How Much Money Do You Need for Retirement?

Trying to identify how much money is needed for a comfortable retirement remains a mystery for most individuals.   As Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials march towards retirement, the retirement dream seems harder to obtain.  Individuals don’t have much faith in their retirement planning because they’re not sure how to calculate the amount of money needed for a sustainable retirement.

Do you know how much money you’ll need for your retirement?  Fear not because I’ll walk you through my three-minute retirement plan calculation.

The first step in determining how much money you’ll need for your retirement is to identify your annual household expenses.   If you’re not sure how much money you spend on your expenses, start today by reviewing your bank and credit card statements.

The second step in this process is to multiply your household expenses by 25.  If your household expenses are $100,000 per year, then multiply this number by 25 to arrive at $2,500,000.   Your retirement asset goal is $2.5 million and you can retire today if you’re blessed with this level of assets.  We can’t stop here, however, because you may have other sources of retirement income.

The next step is to subtract your Social Security benefit from your household expenses. If your annual Social Security benefit is $25,000, subtract this benefit number from your household expenses.  Your adjusted expense number is now $75,000.   Multiply $75,000 by 25 to get $1.875 million.   Your Social Security benefit has reduced your retirement asset goal from $2.5 million to $1.875 million.

Few workers today have the benefit of receiving a pension plan but if you do, subtract this number from your expenses and Social Security benefit number.   If you’re going to receive $20,000 in annual pension payments, subtract it from your $100,000 household expenses and $25,000 Social Security benefit.  Your net expense number is now $55,000. Multiplying $55,000 by 25 gives you $1.375 million.  Your new retirement asset goal is $1.375 million.

Here is the math:

Household Expenses = $100,000

Social Security Benefit = $25,000

Pension = $20,000

Household Expenses (A) Social Security Benefit (B) Pension Plan (C) Adjusted Expense Number

(A-B-C) = D

Multiplier (E) Retirement Asset Goal (D x E)
$100,000 $25,000 $20,000 $55,000 25 $1,375,000

Inflation, of course, will play a big part in your future retirement calculation.   $100,000 in expenses today will balloon to over $209,000 in thirty years with a 2.5% inflation rate.  As your expenses double because of inflation so, too, will the assets you need to retire.

Here is a chart to help you with your inflation adjusted retirement calculation.

Age Inflation Factor Expenses Today Future Value Calculation Multiple Assets Needed
40 1.85 $100,000 $185,000 25 $4,625,000
45 1.64 $100,000 $164,000 25 $4,100,000
50 1.45 $100,000 $145,000 25 $3,625,000
55 1.28 $100,000 $128,000 25 $3,200,000
60 1.13 $100,000 $113,000 25 $2,825,000
65 1 $100,000 $100,000 25 $2,500,000

Once you’ve identified your retirement number you can adjust your planning and investing to help get you closer to your retirement goal.  Now that you know your target retirement number you can compare it to your current level of assets.  If you have more assets than you need, you can retire at any time.  If your assets are currently below your retirement number, keep saving and investing so you can surpass your goal.

I hope this simple, three-minute financial plan gives you a better picture of your retirement planning needs.

There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want. ~ Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes.

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.  For more information on retirement planning, please visit

September 28, 2017







The Hare and the Tortoise.

The Hare and the Tortoise is a classic Aesop Fable about an over confident hare and an unassuming tortoise who engage each other in a foot race.  The fleet-footed hare is so assured of his abilities to win the race he decides to take a nap on the race route while the lowly tortoise keeps on walking.  When the hare finally rouses from his slumber he realizes the tortoise is about to win the race and despite the hare’s best efforts to catch the tortoise he falls short and loses the race.

In the sixth grade, I wanted to run on the 4 x 100 relay team for our elementary school track team but I was an extremely slow runner.  I knew I wouldn’t make the A team so I convinced the coach to add a C team just in case all the boys on the A and B teams got hurt before the meet.  He humored me and added a third relay team.  As I got older I started running marathons.  In a marathon, the key to a successful race is to stay focused on the pace and not worry about the other runners especially during the early part of the race.  I knew If I stayed on my pace I’d eventually catch more runners just like the tortoise.

