“We do financial planning. We specialize in retirement planning... We find ways to conservatively find a life-long income from those proceeds,” Moff said, explaining his firm which provides counsel to about six clients a day.
Although many clients are reaching that retirement age, Moff said many younger individuals and couples use his services. About 30 participants enroll in his four-part course “Financial Strategies for Successful Retirement,” which asks and insures positive answers to the question: “Can I afford to retire?”
That question, Moff said, is a real worry. “Will I outlive my income? And with the market volatility that we’re facing today, many clients are concerned with that. That’s why we’re trying to position our income orientation where they can survive the ups and downs of the market and still have their checks coming and knowing that their accounts are going to be very secure.”
Planning for life after retirement is something that can never be done too soon, according to Moff. People should start the process “as soon as they get a job.” Moff is even starting his own son on the right path.
From day one, Moff suggests “taking a look at the employers plan” and “always, always do the company match. Take advantage of the free money.” That match is part of 401(k), 403(b) or other retirement plan. “You figure, you’re employer is giving you free money. Take it. It’s going to build your retirement a whole lot faster.”
He also recommends investing in a Roth IRA, an individual retirement account under the country’s tax law. “It provides tax-free compounding. Plus when you do retire, all earnings will come out tax free,” Moff said.
And although retirement makes up a large portion of one’s life, Moff said that the average American spends 10 to 12 hours of their lifetime preparing for it. “More families spend time planning a vacation then their finances,” he said. For that reason, “most people are a little confused and a little lost and they just need some really good, solid guidance to get from Point A to Point B.”
Moff likes to have his clients invest in mutual funds, which provides the benefit of investing in many stocks. “It could be oil, it could be pharmaceuticals, it could be energy stocks. So you have a diversification of a lot of different kinds of stocks inside that portfolio,” so if one stock goes down, all is not lost.
The goal for successful retirement planning is to be able to have the same income as when employed. “I like to see most folks retire the same income that they’re earning now. If they can retire 100 percent what they’re earning, that is going to be my utmost objective,” Moff said.
A combination of investing in retirement plans and seeking as many tax advantage investment opportunities as possible will help insure that goal. “That’s why I really enjoy teaching my Financial Planning for Successful Retirement,” Moff said, since it covers a variety of plans.
“Being a good steward” is how many in “corporate USA” without pensions prepare for their golden years by investing money. “If you aren’t, you may well not have an option but to work later into retirement years, unfortunately,” Moff lamented.
“As always, get started as soon as you can and systematically save. You can put a little bit away each month to build your portfolio, and it’s very painless,” Moff said. He recommends “paying yourself first” by putting at least 10 percent of income toward an investment.
Other advice: Arrange a budget, stay out of debt and no credit cards. “Debit cards are better than credit cards. They don’t entrap you as far as debt,” Moff said. Don’t take car loans. Pay cash for vehicles and pay off your home early.
Making that process more difficult, Moff said, is that most Americans are saving “negative numbers” for retirement. “What little savings they do have is being used to pay the interest on their credit cards.”
Moff has been a financial planner for 24 years. “I’ve always been interested about money, every since I was a young guy just starting cutting grass when I was 12 years old, shoveling snow for the neighbors until the snow blowers put me out of business.”
He hopes to continue for 20 more years, enjoying his job: “To get to see people that plan successfully, that they can retire at the time they really want to retire. I like to see people smiling when they come out of my office, knowing that they have enough assets to retire on. Finally, they have a plan to achieve their goal.”
Jim Moff, president of Moff and Associates, sits at his desk where he helps clients financially plan for their retirement.