Checking the rear-view mirror

Dave Kutcher

by Dave Kutcher

You are driving into the darkness, no streetlights, the snow is swirling in the heavy winds and you can barely see ten feet in front of you. Your knuckles are white as your hands are wrapped firmly to your steering wheel and you are leaning forward instinctively in your seat as you try to improve your vision. You know the road ahead could be treacherous … if only you could see.

How many of you have had this type of experience? It can be scary … so we tend to drive cautiously and employ all available resources when navigating the unknown. We cover our bases as best we can and take steps to minimize the potential hazards that might impede our safe arrival at our planned destination.

If you were on this trip and reached your destination only to look back in the rearview mirror and see a bright blue, sun filled sky with miles of clear visibility, would you have driven the road ahead of you any differently? We think not.

Unless you can clearly see what is ahead of you, rational folks have to drive in a way that takes into account many possible outcomes and thus we tend to take longer to get where we are going. When the sky is clear and the light is ample, we drive differently. We have peace of mind with minimal concerns and much more frequently arrive safely where we were heading.

The same holds true regarding your retirement years. The clearer the road ahead, the easier it is to take the necessary steps today to arrive at your distant destination safely tomorrow.

We like to think of your financial road in life as consisting of three phases: the accumulation phase, distribution phase and legacy phase. How you act on the earlier phases impacts how you will experience the later phases and the more clearly you can see the later phases, the better you will navigate the earlier phases. They are all working together to bring you home safely.

I was reading an industry article this past week which included results of a survey that was done to gather information about the current State of People’s Retirement as they see it.

In the article they reported that nearly two-thirds of respondents did not feel they have enough money to maintain their desired lifestyle throughout retirement, more than half are considering taking on part-time work to meet their income needs and yet less than half of all respondents in the 55-64 age bracket have discussed their retirement plan with an advisor. Those who had a more optimistic outlook were a little older and the 75+ age bracket respondents had far more people that have met with an advisor.

So, the folks who were well along on their retirement road were meeting with advisors and feeling good about the road ahead of them. They are driving with peace of mind knowing how they will navigate the twists and turns and whatever weather may come along.

The folks that need to meet with someone are the folks in that 55-64 age bracket. That is the time to clear the windshield, secure the maps and weather reports and be sure the car’s essential functions will operate as planned and provide the resource you need to travel the road ahead.

Imagine how much more enjoyable that ride would be if you knew you had planned your trip well? Don’t get caught in a storm unprepared and don’t relegate your daily drive to being a white knuckled, scary experience with no idea of what is on the road around the next corner. If you do that, you won’t enjoy the blue skies and sunshine of retirement until you are looking in the rearview mirror.

I am Dave Kutcher, a retired Marine Corp Captain and founder and owner of Kutcher Financial Services in Eagle River. We are on the radio every Saturday morning, “Retirement in the Last Frontier”, 8:30-9:30 on AM 650, Keni Radio. Kutcher Financial Services, 10928 Eagle River Road; Eagle River, AK 99577, (907) 795-7452.