A Different Degree of Wealth

Strategic Planning for Sustained Financial Well-Being in Your Golden Years

Preparing for retirement involves careful planning and thoughtful consideration of your long-term financial needs. Creating a retirement income plan that supports your desired lifestyle is important to managing your finances once you stop working. This article outlines four key steps to help you structure a plan that supports your lifestyle and financial goals in retirement.

Retirement Income Plan Step 1: Assess Your Retirement Needs

The first step in creating a retirement income plan is to assess your expected retirement needs. This includes estimating your living expenses, healthcare costs, and any other personal expenses you anticipate during retirement. Start by evaluating your current expenses to determine which costs will likely continue, increase, or decrease. For example, you may save on commuting costs but spend more on healthcare.

To get a comprehensive understanding, categorize your expenses into essentials (housing, food, insurance), discretionary (travel, hobbies), and unexpected costs (emergency repairs, health emergencies). This exercise will help you visualize the financial landscape of your retirement.

Retirement Income Plan Step 2: Evaluate Your Income Sources

Once you have a clear picture of your needs, the next step is to evaluate your potential retirement income sources. These might include:


  • Social Security Benefits: Determine your expected benefits by using the Social Security Administration’s tools or consulting with a financial advisor.
  • Retirement Accounts: Summarize your savings in 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts. Understand the rules governing withdrawals and taxes for each type of account.
  • Pensions: If you are eligible for a pension, understand the benefits and payout options available to you.
  • Other Income: Consider other sources such as rental income, annuities, or part-time work.


Review these income sources to estimate your monthly or annual retirement income. This assessment will highlight potential gaps between your expected income and your estimated needs.

Retirement Income Plan Step 3: Optimize Your Asset Allocation

With an understanding of your needs and income sources, you can focus on optimizing your asset allocation. This involves adjusting your investment strategy to balance the growth potential of your assets with the need to reduce risk as you approach retirement.


  • Diversification: Ensure your investments are spread across different asset classes to mitigate risk.
  • Risk Tolerance: Consider reducing exposure to high-risk investments to protect your capital.
  • Liquidity Needs: Maintain a portion of your portfolio in more liquid assets to cover unexpected expenses.


Regular reviews and adjustments of your investment portfolio are recommended to respond to changes in the market and your personal circumstances.

Retirement Income Plan Step 4: Plan for Withdrawals

The final step is planning the withdrawal strategy that will sustain your retirement income over time. Strategic withdrawal plans help in managing taxes and ensuring that your savings last throughout your retirement.


  • Withdrawal Rate: A common strategy is the “4% rule,” but your specific rate should be tailored based on your total assets and expected lifespan.
  • Tax Efficiency: Plan withdrawals from different accounts in a way that minimizes your tax liability. For example, you might withdraw from taxable accounts first to preserve the tax benefits of your retirement accounts for as long as possible.
  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): Be aware of the RMDs for certain retirement accounts starting as early as age 72, as failing to take these can result in hefty penalties.


Will Your Retirement Income Support Your Desired Lifestyle?

Creating a retirement income plan involves detailed preparation and ongoing management. By assessing your financial needs, evaluating your income sources, optimizing your asset allocation, and planning your withdrawals carefully, you can better navigate the financial aspects of retirement. While these steps provide a framework, individual circumstances will dictate specific actions. Regularly revisiting and adjusting your plan in response to life changes and economic conditions is important in maintaining financial stability throughout your retirement years.

If you have any questions, give us a call or read Chapters 3 and 4 of “Wealth on Purpose” by Bryan Ballentine.

Have a great weekend!

Sources: Located at the bottom of the article.

Golf Tip of the Week

Your handicap is not a scoring average

This article first appeared in Low Net, a Golf Digest+ exclusive newsletter written for the average golfer, by an average golfer.