During a bull market, investors get antsy because several investments appear to be doing better than their existing holdings so they want to abandon their plan, sell their investments and buy the high fliers.

I did some research on a high flier portfolio compared to a basket of low cost, index funds and here is what I found.

This high flier portfolio generated a 1-year return of 27.5%, a 5-year return of 14.77% and a 10-year return of 5.84%.[1]  This portfolio consisted of the following active mutual funds:


KSCOX – Kinetics Small Cap Opportunities

LMNOX – Miller Opportunity

OAKMX – Oakmark Investor

DEMIX – Delaware Emerging Markets

LSIGX – Loomis Sayles Investment Grade Fixed Income

The low-cost portfolio generated a 1-year return of 15.37%, a 5-year return of 11.57% and a 10-year return of 6.15%.[2]  This portfolio consisted of the following mutual funds:

DFEOX – DFA US Core Equity 1

DFQTX – DFA US Core Equity 2

DFSTX – DFA US Small Cap

DFIEX – DFA International Core Equity

DFCEX – DFA Emerging Markets Core

DFIGX – DFA Intermediate Government Fund

In the end, the low-cost portfolio caught and passed the high-flying portfolio.  The high-flying portfolio was also weighed down with higher fees.  The weighted average fee for the active portfolio is 1.12% while the fee for the low-cost portfolio is .28%.

The urge to abandon your long-term plan and chase short term gains may be high but I caution you to employ this tactic.   Your financial plan coupled with a low cost, balanced portfolio will help you create generational wealth.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. ~ Romans 8:25 

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.   For more information on financial planning and investment management, please visit

September 27, 2017

Note:  Your returns may differ than those posted in this blog.  Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

[1] Morningstar Office Hypothetical Tool.

[2] Ibid.

How to Become a Better Investor.

Practice makes us all better.  Vince Lombardi once said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  Do you need to strive for perfection to become a better investor?  Of course not!  In fact, striving for investment perfection may leave you feeling down and depressed.   Rather than trying for perfection aim for small victories to improve your lot.

Here are a few ideas to help you become a better investor.

