When will you have enough to retire? Answering this important question is tough because it depends on so many factors — your Social Security payments, how much you have in retirement savings and other assets, how your health holds up, when you hope to retire and how — will it be cat food or caviar in your golden years? And then there’s the uncertainty of the stock market, as recent weeks have painfully reminded us.
It’s complicated, which is why I’m excited to tell you about a new retirement assessment program that crunched the numbers for me and condensed my retirement outlook into an easy-to-read report and a clear action plan to address trouble spots.
The SmartPath Retirement Readiness program is ideal for people who are working, trying to save and generally paying attention to their finances — and don’t want to hire a full-time financial adviser. This flat-fee service, which combines human financial expertise and computer modeling, is a way to ensure your finances are on track, and adjust them as needed, whether you are just starting out your career or getting close to retirement age. You may even decide it’s worth doing annually, or every few years, as a financial checkup.
The program is easy:
- After providing your financial details, you schedule a call with a SmartPath adviser to review the numbers as well as your individual vision of retirement. (I chose to combine the legwork — pulling the financial information together — with preparing our taxes, which made it easier.)
- In the following two to three weeks, your personal consultant goes to work. With the aid of computer modeling, they generate a report that shows your expected post-retirement income and expenses, including spending money, health care expenses, return on investments and appreciation of other assets. The program also runs dozens of “stress tests” to see how your finances hold up in different scenarios, such as a major drop in the stock market or unusually high inflation.
- In a second call with your SmartPath consultant, they review the report with you. It’s a cool process that allows you to see how you are doing and how you’d be doing if the economy or your life took unexpected turns. Finally, your SmartPath adviser puts together a clear action plan, so you can get on track and stay there.
Your report might say you’re on track — nothing to change! More likely, you’ll discover some weaknesses in your finances (I did) and get recommendations for addressing them. You may be referred to additional resources for budgeting or debt management. It’s even possible you could be told you’ve got more than enough and can consider spending more and saving less.
Although I had to confront a blind spot in my money management (meh), this process was easy, my consultant was smart, funny and kind, and the report helped crystallize a couple of key things: We’re on track for a reasonably comfortable retirement with some travel.
In summary, I came away with a new sense of confidence about what we’re doing now and what to do next.
MoneyTalksNews founder and CEO Stacy Johnson also went through the program. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with the SmartPath Retirement Readiness program:
“I’ve been offering financial advice professionally for about 40 years, including 10 as a Wall Street investment adviser. So you’d think it would be a waste of time for me to visit with a professional financial planner.
It wasn’t. In fact, it was a great experience. Here’s why:
- Filling out the financial questionnaire required me to take a hard look at my current situation; important, since I’m 64 and approaching retirement.
- My adviser, who I genuinely enjoyed talking with, helped me more clearly define my financial goals, as well as the likelihood of achieving them.
- He offered alternatives I literally hadn’t considered. (Not many, but a couple.)
- The end result — a solid, but simple, financial plan — gave me confidence that I was on the right path. That alone was worth it.
Bottom line? Even if, like me, you think you know everything, sometimes you still can miss the forest for the trees. An objective, knowledgeable, outside observer can make sure you don’t.”
The thing is, even if you are pretty savvy with your money, hiring a pro once in a while can help you find your weaknesses. And SmartPath makes this process affordable and easy. It’s a move we believe will pay for itself many times over.
If you’re ready to talk to a dedicated financial analyst that can guide you with personalized advice for a more financially secure retirement, you can click here to schedule your free consultation.
Also, If you’ve considered becoming a Money Talks News Member … today is the perfect day to get started!
Right now, when you become a Money Talks News member you get a $60 discount off the SmartPath Retirement Readiness program. This discount alone is enough to pay for your entire membership for a whole year. Plus, with your membership, you’ll enjoy an ad-free reading experience and many more member benefits.
Not interested in a membership, or the discount? No problem, you can still get your free consultation here and decide if the SmartPath program is right for you here.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.