Retirement Planning

Coming to the Aid of the Sandwich Generation

A Holistic Approach to Financial Planning, and Guidance Throughout the Journey

They number in the millions, and their lives are quite the balancing act. The “sandwich generation” must plan for their own retirement while in the midst of caring for aging parents as well as their teen, college-age or “boomerang” children. They’re primarily in their late 40s and early 50s, and as a group, they need assistance with their financial planning. Carey Yukich, the co-owner of TrueWealth Advising Group based in Northwest Indiana, specializes and enjoys working with this group.

The firm’s motto, “Guidance Throughout Your Journey,” is a long-term approach to financial planning, not a quick fix or reliance on a hot stock tip or risky portfolio.

“People may plan and feel comfortable about a strategy, but they procrastinate, and life happens. We are catalysts for clients to take action—perhaps a to-do list, with a deadline. Our process breaks down financial planning into manageable pieces,” said Yukich.

There’s no client minimum at the firm, although Yukich typically works with those who have an investable net worth of $250,000 and up. She trains and mentors new financial advisors, and the typical investable net worth of their clients is $150,000 or more. About one-third of Yukich’s clients are business owners, and Carey assists them in diversifying beyond their businesses. She works with numerous female clients and desires to empower them to make optimal financial choices.

Yukich notes that retirement means different things to different people. Some want to stop working completely, some want to work part-time but retain financial independence, and others want to transition out of their business over several years. She asks her clients an abundance of questions to discern each individual’s experience with finances and adapts her approach to each client’s style.

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“Some clients are busy or analytical, and don’t have time for fluff,” she says.

TrueWealth Advising Group encourages collaboration with the client’s other trusted advisors, including attorneys and accountant. This way the client feels confident they have a team striving collaborating to serve their best interests. Clients all receive a customized, strategic solution, beginning with each individual articulating their needs and wants. Then, with the help of MoneyGuidePro® financial planning software, clients can view simulations of their retirement plan. “It helps us to run simulations to stress test the plan,” says Yukich. “We can look at all the pieces—liquidity, investment assets, insurance, estate planning and so on.” The goal is to assist the client in navigating the complexity of transitioning into retirement.

Yukich’s focus on investment earnings and withdrawals, helps people to understand the distribution process. She points out that hardly anyone prepares for the distribution phase of retirement.
When running simulations and scenarios, she asks clients about their desired income in retirement, and includes varied rates of return and inflation in different simulations.

“The simulations are realistic, and have contingencies in them,” she says. “The most important strategy is having an adequate buffer in the account balances.”

Ideally in a down market, assets not correlated to the market are used for income. Yukich recommends at least three years of income in assets such as CDs, life insurance cash value, and other asset classes not subject to market volatility.

The buffer account is especially strategic for longevity. Her clients don’t rely solely on the market, and Yukich has utilized fixed indexed and variable annuities for their guaranteed stream of income.

Having a sound Social Security strategy is essential. Calculating the optimal age to begin drawing it is also part of the planning scenario. Many of Carey’s clients still have pensions. An issue that arises frequently while educating clients on retirement planning is 401(k) fees. Most clients have no idea whether their plan charges such fees.

“We know where to look in the fine print for this disclosure and can articulate to the client exactly what their 401(k) expenses are,” she says.

Long-term care planning is a topic with which the sandwich generation is all too familiar. Yukich requests clients think about their parents’ generation and identify who is financially or physically dependent on them or likely will be in the future. She asks about health issues. One of her strategies is often a family meeting, which she attends.

“I’m the objective third party who can bring up sensitive issues,” Yukich explains. “Do you have an estate plan? Who helps with financial decisions? Many financial planners don’t go down that path.”

She educates families about long-term care and the threat of financial ruin due to lack of planning for end of life health care needs. Likely, someone in the family or a friend has been in a nursing home or assisted living. TrueWealth Advising Group advises clients on protection strategies, and a portion of their revenue comes from policy commissions, including long-term care. Advisors discuss the pros and cons of self-paying for long-term care, and Yukich updates families on what Medicare and Medicaid will provide.

When questioned about changes she’d like to see in the industry, Yukich cites financial literacy, which she believes needs to start early and become integrated into the educational system. Such concepts could be utilized in math, accounting, and business classes, and should include budgeting basics, compounding interest, liabilities, an explanation of FICA and similar topics.

“As a society, we need a more holistic approach to finances. The loudest noise is the stock market, but it’s not the only component in financial planning,” she says, adding that TrueWealth Advising Group is extremely involved in promoting financial literacy at young ages. Yukich and her team volunteer and donate to Junior Achievement as well as a program called Reality Store from her local Chamber of Commerce.

Yukich says those looking for a financial planner should ask questions about the planner’s background, how long they have been in the industry, their processes and philosophy, and whether they are investment-centric or holistic.

“It’s important to have expectations and values aligned,” she says.

As for short-term goals, Yukich plans to hold more workshops for business owners, providing education and resources for busy people. She also wants to add another experienced financial advisor to the team.

“It’s important to have a practice like a residency program for younger financial advisors, who have the ability to work with a senior financial advisor,” she says.

For more information, visit True Wealth Advising Group

Carey Yukich is a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of/and securities and investment advisory services offered through Equity Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, 123 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60606, (312) 236-2500. All third parties unless otherwise stated are independent of Equity Services, Inc.
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