My favorite example of people not understanding handicaps is from the golf tournament I organized on my wedding day. Working through the pairings the night before, I was trying to account for the new boyfriend of an aunt—I’ll call him Harry—who said he wanted to play, but wasn’t very good.

When I asked Harry his handicap, he said he was around a 15.

“That’s not so bad,” I said.

“Well, your handicap is your strokes above 100, right?” Harry asked.

I ended up slotting Harry into another foursome.

Most golfers have a better grasp of the concept, but you’d be surprised by how many avid players are guilty of misconstruing what a handicap (or Handicap Index, more on that later) is meant to represent and how it works. In fairness to Harry, wherever he is, his problem was not in being bad, but in not understanding how a proper handicap could help even a struggling golfer like him.

You don’t write a newsletter called Low Net without embracing the benefits of this system. You should as well, for several reasons: because it can level the playing field in competition, because it provides a universal metric for golfers to chart their progress and because it even helps protect against the Harrys of the world from hockey-pucking the ball all over the course until sunset. I still aspire to holding my own against my scratch and plus golfer friends without needing a few strokes a side. But at least for now there’s a way to keep both sides engaged without tying a hand behind their backs.

All of this serves as a backdrop for why three colleagues— Luke Kerr-Dineen, Maddi MacClurg, Greg Gottfried—and I agreed to a season-long project called The Long Game in which we will provide regular updates on our progress, and how it’s reflected in our Handicap Index. You might think it’s a shameless ploy to justify playing more golf, to which I say, yes, it’s definitely that, too. But it’s also a chance to clear up some handicap misconceptions. Among them:

Handicap Index vs. handicap

I am guilty of using both interchangeably as well, but they’re different. My Handicap Index—currently 11.3–is the number that I can take everywhere and is adjusted by the scores I post. But it turns into a handicap on specific courses based on their difficulty. For instance, my 11.3 index becomes a 13 from the tees I’m typically playing from at my home club.

Harry was wrong in thinking a handicap is your average score above 100, but also in thinking of it as an average at all. Rather, it’s a measure of your potential, or what the USGA calls your “demonstrated ability”. The World Handicap System only accounts for the best eight of your 20 most recent scores, and even then, it throws out the real disasters. Which brings me back to Harry again.

There’s a limit for your bad

The handicap system wants Harry home for dinner, which it ensures by determining when he should just pick up on a hole and enter a score of net double bogey (if he has a course handicap of 36 and gets two strokes a hole, the highest score he can take on a par 4 is a four-over par 8). This is good for Harry in that it puts a cap on his worst holes, it’s good for the other people on the course who are waiting for him to hole out, and it’s good for making sure his handicap is accurate. Remember, the system is meant to gauge how well you can play, not what happens when you spiral out of control.

You don’t need to play 18 holes to enter a score

A family commitment sent me late to the golf course the other day. I joined my group on the seventh tee, which you might think rendered the ensuing 12 holes meaningless in the eyes of the World Handicap System. In fact, I can now enter a hole-by-hole score for incomplete rounds of 10-17 holes in which I just leave the holes I didn’t play blank (you can already post a nine-hole score). The handicap algorithm takes over from there, reinforcing the important point that any golf is still better than no golf. Even Harry should know that.

Tip adapted from golfdigest.comi

Recipe of the Week

Eggs Benedict

2 Servings


  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) plus 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon
  • 2 English muffins, split, toasted
  • Sliced fresh chives, for serving


  • In a standard blender or a tall cup with an immersion blender, blend egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and 1 teaspoon water until frothy.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 cup butter until no longer foaming and an instant-read thermometer inserted into butter registers 160°. With the blender running, slowly pour in butter in a very thin stream and continue to blend until sauce is thickened and emulsified.
  • Into a large saucepan, pour water to a depth of 2″. Bring to a gentle simmer. Break each egg into a small bowl, then gently lower egg into water and tip into pan. Using a slotted spoon, gently lift egg from bottom of pan. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs. Cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, carefully transfer eggs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add bacon and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes total.
  • Arrange bacon on top of English muffin halves. Top with poached eggs and drizzle with hollandaise. Sprinkle with chives.




