Questions You Must Be Able To Answer To Have A Successful Retirement

Most retirees have not gotten answers to their most pressing questions about retirement from their current brokers, advisors, employers, or own research.

If you can’t answer basic questions about your retirement, how can you expect to succeed, feel secure, and feel confident you are making the right decisions about your money? You can’t feel good about it. If you can’t answer basic questions about your money, it means your plans for retirement are based on hope and luck. It means you are hoping you will be lucky, and things will work out. Your broker or advisor might seem to know a lot about your portfolio and managing the assets because that is what they mainly talk to you about. Your broker or advisor may say you are diversified, state they have great money managers, let you know you are positioned for good rates of return, tell you if you want less risk they can put a larger percentage of your assets in bonds, and will often confirm you can expect an 8%-10% average annual rate of return. However, when you ask the important questions about your money, they don’t have any answers. Moreover, your broker or advisor has never put your plan in writing. This means your current broker or advisor is comfortable with you basing your plans for retirement on hope and luck. Are you? In our 50+ years of experience, we have found there is certain data (see diagram on following page) you must have to build a secure plan and to be able to stop worrying about your money:


Can you answer these questions regarding your own assets and plans for retirement? If you can’t answer these questions, it means your entire plan is based on hope and luck. Are you willing to bet your retirement security and your financial success on hope and luck? I bet you really aren’t, but no one has given you the answers before. If your current advisor has not answered these questions and has not put the answers in writing for you, it may be time to find a new advisor. Make sure you develop a plan that can answer every single one of these questions and make sure those answers are in writing.

1. How much income can you safely take out of your assets for income?

If you are not sure how much income you can take out of your assets, you may not be taking as much as you could because you are worried about running out, or you may be taking too much, and you will run out. Either way, you are not in a good position.

2. How long will your money actually last?

If you don’t know how long your money will really last, you will either take less income than you could, or worse yet, take no income at all because you are worried about running out of money. This means you will do without, and you will continue to worry.

3. Can you guarantee you will never run out of money for as long as you live?

The biggest fear retirees and pre-retirees have is running out of money during their lifetimes, and if you can’t guarantee your income won’t run out, you will continue to feel anxious and fearful about using your money. The key is to learn how to create “Certain Income” from your assets that will never run out, for as long as you live.

4. How can you protect your assets from volatility and losses?

If you lived through 2000-2002 and 2007-2009, you probably are a little, or maybe a lot, worried about volatility and losses. If your assets have a high level of volatility, you can’t take much income out. If you are taking income distributions from your assets and then suffer through volatility and losses, the negative impacts of the volatility and losses are magnified. Fees increase the severity of losses.

5. How much income tax will you pay on your income distributions from your assets?

Retirees and pre-retirees fear big losses and running out of money, but they also are afraid of income taxes. Many retirees believe they will pay a huge amount of income taxes if they use their assets for income, so they don’t use their assets. The fact is that most retirees will not be in a high effective income tax bracket so they should take income from their assets to live the retirement of their dreams.

6. How much will you lose in the next big stock market crash?

With the stock market continuing on its path of all-time highs, most people worry about the next big stock market crash because it’s not if it will happen, it’s when will it happen and how big will it be? If you have no idea how much you could lose, this only increases your anxiety about your money.

7. Is it OK to start spending some of your money?

A large percentage of retirees decide not to use their assets for income when they retire because they are worried about losses, their money running out, income taxes, and not leaving enough for

their beneficiaries. Also, think about it, the only reason you saved all your money while you were working was to be able to use it to create income during retirement. So, if you are afraid to use your money now that you are retired, this is a terrible way to feel about your money because you will not be able to do all the things you planned to do. If you can guarantee your income won’t run out for as long as you live, you can eliminate your fear of running out of money.

8. What are the total fees you are really paying and how can you reduce them?

We believe close to 100% of retirees and pre-retirees are not aware of the true cost of having their assets managed. Most people believe they are paying “about 1%,” but when we perform fee audits as part of a 2nd Opinion About Your Money, we find the average retiree is paying approximately 3.25% in direct and indirect (hidden) fees. This is a shame as the typical retiree with a proper plan may pay less than half of this amount.

9. What’s going to happen if you or your spouse pass away?

It’s a very difficult conversation to have discussing what happens if you or your spouse pass away. What will happen to the survivor? Will your finances continue to be secure? Will your lifestyle have to change? Because these are difficult and emotional topics, you may avoid them. But we promise, not knowing the answers to these questions are far worse than having the conversation. The goal of prudent and proper retirement planning is to develop a plan that can answer all of these questions, because if you can answer all of these questions, you won’t have to worry about your money any longer.

At Peak Financial Freedom Group, we believe it’s important to feel in control of your financial future. Contact us today to schedule an initial conversation so that we can determine the next steps in helping you get the comprehensive written retirement income plan you deserve.

10. Can You Pass On Money To Your Beneficiaries?

We have found most clients we work with want to use their assets to produce a high level of dependable income for as long as they live, helping them to enjoy the wonderful retirement they have always dreamed about. But they also want to make sure they can still leave money, whatever is left, to their beneficiaries, which can include children, grandchildren, other relatives, close friends, and charities. We believe every client needs a Legacy calculation showing what can be potentially left to beneficiaries after we are gone, because it will make the client feel more comfortable spending some of their money if they know they can still leave some money to their loved ones.

Peak Financial Freedom Group
2520 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 110
Roseville, CA 95661


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