A Plan for All Seasons
With the demise of pensions, the responsibility of planning for the golden years rests on employees-and it's never too early to start planning.
› Roniece Weaver, 45, Windermere
Family: Husband, Curtis, is a physician and CEO of a medical group; three children, including a foster child.
Occupation: Executive director of non-profit Nutrition Practice Group and a registered dietitian.
Salary: Mid-$50,000s for her; husband's undisclosed.
Assets/liabilities: Mutual funds for the entire family. Savings started when children were little. Biggest liabilities are monthly mortgage, college and private school tuition and liability insurance. Combined family income means college is already paid for. Recently took in a 17-year-old foster child. They are seeking ways to cover his college cost. Husband diversifies investments in other projects outside of the mutual funds and stock markets to get a better return on his investment.
Retirement Planning Advice
Ginger Snyder, first vice president / senior investment consultant / member of Snyder Wealth Management at Robert W. Baird & Co., Tampa
"Roniece is certainly on track by exploring options for funding her children's college education. As with any investment -- a family, a home, a college education -- the best results are achieved by carefully constructing a plan and then following that plan consistently over time. Roniece should review her current asset allocation to make sure her portfolio is well-suited to meet all her goals and objectives, including the timing of college expenses for each child. Depending on the age of the foster child, she may want to look into a 529 plan, which would allow federal tax-free distributions, tax-deferred earnings, taxfree rollovers and no tax reporting unless there's a distribution from the plan. Roniece should meet with her financial adviser to design a plan that will clearly describe a range of critical factors that will affect her financial decisions, including investment goals and time horizons, tolerance for risk and the prudence and diversification standards she wishes to maintain. She should also make sure her CPA and estate planning attorney know her financial adviser so that the entire team might work together to help the Weaver family achieve all their goals and objectives. She should meet with her financial adviser at a minimum of one time per year to discuss their progress toward their goals."
› Consider consolidating investments to assess the need for diversification.
› Save for college expenses through tax-deferred accounts.
› Consider all options before dipping into retirement savings to pay for college.
› Revise will, trust and estate plan to adjust for the new addition to the family.
› Husband should avoid investing only in his company.
› Be careful how the husband's assets are titled -- in case of a liability suit.
› Consider purchasing long-term care policies.