Andy Upchurch on “Want vs. Need” Financial Planning

Jan 30, 2013 | Finance

Creating A Robust Balance Sheet Is Key To Financial Success

We’ve all seen the commercials.  Your financial independence can easily be attained by following the right “illuminated” path, or determining the right “retirement number.”  If only it were this easy!

For years, traditional financial planning has had a basic premise:

“How much money do you need in retirement to live on, in today’s dollars?”

Based upon your answer to this question, an entire financial roadmap is plotted for you, backing into a monthly or annual savings requirement based (usually) on an assumed rate of return each and every year.  Unfortunately, as you well know, your answer to this question at this stage of your life, is purely a guess.  Moreover, straight line math using an assumed rate of return based upon historical returns, is an unrealistic guess at best.  So, at the end of the planning process, your entire financial future is based upon a guess and assumptions that may or may not hold true.

The real answer to the above question should be,

“As much as I can have.”

Your task in your working years, is to prepare a robust, impenetrable balance sheet, that will be able to take over revenue generation for you and your family, when you retire.  Moreover, this balance sheet must be able to weather many storms, including market fluctuations, health issues, taxes, economic conditions, etc.  The reality is that we don’t always choose when we stop generating income, so saving appropriately, bolstering your risk management portfolio and positioning your assets to their highest and best use, will go a long way helping you create the maximum cash flow in retirement, allowing you to live the life of significance that you have worked for decades to achieve.

Finally, there is also a significant shortfall in traditional financial planning, as it relates to Need vs. Want planning.  Many planners speak of the “Need.”  “How much do you NEED to retire?”  You have a lot of time and money invested into becoming a Dentist.  Four years of undergrad, four years of dental school, possibly a residency, and well over $100,000 invested.  Needs based planning may have a place for some, but given what you have invested and sacrificed, don’t you deserve a plan that helps you achieve the lifestyle that you “Want” as opposed to what you think you might “Need?”   

Getting organized, thinking “want” vs. “need”, and positioning your balance sheet such that your life goals are realized regardless of adverse life events, are key steps on the road to the retirement that you work so hard to achieve.

Andy Upchurch is a financial advisor with Consolidated Planning, Inc.  He can be reached at (317) 701-2226 or by email at

Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS). Securities products/services and financial advisory services offered through PAS a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Consolidated Planning, Inc. is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian.  PAS is a member FINRA, SIPC.