By Marjorie L. Rand, CPA, CFP®, RICP®
One of the greatest joys in my life—and certainly the greatest joy in my career—is when I see my clients succeed. It’s why I do what I do. As a fee-only and fiduciary CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, I’ve worked hard for years to help make life easier for my clients, so my greatest reward is when my clients let me know I’ve done my job. Below, I share a success story with two of my favorite clients: John and Melissa. (1)
John And Melissa
John and Melissa have been clients of mine for two years and joined my firm when they were in their early 60s. John works for a pharmaceutical company and is about five years away from retirement. The couple successfully raised three children who no longer live with them. They’ve worked hard their entire lives and have saved conscientiously for their future.
As they drew nearer to retirement, they wanted to make the best financial decisions so as not to risk the things they’ve built and worked hard for. When they came to me for advice, they wanted to ensure they’d covered all their bases before taking the leap. Unsurprisingly, John and Melissa were feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions they needed to make to prepare for this transition.
John and Melissa had four main concerns they wanted to address before they retired. These concerns included:
- Could they afford to retire in five years?
- Were they at risk of running out of money in retirement?
- How could they reduce their tax burden?
- What was their withdrawal strategy for retirement and how would they bridge the gap between reaching retirement and filing for Social Security benefits?
How I Helped
To help John and Melissa, I conducted in-depth conversations with them to gain a complete understanding of their current financial situation and their vision for the future. The couple had money in cash reserves, a robust investment account, and various retirement accounts.
Once I knew the resources they had access to, I ran stress tests on their investment portfolio to show them how it would perform under various economic conditions. With this information, they were better able to answer whether or not they could afford to retire in five years. I also provided recommendations for how they could improve their portfolio allocations so their money would work harder for them in John’s remaining working years.
We reviewed several tax-saving strategies the couple could implement now to reduce their tax burden and save more in the next five years. I also explained how we would change those strategies in retirement when their income sources changed. Finally, I provided the couple with strategies they could employ to improve their chances of not running out of money in retirement.
With the tax savings, a portfolio that was better designed for their current life stage, and several other recommendations, John and Melissa substantially improved their chances for a successful retirement. They had a plan of action for the next five years while John continued working. They also had tax-saving strategies lined up for retirement.
With these detailed, customized plans they could enact now and anticipate for the future, John and Melissa gained much-needed confidence simply from having a better understanding of their resources. They understood how their plan might change given economic uncertainty and the possibility of unforeseen emergencies. Knowing I was there to guide them along the way helped them feel more secure and prepared to handle these unknowns in the future.
No matter how much you’ve saved, planning for retirement involves the intertwining of several complex factors, all of which are dependent on the unknown future. But retirement planning doesn’t have to be a blind man’s game. With the right partner on your side, you can increase your understanding of the components of your financial plan and make the most informed decisions going forward to increase your chances of success.
If you’re looking for a financial partner who specializes in retirement planning, we at Rand Financial Planning invite you to schedule a 20-minute introductory call online or reach out to us at 908-895-2406 or firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we are the right firm to help you on your financial journey.
Marjorie Rand is founder and financial advisor at Rand Financial Planning, a comprehensive, fee-only, fiduciary financial planning firm. Marge specializes in helping her clients plan for a secure retirement and navigate life’s many transitions through customized, tax-efficient retirement planning. She is passionate about empowering her clients to make the best financial decisions for their life and being by their side no matter what life throws at them. Marjorie spent many years as a CPA before founding Rand Financial Planning so she could be a go-to source for all her clients’ financial needs and help them avoid costly mistakes. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Rutgers University and a Master of Science in Taxation from Fairleigh Dickinson University, along with the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®) designations. When she’s not working, Marge enjoys boating, horseback riding, traveling, and hiking with her husband and her dog, Rangeley. To learn more about Marjorie, connect with her on LinkedIn.
(1) Names changed for confidentiality