Three Critical Questions to Help You Know What You Want Out of Retirement

know what you want out of retirement

Gain Clarity on What You’d Like Your Golden Years to Look Like

We may sound like a broken record, but this bears repeating: A written retirement income plan is critical in setting you up for an enjoyable retirement free from financial stress. However, there are three critical questions you need to answer for yourself in order to clarify and solidify your plan. After all, any retirement plan can only be effective if you truly know what you want out of your retirement, right?

Take the time to ask yourself the three questions below, and make sure you answer them honestly. This exercise will help you sharpen your focus on what retirement means to you and what you want out of this phase of life. Then, use the added clarity to develop the best-written retirement income plan for you.

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Annuities 101: A Primer on a Polarizing Term

Everything You Need to Know About Fixed Index Annuities and if They May Be Right for You

What would you guess is a key reason why people decide not to purchase a fixed index annuity with an income rider as part of their overall retirement income plan? It’s not because of surrender charges, fees, or lower returns. It’s because the benefits of a fixed index annuity with an income rider simply sound too good to be true.

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Busting Annuity Myths: Are They Really All the Same – And All Bad?

Don’t Fall for These Untruths About a Misunderstood Retirement Income Vehicle: Annuities

The following excerpt, written by Leslie Davis, is from our book, Momma’s Secret Recipe for Retirement Success. Get your copy here to read more!

It may sound silly, but I feel bad for the word Annuity because the poor little fella gets criticized on a daily basis! It seems like 50% of the individuals I’ve met think they hate annuities, while 50% think they love them. To me, an annuity is not just a type of financial vehicle per se, but also a collection of valuable benefits.

For example, let’s say you’re having a B-B-Q with your closest neighbors one evening. The neighbor to the right of you owns a beautiful new Tesla, it’s red and shiny, sitting on display in his driveway.  You overhear the owner of this beauty telling the neighbor on your left how much he loves cars and wants four more. It just so happens that this neighbor to the left owns a Yugo from the 1980s. The Yugo’s owner responds by saying, “I hate cars, they are the worst, I never want another car!” The word car brings to mind four wheels that get you from point “A” to point “B”, but you can’t put a Tesla and Yugo in the same “car” category, just like you can’t put all annuities into one “annuity” category.

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How to Design a Retirement Asset Allocation for Safety, Growth & Income for Life

How to use the ‘Three Buckets Approach’ – And Why it’s Important

The following content is excerpted from Momma’s Secret Recipe for Retirement Success, by Dan Ahmad, Jim Files, and Jack Canfield. Get your copy here!

In our book, Momma’s Secret Recipe for Retirement Success, we discuss “The 7 Rules To Live By For Retirement Security,” some of which we have also written about on this blog and you can find linked below:

  1. Avoid Large Losses – Use the 5%-10% Rule
  2. Minimize Fees
  3. Significantly Reduce Volatility
  4. Earn a Reasonable Return Rate
  5. Manage Taxation
  6. Generate “Certain Income” from Your Assets that Will Last for as Long as You Live
  7. Have a Written Retirement Income Plan

If you are like retirees we have met with, you probably love the idea of having a “Retirement Planning Roadmap” like this, right? It’s designed to help you plan for retirement income you can count on – for life.

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Use the Correct Process for Financial Success in the New Year

If You’re Following a Faulty Retirement Plan, Now is the Time to Make a Change

The following is an excerpt from Momma’s Secret Recipe for Retirement Success, by Dan Ahmad, Jim Files, and Jack Canfield. Get your copy here!

Many retirees do not have their assets allocated properly to give themselves the highest probability that they can receive a high level of consistent income, will never run out of money for as long as they live, and will never suffer a big stock market loss like 2008 again.

In a previous blog, we described in detail the differences between Stage One of Retirement Planning – Asset Accumulation, and Stage Two of Retirement Planning – Income Distribution and Asset Preservation.

When you meet with your financial advisor, even after you’ve retired, the conversation will almost always be focused on your portfolio. Your advisor will likely talk about:

  • The growth of your portfolio (even though it actually hasn’t probably grown much).
  • How the market is doing “so well” and you need to ride the wave.
  • How you are diversified by having your 20-30 mutual funds.
  • Adding bonds to the portfolio, if you are worried about risk.
  • How you are in it for the long-term and no matter what, you should “ride out all market volatility.”
  • How they have the best money managers.
  • How they will get you high rates of return.
  • Maybe they will throw in some technical terms like alpha, beta, Sharpe ratio, and standard deviation.
  • How it’s best to defer IRA distributions as long as possible, until age 72, to minimize income taxes.

The advisor might say you are now invested moderately, or conservatively, but they don’t define what this means in potential losses. So, your advisor says “moderate” or “conservative,” and you are thinking “low risk,” even though your current portfolio could lose -30%, -40%, or even -50% or more. The risk is likely caused by the portfolio’s primary focus on growth.

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What is a ‘Safe’ Rate for Retirement Income Withdrawal?

Plan Ahead So You Won’t Out-Live Your Nest Egg

What does the phrase “safe income withdrawal rate” mean to you? Most people would answer, “the amount of income you can withdraw from your assets without the fear of running out of income during your lifetime.” This seems cut and dried. But you have to look at what the word “safe” means to different people.

“Safe” to some people might actually mean “safer than something else,” such as you stating that you are “driving safe” because you are going 80 miles per hour while everyone else on the road is driving 90 miles per hour, but the posted speed limit is 65 miles per hour. And then, “safe” to other people might mean the chance of anything negative happening is 0%. In planning for retirement, safe better mean safe, something you can count on for sure. Safe better not mean “kind of safe.”

