#45 Can Carl Retire? See the Retirement Planning Process in Action

One of the most common comments I get from readers is how hard it is to get straight answers to their most important retirement planning questions. "When can I retire?" "What lifestyle can I expect?" "Will I run out of money?" What am I missing???"

Starting January 7th, I'll answer these questions for a fellow reader (Carl). You'll get to listen in as we create his retirement plan each week, culminating in a LIVE webinar where you (and Carl) will hear the results for the first time.

NOTE: check out the bottom of this post for an opportunity to plan alongside Carl

Who is Carl?

  • 51 years old

  • Married 27 years with a 19 year-old child

  • 29-year corporate executive

What He Wants From the Plan:

  • When can I get out?

  • Will I run out of money?

  • How do I plan for worst case scenarios?

  • How do I handle healthcare?

During the webinar, you and Carl will watch LIVE as I stress test Carl's plan against the most common retirement worries:

  • Bad market returns

  • High inflation

  • Long-term care costs

  • Outliving his assets


Register now and create your plan alongside Carl

You'll get:

  • Weekly summaries of Carl's plan

  • Free worksheets and checklists to plan alongside Carl

  • Free video tutorials to help you in each step of the process

  • Registration to the LIVE webinar on January 30th

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The Retirement Answer Man Episode #45

Well, welcome to the Retirement Answer Man Show. My name is Roger Whitney. I am your host and this show is dedicated, I am dedicated, to helping you find that balance between living well today – which is something I think we all want to do – without sacrificing our future, without sacrificing our retirement. And, as we make financial choices, that always ends up being the trade-off, doesn’t it? How do we live well today without sacrificing our tomorrow?

This is a special episode where I want to make a really big announcement for something that’s coming in the month of January and I’m really excited about this and I think this is going to be something that will allow me to take this show to the next level in order to help you along your journey.

Let me explain real quickly.

One of the most common questions I get from listeners and readers of my blog is, “Roger, I can’t get straight answers. I can’t get straight answers to my most important retirement or financial planning questions. Questions like, ‘When can I actually retire? What lifestyle can I expect when I do retire?’ I can’t get a straight answer for that.” I hear it all the time. Or a really important question, “Will I run out of money because I live too long?” or “What am I missing here as I’m planning for my financial future?” These are questions that I hear all the time that people just don’t feel like they’re getting straight answers to. Part of that is because, well, the future’s unknowable. But, in the month of January, I’m going to work to specifically answer those questions for one of you, for one of my listeners, and you get to listen in on the whole process.

I’ll explain that in a second but, before I do, I want to get to that all-important disclosure, and that is only you know your entire financial situation so think of this blog and podcast and really anything on the internet as helpful hints and education because only you know your situation. So, make sure you consult the people that walk life with you, and that could be your financial advisor, your attorney, your CPA – people that actually know your situation before you make any decisions. That’s not just a great legal disclosure or it’s not just common sense; it is a fundamental principle of planning well in your life.

Let me explain what we’re doing in January. A few months ago, a listener – one of you – reached out to me and said, “Hey, Roger, I’m 51 years old and I’m in that zone of preparing for retirement and I’ve got an idea for you.” I’m like, “Okay. What is that?” I’ll call him Carl – that’s not his real name. He says, “I want to utilize you to answer some of these questions for me so I can see what I might be missing.” I’m like, “Okay. That’s a great idea,” and he says, “But I’m willing to record the entire engagement so you can air it on your podcast because I think this would be valuable information to all of your listeners.” I’m like, “What? Really?” and I just sat there going, “Hmm. We could change your name and change some of the financial specifics to protect your identity,” but outside of that, I was like, “Well, that’s brilliant! I don’t think that’s ever been done! I don’t think it’s ever been done.”

