Preparing for Retirement

Case Study

Barbara and Mike* came to us in their mid-50s. Prior to working with Bloom they were working with an investment advisor at a large commercial bank. They arrived at their first meeting with a brokerage statement that was very confusing with references to numerous money managers, hundreds of investments, lengthy footnotes and printed on over fifty double sided pages. They were looking for someone to help them navigate through their next phase of life and to uncomplicate the complicated.

Barbara and Mike were both hardworking people and had done an excellent job accumulating assets for their retirement. Their main concerns revolved around answering questions that are common for individuals entering retirement:

  • How will we replace our paychecks when we’re no longer working?
  • Will we be able to maintain our lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to?
  • If one of us died unexpectedly will the surviving spouse be financially secure?

How we helped

The first thing we did was analyze their entire portfolio. We discovered that they had the same types of investments through two different brokerage firms, so they were duplicating investments and fees. Neither firm considered what the other was doing. Without knowing it, they also were taking on more risk than what was appropriate for their goals and stage in life. Furthermore, it appeared that the holdings weren’t rewarding them for taking on that level of risk. After our analysis, we created a plan to fix these issues and get their financial plan in line with their current financial goals. The plan involved three components:

  1. Cash-flow planning: We compared different cash-flow strategies, quantified the income they wanted during retirement and designed a new lower-risk strategy to meet their goals. The plan was tax-efficient for retirement income, considered required minimum distributions (RMDs), and included a Social Security claiming strategy.
  2. Investment management:We changed Mike’s holdings so his portfolio would eliminate duplication and generate income at a much lower risk level. Based on their preferences, and investment objectives, the focus became preserving wealth.
  3. Estate planning:Mike and Barbara had met with a member of our legal team to draft an estate plan. We also reviewed all of their asset and insurance policies to make sure Barbara would be taken care of should her husband pass away first.

Once they understood the plan, Barbara and Mike had the confidence to officially retire and begin enjoying their next phase of life. Barbara now spends her time volunteering with her church and at the Humane Society. Mike can usually be found on the golf course.

A few years later, we received a call that they are now expecting their first grandchild. We were thrilled to help them establish a 529 college savings plan which provides several tax advantages and to work with their adult children to coordinate college education saving goals.