Could You Benefit from a Second Opinion for Retirement Planning?


Do you have a financial plan for retirement? Are you 100% confident in it, or could a second opinion on your retirement plan bring you some peace of mind?

At the very least, a second opinion can’t hurt. After all, retirement is very different from other stages of life. During their working years, people usually make goals around investing, which focuses on growing assets over time. On the other hand, retirement planning is about making sure those assets will pay a steady income stream throughout their golden years.

Of course, that isn’t the only thing that it’s homed in on. Forward-thinking retirement planning also covers protecting assets from various financial pitfalls that can arise, from chaotic market swings and rising inflation to unexpected medical emergencies and long-term care spending. Those assets need to last as long as you need them to generate retirement income.

If you are thinking about pursuing a second opinion for your financial situation, here are a few things to consider. We will talk about what a second opinion for retirement planning might look like, what to look out for, and some other things to keep in mind.

What Is a Second Opinion for Retirement?

Seeking out a financial second opinion is simply having another financial professional review your current plan. That is all.

Sometimes you ask a second opinion from a doctor after you have received a recommendation for a major surgery. If you run a business, you might get input from an attorney specializing in a certain area of law after you have obtained general counsel. A second opinion on retirement planning is the same concept, except it’s for your retirement finances.

To be clear, a second opinion is just what someone thinks of your existing financial plan. You don’t move forward with their suggestions. You may feel that their advice isn’t right for you. Nor are you under any obligation to have to work with the financial professional who gave you their opinion. The decision of whether to stick with your current financial advisor or work with a new advisor is completely up to you.

The good news is a second opinion can give you feedback on parts of your retirement plan needing changes, draw your attention to areas you didn’t notice before, or equip you with new ideas to enhance your financial future.  It can be a great opportunity to see how on track financially you are (and what you can do better going forward).

How Can an Income Plan Help You?

You might have a retirement investing strategy, but what about a retirement income plan? These things are very distinct from each other. A retirement income plan is a blueprint for ensuring you can maintain a secure lifestyle in retirement. One way to look at it is like having a roadmap for your financial future.

Once you kick off your work boots, the income from your earnings in your career goes away. Where will you come up with the money to pay the bills? An effective plan will lay out where your income will come from, ensuring you have a reliable flow of money to cover your living expenses.

Of course, there is the question of how reliable those income sources are. Can you truly count on those income sources, regardless of what the market does? Are there any financial gaps in your retirement plan that need addressing? How do you protect yourself from many risks that can derail your retirement dreams?

A well-thought-out income plan would distinguish between “permanent” income sources – or that pay predictable, ongoing income – and “maybe” income sources – or that pay income that can go up or down depending on market and interest rate conditions.

Unlike an investing plan, which is largely about accumulation, a retirement income plan is about decumulation, or how you turn your retirement assets and savings into lifelong income. And thanks to advances in healthcare and technology, retirement can last for as long as a few decades, which makes it prudent to plan for 30 years of income or greater.

Why Consider a Second Opinion on Retirement Planning?

Retirement planning has a lot at stake. There are no second chances with some financial decisions, and to name a few:

Some of these decisions can add up to tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands in savings or benefits. Once you are retired, you are in it for the long haul. Any missteps could have lasting effects.

That is why getting a second opinion on your retirement planning can be invaluable. It’s a chance for you to have a fresh set of eyes look over your strategy and identify any areas for improvement.

If your current plan has any gaps, a second opinion can help you pinpoint those as well. Again, there are no do-overs when it comes to many retirement decisions. Your choices should be made with well-informed confidence and help bring you the most benefit.

What Questions Should You Ask for a Second Opinion?

If you are considering a second opinion for your retirement plan, here are some important questions to explore:

  • Do you have a set retirement date in mind?
  • Could you potentially retire earlier than expected?
  • Are there any financial goals you would like to achieve before retiring?
  • Will you have enough money to support your desired lifestyle in retirement?
  • How long should you plan for in retirement, considering factors like life expectancy and healthcare costs?
  • Does your investment strategy align with your risk tolerance and financial goals?
  • What is the optimal order for withdrawing funds from your various retirement accounts?
  • How can you prepare for potential long-term care and healthcare expenses?

How Much Does a Second Opinion Cost?

The cost of getting a second opinion on your retirement plan can vary depending on the financial professional whom you choose. Some may charge a fee for their services. Others may offer initial consultations at no cost.

In the case of paid-for opinions, you may receive a full-fledged plan with suggested improvements for your current plan. For example, the financial professional may identify some opportunities for tax savings that you might not be taking advantage of.

In the situation where a financial second opinion is complimentary, the goal is to show some of the value that you would receive from working with that financial professional. Their review may have high-level ideas or concepts for you to consider. By choosing to work with them, you would then get access to more fleshed-out recommendations that enhance your situation.

Either way, the investment of time – and possibly money – is a small price to pay for the peace of mind knowing your retirement plan is on solid ground. The paid-for advice may be the route you choose if you are looking for guidance to work off. If you want help in enhancing your current plan, you may opt to work with that financial professional and commit to certain financial products or strategies that they suggest to you. For example, they may recommend that you include an annuity as part of your retirement income plan so that you have ongoing income for as long as you may live.

Remember, you aren’t under obligation to act on the second opinion, either – there is nothing wrong with sticking with what you have, although that advisor did give the opinion they did for a reason.

Finding the Right Financial Professional

When seeking a second opinion on your retirement plan, it’s crucial to find the right financial professional for the job. Start by asking for recommendations from trusted sources, such as friends, family, colleagues, or other professionals like your tax advisor or attorney.

Look for advisors who specialize in retirement income planning. One thing to confirm is whether they have relevant professional credentials, such as the RICP®, CRPC®, or CFP® designation. On top of that, you can look at other factors like their track record, published articles, or contributions to the field. Membership in professional organizations like the Financial Planning Association (FPA) or National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) can show their commitment to continuing education and professionalism.

You might schedule appointments with three financial professionals and see what each of them brings to the table before moving forward with someone. That can give you more details and confidence in what you need and who would be best to guide you.

The Bottom Line on a Second Opinion for Retirement Planning

Retirement planning can be daunting. But it’s an important part of your financial puzzle, and it’s crucial to get it right. Getting a financial second opinion can bring you clarity, better direction, and peace of mind as you prepare for a secure lifestyle in retirement.

With the right guidance and support, you can feel confident that your retirement plan is well-crafted to support you in your golden years. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify when there is something you don’t understand. Your financial security and your life savings are at stake. But with a well-thought-out second opinion, you can have even more confidence that you are on the right path for lasting financial wellness.

Are you looking for someone to give you a second opinion of your retirement planning? Or maybe you have a plan, but not quite yet built for retirement. For your convenience, many independent and experienced financial professionals are available here at Use our “Find a Financial Professional” section to connect with someone directly. Should you want a personal referral, please call us at 877.476.9723.

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