Retirement planning is one of the most complicated processes you’ll ever have to go through. You’ll take decades of your life to prepare for this season, wading through a myriad of difficult personal and financial decisions along the way. Sometimes it may seem overwhelming. In fact, in a recent survey 41% of Americans said that being financially secure in retirement was “going to take a miracle”.
You don’t need a miracle to have a good retirement. You just need the right partner.
When they need help with retirement (and really everyone does) many people turn to a retirement plan consultant. What is a retirement plan consultant? And how does it help you make the most of your retirement? In this article, we answer those questions and explain how you can get started today.
What is a Retirement Plan Consultant?
A retirement plan consultant is a qualified financial professional who guides people into and through retirement.
The key here is that they provide comprehensive support. While some individuals may care for you in a specific area (say advising you on insurance or investments), a retirement plan consultant engages with everything — 401(k)s, IRAs, Social Security income, pension information, Medicare, long-term care insurance, estate planning, and more. They’re able to organize each piece of information and bring them all together into one cohesive plan.
Then, they help you stay on track. When you partner with a retirement plan consultant, you enter an ongoing relationship. Your life and your finances are dynamic. The right professional will help you adapt your plan as necessary. And they’ll bring clarity and efficiency with detailed analysis.
What Do Retirement Plan Consultants Do?
Retirement plan consultants are experts in forecasting and distribution analysis. They can project what your finances will look like over the long hall. Based on probabilities and careful calculations, these projections will help you know how much you need to save now. And with distribution analysis, consultants will be able to tell you how your savings will last. They’ll know how much money needs to be taken out and can coach you on how to do that in an efficient manner.
To help you stay on track, consultants will advise you on many financial matters. They’ll guide you through asset allocation — when do you need to reduce risk and change the makeup of your portfolio? They will coach you through tax implications — when to deposit into and withdraw from each account to minimize taxes and maximize returns. And they’ll offer hands on wisdom for your most important questions like:
- Should I take Social Security early? Late?
- How do I set up my beneficiaries?
- Is a static or dynamic withdrawal strategy better?
- Am I going to be okay?
Why is a Retirement Plan Consultant Important?
Retirement plan consultants are important because retirement is important. This is decades of your life you’re planning for. Neglect to plan well and you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to an incredible amount of stress and problems. But if you do plan well, you won’t just get through your golden years, you’ll actually be able to enjoy them to the fullest.
As we mentioned before, a good retirement plan is complicated. It has to make sense of dozens of variables and adapt as life and the market change. That’s why having a professional to help is so important. Even the most financially savvy individuals don’t have the time and energy to master every detail on their own. And if you neglect just one, your entire plan might be off. A professional simply has the expertise to do it better. Without a consultant, the odds are just too high your thinking might be wrong and you might miss something vitally important.
Can I Do Retirement Planning On My Own?
We really caution people against the DIY approach when it comes to retirement. While there are some tools you can use to plan on your own, these will never take the place of a consultant.
For example, retirement calculators are helpful, but intrinsically flawed. They base their predictions on average returns. But the problem is that the market never has an “average return” because there will always be up years and down years. These fluctuations above and below average will have an enormous impact on your money. Without more accurate information, you may make the wrong decision.
Instead, retirement plan consultants help you look into your future with more detail. They take into account actual historical data to calculate the probability of your nest egg holding up. This data-driven approach provides you the most accurate projections and, consequently, can help you make the best plans. And consultants make this information easy to understand too. At Clear Money Path, we use Money Guide Pro. This is the number one tool in the industry for a reason. Our clients love it because the analytics are robust, yet it’s easy to customize. Once we build your customized tool, you can use it 24/7 online to create and track different scenarios, playing out every detail of how your retirement plan will work. That’s a level of precision and ease you just can’t get with the DIY approach.
How Do I Find a Retirement Plan Consultant?
This is an important relationship, so you want to choose your consultant wisely. Look for someone with the proper qualifications and experience. Some people might have added designations, but any trustworthy individual should have years of experience working specifically with retirement. Search for a consultant that has worked with clients similar to you. You want someone who understands your circumstances, goals, and values.
And if you’re serious about getting the best service, make sure the person you hire is a fiduciary. This is the highest legal standard for a financial professional. It means they will act in your best interest, making the recommendations and decisions that help you and your family.
Thank you for leaning into the retirement planning process. It can be challenging, but it’s so worth doing right. At Clear Money Path, we’ve been helping our clients navigate retirement for over 30 years. We believe that with the right consultant you can retire when you want to, how you want to. Want to see how? Schedule your free consultation today.
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Information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice, but is limited to the dissemination of general information on products and services. This information should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein.
Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date and was obtained from sources known to be reliable. It should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed.
All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of presentation and are subject to change.Clear Money Path is registered as an investment adviser with the state of Missouri. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements.