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You Can’t Achieve Your Goals if You Don’t Know What They Are

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We saw this article in the October 2017 issue of Kiplinger online, and it immediately resonated with us in a big way – because it says something we at AgingOptions have said repeatedly, in LifePlanning Seminars, on the radio, and with our clients.  When it comes to retirement, the truth of the matter is that you can’t hit a target you can’t see – much less one you’ve never even taken the time to identify. Yet that’s what millions of Americans are trying to do as they enter their retirement years.

The article, written by an investment adviser named Zach Grey, starts with a conundrum that sounds all too familiar.  “Financial advisers spend a lot of time talking about the importance of building a retirement plan,” Grey writes. “Still, every day I meet people who have no idea what they want to do, what they have and what they’ll need to truly enjoy this time in their lives.” In other words, they’re heading blindly into retirement trying to hit a target they can’t even see, and apparently just assuming that everything will work out for a secure and happy retirement. This kind of shortsighted thinking is almost guaranteed to cause stress, even disaster, in your future – and yet careful planning for a well thought-out retirement is something many otherwise intelligent people still refuse to do. Why is that, we wondered?

In Zach Grey’s words, “I see [clients] getting caught up in the day-to-day busyness of life without setting any goals for their future. (Saving, quitting and going fishing doesn’t count as a plan.)” This is true for many professional couples where the closer they get to retirement age, seemingly the busier they get, with the result that they never seem to get around to that most essential activity of careful, comprehensive retirement planning. In our interactions with thousands of retirees and future retirees, we’ve also noticed a shocking amount of complacency when it comes to retirement planning, sometimes almost a “whistling in the dark” kind of denial that pretends all one’s financial, housing, legal and health challenges in retirement will just disappear if we simply look the other way. This is foolish and immature, yet we see evidence of this type of denial all the time.

Another reason some people fail to plan adequately for retirement is that they think they have enough money set aside, so they have nothing to worry about. But we think this is a dangerous delusion, and Zach Grey writing in Kiplinger seems to agree. “Blindly saving won’t get you far,” he writes. “You need to target exactly where you’re going, and how you’re getting there, with a written plan.”  He goes on to say, “Sometimes, people come in feeling very confident. They’ve decided how much they’ll need to withdraw every month, and they think they have that money in place. But they’ve overlooked health care, long-term care, taxes, inflation, market risk, estate planning and other issues that could take down their retirement.” In other words, they had money but no plan.

Like Zach Grey, we also see clients and seminar guests who have made up their minds when they want to retire, without taking into account whether their dreams are reasonable. Grey cites one couple he met with “who already had decided they were going to retire in about three years. The husband had even told his supervisor that was his plan. But what neither of them had done — ever — was take the time to determine if that date was even feasible given their finances. They hadn’t put together a budget or an income plan to see if they could handle life without paychecks.”  In another instance, a woman had come to see Grey because she was retiring in three months and was already training her replacement at work. However, as Grey discovered, her meager retirement savings were simply not sufficient.  “She was about three months away from retiring…and she had no idea how she was going to pay herself from one month to the next, other than with Social Security. And there was another problem: Because she was filing before her full retirement age, her benefits would be [permanently] reduced.” This woman had vague hopes and unrealistic dreams, but no plan.

“I know it takes time and money to pull together a comprehensive written plan with the help of a financial adviser,” writes Zach Grey. “It’s not a pleasant way to spend your free time, and the topics we cover may make even the best savers anxious. But if you want to hit your retirement goals, you must decide what they are. You’ll have a much better chance at success if you’re not shooting at a target you can’t see — or one that doesn’t even exist.” We agree completely – but at AgingOptions we think you need to go several steps farther.  A financial plan, as important as it is, is still not enough to guide you into a bright and secure retirement future. Instead, you need an AgingOptions LifePlan – the only retirement plan of its kind. We work with you to develop a plan that encompasses the five essential elements of secure retirement: finances, legal affairs, housing strategy, medical protection and family communication. Your LifePlan is your blueprint, allowing you to build the retirement you’ve always dreamed of – the one that’s just right for you.

There’s an easy, obligation-free way to find out more: join us soon for a free LifePlanning Seminar with Rajiv Nagaich. These popular events take place in locations throughout the area, and we would love to have you join us soon for a seminar in your area. Click here for dates, times and locations, then register online or give us a call for assistance.

You can’t hit a target you can’t see, much less one you can’t even visualize. But with an AgingOptions LifePlan, that target becomes crystal clear – and your retirement future can be right in the middle of the bullseye. Age on!

(originally reported at

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