$5million & your piggy bank: financial planners’ standard target for retirement
January 14, 2008

“Mrs. Foster, you & your husband should save at least $5million for retirement…at least!”

[THUNK]

That’s my psychological (& literal) piggy bank passing out from that advice. Most all financial planners I met with last year suggested $5million be our retirement savings target (east coast).

What the SAM HECK do we need to save that amount for?! I’ll calm my drama-momma attitude … & attempt to answer with some calm. Feel free adding ideas to this list:

  • Longevity (age 100 to be commonplace)
  • Health care (allocate $150k-200k for health care costs excluding long term care)
  • Inflation
  • Housing (assuming a paid-in-full home, consider property tax per US Treasury)
  • Food
  • Fun (one trip annually)
  • With above factored in the equation — leaving $1k/mo for health care costs during retirement — our current retirement savings quest is $2.5million. It makes financial planners smirk but, although hefty it’s an aggressive goal that doesn’t leave my mental or literal piggy bank in shock.

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get tough, 10 second vid: wanting a hard arse for a financial planner
August 20, 2007

Kiplinger’s annual retirement planning issue gives keen & concise interview tips for your financial planner search.

One example here re: learning their client complaints policy:

I’m meeting with different planners and comparing their advice.

I liked last week’s planner, his personality & warmth. But after considering Kiplinger’s points to consider, I wouldn’t trust him with significant decisions. I’m not sure why except he seemed almost too warm and fuzzy. Professional, yes; dressed in fine business attire, yes.

But he didn’t offer that clear, decisive tone aka “Jill I want you to consider, this, this, and this.” Possibly this would emerge after that initial meeting. I led the meeting, which is what I prefer. So – ha – maybe I didn’t give him a chance to be decisive. And Russell Bailyn makes an intriguing point about emotions, financial planning, & cookie cutter advice.

More questions to ask per Kiplinger’s:
— what process do you follow to identify goals and evaluate performance?
— what are your sources of research and information?
— what’s your fee structure?

And what you should be very honest about, even if your gut says they’d be fun for beers:
are they candid & intelligent?