The American financial planning industry is currently running a campaign to promote retirement savings.  In typical US fashion it’s all about ‘hitting the number”, having enough capital in order to retire.   I was reminded by a new client the other day that it’s not about how much you have, but how much you need.

This particular client nursed her frail mom in her last years surviving off only a modest pension.  “Some expenses i.e. medical do increase as you get older, but your basic living costs actually reduce with old age and the financial services industry never tells you this”.

I may be a little guilty of this myself, preferring to plan conservatively when projecting retirement income.  I was upset to hear I client had left my office feeling depressed after discussing her retirement planning.  The truth is it’s not about “hitting the number”.  Your financial planner must work with what you have in order to satisfy your objectives.  It’s no good you worrying yourself to death about not having “enough” you can always make a plan.

Retirement planning starts with how much capital you have and how much income you need and there is no magic wand to change “frogs into princes”.  But a good financial planner will work with you on how to achieve realistic objectives.  Be very careful of taking on excessive risk in order to “squeeze” maximum income from your capital this usually ends in tears.


Mark Williams
Mcomm, CFP®, HdipTax
T. 021-851 3746


You’ve got enough