Will You Run Out of Money Before You Run Out of Breath?
That’s a question many people have: how long will my money last? But when they go to different web-based calculators, they often wonder if they might be missing something. After all, the computer screen can’t see the expression on their face or hear the hesitation or fear in their voice when considering a response to an online question. And when they go to someone who has a vested interest in either managing, being a custodian of, or otherwise in any way “handling” their money, the concern is whether the investment management suggestions are based upon the services and/or transactions for which that person is paid. If so, then it’s based on how much YOU are worth to THEM for fees and/or commissions. As my dear Great-Aunt Rose used to ask: “Well, isn’t that a fine howdy-do?!?”
That’s where I come in. With a background in accounting, law, and financial planning — as well as two professional designations in retirement planning — I know the questions to ask and the different areas which need to be viewed with a bit more scrutiny due to special circumstances. And since I don’t sell investments or insurance and don’t provide investment advice, my perspective and observations are not biased in any way. I provide you with an independent, objective opinion of the likelihood of you running out of money before running out of breath.
We consider many different variables, all of which are interrelated such that a small change in any one may substantially impact the others. These include, but are not limited to:
* How and where you spend, save and invest your money
* Whether and how these expenses may change based on inflation
* How these expenses may change as you mature or when a person dependent on the plan outcome dies
* Your present and future sources of income from third parties, such as work, Social Security, pensions, and annuities
* Whether the above-mentioned income sources are expected to increase over time
* The amount you presently have invested in after-tax and pre-tax accounts
* The projected average annual return you may reasonably be expected to attain
based on your present portfolio
* The average rate of income tax to which you may be subject over time
* Required minimum distribution rules for tax-deferred accounts
* Life expectancy and longevity considerations
* The balance between pre-tax and after-tax savings based on special or extraordinary needs prior to attaining age 59½
What does it cost? I work on an hourly basis, and my rate is presently $200 per hour, charged in increments of 1-minute. Generally, the more complex your situation, the higher the cost. But you always know up front the most it will cost. I’m pretty good about estimating my time, as I’ve done hundreds of these analyses over the past 25 years, and in many cases come in under the estimate. Most engagements run in the range of $1,500 to $2,000 or less. If I under-estimate my time, you don’t pay any more than the amount I quoted you in my fee estimate. Again, I don’t sell “product”, so there’s no commission or other outside compensation other than the fee I receive from you.
Think about it — using an hourly rate, I charge you based on how much I am worth to you as a planning professional. When you get a “free plan” or it’s part of a package under which your investment portfolio is managed for a fee, you are charged by that person based upon how much you are worth to them. And just because you have more or less than someone else who takes up the same amount of time, is charging you based upon your monetary value to the planner really fair to all concerned? I don’t believe it is, so I charge an hourly rate for my time spent working for and with you.
What do I deliver? I provide you with a printed and digital PDF report containing several cash-flow modeling scenarios, along with reports on any specific areas of focus you wish to consider in certain limited areas of investment, insurance, estate, and education planning.
Click here for a sample output for a retiring couple, modest lifestyle & portfolio:
Click here to read an article I wrote on how I developed my spreadsheet model:
My Brochure: Helping You Find Your “Number” — Cash Flow Modeling (PDF):