Coping With a Pre-Retirement Curve Ball

Ten years ago, Barbara Reeb was 59 years old and ready to retire into a life of comfort and leisure or so she thought.

Ten years ago, Barbara Reeb was 59 years old and ready to retire into a life of comfort and leisure — or so she thought. She was, after all, the wife of a physician and never had to worry about her family's finances. But that all changed when a divorce was thrown in her path. Reeb's assets and income were cut in half. Just as scary was the realization that she now had to take full responsibility for her financial decisions.

A forensic accountant involved in evaluating her divorce suggested Reeb seek the advice of Candace Bahr, an LPL-affiliated advisor who specializes in suddenly single women. On the drive from her home in San Diego to Bahr's office in Carlsbad, Calif., Reeb recalls thinking, “This is my only chance.”

Reeb, it turns out, was sent to the right advisor. Bahr Investment Group has over $100 million under management; 80 percent of Bahr's clients are women, many of whom come to Bahr after a divorce or the death of a husband. Reeb began her relationship with Bahr with little less than $1 million in liquid assets, including a one-time divorce settlement and about $300,000 in a money market fund.

Bahr concluded that Reeb's annual income needs totaled about $140,000 a year. “Initially, we had her look at her budget, save and work a little longer,” Bahr says. The rest was pretty simple: Bahr suggested diversifying her portfolio among a basket of investments: mutual funds, indexes and individual stocks. Thirty percent of Reeb's assets are in cash and cash-like instruments, including conservative bonds and annuities.

Both women say the key to their success was the realistic expectations Bahr imposed on her client. “She didn't make me any huge promises or tell me that she was going to make me a rich woman,” Reeb says.

It seems to have worked. Three days after talking to Registered Rep. Barbara was taking off for a trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg. She had booked vacations to Maui, the Baltic States, Antarctica and Christmas in an apartment in Paris. Oh, and she's recently converted a nearby hillside into her own vineyard. Success indeed.

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