disappear all together.

We wanted you to have an easy to understand set of facts, that cut right through all the baloney, and tell you the biggest mistakes retirees make…and more importantly, how to avoid them!

You Need To Know How To Avoid The Traps That Are Set For You!

So let’s get into these important issues, and see if you’re making any (or all) of these mistakes!

1. Listening To The Wrong People!

It never ceases to amaze us how many intelligent people take advice about their retirement from people who are totally unqualified to give you this critical advice!

For example, when we see retirement messes, (which we see virtually every day) and we ask where they got this information that has screwed them up so badly, we inevitably hear things like:

“My brother-in-law told me to do that. He used to be an accountant at Westrand Corporation, you know!”

“I asked the guy who’s office was next to mine for all these years. I figured he must know what he’s doing, since he’s friends with the boss.”

“I read an article by June Brant Queen in Newstime, that said all retirees should do…”

And so on. Everyone’s got an opinion about what you should do with your retirement. Unfortunately, just because they are your relative, or are involved in some area of finance unrelated to retirement planning, (like the person at the bank who takes applications for checking accounts and CD’s) or write articles for national magazines, doesn’t mean they know the answers to your retirement problems and questions!

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to work with a specialist in retirement planning that knows this area backwards and forwards, inside and out! Someone who knows how to integrate and coordinate ALL areas of your complicated financial situation and sort it all out for you!

After all, how many times are you going to retire? Shouldn’t you be sure that the advice you’re getting is right for you, and not generic, not given in the context of your ENTIRE financial situation…or just plain wrong?

Be sure to find a retirement specialist, just like you would look for a cardiologist if you had a heart problem.
Would you ask your brother-in-law or another executive to analyze your electrocardiogram? If not, why would you ask him to analyze your entire financial situation?

Doesn’t that make a lot of sense?

2. Not Understanding The Tax Consequences For Investments, IRA’s, Pensions, Etc.!

Another true story. Our clients, Perry and Edie, found out too late that the IRS demands you remove certain amounts out of your IRA once you reach age 70 1/2. (This happened BEFORE they became our clients.) Anyway, they were totally devastated when they were hit with all the penalties and interest when they didn’t take money out of their IRA the right way. They had received information from the company’s human resources department that was close, but not EXACTLY right. And, when they did what they were told, they got hammered. Over $21,000 in penalties and interest, all because they missed the correct amount required, even though they thought they did it right!

Their story is just one of many problems that retirees run into because of a lack of the proper knowledge about qualified retirement plans.

Uncle Sam Is A Relative To Whom You Should Give As Little As Possible!

Other tax issues which frequently confused retirees are…

  • How much should you withdraw from retirement plans?
  • When should you withdraw from the plans?
  • Should you let qualified plan money sit inside the plan, and use other money for everyday life expenses?
  • Is living off the income generated by investments one of the worst things you can do?
  • Should you take a withdrawal from your IRA to pay off your car or vacation home, so you’ll have lower monthly payments?
  • Should you stop working at a certain time to collect Social Security now?
  • Should you wait to apply for Social Security? Or, should you work part time? And, how does that affect your Social Security payments?
  • What about the taxes on your Social Security income? Are there legal and safe ways to reduce it?
  • What about the taxes on the interest in CD’s or other bank accounts? Is there a better way to invest to reduce those taxes? Or, will living off interest, and leaving your capital untouched cause you to lose money because of inflation
  • Or,….

I think you get my point.

There are literally dozens and dozens of tax decisions you must make, whether you want to deal with them or not!

Let’s think about a simple example here. If you were to save $400 a month in taxes, simply by knowing the laws, and how to legally reduce your taxes, that’s $4,800 a year you’d have that you didn’t have before!

What could you do with an extra $4,800?

What about saving even more off of your income taxes? We show people how to do it all the time!

Could You Use A Few Hundred (Or A Few Thousand) Dollars Extra Cash Each Month?

If you want to make sure your income, estate and gift taxes are as low as legally possible, you need to work with a qualified retirement specialist, who can lay out all your options for you…allowing you to make an informed decision, as opposed to an emotional decision!

Or, worse, not even knowing you had to make a decision, like Perry and Edie who found out the hard way. Now, you may be thinking, “Well, I know about the required withdrawals and all that. And that’s fine”. But, what don’t you know, that someone else does know?

