Retirement Planning

Helping People Truly Enjoy Their Retirement

Financial planners often focus on retirement, but many concentrate more on what can go wrong instead of on the joy of doing what you want and not working for a living. That’s not the case with Jaime Cowper, president and CEO of Michigan-based Unity Financial Advisors. “We truly want people to enjoy their retirement. They can position themselves to weather ups and downs of the market,” she says.

Cowper opened her own firm four years ago, after ten years in the business. Through referrals and doing seminars twice monthly, the company has grown rapidly. “Everything revolves around helping clients to attain peace of mind in retirement,” she says, adding that most clients are near or in retirement.

The firm has implemented strategies to help with a retirement income plan, including a one-page outline that clients can bring home and review.

“The income plan helps them with confidence, and they understand where the income is coming from,” says Cowper. The process also includes helping clients see where their current assets are, and the risk spectrum. “A lot of people think they have a lot more protection with their portfolio than they do,” she added.

Protection and Investable Money

cowper200x300Cowper’s approach involves a belief that clients should have a certain amount of money for protection and some for investments.

“When people get into retirement, if they don’t have any money protected, they become more conservative and stick with bank products, thus giving up returns,” she says.

When clients position themselves in ways to protect their income needs, once those needs are met, they can keep risk on the investment side and stay the course throughout retirement.

Long-Term Care and a Bucket of Fun

Client’s income needs are projected for the future with inflation and rising health care costs considered.

“We look to earmark certain funds for now, then for their 70s and 80s,” Cowper says, adding that they are big proponents of having a long-term care plan.

While that doesn’t always mean clients need long-term care insurance, it’s important to have the conversation.

“It’s more about leveraging those dollars, in case you need them, so you can enjoy retirement knowing you have a rainy- day fund,” she says.

Because retirement is meant to be enjoyed, Cowper also plans “a bucket of fun,” expenses set aside for client to have a good time.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is another focus of Cowper’s practice. They don’t have attorneys on staff, but they do have lawyers to whom they refer clients. Estate planning is another area where life insurance and other strategies can come into place and help minimize taxes.

“We caution consumers to make sure they are working with professionals, and not doing wills or trusts online,” says Cowper. “Laws change, so they should work with an attorney who can ensure keeping up with these changes.”

Where Investors Can Become Their Own Worst Enemy

When asked about the growth of robo-advisors and other hybrid platforms, Cowper says she thinks it’s great that some apps help people get started with investing.

“The younger generation will need to save more than they’re aware of. Getting started early is key,” she says. However, as far as investor behavior, robo-advisors take the emotion out of it. “There’s no one there urging them to stay the course, not jump to cash, and manage it on your own. That’s where investors can become their own worst enemy.”

While it’s one thing for investors to work with such apps on the side, they should deal with financial professionals for their main portfolio to help guide them and implement strategies.

For more information on Unity Financial Advisors, visit:

Investment advisory and financial planning services offered through Planners Alliance, LLC, a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Insurance, Consulting and Education services offered through Unity Financial Advisors. Unity Financial Advisors is a separate and unaffiliated entity from Planners Alliance, LLC and Advisory Alpha, LLC.

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