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Finding a Co-Pilot for Your Financial Flight Path

by Robert W. Tull | April 2, 2021 | Financial Planning

In the majority of our retirement planning meetings with financial planning services clients, we will refer to projecting one’s financial “flight path” as it pertains to developing a successful retirement plan.

One of my college professors would often say to us, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” That’s why it is important to first set a course of action prior to take off and to go through a pre-flight checklist.

Technically, a pilot could go through this list by themselves and for that matter, fly a plane by themselves. But if you speak to an experienced pilot, they will tell you that having two pilots is so very important for flight safety. The co-pilot provides a second opinion that helps keep errors to a minimum. They also serve as an emotional buffer if turbulence is experienced.

This is also true when it comes to your retirement flight path. It is highly recommended that you choose a well-seasoned and highly experienced retirement financial advisor. Review my earlier blog as to how best to select a fee only financial advisor who is experienced and credentialed.

By having selected a financial advisor in advance, when the financial winds and market turbulence hit, you will have a resource to rely upon. They should listen attentively to your concerns and fully understand the type of life you desire during your retirement years.

When it comes to your financial planning services investment dollars, your co-pilot should assist in the development of your personal investment policy statement. This written statement defines how much risk (i.e. volatility) you are willing to accept.

As with flying, a pilot can avoid turbulence by altering the course or trajectory of the plane. But by doing so, it may take longer to reach your destination. In the same way, a financial advisor can suggest having more cash and fixed income in your portfolio to lessen the ups and downs of market volatility. This too may increase the time it takes to reach your financial goals, but the ride along the way may result in less emotional stress of the passengers.

If you have ever walked through an airport, you will notice many of the pilots grabbing a cup of coffee and spending time together prior to the flight. They appear to have an understanding and trust of each other which I am sure is developed over time and many flights.

I bring this up because your relationship with your financial co-pilot is a very personal one, too. If they are a truly “trusted advisor” you will be sharing very intimate financial information that requires a great deal of confidence in their ability to manage your retirement flight path.

If you have this kind of trusted relationship with your financial advisor, call upon them and their team often. When you have a major financial decision to make, reach out to them prior to the decision. This can be the safety net that allows you to avoid a costly mistake down the road.

In summary, when it comes to your personal retirement plan, always have a flight plan before you begin the journey. Take extra time to go through the pre-flight checklist that will establish the criteria for navigating your financial course. And choose an experienced and trusted financial advisor who can be your co-pilot so you will arrive at your destination safely, with minimal stress along the way.

If you’re looking for a trusted financial planning partner in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk or any of the other Hampton Roads cities, please give Tull Financial Group a call at 757-436-1122 – we’d be happy to help.