Three Questions for Nervous Retirees

A few years ago, Bob retired early because he was convinced he had enough money to fund his golden years.

Now he’s not so sure. Each time he withdraws money from his portfolio, he sees his balance dip and feels his blood pressure rise. (And he nearly passes out when the market suddenly drops.)

Because he’s now in his early sixties, Bob has ZERO desire to go back to work. He stays nervous, calling his advisor almost weekly to grumble and whine, “What now?”

May I make two observations?

One, there’s a good chance Bob is about to get fired (as a client!). 

Two, calling your advisor every week is about as productive as pulling a cake out of the oven every sixty seconds because you’re afraid it might burn. News Flash: It isn’t going to burn; neither is it going to bake. Constant agonizing and watching and checking is the recipe for “No Cake.” 

In Bob’s case—maybe yours too—something definitely needs to change. Here are three good questions to ask.

  • Do I need to change my portfolio? 

This is what Bob is obsessing over right now (i.e., it’s the cake he keeps taking out of the oven every minute). There should be an appropriate balance between lower-risk investments that generate sufficient income (perhaps from dividends or interest) and other investments that have the long-term potential to grow (perhaps through capital gains). Be sure to take all risks into consideration.

  • Do I need to change my attitude towards this economy? 

This isn’t the same economy that allowed Bob to build up enough assets to retire early. From early 2009 to late 2019, Bob’s portfolio more than quintupled! 

But then 2020 brought the Covid crisis. And assorted global and national factors conspired to rock the markets again in early 2022. With the rising prices of consumer goods, high interest rates, and international instability, no one knows what’s ahead. The bottom-line? Bob needs desperately to remember that the S&P 500’s average gain of 11.35% over the last 50 years is just that: an average. It’s not a figure he should be counting on annually.

  • Do I need to change my behaviors? 

Bingo. This is the one and only thing you can control—your behavior. (And, in fact, this is what makes the biggest difference.)

You may not want to go back to work, but never say “never!” You may have to. You may not want to change your lifestyle: where you live, how you live, what you drive…but you may have to. 

I’ve seen more than one situation where an individual refused to change until their empty bank account forced change upon them. By that time, their choices were fewer and worse.

Why wait for that?

Bob might be wise to get a second opinion on his portfolio. You might need that too. But the biggest need is to re-focus on what YOU can do to make what you have last as long as you do.

If this topic—thinking about the financial aspects of retirement—makes your stomach tighten up, here’s a free gift. Email me ( to take a short quiz called the RISA (which stands for Retirement Income Strategy Assessment). It’s a good first step in figuring out how to turn your retirement savings into regular retirement income that will last you for life.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

Scroll to Top
Speak with an Advisor