Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is critical to a successful retirement. You cannot just assume that you will be successful because you will receive social security, have a pension, or contribute to a 401(k) or an IRA. Too many people fail because they make those assumptions and neglect to actually develop a plan.

The key is to determine what type of retirement you want to have. Unless you know what retirement will look like, you’re just guessing if you can retire the way you want.

Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is critical to a successful retirement. You cannot just assume that you will be successful because you will receive social security, have a pension, or contribute to a 401(k) or an IRA. Too many people fail because they make those assumptions and neglect to actually develop a plan.

The key is to determine what type of retirement you want to have. Unless you know what retirement will look like, you’re just guessing if you can retire the way you want.

In Retirement, Timing Is Everything

The odds are fairly high that you will need to take some corrective steps to retire successfully. There are so many potential retirement mistakes that most people we meet fall behind their retirement goals.

Time is critical; it can hurt you or help you. If you wait until the year before you retire and then determine that you’ve made a substantial error, you’ve burned the time you could have used to correct your mistake. On the other hand, if you start early, there’s plenty of time to take corrective actions to get your retirement planning back on track.

The sooner you build a retirement plan, the better. You can’t change the past, but you can change the present and the future by starting a retirement plan now.

Our Retirement Planning Services​

Retirement planning is extremely important, but not all retirement planning is the same. Sadly, many retirement planners skip the hard work, don’t focus on the correct elements, and just use “planning” as an excuse to sell some financial product. Our retirement planners work tirelessly to help you successfully retire.

Married couple establishing goals for retirement

Establish Specific Goals

You cannot achieve a successful retirement without specifically defining what that success looks like. Putting some goals on the back of a napkin doesn't provide enough concrete information for you to make decisions about how to achieve your goals. How much money do you actually need to enjoy the living standard you want during retirement? Do you want to base that on your current living standard or make some adjustments – up or down – based on where and how you want to live during retirement?

These are just a few of the specifics you need to establish before developing a retirement plan. You're almost guaranteed to fail without knowing exactly where you want to go.

retirement planning

Protect Yourself From Inflation

Among the handful of pre-retirees we've met who established specific goals, none included an accurate assessment of what inflation would do to their living standard, assets, and retirement plan over time. Inflation is a silent killer, and unless you learn how to deal with inflation in retirement, it can kill your chances of success without you ever knowing until it's too late.

You'll never receive a statement from your bank, broker, insurance company, etc., that tells you that you've fallen behind because of inflation. Most bank and brokerage statements give you a false sense of confidence, even if your balances are stable or growing.

Your retirement plan must accurately assess the effect of inflation and provide strategies to ensure that both your living standard and your asset base keep up with inflation.

retirement planning

Plan for a Long Retirement

One of the biggest mistakes pre-retirees make is underestimating how long they will live and, therefore, how long retirement will be. The normal retirement age of 65 is just the beginning of what can be a very long retirement, and your retirement plan has to carry you through, not just up to, retirement.

If you have a plan which only takes you to age 65, you will probably fail.
On average, with advances in medical science and healthier lifestyles, retirement can easily last 20 years; often, it will last longer. However, if you have not developed a retirement plan that addresses all those years, you don't have a complete one.

Retirees working to anticipate financial surprises in retirement planning

Anticipate Surprises

That may seem like a contradiction; how can you anticipate something that is unknown? You may not be able to predict the surprise, but you can assume there will be some surprises in retirement.

A successful retirement plan will include a healthy surplus to handle whatever surprises cross your path. You can build in some reasonable assumptions about long-term care costs, increased medical expenses, significant repairs or capital expenditures, etc. Even if you accurately assess your normal living standard and include reasonable inflation assumptions, if you do not anticipate some major surprises, you may still run out of money when you can least afford to do so.

Image of a social security form with a calculator in the background

Understand Social Security

Social Security benefits are significant for most retirees, even those in the upper-income levels. Every dollar you receive is one less dollar you have to withdraw from your retirement savings, and that savings has a compounding effect over time.

While most pre-retirees get a Social Security benefits estimate before retirement, very few ask the most important question: Can you count on receiving 100% of the estimated lifetime benefit? The Social Security system is not on a solid financial footing and hasn't been for several decades. The reality is that some people – maybe the majority of retirees – will not receive their full estimated benefit. 

You need to understand what Social Security means to your retirement plan, how it might be changed, and how to take countermeasures to ensure a successful retirement.

retirement planning

Invest for Your Whole Life

A successful retirement plan doesn't just take you to retirement; it must take you through retirement. That means your investment plan - a key component of your retirement plan - needs to match the changes that will likely occur as you approach, enter into, and then live through retirement.

You should also be willing to make strategic adjustments to your investments during the different phases of life, reflecting your goals, different cash flow needs, and any changes in your risk tolerance. You cannot just adopt a set-and-forget investment strategy. You need to invest purposely for the accumulation phase of life and then invest purposely for the draw-down phase of life. 