When it comes to tax planning, there is little room for making mistakes. Don’t try to know it all yourself, or depend on others who don’t study these things every single day for a living!

Did you know that each and every year, there are thousands and thousands of tax rule changes? Some of them don’t affect you, and others do! Last year, in the most complicated, ridiculous tax law we’ve ever seen passed, they changed over 1,100 Code Sections!

Plus, the 1997 tax law alone created things like SEVEN types of capital gains when there used to only be two! In fact, the new law is so complex that you have a great chance of messing up your financial situation by overpaying your taxes without even knowing it! Recent laws have added even more complications and confusion.

The tax law is no place for amateur night. You HAVE to do proper tax planning BEFORE you make even a single financial decision. Why? Because EVERY FINANCIAL DECISION HAS A GOOD CHANCE OF BEING AFFECTED BY THIS NEW COMPLEX TAX LAW!!

So don’t play tax roulette, and hope your numbers hit. Make sure you are as sensible about your tax planning as you are about your health!

3. Choosing The Wrong Pension Option!

Let me illustrate this mistake with a real life example from a client of ours who was an executive at a company.

The client Louis, had retired a few years ago, and his wife, Janet, had not worked outside the home, and had no pension of her own. When Louis left the company, he was given a range of choices of how to handle his pension pay out if he were to die before Janet.

The choices were quite confusing, and they both decided to take the higher payout now, counting on the life insurance Louis had to cover Janet if he died. (With the help of Janet’s sister’s husband’s brother, who used to be an accountant, of course.)

Anyway, Louis died just one year after retirement in a tragic accident. Janet was left with no pension income, but did get Louis’ life insurance proceeds.

She Had To Go To Work, Because She Outlived Her Retirement Money!

In a matter of only four years, Janet had to get a job because the amount of insurance money was way too low for her needs. What seemed like a fortune to them wasn’t really a fortune in dollars and expenses.

What did they do wrong?

They made a critical decision like this without having someone prepare a detailed financial projection of which option would best meet their needs, before making the irrevocable election!

If Louis and Janet had done this, she would be receiving a much higher income, and have the insurance proceeds as well.
Now, does this mean that all retirees should take the lower pay outs and have the survivor get some sort of a pay out? No, not at all. There is no such thing as any strategy that applies to some or all retirees!

Your situation, is unique as your fingerprints.

And just like no two fingerprints are alike, no two retirements are alike.

“Canned” advice, particularly when it comes to retirement decisions can be costly”

4. Misunderstanding What Medicare And Social Security Does And Doesn’t Pay For!

We see it all the time.

One spouse telling us how shocked they were that the $4,000 a month nursing home expense for their very ill spouse, isn’t covered by Medicare or Social Security.

“But I thought Medicare covered medical expenses!” – they exclaim.

The Government Is Not Going To Take Care Of You!

Medicare does cover medical expenses. But, it only covers certain ones, and only after you have paid a deductible!
Many, many medical expenses aren’t covered by Medicare, and are usually picked up by a Medicare Supplement policy, or out of your pocket.

Those supplements still don’t cover extended nursing home care. Not a penny. Zilch. Nada. Zero.
Failing to carefully plan can literally wipe out a family’s retirement nest egg and unfortunately nine out of ten retirees don’t have any clue about!

Warning! (By the way, did you know that in order to qualify for state support from Medicaid, you literally have to spend your net worth almost down to zero first? You have to clean out all of your estate, assets, investments, and so forth until you are worth under $2,000! It’s only when you’re nearly flat broke that Medicaid kicks in to help you! This is not a solution that we recommend you implement!)

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Medicare or Social Security are going to take care of you. Even together they will not!

Sure, they cover many things, but there are still huge gaps that you may want to plan for ahead of time.
You must know where the government helps and doesn’t help.

And, you need to have a plan to address the often unknown areas that could cause your family some real problems! Don’t wait until you’ve totally drained your funds before you figure them out!

5. Getting Caught By The New 20% Withholding Penalty For Lump Sum Distributions!

Are you aware of the tax law that has caught thousands of unwary retirees in its ugly web?

If you are retiring, or transferring a lump sum distribution from a company plan at a later time, and you don’t follow the paperwork rules exactly right, you could end up having 20% of your money withheld from your distribution!

And, to make matters even worse, you can end up paying taxes and penalties if you can’t make up this 20% difference out of your own pocket!

