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Racing for Retirement

By Colin Wheeler

The casual Thoroughbred horse racing fan will often make picks based on the color of the jockey's silks, or their "lucky" number. And while this approach can be fun and could yield a winner from time to time, there is also value in researching and learning as much as you can about each horse - pedigree, track preference, previous wins, jockey, etc.

While the financial markets often move in ways that are unexpected, our team does a great deal of research into the markets and investment options, and have put a lot of time into developing our investment approach and philosophy. Much like in horse racing, there's an element of luck involved, but with a solid strategy and good working knowledge of all the moving parts, the likelihood of success increases.

In an ideal world, we'd like to think of life like a horse race - a very clear path with a very clear finish line. As a financial planner, I'm increasingly seeing people realize that retirement is much more fluid than it once was. One of the things I love most about this job is that every client is different. We see differing backgrounds and perspectives on life and as many different goals for retirement as there are clients themselves, just as no two race horses are alike on the track.

While most people aren't running toward a clearly defined retirement date anymore, as I've been enjoying Keeneland this week, it's occurred to me that training a successful Thoroughbred and working toward a successful retirement do have some parallels. Lots of moving pieces and variables contribute to each horse's success. First, you have to build the right team around that horse - trainer, owner, jockey, groom, etc. Each horse's unique attributes and strengths must be considered, and used to the fullest potential. Similarly, to set yourself up for a successful retirement, it's important to build the right team around you - CPA, attorney, financial planner, etc.

To win any given race, all of these moving pieces must work in unison, and adjustments must be made based on current factors - is it raining? Are the other horses fast starters or strong finishers? Is your horse a little tired due to another recent race? Although working toward retirement is generally more of a distance event than a sprint, the same can be said for your financial life. Our team will pay attention to the current financial climate, as well as any changes in your life that affect your money. Then, we'll adjust your strategy and portfolio accordingly.

What questions do you have when it comes to navigating your own unique path to retirement? We're always here to help. And if you're out at Keeneland this month, keep and eye out for us and say hello.

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