To Retire, Mind Your P's: Purpose, Planning and Procrastination

Focusing on those three basic concepts will keep you out of trouble, even if you're in the "retirement red zone."

(Image credit: karen roach)

Financial industry insiders use so much jargon that at least two websites — and — have posted their own glossaries for investors seeking clarity.

Which is why you can’t procrastinate.

When I give a seminar, I’ll often ask the participants to raise a hand if life has never kicked them in the teeth. Not a single hand goes up. And yet, so many people enter retirement without a thought beyond GROWTH. They’re so set in their ways after years in the accumulation phase, they can’t switch their brains over to the strategies needed to survive and thrive in the distribution and preservation phase. Or, on the flipside, they haven’t thought nearly enough about saving. If you’re waiting until you’re in your 50s or 60s, that’s a lot of catching up to do.

A few years ago, Prudential coined the term “retirement red zone” to describe the critical years immediately before and after retirement, when finances are most vulnerable to adverse market movements. Of course, Prudential was selling its financial products — but the term resonated because it touched on something real. If the market turns and you’re in the red zone, you may not be able to retire when you hoped or, if you’re already retired, you might have to go back to work.

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We saw it in 2000 and 2008, and it likely will happen again. But it doesn’t have to happen to you.

The secret? Stop procrastinating, and pursue a plan with purpose. Make that your mantra, and get moving.

*Guarantees provided by insurance products are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance carrier.

Kim Franke-Folstad contributed to this article.


This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Michael Martin, Investment Adviser Representative
Co-Founder, Legacy Financial Partners

Michael Martin is the co-founder of South Florida-based Legacy Financial Partners, where he is the director of investments and insurance. He is a fiduciary and holds his Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses. He also maintains life, health and variable annuity licenses in Florida, West Virginia, North Carolina and Illinois.

Securities and advisory services are offered through, Madison Avenue Securities, LLC ("MAS") Member FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser. MAS and Legacy Financial Partners are not affiliated entities.