The “Impossible” Scenario that Threatens Retirees

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The decade-long bull market has infected advisors and their clients – especially those in or nearing retirement – with a dose of complacency that hides the perilous outcomes most consider impossible.

By relating a personal story, my hope is to convey, in a thoughtful fashion, this message: Advisors should plan for outcomes that, at the very least, are extraordinarily unlikely if not impossible.

I can’t stop thinking about Japan. Something happens, and it’s as if I’m transported right back to 1989. That’s when my story takes place. I’m still not over 1989. I’m not over the “impossible outcome scenario.”

In 1989, I was operating as a consultant to the then national brokerage firm PaineWebber. I was tasked with delivering educational presentations to audiences of its prospective clients. My topic was a new one for that time. It centered on a concept I originated: using investment-oriented life insurance as a method to fund tax-free retirement income.