A free workshop was held on Thursday September 29, 2022 by Cornerstone Portfolios at the Lower Macungie Community Center to help people better understand what steps they can take to prepare for retirement in troubling financial periods like people are now facing. This is the latest workshop in a continuing string of workshops to be held throughout the Lehigh Valley. The aim of the events is to help those recently retired or those planning to retire understand and find their best financial and healthcare options.
The event series is being called Retirement U and is hosted by Cornerstone Portfolios of Allentown, PA representatives principal/owner David Guensch and Medicare & Retirement Specialist Luke Laubscher. The purpose of the workshops is to introduce and educate people on the ideal management of 401k plans, Medicare plans, Social Security options, and other retirement necessities.
Owner Dave Guensch of Cornerstone Portfolios firmly believes hosting these events helps local residents to start their financial and healthcare planning in the Lehigh Valley in a convenient venue with trusted advisors who live nearby, rather than continue to ignore it. Many ignore it because they don’t know where to start and find the process both confusing and overwhelming, so they don’t know who they can turn to for good advice. Guensch shared, “From experience, workshops we’ve held just like this get things moving for people. They see a way to move forward and engage in the process. The first step is usually the hardest for people. But if they show up, they usually move forward and have the confidence they need.”
Due to the covid pandemic’s challenges, it was not possible to hold these types of workshops in the recent past, but now people are once again able to attend. Other current economic factors such as inflation, portfolio shakeups, Medicare changes, and tumbling markets have been hard on those planning to retire in the current environment. Many people seem to have resigned themselves to an unpleasant new reality where they plan to retire later than expected due to various pressures and shifts resulting from covid and the economic effects following the pandemic.
Guensch said of the industry, “Financial advisors as a whole do a bad job in helping guide people and giving them advice when it comes to Social Security.” He went on to say, “If you aren’t aware, you could be giving back thousands of dollars back to Uncle Sam, with nothing in return. That’s why I developed a strong sense of why it’s important to help clients understand what their options are.”
He shared this to let people know there are products or vehicles many people aren’t aware of that can mitigate financial and retirement risks. People who are not in the financial industry just don’t know what they are, or in some cases don’t know they even exist. The same is also true when it comes to healthcare and Medicare options which people generally get locked into for a year for better or worse.
Advisor Luke Laubscher shared, “Trying to understand Medicare is a tremendous problem for many people right now. In many cases, they just don’t have the information and guidance they need to make informed decisions. And to make matters worse, as soon as they turn 64, they will immediately be inundated with a barrage of endless, confusing mailers and phone calls.”
The last event held on Tuesday September 27, 2022 drew approximately 15 attendees. Before covid lockdowns attendance at these same type of events in years prior was generally closer to 40 – 50 attendees. This marks a decline, however Cornerstone management believes they are now more important than ever and hopes more people will once again take advantage of the free events as a valuable help and resource. This time around, those in attendance shared struggles they’re facing due to the difficult economic conditions, bad financial decisions, and concerns about retirement in the current financial climate that led them to seek out help from the workshop.
Topics covered by speakers Dave Guensch and Luke Laubscher included:
? Withdrawing Social Security benefits at varying ages.
? Investment options including 401k plans, 403b plans, and Roth IRAs.
? How personal circumstances like income and age can affect financial decisions.
? Healthcare options as they relate to Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
? Variations between different health plans and corresponding coverage for retirees.
With constantly changing laws and circumstances, staying informed on one’s financial and health options is more important than ever for Lehigh Valley residents. The same goes for having an clear and up-to-date retirement plan. Those wishing to learn more about or attend the next free seminar on Tuesday October 25, 2022 can call 610-973-5334 or visit the following information page – Lehigh Valley Retirement, Social Security, & Medicare Workshops presented by Cornerstone Portfolios. Local residents are asked to RSVP in advance where possible.
Cornerstone Portfolios LLC
6201 Hamilton Blvd #209
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Sahyadri Times journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.