A Tax Trap To Look Out For!

For example, if you were getting a $200,000 distribution, and you had it go to an IRA, but didn’t fill out the paperwork correctly, you could end up having $40,000 withheld from your transfer!

And, if you didn’t have the $40,000 lying around to put into the IRA to make up for the withholding, you will be taxed on that $40,000, even though you didn’t get the money! (Which could cost you anywhere from $6,000 to as much as $16,000 in taxes depending on your bracket!)

No, we are not making this up. This disaster was passed by Congress to nail unsuspecting retirees with lump sum distributions. Why? Because the government is looking for any way to get their hands on large chunks of money, that’s why!

But wait. There’s more. If you are under 59 1/2 years old, and this happens to you, you get to pay an extra 10% penalty on top of all the extra taxes! Yes, this is just one tax trap that is waiting to get a lot of retirees where it hurts the most, when they can afford it the least!

How do you avoid this?

Make sure that you get expert help in filling out the paperwork for making your choices of how to receive your lump sum! We cannot tell you how many times we’ve worked with retirees who thought they had it all figured out right, who did it on their own, or even with “help”, and ended up falling short.

6. Owning Your Assets The Wrong Way

One of the biggest mistakes we see is retirees who own their assets in ways that subject them to all kinds of unnecessary risks!

For example, the most common way that retirees own their home, investments, bank accounts, etc., is in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.

While this is a simple way to own assets, in many cases, it could be a huge mistake!!!

Why? Well, some of the reasons are:

  • You could pay way more in estate taxes than necessary! These decisions must be made before parents die, as it is then too late.
  • If one of you has a liability problem (a car accident, for example) both of you could lose everything!
    If your marriage, the other spouse can totally empty your accounts!
  • If your children are on the accounts and if they go bankrupt or face another tragedy, YOU could lose YOUR money!
  • Many retirees put their children on some of their accounts, later costing gift taxes and failed family’s finances if someone goes into a nursing home.

Joint tenancy is, in many cases, a financial disaster waiting to happen toyou. (Legal advice should be sought to avoid potential problem)”

Some of our clients have Living Trusts they set up before coming in to see us, and think they’ve protected their estate. Not necessarily true! A Living Trust may help protect assets, but in may cases it does nothing to protect your assets from liability or other problems. In fact, most of the time, they don’t even protect your assets from income or estate taxes!

Many attorneys listen to your situation and set up your wills, trusts, etc., without analyzing and coordinating all the issues you should consider. Sometimes a simple solution may not be the best one. (For example, would you be surprised to learn that over 75% of our clients find out that the Living trust doesn’t cover a large percentage of their assets because things haven’t been titled properly…even though the client is “working” with an attorney?)

You have to take a look at the way you own your assets in the context of your whole financial situation, so you don’t risk losing everything you’ve worked for because you’ve placed your assets in jeopardy!

Asset ownership is a serious yet often overlooked area that can turn into a gigantic mistake!

7. Misunderstanding Or Not Knowing All The Tax And Other Traps That Surround Your Stock Options Like Sharks Circling Their Prey!

While this situation doesn’t apply to everyone, if you have either Non-Qualified Options (NQO’s) or Incentive Stock Options (ISO’s), and you make mistakes in any of the necessary decisions that need to be made in dealing with them…you could very much jeopardize yourself financially.

Please be aware that all the subtleties, fine points and traps involved with managing a portfolio of NQO’s or ISO’s, you can cost yourself a fortune! For example…

We recently met with a client who, before coming into our office, just paid a little over $1,100,000 in additional and needless taxes… because she did not set up a stock option plan that was integrated and coordinated with her overall financial situation!

She had never done a plan to determine how to handle all the decisions that go with stock options like, “Should I exercise some or all or none? If I do exercise, which ones should I do in which order?” Or, “Should I wait until the stock hits a certain point?” Or, “How will exercising affect my taxes and net worth and retirement plans?” And so on.

Then there is a beast of a tax called the “Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)”. It is crucial to set up a plan to protect yourself against this one. Did you know that if you exercise and/or sell shares acquired through exercising stock options, and certain usually unheard of conditions exist in your financial situation…that you could end up paying the dreaded AMT. This is a tax that you pay only if it ends up being HIGHER than your regular tax! It’s a total nightmare!

