A few weeks ago I had a review meeting with a relatively new client and I thought it would be appropriate to share a little bit about their journey to retirement.
He and his wife made the decision to retire about a year ago. It was not an easy decision for either of them. He worked for his company for nearly 34 years and his paycheck provided them both with a level of security that was difficult to part with.
I asked the question I ask everyone I meet with in our first meeting…”what do you want to do in retirement?”
Their answer was simple. They wanted to travel. Once we began talking about some of the places they wanted to visit, I could see the joy on their faces. Just talking about the destinations made them both smile. One of their ideas was to take their kids and grandkids on an Alaskan Cruise.
My next question is one they didn’t have a great answer for. “Why haven’t you already retired?” They said they were waiting until he reached the age of full retirement for social security. They told me the difference was going to be about $150 more per month in social security if they waited the extra 2 years.
Ahh, the ole full retirement age for social security purposes! I’ve heard that one many times before and it’s one I pick apart regularly. Why would anyone let the social security administration dictate their retirement date? In about 37 seconds I was able to show them the math on why the difference in social security wasn’t going to make a significant difference in the quality of their retirement. However, giving his company 2 more years would mean that he would delay their dreams longer than necessary.
I did the analysis and determined that they only needed an additional $2000 per month from their retirement accounts to fill their income gap if he retired that day. They had over $800,000 so this was less than a 3% withdrawal per year. The math was on their side so I told him if I were him I would retire sooner rather than later.
They took my advice and retired about 3 months later. He recently told me that he now realizes that the most precious resource he has is not his retirement accounts…it’s time. It wasn’t until we put the additional $150 from social security in proper perspective that they understood.
Sure, we’d all like a little more money from social security each month…but at what cost? In this instance, they were on track to give two more years to a company that will replace him the week after he is gone.
Every time I talk to these clients, they thank me for giving them 2 extra years of retirement. No one can add extra years to the end of retirement, but with proper planning, we can add years to the beginning. This is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I love helping people make retirement a reality.
If you are on the fence about whether or not you are financially able to retire, call the office and set up a meeting. I can’t promise that I will say you are ready right now, but I will tell you what you can do to make your retirement a reality as soon as possible.
Thanks for the trust you’ve placed in me.