Some aspects of retirement are more important than the rate of return for your retirement plan. That statement is not to downplay the rate of return, but to emphasize that risk, taxes, inflation, interest rates, economic health, and time are also significant. To create a proper retirement plan, we need to discover a life plan. We do this by completing a prioritization exercise with prospective clients and then annually reviewing it. This exercise pinpoints what is vital to our clients so we can build the retirement plan around your priorities. Believe it or not, there’s an art to financial planning and a science to financial planning. What I’m talking about here is the art of financial planning.

I’ve never had a client or prospective client tell me they must have a set amount of money when they retire to be happy. So when you have the conversation to discover what the client/prospect values in life and what is important to them, we usually hear about good health, spending time with family, and giving money to charities. Many people want to have an impact on people’s lives, and to leave a legacy.At this point, my advisors at Osiwala Financial Group (OFG) look back at the portfolio and the overall retirement plan. It’s not uncommon to find that a client’s portfolio is at risk because it doesn’t prioritize what is most important to them.They can often take less portfolio risk, but some people don’t realize that because their current financial advisor has never taken them through the prioritization process.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had prospective client’s faces light up with a sense of relief when I show them their risk level is “up there,” and what they told me going through this exercise is that they are content with their risk being “down there.” It’s fantastic to watch their reaction.

I love when these “ah ha” moments happen, especially when I have a couple in my office looking at each other because they just now realize what is important to their spouse. From this point, they can make decisions as a unit about what they want to accomplish in retirement and experience those items in a meaningful way. In my opinion, people shouldn’t begin to have discussions about what their investments should achieve until they have gone through this prioritization exercise. My clients know they’re not a number when they call my office.We intimately know who they are and what’s important to them. Because of this, when creating or revising their retirement plan, we are mindful of the important reasons to those particular clients.  

But the most remarkable thing that happens with this takes place when advisors begin to connect life to the numbers inside of the retirement plan. During our reviews, we have a condensed conversation of the first prioritization exercise to ensure that the values expressed initially are still the goalposts. If we are off-course because values or goals have shifted, we can adjust or have a more in-depth conversation about those changes to ensure we are all on the same page.For example, in many cases, grandparents want to ensure that their grandchildren are educated or get a head start in life by leaving a legacy. It’s during the prioritization phase when the detailed conversations start. Do you want a living legacy, or do you want it to be a legacy of dollars after you pass away? And because no one has asked them that detail before, we explain that a living legacy allows you to witness your grandchildren enjoy their inheritance. If the client can afford to do that, I usually see the most fantastic transformation in quality of life as they watch their loved ones enjoy the financial fruits of their hard work. Let’s be honest. Wall Street doesn’t want you to spend your investments. They want you to stay invested. But for some people, watching those they love the most enjoy the money and show their appreciation while they’re still alive would add to their quality of life.

Do you have a retirement plan? And by a retirement plan, I don’t mean investments. I’m talking about a strategy designed from a meaningful, thorough conversation with a Fiduciary, like my advisors at Osiwala Financial Group. If not, click HERE to access the OFG Advisors’ software and start building your plan. There’s no cost or obligation. If you need help, click HERE and request a 20-minute “Ask Anything” session. My advisors will do a screen share with you on the computer and help you build your financial plan right from the comfort of your own home. There’s no cost or obligation. What do you have to lose?