  • Plan. Investors who complete a financial plan have three times more assets when compared to those individuals who don’t do any planning?[1]  A financial plan will help guide you towards your financial goals and keep you grounded when the stock market goes haywire.
  • Budget. A strong budget will improve your investment results.  If you can get a handle on your spending habits, then you can start to improve your financial picture.  The best way to budget is to comb through your previous bank and credit card statements.   Your review will identify the good, bad and ugly of your spending habits. is a great resource to help you with your budgeting.
  • Save. Saving your own money is paramount to long-term financial success.  How much should you save?  I’d recommend 10% of your gross income to start.  If you earn $10,000 per month, then try and save $1,000 per month.  If you can’t save 10%, then save what you can because something is better than nothing.
  • Automate. Establish an automatic deduction from your checking to your savings account or investment account.   By automating your savings you’re more likely to stay committed to your investment program thus giving you an opportunity to increase your long-term wealth.
  • Look to the Horizon. Knowing your investment timeframe will improve your results.  If your time horizon is 1 to 3 years, investment in safe, short-term investments like CD’s or T-Bills.   If your time horizon is 3 to 10 years, buy bonds and stocks.  A time horizon of 10 years or more calls for a large allocation to common stocks.
  • Participate. If your company offers a 401(k) plan or similar program, sign up as soon as possible.  Again, the recommended savings amount is 10%, however, if you can’t contribute this amount then find out what the company match is and start with the match percentage. For example, if your company matches 4%, you should contribute 4%.
  • Buy Stocks. Stocks outperform bonds.  The 90-year average annual return for common stocks has been 10% while long-term government bonds returned 5.6%.   A one-dollar investment in large company stocks is now worth $5,386 while a dollar invested in bonds is worth $132.[2]   A heavy dose of common stocks will give you the best opportunity to create generational wealth.
  • Buy Small Stocks. Small company stocks outperform large company stocks.  The Dimensional U.S. Small Cap Value Index averaged 13.3% from 1928 to 2015.   A one-dollar investment is now worth $58,263.   The Dimensional Large Cap Value Index averaged 11.1%.   A dollar investment in the large cap index is now worth $10,414.[3]
  • Buy Index Funds. Passive index investing is better than active stock picking. The Standard & Poor’s study of passive v. active reveals that over 15-year period 95% of active fund managers fail to outperform their benchmark.   This is also the case for 1, 3, 5 and 10 years.[4]
  • Diversify. Diversification is safer than concentration.  A diversified portfolio of large, small and international companies allows you to own stocks from around the globe.   Adding bonds and cash to your portfolio will reduce your risk.   Moving to a 60% stock and 40% bond portfolio from an all stock portfolio reduces your risk by 24%.   Allocating your assets across sectors, investment types, and continents can increase your odds of investment success.
  • Practice Patience. It takes time to create generational wealth.  Don’t worry about the daily moves in the stock market and don’t try to trade your way to financial freedom.  A solid buy and hold strategy is the best way for you to make money.  In fact, missing a few of the best days in the stock market can derail your investment program.  A study by J.P. Morgan found investors who missed the 30 best days in the stock market saw their investment return drop by 85%![5]
  • Rebalance. Rebalancing your account will allow you to keep your risk level intact.  For example, if you start the year with 60% stocks and 40% but end the year with 80% stock and 20% bonds you now have too much risk.  An annual rebalancing of your account back to 60%/40% is the prudent way to manage risk.  I’d recommend rebalancing your account in January to make sure you’ve received all your dividends, interest payments and capital gains.
  • Lower Your Fees. Lower fees are better than higher fees. The less you pay in fees the higher your return.   This is obvious but needs to be stated.  Less is more.  If you’re not sure what fees you’re paying, ask.  You can also look up your mutual fund fees on sites like Morningstar or Yahoo! Finance.
  • Get Help. Working with an investment advisor can help you increase returns. A study by Vanguard showed working with an advisor can add 3% in net returns.[6]   An advisor will help you with financial planning, estate planning, investment planning, charitable planning, and much more.  If you’re going to work with an advisor, make sure they’re a Certified Financial Planner™ or Chartered Financial Analysis.

With these suggestions, I’m confident you’ll become a better investor.   A little practice and patience will take you a long way on your road to financial success.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.  For more information on financial planning and investment management, please visit

September 23, 2017

Note: Your investment results may differ than those posted in this blog. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.


[2] Dimensional Funds 2016 Matrix Book.

[3] Ibid.


[5], Sam Ro, 3/12/2015


Not A Good Toy Story.

Toys “R” Us has filed for bankruptcy protection due to its crushing debt load.  Toys “R” Us was taken private in 2005 by KKR & CO, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust in a massive $6.6 billion leveraged buyout and this mountain of debt has finally caught up with this famous retailer of toys.[1]  Toys “R” Us has been trying to payoff $5 billion in debt with annual payments of $400 million in interest each year.[2]

As a kid, I went to Toys “R” Us on special occasions and it was awesome.   When I walked into the store I was met with sensory overload because the enormous store had thousands of toys piled high from floor to ceiling.   I usually had enough money to buy one toy so trying to decide between a board game, a Lego set or a frisbee was a challenge and almost too much to bear.  After spending an eternity, or what felt like it, in the store my mom would take me to Farrell’s to devour some much-needed ice cream.

Debt is a four-letter word when it comes to financial planning.  Too much debt can deliver a blow to your financial dreams.   How much debt is too much?  I’d recommend keeping your total debt payments to 38% of your monthly gross income.  If your monthly gross income is $10,000, then your total debt payments should be less than $3,800.