So, what we did was Carl and I created his retirement plan and we recorded each of our discussions. We recorded setting his specific retirement goals, we recorded reviewing his entire financial situation, his cash flow and his net worth and the resources he had to meet his retirement needs, we recorded identifying the risks in his life and how you might deal with those – things like long-term care – and then we recorded his estate planning wishes and giving wishes and helped define those. We recorded every step of that process.

What we’re going to do, in January starting January 7th, each week, we’re going to air one of those discussions so you can listen in to the planning process that I went through with Carl. It’s going to be a little bit truncated. It won’t be quite as big as a formal process, just because of time constraints in the podcast, but this should give you a clear understanding of how this process might work if you’re doing this on your own or you’re engaging with a financial planner.

The cool thing is, on January 30th, after we air these four discussions, on the 30th of January, we’re going to host a live webinar – totally free – where I’m going to present Carl’s plan to him and this will be the first time that he sees it. He still doesn’t know the results of all the analysis so we’re going to walk-through presenting Carl’s plan and you can sit there and watch and listen in as Carl hears the results of his retirement plan. I think that’s pretty cool. You’ll be able to not just listen but see how the analysis worked step by step in answering these extremely important questions that almost everybody has if they’re in their 40s or 50s.

Now, here’s the cool thing. if you go to rogerwhitney.com/45, you can register for the webinar, but what you’ll get is, every week, you’ll get a weekly summary of Carl’s plan, you’ll get a free worksheet and checklist to plan alongside Carl, you’ll get a free video tutorial to help you through each step of the process as you get these items, and then you’ll be registered for the live webinar. If you just go to rogerwhitney.com/45, all the way at the bottom, it says, “Sign up and plan you retirement alongside Carl.” Enter your first name and email, and you’ll get a weekly update as we release each episode.

Let me play you a little snippet of Carl telling us a little bit about himself and what he’s looking to get out of this entire engagement.

ROGER: All right. Well, I’m here with Carl. How are you doing, Carl?

CARL: I’m doing great.

ROGER: Now, we’re going to work over the next four weeks or so in putting together a retirement road map for you. Are you excited about that?

CARL: Roger, I’ll tell you what. I love your podcast. I love the approach you bring. To get this opportunity to work with you through the next couple of weeks, I’m really looking forward to it.

ROGER: Now, for full disclosure, Carl and I don’t each other from Adam. He was a listener that reached out to me. It’s not like this is a setup. I’m actually looking at him right now because we’re using video as we record this so this is the first time I’ve gotten to see his gorgeous face, I guess.

CARL: And the same with me. I think we’ve talked for about two minutes here before we hit the record button. So, brand new relationship.

ROGER: So, this is a good experiment and our goal here is to help give you, the listener, an insight into some of the planning process and hopefully some of the things that Carl talks about will resonate and hopefully this will help give you better perspective to plan well in your life.

So, let’s get started here, Carl, and I wanted to just start with hearing your story a little bit. What types of things should I understand about you as a person?

CARL: Very good, Roger. I guess just a quick thumbnail sketch. I’m 51 years old – 29 years in corporate America, had a relatively successful career, nine different moves around North America as various progressions through my career. (That’s my phone. Let me hang that up. Sorry.) As you can see, I’m at work. So, I’ve done quite well and my real question I’m looking at right now is, “How early can I get out?” I’m a bit burned out. I’ve been doing this a long time and trying to work through kind of what’s the earliest I can get out – that kind of high level.

ROGER: Okay. Now, you’re 51. Are you married?

CARL: I am married, 27 years, wonderful wife and I’ve got a daughter that’s going to university.

ROGER: Okay, and how old is your daughter?

CARL: My daughter is 19 so she’s a sophomore.

ROGER: She’s a sophomore. Okay. What do we need to have at the end of this for this to be a success for you?

