Copyright Valerie Moreau, CFP®. All rights reserved.

 

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​​​​​by Valerie Moreau, CFP

​​Retirement

Now is the time to develop a holistic plan to navigate through unusual financial times, and gain what money can’t buy:
peace of mind.

Schedule an                  Appointment

 SPRING CLEANING YOUR FINANCES

Spring has finally sprung and there’s no better time to do some cleaning up – of your finances.

Throughout the year, it can be easy to become distracted and allow your financial plan to veer off in an unanticipated direction. There’s no time like the present to clear the dust and make sure the plan still makes sense for you and your family.
When you’re ready to de-clutter and reorganize your finances, below are a few tips to get started.
Check your credit report – Getting into the habit of checking your credit report at least once a year can be tough, but it’s necessary to make sure your credit score is in good standing and that there are no errors on the report itself. Take some time to review your credit report to make sure there are no inaccuracies, and immediately flag any if there are. A government website – www.annualcreditreport.com – offers free annual credit reports, so there’s no excuse for not knowing your credit history.   Review your cash flow – When is the last time you evaluated the money coming in and more importantly, going out? Are you in a relationship where your finances are being shared, or are you covering your financial obligations by yourself? The turn of a new season is a prime opportunity to take a step back and make sure all expenses are being considered, and that you’re still allocating enough to your savings, retirement, and “rainy day” accounts while leaving yourself some spending flexibility. Saving for a new home or summer vacation? Tweak your budget so it reflects how much you’ll need to save for those expenses.
Ramp up your retirement - Currently, 80 percent of Americans have no idea how much money they’ll need in retirement. If you’re feeling this way, it might be time to reevaluate your contribution to your retirement account. After you’ve taken a close look at your cash flow, you’ll likely find some extra money to allocate towards your retirement account.
Rebalance your investment accounts – Similar to your retirement accounts, consider 
spring a time review of your portfolio to ensure that your allocation is at your desired levels. You can then make adjustments if necessary.
Shred it – There’s nothing quite as satisfying as clearing out excess paperwork. As you go through your finances, create digital copies of all important documents (and back up to your external hard drive!) and feed those papers to the shredder. Clearing your desk of piles will be good for both you and your finances.
Just like the fresh air this season brings, you can bring a sense of freshness to your finances. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can also help you identify areas of improvement and keep you on track to meet your financial goals. 

Carina Diamond, CFP®


 

- Valerie Moreau, CFP®

 Being a New Hampshire/Florida 'Snowbird' is my retirement dream!

My career in the investment industry began in 1981. I earned my Certified Financial Planner™ designation in 1993, before it was fashionable.  Helping others achieve their retirement dream is my mission!

Baby Boomers are the first generation to expect their retirement to last as long as their careers did. We are leaving the workforce earlier and living longer than ever before. Not to mention our active lifestyle of travel, golf, theater and other expensive perks. Managing millions of dollars through the trials and tribulations of the economy and the stock market over the last thirty years makes me uniquely qualified to help you make your retirement a dream, not a nightmare.    
I offer my Clients an in-depth, professional analysis of their current plan. Tackling issues of taxation, estate planning as well as portfolio positioning and asset allocation for a secure retirement.   Using my extensive training and experience, I will analyze your current plan to determine if it will reach your goals. You will receive specific recommendations regarding what is working for you and what needs attention.          
Contact me now to preserve the retirement you've dreamed of and the peace of mind you deserve.  It's never too late or too early to get on track! 


​​​​​​​Independent

UNCERTAINTY IS INEVITABLE

A client expecting to live on some invested funds for a probable 30- year period of time recently asked me: "What if the market drops and stays down for a very long time?"
The most honest answer I could give her was, "I guess you might have to tighten your belt."
I saw this in the 2008 to 2009 market downdraft.  Many of the retired families I worked with were able to calmly tweak their spending patterns.  They reacted with equanimity.
My read on this is that we should plan for a certain level of income in retirement, but also to accept the many variables we can't control.
Most planning aims to have enough money accumulated at retirement to support
a desired lifestyle for an expected lifetime. But we don't know anything about the future.

If the return of our investments is
disappointing, so be it. 

I think this way about my family's future and try to incorporate this mindset into planning with others. 

We should all have bread on the table and a roof over our heads.  However, we may not be able to buy that penthouse cabin on a nice cruise line, or always drive a new luxury car.  On the other hand, we may find that our investments do better than expected, and that our real problem is how to distribute our capital in a meaningful way that fits our values.

So, we shoot for "enough."  But we need to sleep on a broader range of outcomes and have the resilience to deal with the unexpected outcomes (good and bad). 

Being told by an "adviser" that you will certainly have plenty of money decades in the future should be a warning flag.  The best we can say is that, "Given the historical returns of your investments and your level of savings, it is reasonable to assume you will be comfortable (whatever that means for you) in your retirement years. But, it is a long time and a long process filled with many unexpected variable and events. We will work together to deal with each of these to provide you the best possible outcome."

Uncertainty may be uncomfortable, but is also what makes life both interesting and challenging. 

Imagine a world in which everyone lived in good health until age 200.  Boring!  Knowing that we are mortal and that things can happen to change our lives should enhance the enjoyment of success and doing well.  It will also help to deal with those periods of time that are more challenging. True for life, and true for our money.


A version of this article originally appeared on PhysiciansPractice.org.

By Steven Podnos, MD, CFP® 




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