High net worth retirement planning requires a different approach to goal-setting. Here are a few items you’ll want to have for a comfortable retirement.


People tend to have a hard time thinking about their “future selves” — in part because it forces us to face our own mortality. Considering that 78% of fully employed Americans currently live paycheck to paycheck, just finding the time to think about tomorrow can be a tall order.

It should come as little surprise that only 39% of Americans start saving for retirement in their 20s; 21% wait until they’re 40 or older. Most people don’t understand the difficulty of sustaining themselves in retirement until they see real financial models that show how quickly post-employment expenses can add up.

For the 6.6 million high net worth individuals in the U.S., envisioning the future isn’t necessarily any more straightforward. In fact, almost 64% of the wealthiest Americans are busy working to secure the long-term financial well-being of their families.

Many people haven’t thought that far ahead, but it’s never too late to start. High net worth retirement planning requires a different kind of goal-setting and focus than retirement planning for the average person.

If you’re a high net worth individual, sit down with your financial planner to make sure your retirement plan does the following:

1. Overestimates Your Lifespan

According to the World Bank, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is about 79 years. That number has increased steadily over the past half-century, though it has declined in recent years.

In any case, you should plan to live longer. Why? Let’s say you only plan to make it to 85. By the time you reach 90, it’s unlikely you’ll have the means to live comfortably. If you plan your finances to last you until 95 but pass away at 87, on the other hand, you’ll have lived a comfortable retirement and still have enough money to pass on.

2. Provides a Precise Spending Breakdown

Your spending needs to be in proportion to your income while you’re working and in proportion to your wealth when you’ve retired. To achieve that balance, you need to understand precisely how much you’re taking in from all of your income sources and exactly what your expenses are. Your financial models must account for a range of possible future scenarios — both good and bad — that could affect your future finances.

3. Accounts for Taxes

High net worth individuals have to pay close attention to how taxes affect their ability to invest and save. The tax ecosystem is highly complex, and tax liabilities represent a significant threat to your wealth. That’s why it’s essential to work with a professional who has deep expertise in investment strategies that minimize tax exposure.

4. Forecasts a Retirement Withdrawal Plan

Find a tenable withdrawal schedule that can take you into your golden years. The 4% rule, for example, states that retirees who take 4% from their retirement accounts each year will be able to enjoy a steady income stream while maintaining an account balance that continues to produce income throughout retirement.

Interest and dividends can cover most withdrawals at this target percentage, which is why financial planners tend to regard it as a sustainable practice. Considering how unique your goals and circumstances are — and how much interest rates have declined in recent years — you should work with your financial planner to find the withdrawal metric that works best for you.

How much money do you need to retire comfortably? Unfortunately, the answer depends on your unique circumstances. While high net worth individuals are in a better position to enjoy a comfortable retirement than most Americans, they still need a coherent and actionable financial plan to guide them along the way.

Are you a high net worth individual thinking about retirement? Contact us to learn how Pekin Hardy Strauss Wealth Management can help build a financial foundation that sets you up for retirement and beyond.

This article is prepared by Pekin Hardy Strauss, Inc. (“Pekin Hardy,” dba Pekin Hardy Strauss Wealth Management) for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for business. The information and data in this article do not constitute legal, tax, accounting, investment, or other professional advice. The views expressed are those of the author(s) as of the date of publication of this report, and they are subject to change at any time due to changes in market or economic conditions. Pekin Hardy cannot assure that the strategies discussed herein will outperform any other investment strategy in the future; there are no assurances that any predicted results will actually occur.