What does total debt payments include?  Everything!  Your mortgage payment, car payment, credit card payment and so on.   I’ve completed many financial plans for clients and I’m always amazed when people tell me they don’t have any debt except for their home and car.  I remind them their mortgage and car payments are debt and they must be paid.

What should you do if you have too much debt?  Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Take an inventory of your spending habits. Review your last three to four months of bank and credit card statements to identify where your money is being spent.   After you’ve highlighted a few problem areas, try to remove them from your circle of spending.
  2. Turn off automatic payments. I helped a client with her budget and she wasn’t aware of all the items she was paying for because of the automatic drafts.  She had set up the payments when her children were young and she forgot to turn them off when her kids were no longer using the services.  The payments were out of sight and out of mind.
  3. Sign up for a service like to help you with your spending and budgeting. Mint is a great resource and it can help you make better spending decisions.
  4. If possible, refinance your high interest rate debt. Interest rates are at historical lows so take advantage of these rates to reduce your interest payments.
  5. If you have a high level of cash, use this money to pay off your debt obligations. Cash is still earning close to 0% interest so you can use this money to pay off high interest rate debt.
  6. If your debt level is too much of a burden and you don’t have any other options, contact a credit counselor who can possibly help you with your budget and spending habits.

Toys “R” Us was founded by Charles Lazarus in 1957 and maybe this bankruptcy protection will help this once great retail chain rise from the dead.

“Lazarus, come out!” ~ John 11:43

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.  For more information on financial planning and investment management, please visit

September 20, 2017

Photo Credit LPETTET, stock photo ID = 458677325.

[1], Jessica DiNapoli and Tracy Rucinski, 9/20/2017.

[2] Ibid.

Can You Take Care of My Pets When I Die?

Leona Helmsley died in 2007 and she left a majority of her $12 million estate to her dog, Trouble.[1]   My dog will not be as fortunate.   According to the American Pets Products Association, Americans spend $60.5 billion on their pets annually.[2]  We love our pets dearly and spend lavishly on them while we’re living but how about after we die?  What happens to our pets when we die and do we need to include them in our estate plan?  Yes, I’d recommend including pets in the family will or trust.

Ideally your beloved pets will be cared for by a friend or family member, however, make sure to check with the individual prior to including their name in your will.  It might come as a shock for some to find out they’re inheriting your dog and not your Porsche.   What if you can’t find someone willing to inherit your family pet?  If you don’t have someone to take care of your pet after your gone, you can contact an organization like the Pet Survivor Care Program (PSCP) to assist you with their care.   The PSCP will take care of your pet and help them find a new home.[3]

Your friends might not have a problem inheriting a lap dog, but what if you own horses or other large animals?  If you own horses, an equine attorney can assist you in drafting a trust for their care.[4]  A large animal vet can be a resource to help you find a home for your cows, pigs, or goats.

Birds, fish and guinea pigs may be easier to house than a horse but they still have their own issues.  I owned a guinea pig growing up and it was loud and messy and her name was lettuce.  We had to give lettuce some lettuce so lettuce would let us sleep at night.

Snakes, turtles and other reptiles can be a thorny issue once you pass away.  Before you purchase a rattlesnake or snapping turtle, consult with your local pet store, fish and game department or herpetological society about how best to care for and dispose of your exotic pet.  Your local animal shelter probably won’t care for this type of pet after you pass, so you’ll need to make alternative arrangements for their care in your estate plan.

Regardless if your pet is large, small or exotic, here a few things to consider.

  1. Think before you buy. Becoming a pet owner is a tremendous responsibility so spend time planning for their care once you’re gone.
  2. If you include your pet in your estate plan, name a trustee to care for your pets. Don’t leave money or property in the name of your pet because your trustee will have the authority to care for them long after you’re gone.
  3. Leave enough money, but not too much money, to your trustee so they have the proper resources to care for your animals especially if you own larger animals like horses.
  4. If your pet dies before you do, update your estate plan so they’re not included in your plan.
  5. Think long term. The pet you purchase can live for a long time.  A Parrot can live for fifty years while turtles can remain active for a hundred years or more.   Horses, dogs and cats can live beyond fifteen to twenty years.

