Hi, everyone. We’re thrilled to launch the United Income blog today. I will write periodically about the company, what I’m reading, my observations on the investment world, and thoughts on how technology and modern money management have merged for the better of all savers and investors.
I want to start by sharing with you why we built United Income.
The short story is that we are living longer because of major advances in medicine, our diet and medical technology. Yet those same advances have not been made in how we manage money, which is causing a growing number of problems for aging households.
I first noticed this trend about a year ago. A good friend was getting ready to retire. He had saved his whole life and had more than he could reasonably spend.
But you wouldn’t know that from talking to him. For one, he had no idea how much he could safely spend. He couldn’t find anyone to talk to him about his day-to-day money needs — just investments for the long term.
Meanwhile, the deluge of terrible news from around the world left him with a biased and misinformed opinion about the health and stability of global stock markets. He had no idea who to trust.
Frustrated and confused, he was preparing to live on almost nothing! He had given up on pursuing his own dreams because he was terrified of running out of money.
Fortunately, he opened up to me, and I was able to help.
I became curious if other aging households were also struggling. I had access to a lot of government data from my years as a scholar at the Brookings Institution. And, sure enough, I soon learned from Federal Reserve data that the average person today needs 50 percent more money in retirement compared to 40 years ago. Yet that same person has saved just 11 percent more than in 1970, according to Federal Reserve data. The gap between what we have and what we will need is growing — rapidly.
But it’s not just the average worker who faces a growing imbalance. Poor planning has even left high-income households adrift as well. Longer lives mean they face major healthcare costs for which they have not prepared — “shock” expenses almost four times more costly than 30 years ago. Rapidly rising costs create a lot of stress, making it difficult for those of means to live out their dreams in retirement and to pass money on to heirs and to charity.
Good financial planning and advice could help alleviate this stress for workers, or at least help reduce it.
But, as a strong believer in professional money management, it pains me to point out that many of the financial advice principals that guide professionals like me has fallen dangerously behind the times. Most of the “rules of thumb” assumptions financial professionals make are outdated or just silly.
For instance, planners and the financial software widely used often fails to consider potential surges in healthcare spending as we age. Worse, many investment strategies are based on a single research paper written six decades ago, a time when stock and bond markets were much less volatile. Most planners also use a single assumption about spending in retirement and longevity, despite wide differences among people. And, clients with daily budget needs are usually left stranded, too.
We can do better. A lot better.
At United Income we are bringing your money management into the future to match all of the progress we’ve made on health. We are bringing to life a simple and effective money management approach, one that takes care of your day-to-day needs while maximizing your income and ability to reach your goals as you age.
We create highly personal plans and help people set realistic expectations about the future, a baseline strategy that increases your ability to control changes rather than react to them and bring your personal retirement dreams to life. And we’re doing it at a reasonable price.
How? Widespread availability of data, advances in technology and a growing body of academic work all make it possible to build a much better way to manage your money in retirement. Most established firms are boxed in from seizing that future, thanks to outdated business models and aging technology.
United Income, however, is free to harness the most powerful tools out there to help you build a better retirement. In the background, we’ve assembled a team drawn from some of the best institutions and companies in the world, people who already have built celebrated financial products. We have worked closely with CEOs and with rank-and-file employees.
We know what we’re doing, and we are seriously excited about creating a groundbreaking result, something that will be useful and important to millions.
Join us. Let’s make your plans reality. Sign up to reserve your place on our waiting list. This will keep you informed as we prepare to launch. We’ll also be giving away some things as we get closer, just for fun. And we’ll be asking you to give us advice as we make decisions about the products we release.
We want everyone to enjoy a better tomorrow, and all of the years we are lucky enough to live. Together, we can do this!
All the best,