Retirement Planning

Pivoting to Income Generation in Retirement

Shifting away from asset accumulation

The matter of when to retire varies for every individual. But whenever that time comes, it’s vital to focus less on volatile asset accumulation — and more on stable income generation.

The state in which you live can play a major role in how early you can retire, as pointed out in a recent article on Yahoo Finance, which showed the lowest retirement ages, typically 62-64, broadly across southern and midwestern states.

Centrally located in Hendersonville, TN, just north of Nashville, Wood Financial Group LLC sits in the heart of what could be described as the U.S. early-retirement zone. Nearby states like Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky have an early retirement age averaging 62. In others like Mississippi, Missouri, Georgia, both Carolinas and Indiana, age 63 is the average.

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“A lot of people are retiring too early,” Wesley P. Wood, president of Wood Financial Group, observed in a recent interview with Advisors Magazine, which he said can be problematic given that people are living longer, and often don’t have a financial plan in place.

And he should know. The firm’s typical client is someone who is in or close to retirement.

“We’re a conservative firm,” Wood added. “We focus primarily on income-generating investment vehicles, bond and bond-like instruments. We do stocks as well, but most of our clients are going to be more focused on income and income planning.”

Indeed, it’s all about income, he emphasized. If a client is able to generate enough income in retirement, year over year, month over month — more income relative to spending — the chance of running out of money over remaining retirement years essentially goes away.

“But I do see, unfortunately, a lot of people who have not done that,” Wood noted. “A lot of people haven’t made the proper adjustments in their portfolios to start focusing on income and preserving their principal instead of accumulation.”

Staffwood 800The firm functions as an independent financial planning company, offering objective investment advice grounded in years of experience and insight. And Wood admits to being selective when it comes to clients. If a prospect is highly bullish — looking for considerable growth in their portfolio — then his firm is probably not the best fit. But a more conservative prospective client who is looking to go from more growth to income, most likely is a good match.

“Not only do we need to make sure that their philosophy aligns with ours, but we also want to make sure that we like working with each other,” Wood said. “Because some personalities may not mesh well and we want to make sure that we’re taking on clients whose personalities mesh well with our firm, so we enjoy working with each other.”

And once the work begins, among the first questions Wood always asks of his clients is: what is the purpose of this money? Along with that, what are the goals in retirement and what are the primary concerns?

“The first thing we will need to identify is what kind of income do you need to have in order to accomplish all your goals and be comfortable, and then develop a plan to get you there,” Wood added. “And if you don’t have enough money to do that, there are some tough choices to make.”

One of those tough decisions might be to not take retirement too early and, simply, to keep working longer. Another difficult choice could be to take less income in retirement.

“We must start there,” Wood said. “And if we can develop a plan where we can generate enough income to where they never have to worry about running out of money, then we’ve done our job.”

Wood Financial Group doesn’t set a hard minimum investment, but is typically looking for around $200,000 – or a client with enough assets to be a good one for the firm. That’s just sound business, something that’s ingrained in Wood.

He grew up in a household where the value of money was taught and appreciated. Wood’s father was a CPA and stressed the need to make sure one’s financial house was in order. His grandfather was president of a bank, and both grandmothers owned businesses — entrepreneurs ahead of their time.

Woods 700x500A strong work ethic also appears to be part of Wood’s lineage. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked long weekends personally making phone calls to clients.

He explained: “Talking with them and just helping them understand, ‘hey, we’re here and here’s kind of what to expect if things get bad, and here’s what to expect in your investment portfolios.’ We just shared with them that we’re with them and we’re going to watch their portfolio, make appropriate changes, and weather this storm together.”

Beyond such hand-holding, Wood is also a big fan of mind-enriching and financial literacy.

“It is imperative that our clients have a good understanding of their core investments in order to ensure that those investments are meeting and exceeding their goals,” he said. “I’ve determined that the more educated a client is, the more confident they are with their investments, the better they understand how their investments operate.”

The key is to set proper expectations, and there are a number of ways to do that and educate clients, Wood said.

“We do it through workshops, in-person meetings, and more recently a lot of Zoom calls. And our clients know that we’re going to be with them in good times and in bad, and we have,” he said.

When the economy weakens or the stock market declines precipitously, or something else dire occurs, Wood believes it’s best to get out in front of clients, to calm any nerves.

“I think that’s the main job of a professional financial advisor — to be that kind of steady hand in tough times even if things might not be looking very good on their statements,” he said.

And if clients are treated the way the advisor wants to be treated, the referrals — like Wood Financial is experiencing — begin to come back tenfold, according to Wood. “The more you give, the more you get in return as far as your business,” he said.

For more information on Wood Financial Group LLC please visit: woodfinancialgroup.net

 

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