Financial Planning

Looking for a Financial Advisor Who Can Help You Retire Early?

By  Brian Thorp

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

Turning your dreams of early retirement into reality requires smart financial planning. These expert financial advisor tips can help.

The earlier you begin planning for early retirement, the more likely you can make it happen. While predicting your financial future with any degree of certainty is difficult without a crystal ball, making the right money moves today can put the odds in your favor.

While some people may feel they know the steps necessary to achieve their early retirement goals, many people recognize the benefit of hiring a financial advisor who understands how to build a realistic plan to get there.

You’ll likely find dozens of nearby financial advisors well-suited to help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. But it may be more difficult to find a financial advisor who specializes in helping their clients achieve their early retirement aspirations.

Fortunately, many financial advisors offer virtual services so you can meet online no matter where you (or they) live. This means you can choose to hire a specialist financial advisor who lives hundreds of miles away if you decide their knowledge and experience in helping people retire early is a better fit to help with your unique financial planning needs.

Building a Financial Plan to Retire Early

💡 In the Q&A below, you’ll gain insights from financial advisors who specialize in helping their clients retire early while enjoying their lives to the fullest today.

🙋‍♀️ Do you have questions not answered below? Use the form on this page to submit your questions, and we’ll update this article with answers from the financial professionals and educators in the Wealthtender community. You can also contact the financial advisors featured in this article directly to set up an introductory call or ask your questions by email.

🏖️ Smart Money Moves for Retiring Early

This page is organized into sections to help you quickly find the information you need and get answers to your questions:

  1. Q&A with Financial Advisors Specializing in Helping People Retire Early
  2. Get Answers to Your Questions Planning for Early Retirement
  3. Browse Related Articles

Q&A: Financial Advisors Specializing in Helping People Retire Early

Four Questions with Joshua Lutkemuller, CFA

We asked Elmhurst, Illinois-based financial advisor Joshua Lutkemuller to answer four questions useful to people who aspire to retire early.

Q: What is a common financial planning hurdle you frequently encounter when first speaking with your clients who express interest in retiring early? How do you work with them to overcome this obstacle?

Joshua: The biggest hurdle we see in early retirement is the inability to cover the family with adequate health insurance. The cost during employment for families is high, but not nearly as high as taking on the cost alone as a family unit.

In 2020 the United States spent $4.1 trillion on healthcare costs. This is roughly $12,530 per person in total spending. Of this $4.1 trillion, $1.15 trillion is for private health insurance, and $388 billion is out-of-pocket expenses paid directly by the consumer.

The average annual premium for a family’s health insurance is $22,221 in 2021, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation “Employer Health Benefits Survey.” The employer contribution of this healthcare coverage averages out to $16,253, which leaves the much smaller remainder of $5,968 for the employee to cover. To cover all the bases, the average cost for individual coverage is $7,739, with only $1,299 being covered by the employee.

High costs of healthcare serve as the catalyst for dwindling a financial plan’s assets to zero during the early years of retirement, which creates the issue we aim to solve. The family is now responsible for covering their own healthcare costs; we have a lot of ground to make up.

Whether you are covering the entire family or simply yourself and maybe a spouse, the cost is high until you make it to a Medicare-eligible age. In order to combat these high costs, it is crucial that we assist our clients in creating supplementary income they can count on in retirement.

In each unique financial plan, we look to incorporate real estate if possible. Both long-term and short-term rental opportunities provide this much-needed income to sustain a family’s lifestyle as we shift the families we serve from job-based income to real estate-based income.

Q: For people who are interested in retiring early but feel the cost of hiring a financial advisor is counterintuitive to minimizing their living expenses, how do you respond to this concern?

Joshua: We welcome each one of the families we serve to have utmost concern over the cost of hiring a financial planner, as this should be a very real concern for everyone.

Asking the right question here is crucial. In its simplest form, we believe that question is, “Is it worth it?”. Taking that question one step further is to ask, “Did the financial planner create positive equity value for my family?”.

At Strongside, we believe it is our fiduciary duty to prove we create positive equity value to you every year. To understand this, we need to ask, what were the total fees you paid and what positive value did the planner create?