You can only imagine the look of horror on retirees faces when they find out that what they thought was a low, or no tax decision actually cost them tens or hundreds(or millions) of dollars in AMT taxes. They had never heard about or been warned about a devastating financial situation that could have been prevented.

You only pay the AMT if you have set up your finances in certain ways that allow this disaster to occur! We can’t give you any rules of thumb about it. The only way to know if this could happen, and thus be able to PREVENT it from happening is to literally crunch all the numbers for YOUR specific entire financial situation. Then we would see what the computer tells us. There is NO WAY to estimate or ballpark it. It HAS to be done in the context of your whole situation. It is a truly complicated situation that requires professional attention.

While this can be avoided, it is the type of trap that is either not know about or not communicated by the majority of financial advisors.)

Please make sure that these sort of unknown penalty taxes don’t apply to you!

If you’re not sure, then you are encouraged to find out details BEFORE making any decisions or taking any actions!

8. Thinking “Risk” Just Involves Losing Principle!

Here is a big mistake we deal with almost every day.

In fact, a client that’s going to be retiring, said, “We don’t want to take any ‘risk’ with our retirement funds and stock! We want them to be totally safe and free of ‘risk’!”

(Have you ever thought about that yourself?)

There’s More Risk In *Riskless* Investments Than You May Think!

Let’s discuss what the definition of “risk” is, in the first place? If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll see that it is defined as “A chance of encountering a loss or harm, a hazard or danger”.

Now, you’ll notice it doesn’t say. “loss of principle”. It just is defined as “loss”. This is a major distinction we need to make here. Most retirees think “risk” means that you put your investments somewhere, and the $100,000 you started with is now worth far less than $100,000.

And yes, this is one type of risk…and a real one at that!

But it is only one type of risk. There are others that are just as scary and that can hurt you just as badly as losing principle!
By the way, if I told you that you are actually losing real money in the bank, would you believe me? Would you believe me? Many would say, “That is not possible because CD’s are insured by the FDIC?” Let me try to explain what I mean.

If you are making 4% interest on a CD, and you are in the 28% tax bracket, your net, after tax, yield is only 2.88%!

4.00% interest earned
x 28% tax = 1.12% lost to taxes
2.88% net after tax yield.

Now, that would be bad enough, but we cannot forget about our friend, inflation. Yes, they claim inflation has been licked. That it’s gone. Why? Because it’s been hovering around 3.5 – 4% for the last few years.

Now, that is considered low, low inflation by today’s standards.

But, did you know that in the early ’70’s, when president Nixon instituted price controls, inflation was an incredibly high 4%!

Isn’t that interesting?

That in 1972, 4% inflation was considered so high, that the government tried putting price controls in place. Now, when inflation is at the same exact level, 20+ years later, it’s considered insignificant by our friends in the Capitol!

How can this be? Could it be that inflation has changed, or is it more likely that the government has changed the way they want us to view and perceive it?

Anyway, how does this supposed “not so bad” inflation affect our CD example?

Losing Money On So-Called *Riskless* Investments Is Very Real!

Well, remember in our example that we’re at 2.88% net, after tax yield. Now let’s subtract inflation from this yield, to arrive at your true change in value, adjusted for the loss of purchasing power:

2.88% net, after tax yield
less 3.50% inflation
(0.62%) True return

Those brackets, by the way, mean a negative real rate of return! Yes, that means that you have a loss of value, of $62 for each $10,000 you have invested in CD’s!

Now, if I asked you to put money in an investment that was guaranteed to lose $62 for each $10,000 you invested, you’d run away from me faster than a deer from a lion. Yet, if you have CD’s, then you are doing the exact same thing!

So, what does a retiree do to get a better return, and avoid the higher taxes on their Social Security and other income?

As I said a couple of minutes ago, the real secret is to know what items you can invest in, that are off of the “tax hit list”. Things like CD’s and bonds get special tax treatment. So special, that they cause the maximum taxes to be paid!

What you need to do is figure out how much monthly income you need, and then build a plan that uses the tax- favored items! This assures that you get the cash flow you need, and avoid wasting money on paying the taxes you don’t need… with assets that have some chance to keep up with our inevitable inflation!

The risk we’re talking about here is the risk of losing purchasing power! This risk is so profound, yet almost totally ignored by most retirees, that is, until it’s too late!

Let me tell you a story about a woman, Grandma Liz.