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Why Work With Us?

Retirement planning is detailed and long-ranging by nature. There are many components, and integration of all of them is important. For that reason, we highly recommend that you work with a professional retirement planner. The experience base is critical to success.

More importantly, though, we recommend choosing an experienced planner who is 100% objective. This is not the place to substitute a sales pitch for a retirement plan. The plan that comes out of this effort needs to be good, and you must have confidence that it is good. If it comes with a product presentation, there will always be that shred of doubt.

In every engagement with our people and at every step along the way to developing your successful retirement plan, you can have the confidence that nobody at First Financial Consulting will attempt to sell you any product at any time for any reason.

A firm like First Financial has been around for decades – 45+ years in fact – so you know that there is seasoned longevity, a deep well of talent and resources, and that we’ll be around in the future when you need us. We are committed to providing the right type of advice in the right way to develop the right plan for you.

We will develop a holistic retirement plan, specifically reflecting who you are as a family, your current situation, and your financial goals. Our retirement planning services will anticipate potential surprises and protect you from inflation.

Implementing a retirement plan is just as important as designing a good plan that fits your needs and goals. We will provide solid, actionable recommendations in every relevant area of your retirement plan. Too many people stop at the plan development stage. Once completed, they assume the plan will happen just because it’s on paper.

Sadly, that’s not true. We stay around to help you implement your retirement plan, and we meet regularly with our clients to keep the plan and their investments on track throughout life’s different phases.

Hire A Retirement Planner You Can Trust

Trust is easy to claim but more difficult to prove. Proof takes time to see that the advice really is good, that the advice really does reflect the client’s situation and goals, and time to reap the benefits of proper execution.

We’ve had plenty of time to prove this. Because we have been so successful in this over our 45+ years, we are now providing retirement planning services to the 2nd and 3rd generations of many of our clients. The fact that so many of our clients have stayed with us over the years, entrusted future generations to our care, and referred their kids and grandkids is a testimony to our dedication, skill, and success. It is also an honor we do not take for granted

First Financial Consulting is 100% objective; we are fiduciaries, meeting the highest standard of trust and obligation to our clients’ well-being. We’d love to talk with you about your situation, your goals, your concerns and how we can help you achieve a successful retirement.

Retirement Planning FAQs

What is Retirement Planning?

Retirement planning is the process of determining where you are now, what you want retirement to look like, and what steps are needed in all relevant areas to retire successfully. The primary purpose is to put you on the path to success and keep you on track.

Why is Retirement Planning Important?

Retirement planning is important because many people fail to achieve their retirement goals. You cannot take it for granted. Putting some numbers, goals, and thoughts down on the back of a napkin won't suffice. Quite simply, failing to plan is planning to fail.

How Much Should I Pay for Retirement Planning?

You should never pay more for a service than it is worth. Of course, that depends on the complexity of your situation and your progress thus far.

You should always ask for an initial fee consultation, during which a potential advisor is willing to explore your needs thoroughly and then address how they can help you achieve your goals. That potential advisor should also provide a specific cost quote to develop your retirement plan.

Are Retirement Planners Worth It?

The answer is yes and no because there are so many differences between the quality of retirement planners. Too many "advisors" are glorified product salespeople, and we don't believe their "advice" is worth all that much.

Other retirement planners meet the highest fiduciary standards, offer 100% objective advice, and have enough experience to truly make a difference. Those retirement planners are worth the expenditure of time and money necessary to develop a successful retirement plan.

What are Retirement Planning Services?

Retirement planning services cover a wide spectrum of issues. A truly comprehensive retirement plan includes cashflow management, plan development, risk mitigation, tax consulting, and investment management services, to name the primary ones you should use. 

Who is the Best Person to Talk to About Retirement Planning?

The best person to talk with is an experienced retirement planner who is committed to providing 100% objective advice, who will take a holistic approach to help you achieve all your goals, and who will stick around to implement your plan and monitor your progress.

What is the Best Age to Start a Retirement Plan?

The best age to start a retirement plan is now! It sounds a little trite to have a one-word answer, but the reality is that the more time you have until you want to retire, the greater the odds you will successfully retire and enjoy those years. Even if you're fairly early in a career or family, you can dramatically improve your retirement by beginning the planning process now. 

Take Control of Your Retirement

Retirement planning is crucial to your long-term success. Your retirement is too important to leave to chance. Schedule a Complimentary Consultation with one of our Retirement Planners Today to ensure you enjoy the retirement you’ve worked hard for.

Protect Your Future

Your legacy goes far beyond your assets. Ensure that legacy carries on through future generation. Schedule a Complimentary Consultation with one of our Estate Planning Experts Today.