What do “planning for retirement” and “landing an aircraft” have in common?

If you get it wrong, the results could be disastrous!

 
Plane
 

We use the analogy of a plane setting up for a landing to help our clients visualize how they should prepare for retirement.  When a pilot prepares to land an aircraft, he or she follows a careful checklist to ensure a successful arrival.  

Most pilots reference a checklist strapped to their thigh or tucked in a seat pocket to make sure that not one of these steps is overlooked.  It’s easy to tell the pilots who don’t use checklists.  About 100 pilots land annually with their landing gear up, a condition known as  “pancaking your aircraft.”

There was a time when average Americans got to be passengers when it came to retirement.  At age 65, they would receive a defined benefit from a company or government sponsored pension plan, Social Security, maybe even company health insurance.  Checks arrived reliably once a month, no need to worry about asset allocation, longevity risk or Medicare Part C.

In our brave new world, most prospective retirees will receive a lump sum distribution from a 401K plan at 60, 65 or 70 years of age and are encouraged “wing it!”  Yet most Americans are no more qualified to manage their retirement investments than to try spontaneously to land an aircraft.

Are you worried about planning for your retirement?  Talk to one of our advisors.  Let us show you what you must do to ensure a happy landing!