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Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Financial Planning


Several years ago, I published a magazine article called, “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Financial Planning.” While the title may seem a bit strange, the intent should be quite clear.

A recently-released study by TD Ameritrade (conducted by Harris Poll) found that a majority of Americans ages 40 to 79 would grade their own readiness for financial independence (retirement or otherwise) at a “C” or below. Nearly everyone “woulda” done some things differently, and most “coulda” done exactly that. When pressed, most say that they “shoulda” done things differently.

Here are a few of the findings:

  • 53% of people in their 50s have less than $100,000 saved for retirement
  • 81% are aware that longer life expectancies require a modified approach to financial independence
  • Nearly half of respondents in their 40s have withdrawn money from retirement accounts to cover unexpected events
  • Only a third of respondents age 50 and older take advantage of “catch-up” (increased) contributions to retirement accounts
  • About 60% have no plans to reduce spending
  • Nearly 70% wish they had started saving earlier
  • 70% of people in their 70s regret having gone into personal debt for their children
  • Half of respondents say they retired sooner than they expected, due to unforeseen circumstances

What if you understand your own shortcomings, but have no idea what changes to make? There’s an app for that, so to speak. Working with a qualified, fee-only, Certified Financial Planner®, you can establish new goals, chart a new course, and improve your chances for success. 

Don’t find yourself in that unwanted majority when you are older, having financial regrets. You might fall into the trap of deferred corrective action, when you realize that you “woulda,” “coulda,” and “shoulda” done things differently and earlier. Planning and flexibility are the keys to a more satisfying later life. We can help.

Van Wie Financial is fee-only. For a reason.