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From The President’s Desk

Somehow, somewhere, it seems that when it comes to retirement planning the one thing that seems to get in the way is Life. As we go merrily though our way, life seems to throw obstacles in our way: school, meeting your future beloved, moving out from your parent's house into your own first place, getting married, working, having kids... Life. When it comes to saving, it is human nature to tackle the most pressing first, like food and shelter. Alright, I'll give you that- it makes perfect sense. But, if I had to whittle down the most often comment I hear, it's a version of "I don't know where the years went," and "I thought I would have been more prepared."

I'm often asked when would be a proper time to prepare for retirement. The fact is, it's never too early. Unfortunately, it's not until we find ourselves in our latter years do we realize that you couldn't have saved too much for retirement. While most us
will have the constant of Social Security in our future (yes, I believe it will be there when you retire) and some of us may have a pension plan payment of some sort, the fact is that when you retire, your income will depend on how diligently you took saving for retirement seriously, how early you started and how much you socked away. There are two stages you go through in your lifetime with regard to retirement money: the accumulation stage and the income stage. The first, the accumulation stage, is exactly what it sounds like: the process of accumulating money to help support you in your golden years when you are done working. The second, the income stage, is about how much income you have in those years to get you through your final years, however many it shall be. So, when you switch to the income stage from the accumulation stage, it's not about how much you have, but how much income you have monthly. Then there's Good Ole Uncle Sam with his hand out to further deplete your after tax return, so withdrawal planning (of which I've written about and will be happy to talk to you about) is a part of retirement planning as well. There's a plethora of components involved in planning for your sunset years, and just blindly throwing money into an account with no planning is like getting in the car and driving all day: you'll never know when you get there.

Once you reach the income stage of your life, it's not about how much you have, but how you create durable income- income that you can’t or won’t outlive. Since the day we are born and we're not stamped with an expiration date on our derriere, so it's up to us to
create the plan to carry us through, as well as those who depend on us for support. So, while saving for retirement is good, doing it without a plan is not- the time to find out you didn't do it right will be around the same time you are figuring out where to find the next refrigerator box to live in. Not exactly my idea of the ideal retirement plan- or location!

This issue is dedicated to both those who are already living the good life and have given up working in lieu of golf, traveling, grand-parenting, singing like nobody was listening and dancing like nobody was watching. It's also dedicated to those who are still in the daily workforce, grinding out life day by day and dreaming of the day they can do what they want, where they want, when they want: my definition of retirement. So, young or old, working or retired, we are all dealing with this thing called Life... just read my thoughts on the matter, call your Chestnut Planner to discuss your situation, and look forward to the days, months and years ahead- because you got ready for it

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