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  • Kevin McCollester

Are you certain?

When you think about your savings and investment goals, what comes to mind? For most of us, there is not much certainty as reflected in the fact that there are a lot of questions and not many answers. Questions such as: Am I saving enough? Am I invested in the right vehicles? Is my asset allocation appropriate for my age and risk tolerance? How long can the market keep going up before it "corrects" like it did in 2008? Will I be positioned correctly when that happens? How much can I afford to lose when it does happen? Will I panic (again) and sell at the wrong time? How much will I need when I retire? Will I outlive my money? How much tax will I have to pay on the money I have saved and invested? Is my advisor working in my best interest or hers?

But this is normal, right?

In fact, I suspect that we don't even really think about those questions or if we do, since we don't know the answers, we just go on doing the best we can. That is why we think we have to save as much as we can, max out our 401(k) contributions, and follow the our advisors tell us, whether we pay them for their advice or get it for free on the internet. We're doing all the right things and so it's all going to work out, ... right?

Let me ask you a few different questions.

When you retire ...

  • Do you know how much money you will have in your 401(k), IRAs and other retirement accounts?

  • Do you know how much tax you will owe on that money?

  • Do you know how much money you will receive from Social Security?

  • Do you know how long you will live?

If you cannot answer these questions with certainty, then how can you know with any certainty that you will be able to live the kind of lifestyle that you want to live for as long as you will live?

This is why traditional financial planning has failed. They will tell you that since we cannot know the answers to those questions, then we must try to accumulate as big a pile of money as we can and then be conservative with how we draw down those assets in retirement, thereby giving us the best chance to make it to the end with money left in the bank.

While I can definitely imagine that if I had a big enough pile of money, I wouldn't have to worry, but the reality is for most of us, that is just not going to happen and as a result, we hope we will have enough, and as they say, "hope is not a plan".

There is another way. And while no one can answer the four questions above with any certainty, we don't have to be left hoping that what we are doing and have done will be enough. What if you could save for retirement and know with absolute certainty how much money you will have at any point in the future and know that that number is guaranteed to be the minimum amount in your account? And what if you had access to that money at any time and for any reason without penalty during your working years as needs and/or opportunities arise and know that using that money would not negatively impact the amount of money you will have at retirement but in fact could increase it? And what if you could access this money during retirement tax-free? And what if the money that is left at your death was transferred to your estate tax-free? Would this help you sleep better at night not worrying what the stock market did today or will do tomorrow?

If you are intrigued by this idea, please reach out to me. I would be glad to help you "leverage the power of certainty"!

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