Have you ever built a sand castle? It sure is fun.

When life’s a beach, sand and time are easy, we build sand castles just for the pleasure of it. But who wants to live in a sand castle during retirement?

In recent years, the economy has been much like a beach vacation. The market has been running up since 2009. In 2017 alone, U.S. stock returns were more than double the historical average.

But be careful! Life is not a beach, and sand castles easily collapse.

In our house growing up, my parents provided well for us. However, they ran out of money when they needed it most.

Dad and mom modeled financial peace before Dave Ramsey was born. They saved, invested, and even flipped houses fifty years before reality TV made it popular. As a factory worker, dad saved through payroll deduction, and we lived on what was left. Mom contributed financially until her working years came to a sudden halt due to her battle with MS. This caused extra family expenses for the remainder of their lives.

During these years, most of my friends lived in newer and larger houses. Our house, on the other hand, was old and small. However, dad paid it off when I was a toddler, and my family was able to repurpose this money.

Mom and Dad taught us boys about earning, saving, and investing. My brother and I collected used newspapers from the neighbors and sold them to the recyclers. Neighbors often hired us to do their yard work and odd jobs.

In grade school, I once borrowed $250 from my brother to buy my first $500 bond. In high school, I bought brokerage CDs, penny stocks, and a car, using money I had saved.  In college, many of my friends drove nicer cars and wore more expensive clothes. They borrowed money for college, but I didn’t.

Because of dad’s house flipping and my early investing and academic scholarships, I graduated with thousands in the bank. When Kelly and I married, we bought a small house from my parents.

Despite my parent’s healthy finances during these years, they ran into financial difficulty later. Simply put, mom and dad expected a stable income from a volatile stock market. Where did they go wrong? They continued following an accumulation strategy (a great strategy for younger people) when they needed to change to a guaranteed lifetime income strategy (a necessary strategy when your earning years are passed).


As my parents gradually got older, they got distracted by living with illness and had little energy to spend on a financial planning. Market swings of 2002 and 2008 and high healthcare costs resulted in their eventual, total financial collapse. They were living with us at that point, and their financial meltdown added to the financial pressure in our family.

If you compare this example to the biblical story of the man who built his house on the sand, they expected their sand castle to last like a stone castle. As they lived out their sunset years, their sand castle crumbled.

Those painful later years prompted me to study retirement planning, and I’m delighted to share what I learned with you.

If you are interested in a guaranteed lifetime income, I would be delighted to listen to your dreams and help you develop a retirement income strategy that provides enough guaranteed income for you to retire confidently and still give generously to the people and charities you love.


I enjoy talking with people and helping them understand the nuances of retirement planning. Medicare, Social Security, pensions, taxation, and charitable giving are complex topics, and I find it exciting to building financial plans that make the most of what each person has available to them.

To learn more about your retirement income risk, complete this free and anonymous survey: My Retirement ReviewYou can also reach out to me at any time if you want advice on the best way to improve your score. This consultation is completely free and has no obligation.

My clients walk away feeling more confident because they better understand how money works and what their future income will look like. As a bonus, many find money they didn’t know they had.