Going Beyond Money to Find Meaning in Retirement Planning

Going Beyond Money to Find Meaning in Retirement Planning

By Joe In October of 2018, I had the opportunity to attend the annual BAM National Conference, a gathering of like-minded professionals who ascribe to the ethical, evidence-based values of the BAM advisor community. One speaker’s talk about everything beyond money in retirement planning was especially eye-opening. Alan Spector is now retired himself, from his position as Director of Worldwide Quality Assurance for the Procter & Gamble Company. He has also done a lot of consulting on management and quality assurance and has written four books. In his experience, people often ask, “Can I afford to retire?” and stop there. But there is so much more to consider. His talk, “Financial Planning: Beyond the Numbers,” shifted the focus of the conversation to what retirement will actually look like. While financial security is often the first concern, it is also important to consider what you need to do to ensure your retirement is fulfilling. For example, if you have a passion for experiencing the world through travel, you will want your financial plan to make it possible to do it in retirement. You assume that it will be a fulfilling experience. The trouble with assuming is that acting on passion in practice is often different from what we envision. It may turn out that travel actually takes you away from what you are more passionate about in practice. Once you start globetrotting, you may realize there are social organizations close to home you miss being more engaged in. Or there are charitable causes in which you long to take a leadership role. What Spector recommends is a concept he calls...
Fires in California Remind Us to Use Our Hearts and Heads

Fires in California Remind Us to Use Our Hearts and Heads

By: Joe Delaney At times like these, when record-breaking fire is again ravaging parts of California, we remember that our financial portfolios are not just numbers on paper. They are about protection for ourselves and our loved ones. They are also about our human desire to be good custodians of the world and empathic neighbors. Here in the San Francisco area, we at Lifeguard Wealth are having a lot of conversations with people about what they can do to help. We share our thoughts below. First, let’s summarize what’s happening in this state. Wildfire Update At the time of this writing, the Camp Fire in Butte County, northern California has become the most destructive and deadliest in California history, eclipsing last year’s Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. CBS News reported on November 13th that it had burned through 130,000 acres and taken 48 lives. Meanwhile, the Woolsey and Hill Fires are burning to our south, northwest of Los Angeles. These have claimed over 100,000 acres and 2 lives. As always, high winds, high temperature and dry air are fueling this latest outbreak. Firefighters are doing their best to channel the blaze away from population centers, but many people have already lost their homes and business. There will be more destruction before this is over. How You Can Help (and Be Smart About It) There are many organizations you can support that are claiming to help. It is important to use both your heart and your head when the need is so great. If you do not have a personal relationship with a charity’s leadership, you must do your research...
How to Turn Money Into Happiness

How to Turn Money Into Happiness

By Joe Delaney Have you ever heard money can’t buy you happiness? Truer words were never spoken. However, as someone who has worked in the financial world for decades, I can do tell you money can be a useful tool to get you there. I recently participated in the Laguna Beach Aquathon, an annual event dating back to the 1980s. Participants start at Emerald Bay and head south for about 7.5 miles of swimming, bouldering, and running along the coastline to the finish at Three Arch Bay. If that sounds challenging, it is. So why would I do it? What does this have to do with money and happiness? MONEY AS A TOOL TO ACHIEVE THE JOY OF PHILANTHROPY While there is no registration fee to participate in the Aquathon, participants are expected to make a donation. It has been a charitable event for years. In fact, thanks in part of Aquathon donations, the Miocean Foundation was able to announce a successful completion of its mission to clean up all 42 miles of Orange County’s coastline that have public beaches. This year our donations went to support the Laguna Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation. The cause is near and dear to my heart, of course, as a former Laguna Beach lifeguard myself. The organization “supports the professional, physical and mental development of Ocean Lifeguards and Junior Lifeguards of Laguna Beach.” But philanthropy alone is not why I have done this every year for eight years. MONEY AS A TOOL TO ACHIEVE THE JOY OF FRIENDSHIP Going down for the Sunday event always means a whirlwind 48 hours. I stay with...
Why 17 Dead in a Duck Boat Accident Should Be an Estate Planning Gut Check for Us All