Pets bring great joy to owners so we owe it to them to make sure they’re provided for long after we’re gone.   A thoughtful estate plan can be purr-fect for your beloved pet!

My roommate got a pet elephant. Then it got lost. It’s in the apartment somewhere. ~ Steven Wright.

Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal… ~ Genesis 7:2.

Bill Parrott is the president and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.  For more information on financial planning and investment management, please visit

September 14, 2017
[1], Susan Donaldson James, 6/10/2011.

[2], Amelia Josephson, 2/15/2016.



Harvey and Irma.

Harvey and Irma Schluter have been married for 75 years, getting hitched in 1942![1]  Harvey was a barber by trade but his true passion was being a foster parent along with Irma.  Together they helped 120 foster kids.[2]  According to a recent New York Times article several of the children they fostered had physical or mental disabilities.

Harvey is 104 and Irma is 92 and this lovely couple has been thrust into the limelight because of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.  Harvey was born in 1913.  The life expectancy of someone born in 1913 was 52.5 years and 2.3% of the population earned a bachelor’s degree.   The average income was $800 and the zipper was the latest in technology.   Harvard and Chicago finished the football year undefeated and were crowned co-national champions, a 1,000-year event.   General Electric and Campbell’s Soup were two of the most powerful companies in the country.[3]

What can we learn from Harvey and Irma?

Help others.  Being a foster parent is a challenge and fostering special needs children is even more difficult.  However, helping others with your resources is extremely rewarding.   The ability to help others and put others first is a true gift.

Think Long Term.   Harvey and Irma have been married for 75 years.  The S&P 500 has generated an average annual return of 11.6% since 1942.[4]   A $1,000 investment into this index in 1942 is now worth $3.75 million!

Work.  Harvey was a barber for 45 years.  Working allows you to fund your lifestyle, invest for the future, and help those in need.

Laugh.  The picture of Harvey and Irma in the New York Times article shows them laughing and smiling.  I’m sure their happy temperament has played a major role in their 75 years of marriage.  Here is a link to the article and their picture.

“If you can help someone, then help them.” ~ Irma Schluter

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.  For more information on financial planning and investment management, please visit

September 13, 2017

Note:  Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.  Your returns may differ than those posted in this blog.

[1], Jonah Engel Bromwich, 9/7/2017.

[2] Ibid.

[3], Tyler Durden, 7/15/2013.

[4] Dimensional Fund Advisors 2017 Matrix Book.

J.J. Watt and the Art of Setting Goals.

J.J. Watt is an immoveable force and a beast on the football field.   He’s the current defense end of the Houston Texans and a three-time NFL defensive player of the year.   He has been terrorizing quarterbacks since 2011 and has recently decided to sack his largest opponent, Hurricane Harvey.

After Hurricane Harvey decimated Houston, Mr. Watt decided to tackle a fundraising goal of $200,000 so he could help those in need.   He encouraged Houstonians and others to donate to his cause.   Professional athletes, movie stars, television hosts, and children have all raised money for his fundraising goal.[1]

His current fundraising efforts are approaching $20 million dollars or 9,900% above his original goal!  In addition to the millions of dollars he’s raised, pallets of water and other necessary items have been delivered by the truckload to a warehouse in Houston.

In fact, his fundraising has been so impressive that many people are calling for Texas State Highway 99 to be renamed J.J. Watt Parkway.[2]

His effort to love his neighbor is humbling.   What can we learn from Mr. Watt’s goal setting efforts?

