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Mastering Retirement Cash Management: Gatewood Wealth Solutions' Philosophy

Updated: Apr 26

Christopher Arends, CFA®, CMT®, CAIA®

Chief Investment Officer

At Gatewood Wealth Solutions, we're not just about preparing for the best; we're about being ready for the worst. Our approach to retirement income planning revolves around a core philosophy: keeping our clients "Bear Market Ready, but Bull Market Positioned." In this blog post, we'll delve into our robust methodology for cash management in retirement, highlighting the importance of cash reserves and strategic investment planning.




Our firm has worked hard to develop an approach that allows us to pinpoint exactly where that “sweet spot” is, based on clients’ expenses, life stages, and our investment committee’s outlook on the market. Our financial planning and investment management teams work closely together to ensure no stone goes unturned in making this assessment.


The cornerstone of our approach is what we call the "Cash Target." This is the amount we recommend our clients keep readily available in cash to weather market downturns without the need to sell off investments at unfavorable times. Determining this Cash Target involves a meticulous process that takes into account various factors such as annual expenses, income, market conditions, and life stages.




1.      Assess Annual Expenses: We start by evaluating our clients' total annual expenses, including lifestyle costs, taxes, insurance, and other financial obligations.


2.      Review Income: Next, we analyze the client's income streams, ensuring we have a clear picture of their financial inflows.


3.      Incorporate Market Outlook: Our Investment Committee routinely evaluates market conditions to adjust the Cash Target Timeframe. This is the recommended duration, in months, for which one should hold enough cash to cover total expenses, tailored to the current economic environment


4.      Calculate the Cash Target: Using a specialized formula, we compute the precise number of months required to cover one’s total expense needs, subtracting regular income received. This Cash Target is based on the client's expenses, income, and the designated Cash Target Timeframe.


5.      Fund the Cash Hub Account: Once the Cash Target is determined, we allocate funds accordingly, so our clients have the necessary cash reserves in place.




The cash hub account is just one small part of our overall distribution planning approach, which you can see below. Our planning team constantly turns these funnels on and off based on our clients’ specific financial situations and life goals. We can make sure we correctly put our clients’ money to work for them while maximizing their tax-saving strategies.




Understanding the role of cash in retirement is crucial. While investments offer growth potential, cash provides stability and liquidity, acting as a safeguard against market volatility. By maintaining an adequate cash reserve, individuals can avoid the need to sell off investments during market downturns, thus preserving their long-term financial security.




Consider Jane Smith, who illustrates the significant impact of having a cash reserve during retirement. By strategically tapping into her cash reserves during market downturns, Jane was able to preserve her IRA balance and substantially enhance her long-term financial outcome.




We tailor our cash management approach to different life stages, recognizing that the cash needs of individuals vary depending on whether they're in the accumulation phase, distribution phase, or approaching retirement.




Our Investment Committee remains vigilant, adjusting the number of months for one’s Cash Target in retirement to market highs and downturns. This is crucial when clients rely on their investments for retirement income. In bearish markets, we will draw from cash reserves to avoid liquidating assets during unfavorable conditions, whereas in bullish markets, we rebuild cash reserves to the target.




At Gatewood Wealth Solutions, we believe in empowering our clients with robust retirement income planning strategies. By strategically managing cash reserves and investments, we aim to ensure financial stability and long-term prosperity for all our clients. If you're ready to take control of your retirement finances, we're here to guide you every step of the way.



The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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