Liz was a very frugal woman. When she retired at age 65 in 1956, she had a Social Security income of $400 a month, plus a pension from her late husband, that paid her $205 a month. And, Liz had $12,000 in the bank.

Now, in 1956, this total of $605 a month income, plus $12,000 in savings was BIG MONEY!

Liz’s mortgage payment was $81 a month. And with her car payment of $45 a month, and her other necessities, Liz was living on EASY STREET!

Let’s move ahead to 1966. Now, Liz had sold her home, and pocketed $65,000 from the sale, which was all shielded from income tax because of the special once in a lifetime capital gains tax exclusion. (She sold the home because it was too much for her to keep up, at age 75.)

She had that money, plus most of the $12,000 she started retirement with. But her expenses had increased, especially her rent. She was now paying $150 a month in rent, and most of her other expenses had gone up as well due to inflation.
She Ended Up Having To Depend On Her Grandchildren To Take Care Of Her For The Rest Of Her Life.

Over the next several years, she went through a lot of her nest egg, by helping out her kids and grandkids, paying for down payments, college expenses, and so on.

Now, it’s 1982, and Liz is broke. Her rent is $657 a month. Her medical expenses that are not covered by Medicare and insurance are over $200 a month. Her food, clothing, etc. is way up, and she has long since stopped helping the younger folks, because her savings are gone.

If she didn’t have so many grandchildren that she had helped, now pitching in to help her, she would have ended up on welfare.

Liz didn’t understand how powerful a risk the loss of purchasing power provides. Believe me, this kind of story can break your heart. The only way to assure you won’t run out of money is to have a plan that both meets your income needs, and provides the opportunity to keep up with inflation.

Now, no one is suggesting you not keep some money in CD’s or other guaranteed programs, because that would be foolish.

But, on the same token, having too much in these type of investments can assure that you have a high risk of running out of money! No one wants to outlive their money. Misunderstanding the risk of the loss of purchasing power is a mistake you do not want to make!

9. Paying For The Wrong Kinds, And Wrong Amounts, Of Insurance!

This area is so messed up for most retirees, that you wouldn’t believe it!

For some reason, when people are retired, many of them hang on to old insurance coverage of all types, just because they’ve had them for a long time, and are resistant to change. I’m not sure why, but it seems to be the case more often than not.

Listen, when you are in retirement, you have little extra room in your budget to waste money on needless coverage, or to be shortchanging yourself on coverage you do need!

Many of our retired clients find they can get more coverage in the areas they do need, and eliminate or reduce coverage on stuff they don’t need, and save hundreds or thousands of dollars in the process!

We recently saw a couple in their late 60’s, who were paying over $2,100 a year for coverage they didn’t need, and had no insurance at all on things that they really should have in place.

By repositioning their insurance portfolio, we showed them what to get and what to get let go of.

The net bottom line is that they have an excellent group of coverage for just about anything that could go wrong, and are saving $123 a month that they are spending to have fun! No one wants you to be insurance poor, but we also don’t want you wasting money on things you truly don’t need.

The only answer is to have someone objectively review your insurance, and find out what’s wrong and what’s right! If there was one area that is more frequently messed up by retirees than overpaying taxes, overpaying for insurance is definitely it!

Many people we see have truly bad auto, homeowner, condo, health, long term care, and life policies! Some of the coverages are purchased with the wrong information, often from people who are motivated by all the wrong reasons. Without knowing you or ever talking to you, I would guess you have more than one type of insurance that is not the best for you.

This financial area must be reviewed and coordinated, OBJECTIVELY, with all the rest of your finances!

10. Planning For Your Retirement When You Are Already Retired!

This mistake is one that we see over and over again.

People getting “laid off” from a job they’ve had for years. Or taking advantage of the “early retirement” program offered so they can shrink their payroll. Or, people taking normal retirement at age 65. Or whatever reason.

We constantly meet with askng the same question: “Will we have enough money to make it all the way with the same lifestyle?”

This is a big mistake! They have already made all their decisions about options. They have already taken their retirement plans and either had them distributed or receiving monthly payouts.

They have made all their choices, and want us to tell them they’re going to be OK.

I’ve got some sad news.

Many of these people are not going to be OK, because they let the horse out of the barn, and want us to close the door up with the horse still in the barn!

If I’m making any sense to you, you’ll see that waiting until you reach a certain age to plan for that same age usually doesn’t work.

