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Integrated Wealth Management

Retirement Planning: Nothing like a Rocket Sent to Mars

Incredible Feat

With the news about the landing of Curiosity on the surface of Mars last month, I am reminded of how much we have achieved in science and understanding of the universe around us. My favorite equation - Newton’s second law of motion - comes to mind: Force = Mass times Acceleration.

It was quite an accomplishment to send a rocket to Mars (350 million miles away) and land the Curiosity rover only 1.5 miles from its touchdown target. NASA engineers, scientists and their colleagues rely on laws of physics, complex calculations, and specialized equipment to hit their mark. Immutable laws, like Newton’s second law, are the foundation for their work.

Hitting the Mark for Retirement

Over the years, academics and practitioners alike have tried to engineer financial models to ensure retirees can hit their target retirement goals. Various studies offer guidelines - such as the 4% Rule for retirement withdrawals – but no “laws” have been established to deal with the retirement challenge.

As financial planning professionals, we face a complex set of possibilities when it comes to retirement planning. Tax regulations, investment markets and financial products frequently change – notwithstanding any changes in our client’s circumstances.

A Sailboat, Not a Rocket

The ability to adjust course as conditions change is a powerful asset that can dramatically change your retirement prospects. Like sailing in varying wind and sea conditions, retirement planning requires skill, experience and adaptability to do well.

All of this is why we work with our retiree and pre-retiree clients over a period of years to help ensure a successful retirement. We work to understand their circumstances, illustrate options and potential outcomes, and (more importantly) suggest course corrections when necessary.