Retiring Confidently in a Down Market


February 26, 2016


JRW WW PHOTO(Note: We’re bringing you this month’s WEALTHWISE in the form of a story written from a client’s point of view. The story is based on a real one, but we have altered details to protect identities.)

When I went to see the team at PARTNERSINWEALTH, I was at my wit’s end. Don’t get me wrong. I felt blessed both personally and financially by my 35-year career in the petrochemical industry. But the last few years, after a merger and the oil downturn and increasing layoffs, my office was not fun anymore. It was a daily grind, and I wanted out.

The problem was I hadn’t planned on retiring quite this soon. My wife Tina and I were both in our late fifties. Our youngest child was a senior in college. Tina had already retired and loved it. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to join her, the business cycle was against me. We’d relied too much on investing in companies I had worked for—petrochemical companies. Now, with these types of shares trading at lows thanks to the oil glut, I didn’t see how I could afford to leave. On the other hand, could I stand the current situation long enough to wait for the next upturn?

I wasn’t sure I could, and that’s what led us to PARTNERSINWEALTH. We’d never had a professional financial advisor before, and we thought they might have some ideas. Did they ever. They listened closely, asked us questions, and took the very complicated situation we faced and laid out all the variables (when to take social security, monthly pension vs. lump-sum retirement, etc.) so that Tina and I could understand our options. Jim and his team did a wonderful job of projecting our current expenses of $210,000/year onto future scenarios, showing the impact it would have on our various accounts over time.

It turned out that I could go ahead and retire. We would have to carefully monitor our expenses but it was definitely doable. That was welcome news. Tina and I celebrated at our favorite restaurant that evening. The next day, PARTNERSINWEALTH provided us with a punch list of specific and actionable expense-reducing, tax-reducing steps that we wouldn’t have thought of on our own. They also found an alternative to an annuity that we’d purchased years ago, and it saved us $9,000/year in fees simply by eliminating a couple of unnecessary riders.

Tina and I were so relieved to find an advisor who was focused solely on our welfare, and not trying to just manage our investments or sell us something to earn a commission. Don’t underestimate the power of an advisor who is committed to improving your situation. Knowing how to retire early without running out of money, and still being able to plan a legacy to leave our heirs, gave Tina and me a wealth of confidence and peace of mind. We’re thankful for that every day.

If you are facing a difficult decision about retirement, or simply lack peace of mind about your finances, contact PARTNERSINWEALTH. We can fold together all the diverse aspects of your situation and enable you to make better decisions and turn finances from a source of worry into a source of gratitude. To learn more, please contact Jim Waters, CFP®, at 713.964.4028 or