If you deserve a wellness visit from your doctor every year, why doesn’t your retirement plan?
Planning for your retirement is not a set it and forget it exercise. A comprehensive financial and retirement income plan packaged in an attractive binder and placed on your bookshelf to gather dust will not accomplish your retirement objectives. Rather, it must be viewed as a living, breathing strategy that is referred to often, that is amended, tweaked and used in your daily life. The collection of papers does not assure a comfortable 30-year closing chapter of your life. You do.
Like going to your doctor for a regular check up, to make sure that all your vital systems are in order and free of disease, your financial plan must be checked and re-checked to be certain that you remain on the proper trajectory. Like a plane traveling from New York to San Diego, it will be off course much of the time. Atmospheric conditions, such as air pressure, storm clouds, wind speed; all these combine to knock the plane off its intended flight path. Yet the flight computers and the pilots act to bring the plane back on course to its intended destination, and it lands precisely on the proper runway at San Diego airport.
Your financial and retirement income plan will be knocked off course as well. Your investment portfolios will have to deal with periods of low interest rates, market downturns, periods of rising rates and Federal Reserve Bank actions. Add to these the European crisis with Greece, the Puerto Rico debt crisis, the inability of Congress and the President to agree on anything, and never ending fighting in the Middle East. All of these “happenings” act to disrupt the plans you have put in place. Some are “noise” and are to be ignored. While others are important signposts that must be discussed, considered, and where appropriate, acted upon.
Outside influences aren’t the only reasons to re-visit your financial plan. Consider the following partial list as excellent reasons to crack open your plan and discuss it with your advisory team:
- A change in family status, such as a birth or death
- Adopting a child
- Catastrophic illness of a family member
- Moving to a new state
- Significant income change
- Change of occupation or employer
- Receiving an inheritance
- Caring for an aging parent both physically and financially
I tend to be a bit more cautious than most. I have successfully modified my behavior to remember to change the batteries in our home smoke detectors at the change of daylight savings time. I suppose I can purposely review my financial and retirement income plan on the same day. After all, given the importance of my plan to my family, and me I dare not rely on old batteries and hope they are still functioning.
Copyright 2015 by Rodger A. Friedman
Forging Bonds of Steel, LLC