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Keystone Financial Group

Precision Retirement Planning & the Labyrinth

Years ago, when my son was young, I had a revelation as we were playing with a simple toy.  Do you remember playing the labyrinth game, or possibly better known as the “guide the BB through the maze to the hole” game?  We’ve all been frustrated by the precision required in moving the bearing from the start to the finish while avoiding the traps of the maze.

It occurred to me that navigating challenging events and markets, while trying to generate durable retirement income for clients, can be a lot like playing this game.  See, you have to have a steady hand as you tilt the game to the left, and to the right, forward, and backward, as the ball rolls through the channels.  One wrong move, and you have to correct, re-trace, and try to get the ball back in the groove.  The objective is to get the ball in the hole, each and every time, without having to make course corrections.

The game is difficult enough just trying to play it while standing still.  Imagine how even more difficult it would be to consistently move the ball into the hole while walking and playing the game.  How difficult would it be to accomplish the objective, if you were running?  Better still, how difficult do you think it would be if you were playing the game while blindfolded?

My clients have hired me to do a job for them.  Among other things, that job entails moving the ball from the start, to the finish, each month, consistently, and reliably.  It requires a steady hand for sure.  Some months, I’m able to do that standing still.  Some months, I’m having to navigate impediments, and some months, you have to rely upon the merits of your plan when your vision is obscured by a blindfold of uncertainty.

Those who are, or will soon be reliant upon durable retirement income, should consider this analogy.  Yields remain low, geo political uncertainty is present, Brexit threw currency pairings into flux, and concerns over trade agreements remain.   We had three corrections in the market in 2018, and one of the corrections nearly met the definition of a bear market.  We recovered from each of those, and many investors feel whip sawed today as a result.

How consistently do you think income can be generated, and with what degree of durability, when you’re faced with such circumstances?

We meet these challenges with precision planning.  The retirement financial plan is detailed, and captures the DNA of the person, and reflects their objectives and parameters.  Then we implement the plan with tools that offer distinctive competencies.  Such plans are never static, and we periodically review and re-calibrate.  This helps me, as I help clients, to navigate the maze of uncertainty, and guide the ball bearing to the target with consistency.

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