Solving for the retirement smile

Byron Moore Retirement PlanningMoore for your Money


Question: My wife is worried about us running out of money in retirement. But I don’t see any point in being rich when I’m too old to enjoy it. Where’s the balance here?

Answer: We need to talk about the retirement smile.

And I’m not talking about that silly grin you daydream about having the day you walk out of your office for the last time. More on that in a moment.

Your wife is worried because women tend to outlive men. Well, first they take care of us during a long period of illness, spend all the money we both have, then we men have the good sense of timing to die before the money actually runs out. We thus leave our dear wives to figure out how to live 20+ more years in “retirement” with no money.

Don’t believe me? Ask your wife and she’ll give you the names of several women she knows who fit the description above.

But I get your point. Let’s don’t be completely morbid about this. You want to plan for an enjoyable period of retirement, and we all instinctively know that we’ll be in the best physical (and perhaps mental) condition to enjoy those years earlier in our retirement.

Some have described this in general stages: first, there are the “go-go” years. Your health is good, you want to travel and enjoy yourselves, so you tend to spend more.

Then come the “go-slow” years. You’ve been there, done that and your energy level may have naturally declined. Your interest in “going” is less, so you spend less on travel and entertainment.

Finally, the “no-go” years arrive where either our interest or ability to do much more than simply live from day to day declines. We aren’t doing much so we aren’t spending much.

Recent studies have adjusted that view to account for medical and long-term care expenses later in life. As lifestyle expenses decline over time, medical expenses tend to rise. Some wonky, cleaver types have charted this spending pattern and it looks like a smile, starting higher at the beginning, dipping down in the middle and rising again towards the end.

So what’s the best way to maximize your spending capacity in retirement? I believe the solution lies in a careful balance of accumulation and actuarial solutions.

Accumulation solutions broadly include any sort of account to which you can add money and which (hopefully) grows over time. This obviously includes bank savings accounts, mutual funds, brokerage accounts and certain types of deferred annuities. IRAs and 401Ks also fall into this category. Accumulation solutions dominate the retirement planning landscape today.

Actuarial solutions broadly include any sort of insurance or pension benefit that pays out based on age (retirement) or a life event (such as a long-term care, chronic illness or death). The actuarial solutions provide a safety net in the event you or your wife incurs any of expenses that can occur on the backside of the “retirement smile.”

Historically, accumulation solutions tend to be the realm of brokerage houses and investment advisors. Actuarial solutions are usually sold by insurance company agents. Since they often compete for the attention and loyalty of the public, each tends to emphasize the benefits of their solution over those offered by the “other side.”

This is unfortunate and their failure to cooperate serves the public poorly.

Because only through the careful and thoughtful balancing of accumulation and actuarial solutions is it possible to keep the retirement smile from putting a frown on your face.

Byron R. Moore, CFP® is Managing Director / Planning Group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Mike Jones is Managing Director / Investment Group of Argent Advisors, Inc. Write to either at 500 East Reynolds Drive, Ruston, LA 71270 or call (318) 251-5800. This newsletter is available via email on a free subscription basis. You can subscribe by clicking here. Direct any questions, comments or suggestions to Byron Moore at or to Mike Jones at

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Argent Advisors, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.

Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. The opinions of any single advisor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Argent Advisors, Inc. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Argent Advisors, Inc.. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is a registered investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Argent Advisors, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. Argent Advisors, Inc does not offer tax, legal or insurance advice. If you are a Argent Advisors, Inc. client, please remember to contact Argent Advisors, Inc., in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Argent Advisors, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.


Argent Financial Group

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, Argent Financial Group (Argent) is a leading, independent, fiduciary wealth management firm. Responsible for more than $30 billion in client assets, Argent provides individuals, families, businesses and institutions with a broad range of wealth management services, including trust and estate administration, investment management, ESOPs, retirement plan consulting, funeral and cemetery trusts, charitable organization administration, oil and gas (mineral) management and other unique financial services. Headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana, Argent was formed in 1990 and traces its roots back to 1930.

Latest News & Resources


Why a Corporate Fiduciary Could Be Right for You

Why a Corporate Fiduciary Could Be Right for You

In today’s world, estate planning can be an intense and complex process. These issues can be caused by many factors, such as federal and state tax laws and the types of property or assets a person owns. If you layer on unique family dynamics (e.g. a blended family,...

The Morning View: September 24, 2020

The Morning View: September 24, 2020

BY: MARSHALL BARTLETT Senior Vice President / Portfolio Manager In this morning’s data, Initial Jobless Claims were 870,000 for the week ending September 19th, an increase from the previous week and higher than expected. Continuing Claims were 12,580,000 as of...

Interested in speaking with

one of our experts?