Recipe adapted from Delish.comii

Travel Tip of the Week

The 12 Best Mother’s Day Gifts at Amazon That Will Arrive in Time for Sunday — Starting at $6


Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and if you put off your shopping until the last minute, don’t worry, you don’t have to resort to snagging an overpriced flower bouquet and calling it a day quite yet. Amazon continues to be a one-stop shop for everything on your to-buy list, and seeing as the site is stocked with unbeatable deals on travel gear, it’s also your best bet for finding meaningful gifts for your favorite traveler before time runs out.

Regardless of the destination your mom (or mother figure) prefers to visit while traveling, we’ve rounded up the 12 best Mother’s Day gift markdowns to shop right now that will arrive just in time for the celebration, and are perfect to pack from the beach to the city streets. Best of all: everything is priced under $120, so shoppers of all budgets can snag a favorite child-level gift — starting at just $6.

Samsonite Omni 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage

If your mom is a frequent traveler, the best thing you could gift her for Mother’s Day is a brand-new suitcase to take with her on her next adventure. This shopper-loved checked bag from Samsonite is the perfect choice while it’s on sale for an impressive 45 percent off, and it’s built to withstand the wear and tear of travel thanks to a durable, scratch-resistant polycarbonate shell. The bag expands up to an additional 2 inches to provide more space for overpackers, and your mom can trust that her belongings are safe once they’ve been packed away since a TSA-approved lock is built directly into the side of this reliable case. 

Bagsmart Hanging Toiletry Bag

Give your mother the gift of organization this year with the Bagsmart hanging toiletry bag. It’s so compact that it will easily fit into her carry-on while providing convenient access to liquids while heading through TSA — and it’s even on sale for just $23 right now. This bag eliminates the clutter of products covering the bathroom counter at the hotel since it hangs from the back of any door with the help of a simple hook, and it boasts several pockets and pouches within each section of the bag to keep bottles and other products upright while avoiding spillage. It’s great for road trips, long flights, and even camping excursions.

Homesick Candle

Bring your mom’s favorite travel destination straight to her home with the help of Homesick Candles, a unique brand that offers 52 candle scents (one for each state). The candles boast a burn time of up to 80 hours, and from zesty orange to a refreshing sea breeze, they effortlessly transport you to your fondest memories without splurging on a plane ticket. And if you live far away from your parents, gift your mom a candle from your current destination so she can think of you whenever she lights it. Even if she’s not traveling any time soon, her at-home oasis is about to get a major upgrade.

Apple AirTag

Practical tech is never a bad gift idea, so we recommend putting the finishing touch on your present with an Apple AirTag. They’re currently on sale at Amazon, making now the best time to snag one for your mom to tuck into her suitcase. The compact device simply connects to any iPhone so she can track her checked bag from the moment it leaves her eyeline, doing away with the threat of lost luggage for good. More than 152,000 travelers swear by this tracker for providing peace of mind while on the go, which is an invaluable gift to give.

Vlando Travel Jewelry Box

Jewelry is one of the most common Mother’s Day offerings, so why not pair a nice necklace with this travel organizer to keep everything contained during your mom’s next trip? The jewelry box has four compartments that are the perfect size to hold small earrings, while several ring pillows keep fragile items firmly in place. And if your mom is tired of her necklaces tangling while she’s on the go, three hooks alongside an elasticized pocket allow for simple storage that keeps chains and charms neatly stowed away.

Frank Mully Women’s Knit Ballet Flats

Ballet flats are the hottest shoes of the season, and they are also incredibly comfortable and packable for travel. These knitted flats from Frank Mully are a top-notch gift for your stylish parent as they’re easily paired with nearly anything she might have tucked inside her suitcase, effectively cutting down on her footwear needs. Plus, they’re designed with non-slip rubber soles alongside lightly cushioned insoles for a supportive fit no matter what’s on the agenda. Certain colors are on sale for as little as $39 at Amazon right now, so if you’re planning to snag several gifts for your mom this year, this is one budget-friendly option.