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Do You Know the One Thing WORSE Than a Stock Market Loss?

Learn What Can Devastate Your Portfolio – and Your Chances at Long-Term Success

Every investor knows that stock market losses can potentially devastate a portfolio – and your chances for long-term financial success, too. However, today we’re going to talk about something that could be even more devastating than a stock market loss. Truly!

Now, you’re probably thinking, “What could that be?” because stock market losses can ruin your retirement. Here’s the answer, which far too many retirees and near-retirees overlook: high fees!

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Do You Know the Two Stages of Money in Retirement?

Asset Accumulation and the Important Shift to Asset Preservation

At Peak Financial Freedom Group, we believe that the thing our clients want more than anything else is retirement security. Fortunately, there are seven rules to live by that will help you achieve them, and we’re sharing the first lesson here with you today. (If you want all seven rules right now, we detail all of them in our book, Momma’s Secret Recipe for Retirement Success.)

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10 Reasons to Use a Fixed Index Annuity

How to Guarantee You Won’t Outlive Your Nest Egg

The following content is excerpted from our book, Momma’s Secret Recipe for Retirement Success,” by Dan Ahmad, Jim Files, and Jack Canfield, with contributions from multiple financial advisors across the US.

Most of our clients share a common fear: running out of money in retirement. We tell them that there are at least ten compelling reasons to put some of their more serious money—money needed to produce guaranteed retirement income for life—into a fixed income annuity with an income rider. Below, we’ll go in-depth on each of these reasons.

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2520 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 110
Roseville, CA 95661


All of the information presented here is provided and intended to be used for general educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a solicitation for you to buy or sell any security or financial product. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. None of the information presented is intended to give you specific tax, investment, real estate, legal, estate, or financial advice but rather to serve as an educational platform to deliver information. The ideas, thoughts, and strategies presented here are those of the Management Team and provide an insight to our views on Peak Financial Freedom Group, LLC. Some of this material was developed and produced by Peak Financial to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Every detail in this website is subject to change without notice. Seminar, radio shows, TV productions, book releases, magazine and book promotions are sponsored, promoted and paid for by Peak Financial Freedom Group, LLC.

2nd Opinion Package available to Qualified Retirees and Soon-To-Be-Retirees may include free consultations, a free retirement income plan, risk analysis, and fee analysis. In addition, a comprehensive written retirement income plan may be provided to those who complete the entire process. Qualified Retirees and Soon-To-Be-Retirees must have a minimum of $500,000 of investible assets such as IRA’s, 401K’s from past employers, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, bank accounts, money markets, CD’s, etc., but DOES NOT include real estate, businesses, limited partnerships, 401K/retirement plans that can’t be moved to another plan, and other illiquid type assets.

Past performance is no indication of future performance and such information cannot be relied upon regarding future potential gains. Investing involves risk. There is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities. Asset allocation, diversification and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining market. Advisors and agents may only conduct business with residents of the states or jurisdictions in which they are properly registered or licensed and not all of the securities, products and services mentioned are available in every state or jurisdiction.

Nothing is directly or indirectly guaranteed by this information. The planning and ideas presented herein are not suitable for all individuals or situations. Hypothetical examples are used to explain concepts and are not indicative of potential results you could receive; past performance is not a guarantee of future results; and results are not indicative of any particular investment or income tax situation; your results will be different and could be lower or higher. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Peak Financial does not offer tax or legal advice. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Insurance product features and benefits, such as guaranteed lifetime income riders, are subject to contract terms, limitations, fees, and the claims paying ability of the insurance company issuing the contract. The sale or liquidation of any stock, bond, IRA, certificate of deposit, mutual fund, annuity, or other asset to fund the purchase of any other asset including an annuity may have tax consequences, early withdrawal penalties, or other costs and penalties as a result of the sale or liquidation. Different assets can be complex and carry fees, costs, and surrender charges. If you place assets under management with Fiduciary Solutions LLC, we are paid an advisory fee from Fiduciary Solutions LLC and if you purchase an annuity through us, we are paid commissions from an insurance company.

2019(1), 2020(2), 2021(3), 2022(4), 2023 (5) and 2024 (6) Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Award - Dan Ahmad and Jim Files have been nominated for and have won the 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 Five Star Wealth Manager Awards. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Once awarded, wealth managers may purchase additional profile ad space or promotional products. Award does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. The Five Star award is not indicative of the wealth manager’s future performance. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by Five Star Professional in the future. Award winners represent an exclusive group of wealth managers who have demonstrated excellence in their field by satisfying 10 objective selection criteria. For additional information on the Five Star award, including a complete list of the 10 objective selection criteria and their research/selection methodology, go to

Investment advisory services are offered through Fiduciary Solutions, LLC, a California Registered Investment Advisor. Insurance products and services are offered through PFFG Insurance Agency LLC, a licensed insurance agency (CA Insurance License #0N14013). Peak Financial Freedom Group LLC is a financial planning and umbrella marketing organization, which enables the provision of multiple financial services under one brand. Peak Financial Freedom Group LLC, PFFG Insurance Agency LLC, and Fiduciary Solutions LLC are affiliated entities with common ownership and control. Jim Files is licensed as an investment adviser representative with Fiduciary Solutions LLC (CRD # 1620449) and is a licensed insurance producer with PFFG Insurance Agency LLC (CA Insurance License #0F06511). Dan Ahmad is licensed as an investment adviser representative with Fiduciary Solutions LLC (CRD # 1491561) and is a licensed insurance producer with PFFG Insurance Agency LLC (CA Insurance License #0732913).

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