Santa Claus and Your Retirement

This is my third year of beekeeping and the first year my hives have had excess honey that I could bottle and sell. So last month I extracted honey and put a “Local Honey For Sale” sign at the end of my driveway. Each day I set out a half dozen bottles or so with a box for the cash and each evening I can’t wait to see if I sold more honey. As I pull up and see a bottle or two gone, and cash in the box, I’m like a child waking up to find Santa Claus visited during the night.

It’s almost that same feeling when I work with clients on retirement planning. In the early years of working together, I often prepare a retirement projection based on expected savings activity and a reasonable portfolio return. The projection includes an estimated portfolio balance at the end of each year and a final portfolio balance needed for their comfortable retirement (many refer to this as their “number”). Although forecasting market returns from year to year is impossible, we usually find the portfolio trends near the projected year-end portfolio balance over time if the savings goals are being met. Each time I find a client is on track for their retirement goal, it’s Santa Claus excitement all over again!

If we have done retirement planning and you don’t already know your “number,” I encourage you to pull out your retirement projection and look it up. How much do you need in your investment portfolio the day you retire? Review the annual saving activity assumed in your projection. Are you meeting that goal? As I mentioned, although we don’t expect your portfolio to hit the mark every year, you should find it keeping pace and coming close as the years tick by. Remember, hard work, time, and periodic reviews will help ensure you get the retirement you want…and finding you are on track along the way will make my day!

Juli Erhart-Graves, CFP®, Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors

This article was included in the Worley Erhart-Graves Quarterly Newsletter. Download the printable version here.