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If Not Now, When?

By Steve Gaito

McDowell Countysteve gaito Mcdowell county retirement resource management

In life, it’s common to look back with a hint of regret, especially when it comes to decisions that affect our future. “I wish I had done that differently” is a sentiment many of us can relate to, particularly in the realm of financial planning for retirement. Over my 30-year career helping people navigate the complex waters of retirement planning, the echoes of missed opportunities and hindsight wisdom are all too familiar, especially following periods when the stock market takes a hit and so do people’s savings.

The harsh reality is that, while market downturns can be a temporary setback for those still in the process of accumulating their retirement savings, such downturns can have devastating effects on those who are already retired. This risk is compounded by the shifting landscape of retirement benefits. The secure pensions that provided guaranteed income for our parents and grandparents are increasingly being replaced by 401(k)s and other plans that place the burden of risk squarely on individual savers.

Today, we find ourselves at a crossroads, facing a convergence of financial pressures that previous generations were largely spared. The move away from employer-sponsored pensions to self-managed retirement plans exposes us to market volatility. At the same time, our nation’s growing debt—increasing by a trillion dollars every 100 days—and surging inflation rates are making the cost of living and saving for the future more challenging than ever. This begs the question, “If not now, when?” When will you take the necessary steps to ensure you have a reliable income stream in retirement? When will you act to mitigate market risks, reduce tax liabilities, and ensure your legacy is preserved for your heirs?

Securing a comfortable retirement is not merely about amassing a large sum of money. It’s about generating stable, sustainable income. It’s about strategizing to pay taxes efficiently. It’s about minimizing exposure to risks that could derail your financial security. When you take a hard look at your retirement strategy, can you confidently say you’ve addressed these critical areas—market volatility, inflation, longevity, health care costs, and taxation? Fear and greed often cloud our judgment, leading us to avoid making decisions or chasing illusory gains. Yet, these decisions are crucial for safeguarding our futures.

Recognizing the need for a clear-eyed assessment of retirement readiness, I’ve partnered with the Institute of Financial Wellness to offer a tool that provides a Retirement Success Score. This innovative service evaluates your preparedness across various dimensions, calculating the likelihood of achieving a financially secure retirement. The goal is simple yet profound: to ensure you don’t outlive your savings, a concern that tops the list for many retirees. Fortunately, this is also one of the easier scenarios to prevent, with the right planning.

The Retirement Success Score is not just a wake-up call; it’s a roadmap for improvement. It identifies potential vulnerabilities in your retirement plan and offers insights on how to enhance your financial resilience. Relying solely on the stock market for retirement income is akin to putting all your eggs in one basket—a strategy fraught with risk. Diversification, in terms of investment vehicles, taxes, and income sources, is key to enjoying a retirement that’s not just endured but enjoyed.

So, why put off securing your financial future? Engaging with this free service could reveal where your retirement planning stands and how you can strengthen it. Contact Morgan in my office at (828) 559-0299 or via email at to arrange a complimentary, pressure-free consultation. Our goal is to arm you with knowledge and options, not to push you into decisions. In retirement planning, what you don’t know can indeed hurt you, but knowledge and action can transform uncertainty into confidence.

But let’s dive deeper into the aspects of a solid retirement plan. It’s crucial to understand the multifaceted nature of retirement risk. Market volatility is just the tip of the iceberg. Inflation can erode your purchasing power, making it harder to maintain your lifestyle as the years go by. Longevity risk—the chance of outliving your savings—is a growing concern as life expectancies increase. Healthcare costs can be unpredictable and significant, especially as we age. And taxes can take a big bite out of your retirement savings and income if not carefully planned for.

Each of these risks requires careful consideration and strategy. Diversifying your investments can help mitigate market risk, but what about inflation? Holding assets that tend to increase in value with inflation, such as certain types of stocks or real estate, can help. Planning for longevity involves not just saving more but also considering how to generate reliable income streams, such as through annuities or other income-producing investments. Addressing healthcare costs may mean investing in a robust health insurance plan or setting aside funds specifically for medical expenses. Effective tax planning can involve a variety of strategies, from choosing tax-efficient investment vehicles to timing withdrawals to minimize tax liabilities.

Moreover, it’s essential to remain flexible and adaptable in your planning. The economic landscape, tax laws, and your circumstances will change over time. Regularly reviewing and adjusting with a trusted partner can make your retirement not only more secure but enjoyable. Let’s get started today.


Steve is the owner of Faith-Based Health Care and Retirement Resource Management. He is a National Speaker on the topic of Social Security optimization, quoted in national publications like Money Magazine, US News and World Reports, and Fox Business. Steve loves to educate and teach on financial topics like taxation of retirement accounts, long term care, healthcare, and efficient savings plans for small businesses. He has provided financial planning for missionaries through the International Mission Board. You can find Steve at 68 South Main St. in Marion, NC by calling 828-559-0299, email or visit his website at

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