Recent studies show that the LGBT community has three prime financial worries: first retirement, then HealthCare, and third, more recently, loans and debt

In today’s world, retirement can mean many different things. For some, retiring means vacations, golf, and spending time with your partner, and more frequently children. Others may look at retirement as a period of reinvention replacing a career with a fixed schedule with a career in a new field or with more flexibility. Regardless of the path you are on, some things are consistent.

Generally, retirement signals a shift from accumulating wealth and spending using earned income or salary to the usage of assets in order to meet your day-to-day needs. In order to help plan for this transition, your Financial Advisor needs to focus on being a holistic wealth manager – one who focuses on the big picture and not just the investments.

We all need to have have a formal process for helping our clients prepare for the Next Chapter of Their Lives – a Retirement Standard. Today, I would like to share the key elements of our process with you, and in doing so, provide you with some direction towards answering the question: “Am I prepared for my retirement?”

In my experience, many people equate preparing for Retirement with having the right investment portfolios.

While the evaluation and selection of appropriate investments is an important aspect of the process, investments alone are only one part of the equation. Once you have accumulated savings, what do you intend to do with the money? What is your spending plan? What are your goals?

Investments don’t ‘know’ you. Your Advisor, on the other hand, should know you as well as your goals. A diversified portfolio is important, but do all of your goals have the same time horizon? Do all of your goals have the same objectives? Probably not. The investments don’t know where you plan to live during retirement, whether you plan to travel, or whether or not your partner’s mother might need to suddenly move in with you at some point in the future.

Your investments do not automatically change to accommodate unforeseen issues or unanticipated adjustments to your lifestyle. They cannot address health care concerns, calculate the best pension election for you and your partner, or check to make sure your beneficiaries are appropriately selected and properly protected.

There is no shortage of places to go for investment information. Please make sure the advisor and place you choose offers you A Retirement Standard – a defined process to address these areas of concern.

What will retirement be like for you? You must prioritize your needs and goals. Secure your essentials, the day-to-day items. Prepare for the unexpected. Then explore your wish list and finally discuss your legacy.

Dan Pye is a Vice President with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Fort Lauderdale. Previously the Finance Columnist for The Express, he specializes in working with the LGBT community, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..