The Value of a Road Map

A financial road map helps you to arrive at a successful retirement.

This week, I am meeting with a client that I started working with 15 years ago.  They were in their forties at the time – one of my favorite ages to start working with people.  The longer time you have to plan, the greater impact I can help you make on your future.  These clients are average clients.  They have average salaries; they have average expenses.  There is nothing extraordinary about them from a financial perspective.  Yet, they will be soon entering a comfortable retirement.

During the last fifteen years, they have had a lot of the same decisions to make as others have.  They refinanced when they should have, the saved in tax advantaged ways, they minimized debt along the way, they paid off their mortgage, they changed jobs, they inherited a modest sum of money.  Most importantly they knew where they stood in relationship to their financial plan when making all these decisions.

They didn’t have grand plans.  For a lot of my clients, the retirement planning starts with the goal of maintaining their current standard of living and staying in the Washington DC area when they enter retirement at a certain age.  They didn’t have their entire retirement picture figured out in their forties.  They don’t have the entire picture figured out today.  It’s still evolving.  What we did know is that they wanted to retire, they wanted to make sure that they took advantage of every tool they could to get them to retirement, they wanted to know where they stood.  We measured where they stood on an annual basis in their financial plan.

What was the result?  15 years later, retirement is looking pretty good.  They didn’t have extraordinary circumstances; they had a plan.  They consistently made the best decision they could given the information they had along the way.  What’s the moral of this story?  Plan early, check in regularly, adjust as needed.  Design your own future.  Information, Assessment, Empowerment.

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