Retirement Planning

An Alternative Approach

Many people approach retirement with uncertainty. Some fear their savings will run out too soon, others worry their retirement plan will fall apart during an unexpected market downturn. And others remain caught in the “sandwich generation,” caring for elderly relatives and children in their 30s.

Kim D. H. Butler has a solution for these concerns: don’t retire.

“That might sound insane to you, but when I suggest it to most clients, whether they’re in their 70s or 60s, they secretly acknowledge to me ‘Yeah, that probably wasn’t going to work,’” said Butler, the founder of Partners for Prosperity, LLC. “You cannot save enough money during a working life of 30 or 40 years and then retire for another 40 years.”

Partners for Prosperity provides alternative investment advising remotely to clients nationwide. A minimum investment is not required, and clients work with Butler by phone and web. The firm offers clients assistance in developing a place to store cash outside the typical savings account or money market environment, income beyond bonds or annuities, and the means to grow their money outside the stocks and mutual funds paradigm.

butler600x400Butler relinquished her CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation after experiencing a “major transition in thought” in the 1990s. She founded Partners for Prosperity to help clients make alternative investments that were outside the typical stock market, such as bridge loans and senior life settlements. Stock market investments offer lackluster results, she says.

“The typical way does not work, the typical products do not work, the typical method of financial planning does not work. What we’re looking for are clients that are looking for alternatives,” Butler told “Advisors Magazine” during a recent interview.

Butler takes an alternative approach to client services as well. The firm does not meet clients face-to-face. Meeting by phone and Internet allows her to serve clients across the country, and also frees prospects to ask hard questions, she said.

“They’re able to not only ask the harder questions, but also we ask harder questions …you can always be more blunt with somebody when you’re not sitting with them face-to-face,” Butler said. “It’s pretty tough to be intimidated by just a phone call.”

Alternative investments require rigorous client education efforts. Butler, an established author, has written seven books on investing and the “Prosperity Economics” system used by her firm allows prospects to educate themselves, ask hard questions, and build wealth without Wall Street. Teaching clients the value of alternative investments combats the misinformation floating around on the Internet.

“I love that there’s so much information on the web…it really knocks those walls of privacy and, in my opinion, in a good way. That said, financial literacy education is really missing from the school system,” Butler said. “When you go on the web most of the financial education information is provided by the large financial institutions.”

The big financial institutions often provide typical, pre-packaged advice. Wealth advisors, moreover, fail to separate the fees they collect for advice, and those they receive for managing money, which Butler flagged as a problem. Also, she says that most registered investment advisories are tied to broker-dealers, which creates conflict that “true fiduciaries” would not tolerate. Partners for Prosperity is an independent registered investment advisor (RIA) firm, and unconnected to any broker-dealer.

As an example, Butler pointed out how many advisors, and most of the literature available, recommends maxing 401(k) contributions, something she disagrees with.

“We completely disagree with that. We have people do savings first, emergency/opportunity funds first, and 401k contributions only to the match second,” Butler said. “Most financial advisors are not paid to help you with savings but that’s really where most people should be starting.” Her favorite questions are “Where do you store your cash?” and “How will you create monthly income from that?”

So whether you are looking for better routes for earning investment income, growing your wealth or just storing cash, Kim and the P4P team have some alternative answers.

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