Frequently Asked Questions
Working with Jim Saulnier and Associates
Do you charge for the first meeting?
No. The initial meeting at Jim Saulnier and Associates is complementary. We want to make sure your approach to retirement planning and our approach to retirement planning are compatible before any billable services are performed.
Do you work with clients outside of Colorado?
Yes. Please contact us for details.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
We request that you bring account statements from any accounts that you’d like to talk to us about. We also have some additional paperwork that we’d like you to complete prior to your first meeting with us. Please contact us for more information.
Do I have to open a new account to work with Jim Saulnier and Associates?
No. While we do manage accounts for our clients, opening a new account is not a requirement to be able to work with us.
When should I start planning for retirement?
Of course you should always be planning for retirement… even while in retirement. We recommend more general, goals-based planning for younger generations (such as paying off debt, saving x% of their pay, and taking advantage of employer sponsored plans). When retirement can be seen on the horizon, for later generations (age 50 and up) we recommend more specific cash flow based planning. This helps you understand what your expenses will look like in retirement and what you will need to do to make sure your income and assets are enough to maintain the lifestyle you want in retirement.
When can I retire?
When you can retire depends entirely on you. We recommend having enough secure income (income that is predetermined and known, will never go down, and is backed by a third party) to cover your required expenses (expenses that if not met will cause an economic, medical, or financial hardship). Additionally, you should have enough assets to cover your desired expenses such as travel, gifting, dining, etc. To better understand what your income, assets, and expenses will look like in retirement, a cash flow analysis should be done.
What is the difference between retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s?
Different types of retirement accounts are often assumed to be similar in nature when they are not. Whether it’s one of the many different types of IRAs, a 401(k), a 403(b) or a 457, they all have different properties and different rules that must be followed. Commonly you will see differences in things such as how you can invest your money, how contributions are made, how much you can contribute, and who can participate in the plan.
Should I worry about healthcare?
Healthcare can be and often is one of the most impactful aspects in retirement and unfortunately it is also often one of the most overlooked aspects of retirement planning. Having a plan in place to manage your healthcare costs and long term care needs is an important part of retirement planning and should be reviewed annually. If you have a plan, there is much less to worry about.
Do I have to have a minimum amount in assets for you to work with me?
No. We understand that everyone needs help with retirement.
What exactly is retirement income planning?
Retirement income planning is a way of managing assets in order to replicate the safety and security of a paycheck, even in retirement. Our approach to income planning is unique and simple. We say that all of your required expenses (expenses that if not met will cause an economic, medical, or financial hardship) must be covered by secure income (income that is predetermined and known, will never go down, and is backed by a third party). Another way of saying that is, if you run out of assets in retirement you will be assured that all of the expenses you have to maintain a decent standard of living will be covered by secure income.
Can I still receive a regular income after I retire?
Yes you can. Social Security, pensions, and income annuities are the most common ways to receive regular income in retirement.
When should I file for my Social Security benefit?
When you should file for your Social Security benefit depends on what claiming strategy is best for you. Whatever claiming strategy you use, we recommend you file for your Social Security benefits as early as four months prior to when you want your benefits to start, so there is plenty of time to get the paperwork to go through.
How do I know which claiming strategy is best for me?
There are many factors to look at when deciding which claiming strategy is best for you. Commonly the decision is based on when someone will break even by claiming one strategy over another. However what must also be considered are your secure income needs from the time that you could begin claiming thorough spousal survivorship scenarios and/or mortality. A cash flow analysis that considers your income and expenses throughout retirement can help you understand what your income needs are and help you choose a claiming strategy. A Social Security claiming strategy analysis will help you compare various strategies and when you will break even.
What types of claiming strategies are there?
There are hundreds if not thousands of claiming strategies. When we develop a claiming strategy we consider your own retirement benefits, spousal benefits, survivor benefits, other family benefits, delayed retirement credits, the windfall elimination provision (WEP), the government pension offset (GPO), the earnings test, options to file and suspend, and more. We have a unique and easy to understand method of illustrating the spectrum of your claiming strategies. With a Social Security claiming strategy analysis you will understand the difference between claiming at your first opportunity, maximizing your benefits, and all of possibilities in-between.
How can I get an estimate of my Social Security benefits?
To get an estimate of your Social Security benefits at Full Retirement Age look at your Social Security statement online or call your local Social Security office. For estimates on other claiming strategies contact us to help you determine this.
How do I obtain my Social Security statement?
The easiest way to get your Social Security statement is to visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount/, create an account, and download your benefits statement.