Tagged: retirement income planning

Retirement Decision Making: Beyond Financial

I have been in the overall financial planning industry for quite a long time—21+ years. And over those two decades I have had the privilege of being able to sit down with thousands of people and hear the anxiety that people have with retirement issues. Yes, big time anxiety. They are worried and most should be. It is one of the reasons I do what I do professionally. To quell their anxiety and provide those whom I am fortunate to call my clients with solutions for a more enjoyable retirement.

As a licensed financial advisor, I believe that a successful retirement planning program must go beyond providing just facts and figures to help our kamaaina (Hawaii residents) make good decisions. As planners we need to recognize that emotional considerations can override what might be considered rational, logical decision processes. We need to be sensitive to employees fears and concerns surrounding retirement and counteract them with ‘educational’ (not salesy) programs designed to build positive visions of retirement. Through skillful assessment, and quality financial education, we at The Wheeler Group LLC are able to assist employers to increase employee self-confidence and bolster their perceived control over the retirement decision making process.

Hawaii employers can play a vital, critical role in supporting the retirement readiness and educational programs that help employees address the financial issues such as Social Security claiming strategies, generating income in retirement from savings, making the most of pensions (if they’re available) and investment considerations that are tax-relevant to retirees.

In the past, studies have traditionally focused on how finances affect ones decision to retire. But I have long held onto the concept of “life planning,” which invariably involves non-financial factors that have significant impact on the retirement decision. The retirement decision process requires a holistic and integrative perspective that considers factors in all three domains: finances, health, and psychological well-being. Not just financial. It is our lives.

Stanford University developed what they call a 3-D model of retirement decision making. The 3-D model posits that retirement factors fall into three primary (and semi discrete domains), each of which involves a specific question:
1. Can I afford to retire? (Financial)
2. Do I need to retire? (Health)
3. Do I want to retire? (Psychological well-being)

My goal is simply to provide practical advice for improving the retirement decision process. If we are fortunate enough to make your acquaintance, the questions above will be addressed with you. So do not be afraid or apprehensive to reach out to me. You will be surprised. As unique as your situation is; there are some commonalities we all think about—have I saved enough to retire? Can I afford to retire? Will my money last as long as I do? Let’s talk about it.

Consider this: Yesterday, I had a client meeting with a flight attendant who found me online. She commented, ‘you are not that scary…I am glad I called you.’ She is right, I am here to help. Let us discuss your unique situation and see if there is a good fit between what we do for our clients, and exactly what you are in search of from a trusted advisor. We will start by gathering details and discussing ways to revamp your tax planning strategy. Sound good? If so, let’s set up a no-cost, no obligation appointment today. I cannot wait to help you keep more of your money working hard for you. 


The Wheeler Group LLC is a registered investment advisor with offices in Honolulu, Hawaii. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and loss of principal capital. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.

Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax, or legal advice. If you would like accounting, tax, or legal advice, you should consult with your own accountants or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by The Wheeler Group LLC unless a client service agreement is in place.

Income Planning: Don’t Eat Your Seed Corn

Growing up on Maui, we drove by several acres of corn fields every day to get to school in town. I always wondered why they chose to grow corn amidst cane fields outside of Kihei. It turns out that the agricultural biotech industry, which includes seed corn research companies like the huge Monsanto Corporation, develop new varieties of corn on the Mainland in the summer and sent it to Maui for multiplication during our mild winter. That lets the seed companies bring new cultivars to market a season earlier. As a Maui boy, all I knew was that we never ate that corn. They were growing seed corn, and unbeknownst to us we were learning a valuable lesson in practical economics.

My dad once told me when I was younger that seed corn is what farmers need to plant now to get a crop to live on in the future. If you eat the seed corn today, it may be tasty and you may live well in the short-term, but you could have some major problems down the road. It’s the origin of an old country saying that’s full of wisdom: “Don’t eat your seed corn.”

The analogy applies to individuals and businesses. One of the purposes of strategic planning is to help ensure that businesses invest their capital for tomorrow. The same holds true for individuals and families, as it relates to retirement income planning. The more seeds you plant today, the better your chances will be of having enough in the future.

Some say it’s the main difference between the rich and poor in America—the ability to delay gratification in anticipation of greater rewards in the future. And because many Americans have been feeding at the trough—stuffing their faces with seed corn—now there’s nothing left.

This is where “retirement income planning” comes into play. If all you do is consume what has already been reaped from prior investments, eventually you will run out of funds. Of course, if you’re a “pensioner”—workers having traditional pension plans through their employers—this doesn’t apply to you as much. I’m directing this article toward those individuals who are relying on personal savings, IRA’s or 401(k) plans to fund their retirement.

It’s not an easy pill to swallow. After spending a career accumulating money for retirement, the idea of cashing in those investments to create income can bring on anxiety for many people. Their common fear is running out of money when they’re too old to do anything about it.

In fact, according to a new poll by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America, of people ages 44 to 75, more than three in five (61 percent) said they fear depleting their assets more than they fear dying.

Fortunately, there’s a financial tool that can help. To learn more about how it can boost your retirement security by transforming a portion of your savings into income that’s guaranteed for life, please feel free to contact me at mgarrettwheeler@gmail.com.