Hoxis Oversize Vegan Leather Tote Bag

Just because a carry-on bag should be sensible doesn’t mean it needs to be boring, and this stunning vegan leather tote will quickly become your mom’s new go-to for vacations of any length. The spacious design can be taken from the airplane to a day of shopping (and even to the poolside) with ease, and it’s available in 10 stunning neutral and bright shades to match your mother’s personality and taste. A magnetic closure at the top of the bag promises to keep her belongings safe and protected, and the lightweight design is easy to carry and will instantly elevate any outfit it’s paired with.

Cosrx All About Snail Travel Skincare Set

If your mom has a hard time investing in her skincare routine but still loves the finer things in life, this four-piece set from Cosrx will likely be a welcome addition to her toiletry bag during upcoming travels — and right now, it’s on sale for just $21. This shopper-loved Korean skincare set features a cleanser, serum, peptide cream, and hydrating lotion so your mother can enjoy a spa-like experience from the comfort of her hotel room. The set boasts a number of benefits, from firming the skin to adding radiance and hydration, and at just over $5 apiece, this is a great add-on gift.

Veken 6-piece Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are essential for making the most of limited luggage space, and if your parent is an overpacker, this set of six bags from Veken is guaranteed to transform her travels in the coming year. Complete with a shoe bag, laundry pouch, and four other packing cubes in varying sizes, this set is a dream for optimizing space within a carry-on, and right now, it’s on sale at Amazon for a mere $20. We’re certain your mom will love the opportunity to take her organization to the next level.

Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Nobody wants to splurge on an overpriced water bottle at the airport, so the Owala FreeSip Insulated water bottle is the perfect thing to gift ahead of your mom’s next vacation. This travel-friendly best-seller is designed with a unique locking mechanism to prevent spillage (even when the bottle is laid down in a bag,) while a hidden straw ensures that, even during turbulence, she can stay hydrated. And with 22 fun colors to choose from, there’s sure to be one shade available that your mom will love.

Grace & Stella Moisturizing Eye Masks

Air travel can be incredibly dehydrating to the skin, so your mom will be happy to have a pack of these moisturizing eye masks tucked into her carry-on to keep her looking and feeling fresh from takeoff to landing. A set of six pairs is currently on sale for $10 and works to alleviate dark under eyes, puffiness, and dull skin, leaving her skin looking even better at the end of her flight than at the beginning. With ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and horse chestnut in each set, these patches are guaranteed to become a mainstay in her carry-on — and even her at-home beauty routine.

Happyluze Wayfarer Travel Scarf Wrap

From the beach to the plane and even an al fresco dinner, this multi-purpose scarf wrap will play so many roles in your mother’s wardrobe, making it a thoughtful and functional gift. The material is made with UPF 50+ to protect sensitive skin from harsh sun rays, and it can even work as a blanket on chilly flights if a simple cardigan isn’t warm enough. If your mom can’t ever seem to get warm, this shawl (or scarf or poncho), is a four-in-one solution that will be cherished for years to come.

Tip adapted from travelandleisure.comiii 

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Ballentine Capital Advisors is a registered investment adviser. The advisory services of Ballentine Capital Advisors are not made available in any jurisdiction in which Ballentine Capital Advisors is not registered or is otherwise exempt from registration.

Please review Ballentine Capital Advisors Disclosure Brochure for a complete explanation of fees. Investing involves risks. Investments are not guaranteed and may lose value.

This material is prepared by Ballentine Capital Advisors for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation or any particular security, strategy, or investment product.

No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve future profits or losses similar to those shown. You should not assume that investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable or equal the investment performance of the past. Past performance does not indicate future results.

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