Why 17 Dead in a Duck Boat Accident Should Be an Estate Planning Gut Check for Us All

By Joe Delaney I just returned from a week’s vacation that culminated with my participating in the Trans Tahoe Relay swim across Lake Tahoe. This is my 16th year making the 12-mile swim. As I swam, I was awestruck by how blue the water was. With a cloudless sky above, the sun was shining rays of light all around me. It was a breathtaking sight. I also found myself reflecting on how tragedy can strike at any time, as it did recently in Branson, Missouri. 17 people died when an amphibious duck boat sank in a sudden, severe thunderstorm on July 18th. They were enjoying their vacation, just as I was. How prepared were they for what would happen to their families in the event of their death? How prepared am I? What about you? Do you have a plan for your estate before tragedy strikes? A GOOD PLAN IS DRAFTED, EXECUTED, FUNDED AND TESTED DRAFTED … Frequently, I have clients come to me with an estate plan drafted in beautiful binders (this also applies to business succession planning, a topic for another day). I make sure they know that’s a great start, because drafting a plan is the first step. EXECUTED … After I congratulate them on having a written plan, I sometimes have to criticize them about the dust that has settled on the binder. Ideas are not enough. You must execute the necessary estate planning documents. Create a will. Each state has intestacy laws that determine how your estate will be distributed after your death if you don’t make those decisions first. Don’t leave it up...
4 Ways to Be a Financial Lifeguard for Your Children

4 Ways to Be a Financial Lifeguard for Your Children

By Joe Delaney My son was recently home from college. I was relaxing on the couch one evening when he called me over to his laptop to ask for help. He had been looking at his credit card statement online. Something was wrong. It appeared he had been charged a double payment. He was naturally a little alarmed. As it turned out, he had simply signed up for auto pay. Wanting to make sure he didn’t go into arrears, he had made a manual payment just before auto pay kicked in. Easy mistake. I told him I’ve done it myself. If only it were always this easy to protect our children from the perils of financial ignorance. We parents have our work cut out for us if we want to be their financial lifeguard. Here are four ways to do it. 1. Financial Literacy It’s important to start teaching our children about money at a young age.  Teaching them how to save their allowance is the first step. Later, you can empower them with a checking account. My kids had checking accounts (joint with me) before their teenage years so we could show them how to balance their checkbook. Unfortunately, the ability to see account activity at a moment’s notice through online banking has made it very tempting to think balancing a checkbook – or even having a check register – is unnecessary. Banks can still make mistakes, however. It’s important to teach kids to do their own accounting. We also need to help them establish credit, and teach them what it’s for.  An easy way to do this...
4 of the Best Financial Investments You Will Ever Make

4 of the Best Financial Investments You Will Ever Make

By Joe Delaney Are you getting good returns on all your investments? There may be some you’re not even looking at. Usually the topic of investing is constrained to financial instruments. Advisors assess risk and calculate gains. It’s all about the numbers. Maybe your financial assets are appreciating in value, but it’s time to wake up to deficits you have in the value of other assets. Life assets. Here are four ways to “reallocate” some financial resources to improve overall life gains. Invest in time with (guy/girl) friends. I recently went on a trip to Southern Utah with guy friends who have been in my life for nearly 40 years. We camped out under the stars, sat around a fire and talked like only old friends do. We celebrated the things we were thankful for. We shared our life challenges, too: health struggles, loss of loved ones, broken relationships. Studies show that friendships among others of the same gender help us not only cope with stress, but become more resilient to it. In other words, we invested in each other on that trip. The memories we made are paying great dividends no calculator can measure. Invest in unplugging. If you’re a strictly analytical person, you might think that this was nice, but ultimately unproductive time. A loss to make up when you get back to the office. Thus, you’d better have your iPhone handy to keep in touch. I didn’t. For the first time in years, I completely unplugged over this eight-day trip. (I had to. This was Southern Utah!) The result? I did not come back feeling overwhelmed...
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