We keep things simple here at Strongside in the fee department, which makes our fee easily understandable. A flat fee, and in this case, let’s say it is $3,300 for the year.

The planner now has the responsibility to show value created above and beyond that $3,300 figure. In doing so, Strongside will detail the money directly saved in taxes by efficiently deferring to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, 529 plans, HSAs, and others. Strongside will review employee benefits, and insurance coverages to spot the potential to shift to a lower premium high deductible health plan that also enables them to save on taxes using an HSA.

Another item would be Debt/Credit planning, in which we correctly utilize debt and credit to directly save client dollars. These are just a few solutions that we directly outline to showcase the equity value that we provide clients.

Let’s see where these three items shake out and set the table. Warren Buffett pays taxes as a single filer and has a salary of $150,000 per year. Warren has access to contribute to his company’s 401(k) but has not yet. Warren has various debts. $20,000 at 3.5% interest, $1,000 at 20% interest, and $200,000 at 2.85% interest. Warren has access to two healthcare plans at work. One High Deductible Health Plan and one Standard Healthcare plan.

  1. The Fee: -$3,300
  2. 401(k) Tax Savings: Contribute $15,000 to the 401(k). Tax Savings $3,300 in federal taxes
  3. Backdoor Roth IRA contribution of $6,000: No immediate tax savings, but we did create investable assets that will never be taxed again.
  4. Debt Plan: Categorize the 2.85% interest and 3.5% interest as good debt. Pay the minimums and contribute extra to retirement/investment accounts. Pay off the 20% debt immediately to accrue no further interest. $200 immediate yearly savings on solely the high-interest debt.
  5. Pick the right healthcare plan. Warren switches to the High Deductible Health Care Plan, which costs him $66 per month instead of the Standard Plan, which costs $260 per month. This creates a monthly savings of $194 for a yearly savings of $2,328. Instead of outright savings this money, Warren invests it into his HSA. This will be used for all plan deductibles and future Medicare premiums.

Overall, Warren paid a fee of $3,300 but saved $3,300 in taxes due to his new 401(k) contribution, saved an immediate $200 in unnecessary interest, and saved $2,328 in health care premiums for a total savings of $5,828. These are just a few strategies in which we save our clients money, I wonder how it would look if we also added in an expense ratio analysis, an equity compensation review, and a credit strategy to utilize more low-interest debt.

Get to Know Joshua Lutkemuller, Financial Advisor for Aspiring Early Retirees:

View Joshua’s profile page on Wealthtender or visit his website to learn more.

Q: How do the services you offer for people interested in retiring early distinguish your firm from others?

Joshua: Strongside aims to eliminate all conflicts of interest we have with our clients through our unique fee structure. Most advisors are paid based on commission or as a direct result of assets under management (investments held with the advisor). This deters most advisors from recommending alternative investments to clients such as private businesses or real estate because they are unable to directly manage the asset or get paid on it.

This conflict of interest often prevents clients from retiring early because the advisor does not have a client’s best interest of early retirement in mind. To put it simply, the advisor is unwilling to assist the client in creating replacement income through real estate as it will directly affect the advisor’s bottom line. By collecting a monthly fee unrelated to the client’s assets, Strongside does its best to remove this horrible conflict of interest that has plagued the financial advisory industry.

Because of our ability to collect a fee that is unrelated to our client’s assets, we often seek out real estate as an additional asset to include in the portfolio.  We find that the ability real estate must generate strong passive income as well as provide the opportunity for significant tax benefits.  Especially for FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) folks looking to retire purely off rental income, there are ways to bring your tax liability down to near zero.

Q: What questions do you recommend someone interested in retiring early asks financial advisors they’re considering hiring to help them decide if they’re a good fit?

Joshua: These are a few of the questions we encourage people to ask a financial advisor:

  1. How does the advisor get paid? Commission on Investments? Insurance Commissions? Assets Under Management? Flat fee?
  2. When do you plan on retiring? Will you be able to serve me throughout my lifetime?
  3. How do you plan to help me cover medical expenses during early retirement?
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Resources to Help You Choose a Financial Advisor

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About the Author
Brian Thorp, Founder and CEO of Wealthtender profile picture

Brian Thorp

Founder and CEO, Wealthtender

Brian and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.

With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

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Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

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