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Why No Guardrails?

Why No Guardrails?

April 21, 2022
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Last Month, the kids were on Spring Break so we decided to take a trip down to the Smoky Mountains.  Even though it is only about 4 1/2 hours from Cincinnati, it had been almost 20 Years since we had taken the Family to this beautiful part of the Country.

Once we made it past Pigeon Forge and entered the peaceful and serene final stretch toward our Airbnb rental outside of Gatlinburg, we were finally able to answer the question of "are we almost there?"  Almost instantly, we went from a large strip that was cluttered with just about every "tourist trap" and themed restaurant one could imagine, to a wooded country road that seemed to become more mountainous with each passing moment.  As we climbed in elevation, the road started winding with each curve being greater than the last.

As the elevation increased, so did the sheer beauty of the views.  We began passing massive homes being built and resorts carved right into the side of a mountain.  However, my feeling of tranquility quickly turned to one of anxiety.  You see, the road was rather narrow, the cliffs were getting steeper and for some reason, there were no guardrails.  The kids didn't seem to care but Carrie and I were uncomfortable and all I wanted to do at that point was safely make it to our cabin, pour a cup of coffee and enjoy the view of Mt. Le Conte.  It just didn't feel safe, even though I am not an inexperienced driver.  For almost 20 Years, I had a regional sales job that had me driving about 50,000 miles annually.  The fact that I am writing this now and sharing the unbelievable view from our rental tells you that we did not drive our car off the side of the mountain but one of the first things I did upon arrival was to check for an alternate route on our way back home at the end of the week!

Some people enjoy "living on the edge" but I do not.  There are dangers in life and I do not let them prevent me from living the way I want to but it is also very important to me that I take necessary precautions and limit my risk exposure whenever possible.  All of us assess risk on a daily basis as we go about our professional and recreational activities, often subconsciously.  Sadly, many potential financial pitfalls are either put on the back burner or maybe even ignored. 

When was the last time you worked with an advisor to assess protection needs for your income, assets & legacy?   

The idea of retiring one day is exciting but it can also be terrifying at the same time.  Do you ever ask yourself these questions?

  • Will I have enough money to meet my needs when the time comes?
  • Will Social Security cover my needed income?
  • My parents and grandparents retired with a Pension...if I don't have one, how will I get by?
  • How long will I live?
  • The stock market can be extremely volatile, will I retire at the "right" time?
  • What about healthcare related expenses?

What if you don't make it to retirement or if you live for many years after leaving the workforce?  

Ben Franklin once said that "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."  While we don't like to think about it, all of us will make an exit one day.  

Most of us file our taxes on time every year but let's not forget about the other sure thing.

If you have a spouse, partner, family or business who depend on you....

  • If you (and your income) were gone tomorrow, who would that affect the most and how would they be impacted financially?
  • How would your income be replaced?
  • If you have a mortgage or debt of any kind that you leave behind, how would your remaining payments be covered?
  • Would your loved ones be able to keep the home?

While these concerns are quite valid and justified, fortunately you are not alone when it comes to addressing these potential pitfalls (and others).  When developing a financial plan, it is vitally important that you not just focus on investing and building a nest egg but that you prepare for the unknown.  

My professional practice is centered around helping people address these concerns.  After spending 25 Years on the corporate side of the insurance industry, I decided to branch out on my own to start an independent agency dedicated to helping individuals, families and small businesses understand and protect their income, asset and legacy needs.  If you are already working with a financial advisor or insurance professional, please consider your needs and ask about the various risk transfer strategies that may be available.  If I can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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