My focus, with a majority of my clients is on retirement planning—working with people close to retirement, or already in retirement. This type of planning is considerably different than financial planning in general, because the emphasis is on maintaining assets, and generating income from your assets. In the early years you need to focus on sustained growth of your assets, with managed risk. In retirement planning, you focus on principal protection, income generation, and minimizing risk.

The importance of understanding the difference between these two disciplines cannot be underestimated. When you are 50 and younger, you have the time and emotional wherewithal to deal with losses. When you start approaching retirement, your timeline ability to withstand storms is greatly reduced.

Because of this, the approach you use, and the choices you make with your finances, are directly related to the type of financial comfort you will have in retirement, regardless of how long you live.

Of course, no one knows how long they will live, but most people will agree that their biggest concern is outliving their money. While we cannot, as financial advisors, influence your life expectancy, we can influence your financial quality of life in retirement.

The first step, is understanding the difference between how your assets should be managed in retirement, versus any other time of your life. This may seem quite basic in terms of philosophy, but, as an advisor for 31 years, it is my biggest challenge. Having a definition of how your finances should be managed during most of your life and then being told something totally different, is very hard for many people to accept. This is why I spend most of my time with “baby boomers” like myself, explaining the reasons for this major shift in structure.

As a veteran of the industry, advising clients and training other advisors, I have come to realize that most people are driven by emotions, not practicality, and that trust is the foremost emotion that drives people’s decision making. Yes, I realize that observation might be difficult to believe, but based on my experience, emotion–often the wrong type of emotion–dictates choices.

Retirement planning should be somewhat easy to implement, but it is not typically so easy to establish, or manage. This is why I do what I do. At 62 years old with my industry experience, I believe I am uniquely equipped, and knowledgeable, to help people with one of the most important aspects of their financial lives.

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