CARL: Okay. I guess, as I’ve said, I’ve been pretty independent up to this point so I’ve put together some retirement cash flow projections and things like that. I just don’t know if they’re valid and, you know, I think about the sequence risk on withdraws and – not to get too advanced but, you know – all the details that you get into as you start looking at the cash flow for the next thirty or forty years. I would just love to have somebody with your expertise really looking at it and saying, “Hey, you know, this is too aggressive. Have you thought about this? Have you thought about that?” to kind of validate and ultimately give your opinions on what is a realistic target date to kind of manage my expectations and make sure I don’t do anything stupid that, you know, once you pull that trigger, it’s pretty hard to undo it, right? So, before I do that, get somebody with your expertise to really take a look at it and give me your thoughts.

ROGER: So, as you think about this, what’s your biggest fear about this whole process of retiring?

CARL: I guess a couple. One is everybody says it’s a bigger adjustment than you think it’ll be. For me, I’m excited about it but, you know, people say, “Hey, mentally, it’s a big shift.” So, you know, I’m kind of excited about that. I’m trying to develop hobbies. I like to fly fish, by the way. There’s a nice fly fishing river up there so I’m really starting to think about hobbies and, you know, I’d like to learn to play guitar and, you know, just various things that I can start getting my head around in terms of filling the time with things that give you enrichment. That’s number one – filling the time in a way that motivates you.

Number two is obviously the financial side. Probably the biggest there is kind of the financial – the inflation risk, you know, kind of the black swan events that you really can’t see coming and how do you project what those scenarios could be – and then, I guess, you know, the medical side. Our company recently discontinued the medical retiree insurance. So, now I have to go into the Obamacare, Affordable Care Act market at some point and, you know, get into all that which, you know, I’m not familiar with that law yet.

ROGER: So, hopefully that gave you a little sense of who Carl is and what he’s looking to get from this entire engagement and hopefully that resonates with you.

Now, when we have this live webinar on the 30th, one cool thing that we’ll do, outside of just giving Carl his answers to his questions about retirement, we’re also going to stress test Carl’s plan against some of the most common retirement worries. So, you’ll be able to see live as we stress test his retirement plan against “What if we get really bad market returns and we don’t get the returns that we think we’re going to get?” I know that’s a big worry for a lot of people. What happens to Carl’s plan if inflation is much higher than expected? What happens to his plan if he has a major long-term care event? Or, if he lives too long, he might not live his assets. What happens if we stress test his plan against all of these things? During this live webinar at the end of all this, you’ll be able to see as we stress test his plan against these events and instantly see the results as we mess with some of these assumptions to give him a better feel for how this plan will work in very different economic environments.

So, if you go to rogerwhitney.com/45, you can see the entire schedule for the month of January. On January 7th, we’re going to have the Envision Your Financial Future where Carl will define his retirement goals. On the 14th, we’ll determine his financial resources and look at his cash flow and his net worth statement – not just now but in retirement. On the 21st, we’ll identify his financial risks – things like long-term care and inflation and volatility and things like that. And then, on the 28th, we’ll talk a little bit about his estate plan and giving plan, and make sure that that’s all put into place. And then, on January 30th, we’ll have a live webinar.

Now, here’s the cool thing. if you go to rogerwhitney.com/45, you can register for the webinar, but what you’ll get is, every week, you’ll get a weekly summary of Carl’s plan, you’ll get a free worksheet and checklist to plan alongside Carl, you’ll get a free video tutorial to help you through each step of the process as you get these items, and then you’ll be registered for the live webinar.

So, if you just go to rogerwhitney.com/45, all the way at the bottom, it says, “Sign up and plan your retirement alongside Carl.” Enter your first name and email, and you’ll get a weekly update as we release each episode so you can see Carl’s plan summary and plan alongside him along the way.

I’m really excited about this event because this will give you a chance to see how some of these questions can be answered using a prudent retirement planning process. Now, they can never be answered for sure because we’re dealing with the future here, but this should hopefully help you along your way to living well now while you plan for your retirement.

So, I want to make sure that you understand that I am dedicated in 2015 to stepping up my game so you can plan well and invest wisely and live a wonderful life.



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