Think about Grandma Liz. If she had done a better job of planning 40 years ago, she might not have ended up so broke.
We had a client that came to us under these kind of circumstances, and we had the unpleasant job of telling him and his wife that they would be out of money in less than 10 years. Their response was to fire us, because we brought them the bad news. (They chopped off the head of the messenger!) But they were making the same mistake that Grandma Liz made many years ago…only worse!

So, if you’re not yet retired, do some detailed planning right NOW! Don’t wait until you are retired. Now, if you’re already retired, it’s never too late to start or update your planning. Which brings us to the most important mistake of all to avoid:

11. Not Doing Consistent, Careful, Ongoing Planning! (number 10)

Yes, planning is the single, most effective technique to have a safe and secure retirement! It worked during Teddy Roosevelt’s days, it worked during Viet Nam, and it works now! See, the reason most of us aren’t going to win the retirement game, is that we don’t follow this crucial sequence, when it comes to managing our finances:

  1. Figure out where you are today.
  2. Figure out where you want to be.
  3. Get a true understanding of the options you have available to you. (Not from biased sources.)
  4. Develop a plan that will provide the right “course” to follow.
  5. Make the changes necessary to get the plan going.
  6. Watch your progress, and make the proper adjustments to keep the plan “on course”.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Kind of the same process you go through every day when planning a trip to the mall, or taking the kids to practice, or going on a visit or vacation, etc. Or like you do at your job before making decisions.

Could you imagine how you could get through your daily life, or keep the business alive without following this sequence of events?

Could you imagine how messed up you’d be if you didn’t know where you lived, what time your meetings were, didn’t know which roads led to the recreation center, didn’t know where the meeting was going to be held, and finally, didn’t know which room the meeting was in?

I know that sounds trivial and perhaps ridiculous, because in our day to day activities, we always know all those things!
But, can you really say the same thing about your money? Do you truly know where you are today? Are you certain you have specific goals of where you want to be financially? Do you know all the many choices you have available to you? Have you set up a plan to get where you want to be?

Or, like most of us, are you “winging it” as you go along???

In all the years we’ve been helping people like you win the game of money, we’ve studied the characteristics of families who are truly financially independent. We find one common theme. It’s ot their age, nor occupation, nor sex, nor income, nor any of those things.

No. The one common attribute is that they make a constant effort to plan for their future.

That’s it. It may not sound very exotic or romantic. But it’s simple, and it works. You know, usually, the most effective things in life, are the most simple and basic. Now, with this ridiculous attack on your future by the government, and the uncertainty of being retired, you need to plan for your own future, more than ever!

Make sense? I hope so. Because this topic is very important to us, and to you.

It’s important to us, because we help people plan for a living.

It’s important to you, because planning may be the best weapon you’ll have to make sure you live the way you want!

So here do you go from here?

Well, we have two ways of introducing planning into people’s lives. Both are easy, and both require no pressure or any “sales” garbage. Another way to look at this, is that a doctor cannot help a patient until he or she does a diagnosis to see what is wrong. And then prescribe treatments based on that diagnosis. So the patient can have a “map” or a plan on how to get well.

And, just like that doctor, the first step towards getting well financially, we need to perform a diagnosis to see what “ails you!” Now here’s what I’d like to offer you:

A FREE CONSULTATION to find out exactly what you are feeling about your money – a diagnosis, if you will.

Yes, we will do something your doctor wouldn’t do. Provide an initial interview and consultation… free of charge! And no, it will not be a disguised sales presentation. Or a “pitch”. We will simply have a brief (half hour or so) time to review what is going on in your financial life, how the change in your status may affect you, and what concerns you. That will be it.

Hopefully you have seen several ways to get rid of those bad feelings evoked by financial failures. There is too much good in life to let worry and frustration get in the way. I am always positive that planning may be the best weapon to stop the negative sides, and bring out the wonderful gifts we all have been given!

If, at the end of the interview, you do not feel like we can help you, or that you are satisfied with your present plan, that is completely fine. Again, that will be it. We will have had a nice visit and you will feel good about the fact that you have again considered your situation.


Lastly, we have found that over the past thirty years many wonderful people who have become our clients. We have also been very blessed to know that many people are experiencing better lives with fewer uncertainties because we met.

Best Wishes,

A William Smith

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