What comes to mind when you hear the words Safe Money? Does it conjure thoughts of keeping money under a mattress or letting your money wither and die in a savings account? For many Americans, the idea of safe money simply leaves them with a blank stare. When I hear the words Safe Money, I see a strong foundation for guaranteed income when I need it most. Moreover, I see a sound set of strategies that can mean the difference between a comfortable retirement, or moving in with the kids. While inter-generational households can be a wonderful experience, that experience is enhanced when it is voluntary. No matter your living arrangements, a reliable, safe, and predictable income is always welcome.
If you spend any time researching retirement planning, you have likely come across the term Safe Money. I am willing to bet however that very few of those sources have delved into the topic very deeply. It seems as if most advice on the topic of retirement leans toward the investment end of the financial spectrum. These are your products such as Mutual Funds, 401K’s, IRA’s, 403B’s, TSP’s, Index Funds, Bonds, and Individual Stocks. Each of these products has a specific purpose, specific talent, specific risk, specific strength, and specific weakness. They are often thrown around as the end all be all and cure to that what ails you. This is a mistake and a disservice to the tools themselves. These can often be good additions to a well rounded plan. Other times they are foisted on people by salesmen with only one hammer. To a person with only one hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. The scary part of all of this is how serious the results of a poor decision can be. This difference is being able to enjoy a life you worked hard for or living a destitute existence and being dependent on others. There is uncertainty, risk, and stress associated with all of the above mentioned products. The good news is that in most cases, all of that can be eliminated when you start dealing with Safe Money Strategies.
Let me ask you a question. How much of your hard earned money are you able to lose right now? What percent of your wealth are you willing to walk away from with no hard feelings and be able to maintain your desired retirement lifestyle? If you are anything like most people, the answer is close to zero. Of the smart few that actually prepare for retirement, very few have the critical mass built up to be able to weather a direct hit from a drop in the market. A single correction can wipe out a life time of hard work and good behavior. The worst part is that you have very little control of the outcome. How can you plan for a goal (retirement) if the path is paved with intangible outcomes, risk, and uncertainty? As many people are discovering too late, it’s a risky endeavor. They did what they were told. They followed the best advice they could find. Now they are nearing the end of their journey only to find that X marked the wrong spot. So let me repeat the question. How much of your hard earned money are you able to lose right now? If you answered close to zero, you need to reevaluate your plan. You need to look at Safe Money.