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Where do you see clients needing the most help?PS: My clients’ biggest issue is how much they need to sustain their standard of living into retirement. We’ve all seen changes in the last few years, and everyone wants to know if they can still get to a point where they can retire.
I tell clients they have to break needs from wants. If you can identify needs, that’s what you take care of first. Then we encourage them to save more. If you get a 3% raise, put 1% away, because it’s hard to scale up. It’s always easier to scale back. I just had a couple in their fifties with an asset base of about
Do you think investors have appropriate expectations for today?PS: They ask, ‘Can I retire? I want to go sailing, and visit my grandkids in
Have concerns about healthcare costs in retirement grown?PS: I’ve been asked that more frequently in the last few years, and it’s the longest conversation we have [with clients]. If they’re looking at early retirement, and their company does not provide health insurance, they can COBRA for 18 months, but then they have to buy their own policy. And where are those premium payments going to come from? Clients also ask about long-term care, particularly if they’re going through that with parents. If they’ve experienced it and seen how it depletes savings, it’s not a hard conversation. The hard conversation is how to fund it. One lady said she was going to give her money away to her children and then have the state take care of her—and she’s a doctor.
Do clients focus on their retirement income needs, as well as retirement planning?PS: I tell clients that when they hit the distribution stage, not to come to me just six months before they want to retire. We should be planning five years out, as those are critical times to start ramping up what they may need, and to see if they can put more money away. Hopefully by then debts are minimal, and they’re empty nesters with kids out of the home. So I give them homework, and tell them to do a budget, which we back into with
How have you changed your investment strategy in the past few years?PS: I’m a big proponent of non-correlated asset classes. Not that buy- and-hold is dead, but I believe there’s a more tactile approach that people are looking for in their accounts in general. I’ve tried to use a non-blinder approach, where I’m more open-minded, giving clients a couple of options. I like commodities, inflation-protected securities, real estate and managed futures. And in the past year or so I’ve added structured products. The way I structure my practice—I’m not trying to hit a home run, I’m trying to hit singles and doubles, and manage risk.
Where do you think advisors could improve when working with clients?PS: Financial advisors tend to be very technical and analytical. I think we could do a better job listening, and bringing the process down to a basic level so that people understand. I’ll explain something two to three times and take the extra 15 minutes. I know they’re not going to remember everything when they come here, but I try.
Have more clients asked to contact you over social media?PS: We’re finalizing our website, which is a huge start for us. I have an account on