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  • Writer's pictureStephen Gardner

What were up against to retire.

Updated: Aug 22, 2018

Most people never stop to consider all the hurdles they have to clear in order to retire. There are many obstacles we are up against as Americans in order to walk away from work for 20 or 30 years. On top of these hurdles is inflation and the rising cost of living and medical expenses. Being smarter with your money going forward is a must.

I want to address what these obstacles are and how to eliminate them or clear them so you can move towards your retirement dreams. I won't to be able to cover all of them and each family will have their own set of obstacles, but I'll cover the mains ones applicable to most people.

If you had to bet on a race between a runner and a runner that also had to jump hurdles, which one would you stake your retirement nest egg on? Of course you would choose the runner that doesn't have obstacles in his way. So let's remove your obstacles and make your race to retirement smoother.


As I've shared in other posts, taxes are one of our most expensive expenses over our lifetime of living in America. It seems every time a dollar moves, it is taxed. The US tax code is over 70,000 pages long. It might be the longest book in the world. When it comes to saving money for retirement, you want to take control of your future tax burden and eliminate it if possible.

You can grow your money tax-free in only 3 areas. Roth IRA, Municipal Bonds and Life Insurance. When do you need money the most? In emergencies and when you aren't working. Now imagine you are out of work for 30 years. Do you want to get the most out of every dollar in those 30 years? Of course you do. So you need to set yourself up to not have to deal with taxes eating into your future buying power.

Control your future tax burden by eliminating it all together and you have just cleared one of the major money hurdles of being able to retire.


Market loss can wreck a retirement for many reasons. Usually you can't predict them. I hear people talk about the magic of compounding interest. In fact, some have called it the 8th wonder of the world. But it never really gets off the ground investing in the stock market because of interruption. Compound interest has to be uninterrupted to really hit critical mass.

For example the 90's were a fantastic time to be alive and a great time to be invested. But by the time we got to the year 2000, the investment landscape changed. The dot com bubble lost us double digits. Then America had the 9/11 attack and they lost double digits in 2001 and 2002. This took away much of the gains experienced in the 90's. Not only did interrupting compounding interest hurt during this 3 year stall, but values dropped by nearly 60% so compounding didn't have a chance for many years. This was like jumping hurdles and the last jump was off a cliff.

We are currently living in one of the longest bull markets in history. A bull market is when things are going well. A bear marketing is when things are going bad. We've been in a bull market since 2009. Be careful not to lose all the gains and progress and compounding you've experienced when the next market crash occurs.

Even if you don't earn as much, you need to look for a way to have a large portion of your money protected from loss, but better yet, growing every single year. Imagine how much wealthier you would be today if you never suffered losses and your money grew every year.

This type of growth only occurs in safe products offered by banks and insurance companies. Programs where the risk is on the product owner, not the saver or investor. Losing money is like compound interest in reverse. Instead of having 100 and adding 6 more, then having 106 and having 7 more, and so on and so like compound interest does, market loss takes 100 and brings it down to 80 and then 75 and then 70. Now you are really getting away from the forward progress you need every year to get to your goal.


There is nothing more frustrating than having money and not being able to access it. One time my wife and I were trapped in the Denver airport. We slept on the ground for 2 days. Because the blizzard was so bad, the food vendors were struggling to take payment that wasn't cash. Well, we didn't have cash on hand. So we waited and waited and waited until the system came back up and we could access our money and eat.

I've seen friends and family and clients have medical emergencies, investment opportunities, desires to redo a house or take a once in a lifetime trip or pay for a funeral become very expensive because they had to pay tax and penalty to access their own money from their 401k. It's their money, but they can't access it without paying through the nose.

Cash is king! they say, but cash tied up or behind penalties and taxes is useless and expensive. You need to have liquid access to money in order to live your life, make major purchases or act on a good investment opportunity. Here's the problem, since 2007 banks have been paying next to nothing in interest. Right now I have a savings account that pays 1/10th of a percent interest.

To buy the liquidity we want and need, we pay for it with low interest rates. This is why so many people are taking on the risk of the stock market when they have no business being invested. They know they need to beat inflation and they want liquidity, but it comes with a risk. Don't believe me, let history be your teacher. The market gives and the market takes, and when she takes, she takes a lot.

These are just 3 of the major hurdles people need to clear to be able to retire. Imagine if you could wave a magic wand and eliminate taxes, wave it again and you eliminate ever losing money in your account. Wave it again and wish for your money to grow and compound every year. Lastly, you wish to actually be able to access the money in this magical account you've invented. Well you can, with a properly designed life insurance plan. When built the right way, these contracts become like a swiss army knife.

With the right plan, you can legally avoid taxes, never lose money and actually have it grow every single year and you can access the money as you need it. Plus, you still earn on your money while you are using it and you have a large tax-free death benefit in case you pass away prematurely.

Most people aren't great savers, but they are better savers than they are investors. What most people need is a company that can help them clear these retirement blocking hurdles. A group that will successfully grow your money every year while still giving you access to use that money however you please. These accounts may sound too good to be true, but they are true and when designed properly, can give you the retirement of your dreams and the protection your family needs at the same time.



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