Retirement “Goals”

If you’re a college sports fanatic like I am, this is one of the best times of the year.  March Madness (a.k.a. the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament) has been in full swing over the last couple of weeks – 72 of the nation’s top teams competing for the ultimate title of National Champions.

Watching game after game during the tournament and tracking the winners on the bracket I keep by my side, I can’t help but see a parallel here between the strategies these teams are using to reach their ultimate goal and the strategies we need to use to reach one of our ultimate goals…retirement.  That’s right, I’m saying the road to your retirement is like the road to the Final Four.  Stay with me as I draw a couple of parallels:

  • It All Starts with a Plan
    • Basketball.  Once the tournament brackets are in place, each team puts together their best strategy.  This includes putting together their strongest line-ups, putting in hours of preparation, and forming game plans to maximize their strengths and minimize the opposing team’s best assets.    
    • Retirement.  Once we choose a retirement goal (age we want to retire, income we will need in retirement, etc.), we work with our financial planner to put together our best strategy.  We work hard to maximize tools (income, savings vehicles, investment strategies) while minimizing the risks (rising interest rates, market volatility, changing tax laws, etc.).
  • Make Adjustments
    • Basketball.    The NCAA tournament is known for its upsets – the smaller or lower seeded teams that find a way to beat the bigger, top rated teams (like Lehigh beating Duke!).  If an upset occurs, teams may not be prepared for the team they will be forced to play.   Injuries and other unexpected obstacles quickly occur, forcing teams to quickly adapt their strategies to get their next win.
    • Retirement.  Life happens … sometimes causing our best-laid plans to go off course.  A family member gets sick and we have to take time off to care for them.  We lose a job, experience a pay freeze, or have major changes to the pension plan we had been counting on.  When these unexpected events occur, we need to work with our planner to make the required adjustments to keep us on course, whether it is to work longer, save more, or adjust our retirement income expectations.

The NCAA National Basketball Championship is a team effort…and so is your retirement.  Work with your planner to ensure that you have your best plan in place to reach your retirement goals.

Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation.  Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc., and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.