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Marsh Wealth Management

We’re All in This Together

We work our entire lives with the goal of achieving a sound retirement. But as the time draws near, we often become apprehensive, recognizing that retirement is much more than the savings that you’ve managed to accumulate and your newfound free time. You find yourself asking:

» Will I need to reduce my spending in retirement?
» Is there a chance I will outlive my retirement savings?
» Will future tax increases erode my savings?
» How will I be able to afford an unexpected medical emergency?

And that doesn’t count the more concrete questions of when to start Social Security and which Medicare supplement plan to choose. Retirement is uncharted waters. You’ve observed your parents and others during retirement, you search online for retirement related subjects, you share experiences and expectations with family and friends. You make the best decisions you can, often guided only by your gut instinct.

But in retirement, there are no do-overs, so a growing number of people are choosing professional help with a comprehensive approach that combines investment advice with financial planning, tax strategies, insurance solutions, and legal planning.

In this month’s issue of Everything Knoxville, we are delighted to share with you our recent interview with Marsh Wealth Management founders, and husband and wife team, Mike and Yvonne Marsh. Having earned a well-deserved reputation among retirees for their comprehensive approach to retirement planning, we are confident that you will enjoy their thoughts on retirement whether you’re retired, near retirement, or years away from retirement.

EK: Yvonne, I enjoyed the analogy on your website comparing the navigation of retirement to planning a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before. Like an experienced travel guide, how can Marsh Wealth Management help me to successfully navigate my retirement?

Yvonne: We know the number one goal for retirees is to maintain their lifestyle in retirement without the worry of running out of money. So our approach is three-fold: First, we help people define what their lifestyle is going to look like. Second, we help them identify potential pitfalls or obstacles and come up with solutions that fit them. Then, just as importantly, we act as their guide on this “retirement trip,” making sure everything works smoothly leading up to retirement, the transition from a paycheck to a play check is seamless, and all of the little gotchas are taken care of for them. Their biggest task is deciding on their first post-work vacation!

EK: Mike, what is the number one mistake would-be and existing retirees make in planning?

Mike: They stay aggressively invested for too long as they’re approaching retirement. The Fragile Decade – the five years leading up to retirement and the five years after retirement – is the most critical time period in predicting the success of a 30+ year retirement plan. Waiting until a year or two ahead of retirement to reduce the risk in your portfolio is waiting too long.

EK: The equity markets have a long history of very good returns on average, but I’m fearful of losing money in a market downturn. What suggestions do you have for me?

Mike: We use an investment bucketing strategy that allocates a client’s portfolio into time segments: Now, Soon, and Later. The idea is simply that the Now bucket is rainy day, emergency, and planned expenses tucked safely in bank accounts. The Soon bucket is money earmarked for spending in a retiree’s first phase of retirement and more conservatively invested, while the Later bucket is money designated for the second phase of retirement so it can have more growth orientation. We all know that we build wealth by staying invested in the markets over time, and this three-tiered allocation gives our clients the confidence to do just that.

EK: How can you help me overcome the often high costs arising from an unexpected medical emergency that was not in my spending plan?

Yvonne: By helping you be proactive and not reactive: Planning for those costs before they happen. First, we help clients identify and quantify which costs aren’t covered by Medicare, and then we talk about their options. Many folks don’t know there is a great option that pays for home health care, assisted living, and other long-term care costs and also provides a death benefit to heirs if you don’t end up needing those benefits. The cost and the benefits are guaranteed at issue, so it really creates a lot of clarity and confidence for today’s retirees. It’s a great solution, but only about one out of every 10 people I talk to have ever heard of it.

EK: What is the impact to today’s retirees who are living longer than either their parents or grandparents?

Mike: We think of longer life spans as a risk multiplier – it multiplies the number of times to which your portfolio could experience a market correction and the higher likelihood someone will experience an expensive health event. And inflation is a sneaky factor that can really eat into a retiree’s ability to afford everything they are used to buying. We work with clients to design strategies that will serve them well no matter how long they live.

