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Security

Freedom From Fear or Worry

Freedom from fear or worry – that is the meaning of the French root word for “security”.  Fear is often equated with lack of control and things unknown. Planning for true security means reducing the unknown and increasing your feeling of control. In fact, independence is nearly synonymous with control. Dependence means having someone else in control.

The most important concept in financial planning is that of ENOUGH.

In the initial meeting with virtually every new client, they began by stating that they wanted to be sure they had “enough” to meet one or more goals. However, in all the financial planning courses and books available, there is virtually no discussion of what exactly is “enough”.

So, the first step toward achieving a feeling of security is to decide what exactly ENOUGH means in your case. Our experience has shown that it is a definable quantity within a broad range that shifts over time. In the S-T-A-R-S System for Retirement SuccessSM, we always put the word in all capital letters to designate this specific meaning and to set it apart from the generic idea of enough. Once defined, it remains to apply all your resources to making sure you will have ENOUGH.

The second task is to determine how much flexibility you will have in your planning and what strategies you could use to adjust to changing conditions. This enables you to build in a Margin of Error that can help to enhance your confidence that you truly will have ENOUGH and that you have a degree of control over the success of your plans.

In some cases, you may wish to consider in advance how assets will be passed along to the next generation. Having a clear definition of what is ENOUGH will allow you to know at what point you have more than ENOUGH. This, in turn, will permit you to begin implementing an estate transfer strategy with confidence that you will not undermine your own security. For those with substantially larger estates, the IRS believes you have “too much” and they want to take it away from you in estate taxes. It is important to know at what point you have “too much” because it suggests the appropriate timing for considering accelerated estate transfer strategies.

The third step in building confidence in your feeling of security is being as sure as you can be that there are no “bogey men” hiding under the bed that might jump out and steal away your security. A complete review of all your risk management and insurance strategies can improve your confidence that you are protected from losses though death of a breadwinner (or pension holder), incapacity, medical or long term health care costs, lawsuits or property and casualty disasters. A little effort in this area can go a long way toward reducing fear of the unknown and increasing the feeling of security and financial independence.

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