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The Silent Killers to Financial Wellness

Sam Payne RICP®, Business Consultant

He did everything right… he ate right, avoided excess carbs, sugar, and alcohol.  He exercised regularly, kept his weight and body fat (BMI) well below suggested levels. He did not smoke. He was the picture of health. So much so that he coached other individuals and helped them reduce their stress, weight, and increase their physical activity. Then he had a heart attack…

Bob Harper, the host of Biggest Loser, was struck by one of the silent killers of men and women in our society.  Fortunately, his physical condition helped him survive and subsequently recover from the attack.  Now he is on a mission to alert the public to the importance of health screening for the various Silent killers.  Conditions like Heart Disease, Hypertension, Cancer, Diabetes and Stress to name a few.

Many parallels can be drawn between Bob and any number of clients and prospects we come into contact with on a daily basis as it relates to their financial wellness.  Do any of these sound familiar…?

He/She worked hard for 40 years, always saved, contributed to a 401K or IRA, kept life insurance and health insurance in force, paid off his mortgage and reduced his debt to zero.  Then he retired…

  • Within a couple of years, the equity markets took a substantial bite out of his portfolio, to the extent that he is worried about his ability to maintain his lifestyle…
  • Or
  • 2 years later he was diagnosed with dementia and is worried about the affect the cost of care will have on his portfolio and the income it is expected to generate for his wife and himself….
  • Or
  • He/She retired at 67 and now, 3 years later, he is required to take RMD’s from his sizeable portfolio.  In the 3 years since his retirement, there has been a substantial shift in the political powers and new tax rates are in affect that will take a bigger bite out of his RMD’s than he anticipated.

These are examples of the silent killers to financial wellness.  Things like Market/sequence of returns, Taxes, Longevity, Inflation and Extended Care costs.  Our role is to help screen clients and prospects for their exposure to, or likelihood of being adversely affected by, these silent killers.

This month, Financial Wellness month is a perfect time to remind the public to be on guard for and to get screened by a financial professional for these silent killers.