Warming up yet? This month I want to talk about the difference between Financial Planning and Retirement Income Planning. From 2002 to 2010, my job was to be the expert in Estate, Business, and Retirement Planning for a Fortune 100 company, as a consultant for all the big banks and wirehouse brokerage firms in Nevada and Utah.

Stockbrokers and financial planners would call me in to consult with them and their high-net-worth clients. My job was to listen, review, build, present, and implement a plan for the broker and his or her client.

Why would someone at Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, or Wells Fargo Private Client Services need my help, you ask? Simple; they are not trained on advanced planning. I found that they usually see clients of all ages and don’t change what they do for different age groups of clients. Brokers should know how to buy and sell stock, obviously. But they don’t typically “build a plan”.

A financial planner is usually focused on the accumulation phase of the work-life cycle, to make sure you have a general, but realistic, target of how much you’ll need after work stops. It also, hopefully, helps ensure that you’re saving and investing enough to hit that target when you do retire. Big market gains are important here.

By comparison, a retirement income plan is designed to focus in detail on expenses after the paycheck stops and how your various assets can generate an income stream that will cover those costs for the rest of your life. When done properly, it also considers fees, taxes, and risk mitigation and includes guarantees. This is our firm’s primary focus.

In retirement, is when we put your money to work, so you don’t have to. Even if you have been fairly aggressive over the years, this may be the time when you can’t afford to get this wrong. For anyone worried about being able to afford to retire, conducting such a detailed retirement income plan can be extremely valuable. You’ll protect yourself against a financial catastrophe as you get older, and you’ll see how much you can spend on the things you want to do.

Here at American Retirement Advisors, we have a patent-pending process like no other. I’ve seen them all. We review all the pertinent details of our clients’ family, needs, wants, goals, and, lastly, assets. We then recommend in a clear, easy to understand, chart.

This chart will illustrate predictable income over the next 20 years. It will show the most effective way to take your flexible income.

It will give you peace of mind and comfort in retirement, knowing that someone’s got your back.