Hi. I’m Ron Dickinson, Certified Financial Planner and CPA. I brought with me a cookie cutter this morning. It’s a very useful tool for turning out clone cookies, ones that look exactly like another.
But when it comes to financial planning, I’m not sure if using a cookie cutter is the right approach. We believe that each client has something unique about them, something that they want to achieve during retirement or after death with their legacy, and that uniqueness needs to be built into the financial plan.
Some of our clients have pension plans that are large. Other clients have inherited money or saved a lot of money. These are very unique situations that require different planning techniques.
A few of the goals of my clients are to travel or go on adventures. Then other clients tell me, “That’s OK. But our first priority is to be near our grandchildren.” Goals differ among clients. We’re not clones of one another.
Our health is different, and healthcare concerns can be built into your plan. Some people want to leave a legacy. They would like X number of dollars to go to a charity of their choice. That can be built in to a financial plan as well. Others want their children to get the majority of their assets. That’s something that should be designed to be moved as efficiently as possible to those sources.
We’re not all clones of one another, and there are things that are unique about you. Sometimes financial planners get that backwards. They come with a particular approach and try to force you into a box. Their approach might seem sophisticated. It might include trusts, which are OK in some cases. It might include life insurance. It may include an approach that they’re trying to force you into which has a certain degree of discomfort for you.
What you want to do is find the simplest, easiest way that’s also flexible to achieve your goals. During retirement, life changes. What you think might be happening in retirement when you’re 55 or 60 might be different than when you get out to 75 or 80. You want some flexibility built into a retirement plan. You want it to be uniquely-designed around you.
Researchers at Texas Tech University just released a study that they did regarding online calculators, and they said they’re useful for coming up with a solution to see if you’re on track or not. However, a majority of the calculators have inherent flaws built within that might give you a false sense of security that your retirement is OK.
We’re not all clones of one another. Don’t start with a biased approach with a particular planner either. Sit down with a planner that will listen to you and work with you. Your plan that you start out with in the beginning of retirement probably will evolve over time. Thus, the relationship you have with a financial planner is important. We like building unique plans for our clients and working with them to achieve a successful retirement.
[Financial Planning and Investment Management Services offered through Dickinson Investment Advisors, Registered Investment Advisor. Statistics and market information provided by Litman Gregory Advisor Intelligence.]