Can You Reach Your Financial Goals for Retirement?

I was taught by my coach, Jack Beatty, to reach one’s goals generally involves having a person to hold you accountable to create a plan, and then asking you the right questions to test that plan.  As a business owner, I seek out a coach to hold me accountable.  Jack, Founder of Core Group USA has coached me over the years. The biggest benefits were being able to hold me accountable and ask me the right questions.  A good financial advisor should ask good questions to understand what your retirement goals are and what your concerns are.

Payton Manning has a conditioning coach, passing coach, a head coach and a quarterback coach.  Why do we think twice about using a coach to get to our own goals?

Often times we do not know what the proper questions to ask to reach our goals.  When it comes to working on my car or the electricity in my house, I don’t know the first question to ask.  When I recently went to sell my home, did I know the right questions to ask the buyer about the contract they offered or the inspection process? No – that’s why I hired a real estate broker.  With the broker’s navigation, I was able to increase the sale price by $17,500.

Many times individuals have not realized one’s goals and values. This includes realizing what is important about financial independence, family, charities and finally, what you will pay in taxes.


After clearly asking questions to determine what your goals are then the process begins.  The best way to determine if a person can reach retirement is creating a personal balance sheet, knowing what you are spending now, and realizing what income you will have in the future.  The process should include what rate of withdrawal you can sustain from your portfolio. These items are the foundation of the plan.

As a financial planner, I believe there are two things clients need to reach retirement: First, have a defined process for reaching one’s goals.  Second, realize that the unexpected will happen.


Recently I was asked: “What is our level of confidence that we will reach our financial goals?”

This is a very typical question.  It’s a frequently asked question because clients have little knowledge or experience trying to solve this question. This couple in New Jersey is expecting to retire in 10 years.  Their income is significant and they have accumulated $3,400,000. And yet their biggest concern was they were not confident they could reach retirement.

Individuals frequently do not want to assess themselves nor do they want to deal with the uncertainty that lies ahead.  I was speaking with Bob Barry, CFP founder of Barry Capital Management and past president of the Financial Planning Association.  He said that clients have a negotiation between their current selves and future selves, and the future self is getting kicked in the butt.  It’s just that planning is hard and it’s worrisome to think about the future, so people don’t.

So rather than stick your head in the sand, choose a financial advisor that has a defined process for identifying and then getting you to retirement.

To learn more about James Cornehlsen, visit him at

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