  1. A goal must be specific.  A goal without details is just a dream.
  2. A goal must be actionable. Mr. Watt acted on his goal.   Goals don’t happen by themselves; you need to act on your goals so they can be realized.
  3. A goal must have a definite end date. A goal, without a timeline, will not be achieved.
  4. A goal must be in writing. Once you decide on your goal, write it down on a piece of paper or 3 x 5 card so you can see it all times.   Your goal should be visible to you always.
  5. A goal must be accountable. If you’re serious about setting a goal, have a friend or loved one hold you accountable.  An accountability partner will keep you on target as you chase your goal.
  6. A goal must be flexible. Mr. Watt’s original goal was $200,000.  He could’ve stopped at his original target, but he continued to push the envelope and encourage people to keep on giving. He repeatedly raised his target by $1 million after each milestone had been reached.
  7. A goal must be celebrated. After you’ve completed your goal take time to celebrate your efforts and then set another goal!

Goal setting is paramount for an individual to be a successful investor.   Investing without a plan can be hazardous to your long-term wealth.   A financial plan will crystalize your hopes, dreams and goals by putting them in writing.  A financial plan will move you closer to your financial goals and hold you accountable as you rush towards your financial finish line.  Individuals who complete the financial planning process have three times the net worth of those individuals who do no financial planning.[3]

If you’d like to help J.J. Watt, here are links to his fundraising and foundation websites.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky #99.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ~ Matthew 25:40

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.  For more information on financial planning and investment management, please visit

September 5, 2017
[1], NFL Staff Writers, 9/4/2017.

[2], Ryan Gaydos, 9/4/2017.


Lord of the Flies.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a classic book and one of my favorite reads.  The story is about a group of boys stranded on a deserted island who try to establish a civilized society with the help of the conch.   It doesn’t take long before their community falls apart and panic and chaos take over with the boys splitting into separate factions.  The boys are eventually rescued but not before Piggy dies and the island is set ablaze.

After Hurricane Harvey rolled through Texas, panic and chaos set in as people thought our state was running out of gas.   In Austin, the stations ran out of gas as people filled up cars and other containers hoping to avoid a coming crisis.  A picture posted on social media showed one gentleman filling up two 30-gallon trash cans with gas, an illegal and hazardous activity.  Despite assurance from the Texas Railroad Commissioner, Ryan Sitton, Austinites and other Texas residents are draining gas pumps dry.  He said we have nothing to fear but did add, “This is a case of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

In a panic, individuals stop thinking, lose control, and make decision with long term consequences.   This happens often when the stock market falls.  During a stock market correction, investors panic and act irrationally.

Here a few tips to help you when the stock market falls again:

  • Don’t Panic. I can’t repeat this often enough, don’t panic!  The stock market may stay depressed for days or months but it will eventually recover.
  • Remain Calm. The panic and chaos will eventually subside and order will be restored.
  • Carry On. A market correction is a great time to revisit your financial plan to make sure you’re still on the right path to financial freedom.  The downtime will give you a chance to focus on what’s most important to you and your family.
  • Buy Bonds. A well-diversified portfolio should include an allocation to bonds.   During a market rout, U.S. Government bonds perform well as investors seek shelter.  When the stock market dropped 37% in 2008, long-term Government bonds rose 26%.[1]
  • Seek Opportunities. During a market meltdown, you’ll always find a bargain.  If the price of Apple stock price falls 50%, they’ll continue to sell iPhones, ear-buds and chargers.  In the 2008 correction, Apple dropped 57%.  In 2009, it climbed 147%!  A $10,000 investment in Apple Stock in January of 2008 is now worth $64,425 generating an average annual return of 21.24%.[2]
  • Give. During a correction or calamity there will always be people in need.  Can you use a portion of your wealth to help others?

Hurricane Harvey was a terrible storm and my heart aches for the lives lost and the destruction that occurred, however, I’m hopeful we’ll eventually reap a harvest of peace.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:9.

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.  For more information on financial planning and investment management, please visit

Note:  Your returns may differ than those posted in this blog.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance.

September 2, 2017

[1] Dimensional Fund Advisors Matrix Book 2017.

[2] Morningstar Office Hypothetical Tool, 1/1/2008 – 8/31/2017.