Yvonne: That’s right. I never want an 85 year old client to come to me and say, “Well, it’s been fun, but I’m out of money.” Our plans are designed to last as long as they do!

EK: What if the government should raise taxes during my retirement years?

Yvonne: Well, truthfully, we already know that they are going to raise taxes when our current tax code expires at the end of 2025. It’s already written into the law that our personal tax rates will revert back to the higher pre-Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 levels. So taxes are on sale right now! Many people should be, at a minimum, executing Roth IRA conversion strategies up to and within the current 24% bracket. That is an integral service we offer to our wealth management clients.

EK: It’s obvious that a successful retirement plan includes a great many considerations. How can you help me create a comprehensive plan that will help me to sleep at night?

Yvonne: It’s so true that the devil is in the details. And we actually start with some non-financial details – such as reviewing healthcare directives and identity theft protection and providing a survivor’s guide for heirs. Some clients don’t need extensive financial planning, so we focus on creating an Investment Bucket Strategy that can sustain their income needs. Other clients need extensive financial and tax planning, so we create a comprehensive plan addressing those needs. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all process.

EK: What is the best way to select a qualified wealth advisor as I’m trying to navigate all of the financial decisions a retiree has to make?

Yvonne: First, understand how they are paid. A fiduciary is compensated as a percentage of assets, whereas a broker dealer is compensated by commissions on account activity. You have to decide which business model best aligns with your own interests. Second, professional credentials are important, and we proudly have CFP®s and CPAs in our office. The continuing education commitment that these licenses require keep us technically sharp. Third, and just as important, is finding someone you can connect with on a personal level. Your advisor is there to guide you through a journey that will be uniquely yours – and you want to have a relationship that you are confident to call on at any time.

EK: We’ve talked a great deal about would-be and existing retirees, but what about those of us that are still working and saving for retirement? Where’s the best place to invest our savings?

Mike: By far, the number one thing we get asked by people still working is “Can you help me with my 401(k)?” And truthfully, this is a huge societal issue. Companies have moved away from pensions and put the burden of saving and investing on their employees, but the vast majority of people don’t know which investments to choose. And who wants to go home after a hard day at work and research mutual fund choices while you’re juggling kids and dinner? So we’ve just introduced a service called Plan Confidence, which allows us to help people choose their 401(k) investments, using the mutual funds that their employer offers, with no IRA rollovers needed. The money stays right in the 401(k). It’s a monthly subscription service, and we connect with clients through a secure website and mobile app. No office visits required for busy people!

EK: How can I learn more about Marsh Wealth Management? Do you offer a complimentary consultation to determine if there is a “good fit” between your integrated team and myself?

Yvonne: Our website is always a great place to start. We’ve worked hard to lay out how we approach retirement planning and the strategies that we employ, so it gives people an easy first step to see if we would be a good fit for them. Then give our office a call to set up a time where we can introduce ourselves and hear your story – what you’re excited about and what you’re worried about – and decide how we might be of help to you on your retirement journey.

EK: In closing, is there anything else you would like to add?

Yvonne and Mike: Truly, we are all in this together. Everyone’s future is equally unknown, and there’s no need to try to figure it out by yourself. Our entire team believes in building long-lasting relationships with our clients – to be that resource that gives you a guiding hand, a word of encouragement, or an ear to just listen. We know there will be unexpected twists and turns in your retirement journey, but we’re here every step of the way, so you can relax!

Marsh Wealth Management, LLC
Fiduciary Registered Investment Advisor
504 Ebenezer Road
Knoxville, TN 37923
865.622.2162
ymarsh@marshpros.com
www.marshwealth.com

Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services are offered through Marsh Wealth Management, LLC (“MWM”), an independent investment advisor registered with the state of Tennessee. Yvonne Marsh is an Investment Advisor Representative of MWM in the state of Tennessee. Marsh Professional Group, LLC is a TN registered public accounting firm and a separate legal entity from MWM. For a detailed discussion of MWM and their investment advisory fees, see the firm’s Form ADV on file with the SEC at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.

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