Do you like apple pie? Picture it, still warm from the oven, with a scoop of ice cream melting into the flaky crust. Mm, that sounds good. I bet you can almost taste it. Now, what if I were to tell you that I made that pie, without any apples? Are you thinking, “Why, that’s just crazy! You can’t have apple pie, without apples.” It’s a fundamental part of apple pie.
Apple pie has a few ingredients. The crust which is made with flour, salt, sugar, butter, shortening, and water. The filling made with butter, flour, water, sugar (white and brown if you’re doing it right,) spices, and of course apples. You also need your tools, an oven, a pie tin, and a few other things to make the pie and crust. All of those are things are the fundamentals of the pie. Remove any of one those and you no longer can make an apple pie.
Retirement is like that apple pie. Many focus on only one aspect, how that pie will smell, feel, and taste when you finally eat it. When baking it, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals, or to focus on only one of them – like how to pick the best apples. Do you choose honeycrisp or granny smith, golden delicious or jonagold, or a combination? But picking the perfect apples for your pie, won’t matter much if you omit the sugar or burn your crust. When planning for retirement, as in pie making, you have to consider all of the fundamentals.
When considering retirement, many try to horde knowledge. They say, “Tell me everything.” But not “everything” is appropriate for you. Do you need to know how to make a perfect soufflé to bake a killer pie? No. That knowledge isn’t applicable.
Furthermore, many people begin their retirement discovery with books, just as apple pie starts with a recipe. These books focus on basic knowledge, like the difference between stocks and bonds, and tactics and rules of thumb. They neglect to account for individuality. Your situation is unique to you.
If you live in the mountains, at high elevation, and you pick your pie recipe out a Betty Crocker cookbook, if you don’t make adjustments for altitude your pie will likely be dry and overcooked. The situation, high elevation, requires you to add more liquid, reduce the sugar, and increase the oven temperature. This is why your situation is so important, and why a book likely will never be able to answer your retirement questions correctly. A book doesn’t know anything about you and your situation.
Other’s take the opposite approach and focus on only a few questions. But often, they don’t know what questions to ask and fail to take a comprehensive look. For instance, asking how much money you need for retirement cannot be answered without looking at how much you will spend, your lifestyle and if it will need to change, life expectancy, etc. They get stuck, focusing on one aspect of retirement, and that’s like trying to bake an apple pie without the apples.
Everyone wants an easy answer, a no-work perfect pie, but it simply doesn’t exist. Planning for retirement takes deep work, crunching numbers, a comprehensive look at your entire financial picture. It may not be fun, but you would likely find it enlightening.
Imagine knowing exactly when you could safely retire. Or that you could retire an entire year earlier than you thought. Wouldn’t it feel good to know?
Retirement can be scary. Don’t avoid looking at it at all, and keep working out of fear. And don’t wait until retirement is right on top of you before giving it thought. Stop putting it off. You want to know when you can retire, and how you will have to live your life in that retirement. We can help you find those answers.
The key is that you cannot just look at one piece of the puzzle, one piece of the retirement pie. You have to take in the whole pie, the fundamentals. It’s a big task, and it can be daunting. While it is possible to do it on your own, isn’t it worth the peace of mind to have an experienced practitioner do it for you?
You can have someone to manage your investments, create your retirement plan, and be there for you every step of the way. We can help. And in the process, we can take a complex situation and make it seem easy. Let us do the baking for you, you just enjoy your slice of the retirement pie. In my opinion it’s a pretty darn good dessert.