Today’s planning is tomorrow’s retirement


“Retirement is so far away – I have plenty of time to plan accordingly.  I’ll never stop working during retirement. I will claim my Social Security benefits as soon as I can. My spending will reduce when I retire.”

Sound familiar? There are many questions and much confusion concerning retirement. This column will offer readers a place to exchange ideas to create a climate where we can live a dignified retirement. 

Over the years, we have seen a major transfer of retirement risk and responsibility from employer to employee. There was a time when employees shared loyalty with their place of employment and, after 30 years of dedication, entered an honorable retirement with confidence in their employer and the government’s ability to protect the golden years. A major factor behind this dynamic shift in responsibility is life expectancy risk. As a result generations to come have newfound commitments to one another. 

Our discussions in this column will allow readers of all ages to appreciate that retirement planning is nothing more than the measurement of risk.  We will discuss how to customize the broad-spectrum of investment advice and subliminal messages.

We have created a culture measured by our standard of living, no longer our quality of life. Rather than focusing on how and where to spend your wealth, the column will identify resolutions to help you enhance the development of your family’s needs. It is common today to plan and live in retirement overlooking consequences that are completely out of our control.  This column will offer features that help us potentially isolate and transfer liabilities over which we have no control, and discuss planning behaviors.

We must not confuse the quality of life with the standard of living. Indicators of the quality of life include not only wealth and employment but also physical, mental and financial health. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “The first wealth is health,” a brilliant quote as we measure life and our ultimate definition of retirement. 

Younger readers planning for retirement should learn what retirement looks like 20 and 30 years in the future. We should understand income streams taken in retirement economically define how to position savings today.  By creating a vision of retirement tomorrow – you’re more likely to take control of planning today. We will address uncertainties surrounding factors such as investment returns, inflation rates, living expenses and education planning costs. 

Younger planners struggle to understand how current retirement contributions will translate into future retirement income.  The sooner we get on the right path, the greater impact we have on the results. Readers who are approaching their definition of retirement will learn about new complications and ways to avoid them –including how to maximize Social Security and Medicare, minimize taxes on your withdrawals, avoid penalties on minimum distributions from your retirement accounts.  We will also discuss how to time your withdrawals due to market volatility risk and how to build income models that are right from the start.

Then you can enjoy spending your money and perhaps leave your loved ones a meaningful legacy, too.

Until next time remember, “The only thing forever is yesterday.” 

ANDREW MILLER is a Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist thru the College for Financial Planning. Retirement Café will appear once a month. Send questions or comments to amiller @