LAS VEGAS, Aug. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Most of the time, a good map will get you where you need to go. Fundamentally, a map is a detailed plan to get you from Point A to Point B following well-traveled routes that are known to work. But even the best map can't get you around roadblocks or navigate you through detours, and someday you may look up and not recognize where you are. When the unpredictable occurs, it's not a map, but a compass that you need.
In 2008, the roadmap failed for many soon-to-be retirees with 401(k)s invested in the stock market. They weren't prepared with an alternate route, and too many were forced to postpone retirement or restrict their lifestyles after losing substantial savings. Volatility is the word of the decade – the job market, the stock market and the world economy are all in flux, and the "fiscal cliff" has everyone defensively clutching their wallets. It seems like the only constant investors have seen in the past 10 years is a steady decrease in interest rates, which transforms traditionally safer investment options like CDs and bonds into slow-leaking money sieves. It's a situation that makes storing retirement savings in a shoebox under the bed sound tempting. Why plan your retirement when it seems that all bets are off?
This is where the "Retirement Compass" idea comes into play.
Jammie Avila, CEO of Cornerstone Retirement & Insurance Services in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada, develops retirement plans that move in the right direction, no matter what obstacles the stock market presents. Instead of a map to retirement, he hands his clients a compass.
His philosophy centers on flexibility and his plans are oriented to each client's real purpose. Avila says many new clients come in without having thought of their ultimate goals for their money, but understanding those goals is vital to guiding their investment decisions. He begins initial meetings by getting to know them, their families and their priorities, whether they be generating income, preserving income or passing on a maximized inheritance. Once the compass is calibrated to the primary goal, Avila begins to construct a plan to move his clients in that direction.
"When obstacles block your path, like market fluctuations, inflation or rising health care costs, our Compass will keep you on track to your retirement goals," he says. The compass idea came out of the need for flexibility in income and retirement planning: "It helps them visualize what they don't have – and that's a direction. By the time they've ended their meeting with us, they are confident in the direction they are headed." For Avila, "true north" is preserving assets, increasing fixed income and reducing taxes for his clients, for which he uses a combination of insurance and annuities and estate planning.
Avila's retirement plans are customized to each client, but they have one feature in common: investments designed to produce guaranteed income streams to cover vital expenses. That simple goal is more difficult than it sounds, since to create that constant income, you have to account for inflation and increased cost of living – as well as the very real possibility of needing at-home care in the event of an illness. A traditional fixed income that doesn't change over time can't accomplish that. However, by cleverly combining hybrid annuities with a diverse portfolio of safer investments, retirees can combine safety with potential for growth.
The economic forecast of the stock market is stormy for possibly another decade, and Avila urges consumers to protect themselves in case of another 2008. "Our clients are guaranteeing their principal and income through hybrid annuities and are using non-correlated investments to grow their remaining money relatively safely," he says. The roadmap to riches that worked so well in past decades cannot dodge the roadblocks retirees have hit, so perhaps it's time to fold the map, put it away and take out a compass.
SOURCE Jammie Avila