The Transformation of Retirement Planning
Representing the combined experience of a dedicated group of professionals from the worlds of accounting, finance, insurance, taxes, legal, and retirement planning, Marsh Professional Group offers clients an uncommon level of expertise, whether they are planning for retirement or already enjoying retirement. Due to the many moving parts inherent in retirement planning – including Social Security, Medicare taxes, long-term care, retirement funds, investing, and wills, to name a few – a piecemeal approach to retirement can leave gaps in the best intentioned plan. They recognize that making a plan for living in retirement requires comprehensive strategies that are different than simply saving for retirement. Whether your vision for retirement includes freedom, family, security, or adventure, their integrated approach allows them to craft a financial plan as unique as you are.
Everything Knoxville is excited to share with you our recent interview with financial planner and CPA, Yvonne Marsh. Yvonne is also the co-founder of Marsh Professional Group along with her husband, Michael Marsh, CPA.
EK: We typically think of CPAs as tax accountants. How did you get into retirement planning?
Yvonne: The first part of my career was with a national accounting firm auditing banks and investment portfolios, and I enjoyed it very much. But as I watched my parents work through their own retirement planning, and my aunt unexpectedly lost her husband very early in her retirement years, I realized that retirement planning was how I could take my investment and tax expertise and help retirees plan for a comfortable, secure retirement. So I went on to get my Series 7 and 66 investment licenses and my insurance licenses, along with my CPA designation, and transitioned into financial planning and money management. I really love helping people find the answers to their questions – whatever they may be.
EK: While most people appreciate the necessity for retirement planning, they are often overwhelmed by competing messages from the hundreds of “experts” offering to assist them. What advice can you offer them?
Yvonne: Look for someone you can relate to. It’s an important relationship that can continue for many years, so take the time to understand not just the technical approach to their financial planning, but how they relate to you as a person. Do they explain concepts in understandable terms? Do they take the time to understand what’s important to you? A favorite part of my job is really getting to know my clients and establishing strong relationships. I want them to be able to pick up the phone and call me about anything – financial or not. I also find that husbands and wives are looking for a financial planner they can build a relationship with and that can continue on for the surviving spouse, which statistically is going to be the wife. I take great pride in the trust those relationships represent.
EK: There are a great many disciplines involved in creating a retirement plan, including taxes, legal, financial planning, medical, long-term care, and estate planning. How is your comprehensive approach to retirement planning unique, and how do your clients benefit?
Yvonne: Traditionally people might have separate professionals providing investment advice, preparing tax returns, and providing legal advice for example. But those advisors aren’t talking to each other. Is the investment advisor thinking about the tax consequence of his advice? Has the attorney made sure the IRA beneficiaries match the intent of the will? We know the importance of an integrated team that is looking at a client’s whole financial picture, and that’s exactly what we have at Marsh Professional Group. Tax, investment, legal, insurance, and planning – all under one roof. And we talk to each other!
EK: I know the word “comprehensive” may intimidate some of us, but share with our readers why your comprehensive approach may actually be simpler, resulting in greater peace of mind than the piecemeal approach chosen by many.
Yvonne: I think the number one thing I hear from clients after I’ve finished their financial plan is that they are relieved. They can see how everything fits together and how much income they can reasonably expect in retirement. Before I begin, I have my clients rank their concerns from least to most, and I make sure their plan addresses every concern they have. My overriding goal is to translate complex topics into understandable terms that makes sense to everyone.
EK: So once they have their plan, how do you help them implement it?
Yvonne: That’s where our integrated team comes into play. I am proud to say we are an independent, fiduciary fee-based planning firm, and we can meet people wherever their needs are – flat-fee based money management, tax return preparation, tax minimization strategies, finding the right insurance for Medicare, life or long-term care, or helping them get their wills and financial powers of attorney updated.
EK: You’ve been quoted as saying that “living in retirement requires different strategies than saving for retirement.” Explain.
Yvonne: Saving for retirement is pretty straightforward – we are all familiar with 401(k) plans, IRAs, etc. That is the realm of a traditional financial advisor. But we answer the fundamental question of “Now what?” as pre-retirees approach that transition point in life where they have to live on whatever they have saved for retirement. For example, investment choices should be driven by time, rather than account title. Investments used in the first phase of retirement should be more conservative than investments used in the second phase and beyond. Most people come to me with their entire retirement savings invested as one big pot, rather than carved out by time. I show them how to rethink that strategy.
EK: Tell our readers about the special Social Security and Medicare services offered by Marsh Professional Group.
Yvonne: Fundamental to “living in retirement” is learning how to maximize your Social Security benefits and minimize your Medicare costs. For example, many people aren’t aware of how to take advantage of SS spousal benefits – whether you are married, divorced, or widowed. I use software that allows me to analyze each client’s unique situation and show them how to maximize their benefits. For example, one couple was missing out on $1,000/month in spousal benefits, and another divorced widower had never claimed his ex-spouse survivor benefit. Medicare is such a specialty that we’ve hired an insurance specialist dedicated to helping our clients understand all of their Medicare options. Because we are independent, we can look across all companies and find the most competitive rates. We are able to consistently save retirees money.
EK: You also offer an innovative approach to long-term care that most of our readers will be unfamiliar with. How does that work?
Yvonne: Retirees need a solution for long-term care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover. Let’s face it, traditional long-term care insurance has some drawbacks – it’s somewhat expensive, the premiums increase as we age, and no one likes the “use it or lose it” idea of paying premiums year after year. I prefer to use asset-based long-term care in my financial planning. It is an investment, not an expense. You simply reallocate a portion of your savings into an insurance vehicle that provides a multiplied amount for long-term care, a death benefit to your heirs if you never use it, or a cash value if you change your mind. It’s a great way to protect your investment portfolio from health care costs without “spending” precious resources on traditional long-term care insurance.
EK: What else makes your firm unique in the marketplace?
Yvonne: An important part of our mission at Marsh Professional Group is financial education. We host a monthly lunch ‘n learn for current and prospective clients, plus I regularly speak at civic groups, senior centers, and investment clubs. I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power, and giving people confidence as they enter their retirement years is important to us.
EK: How can our readers learn more about Marsh Professional Group?
Yvonne: Just give us a call and set up a complimentary one-hour meeting. It’s the best way for us to get to know each other. I can learn about their unique situation and see if we might be of help. Or RSVP to our next lunch ‘n learn, or email general questions to our Client Service Manager at email@example.com.
Marsh Professional Group
1341 Branton Blvd, Suite 105
Knoxville, TN 37922
Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Prosperity Capital Advisors, an independent, SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in the State of Ohio. Yvonne Marsh is an Investment Advisor Representative of Prosperity Capital Advisors in the state of Tennessee. Marsh Professional Group, LLC and Prosperity Capital Advisors are separate entities. For information about Prosperity Capital Advisors, contact the firm or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov) for a copy of Form ADV Part 2. PCA does not provide tax or legal advice.