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Disney Dreams to Retirement Planning


By Krista McBeath, McBeath Financial Group

It’s been said that many people put more thought into planning a family vacation than they do into planning their retirement. Personally, I love a great vacation and I definitely understand the planning involved. At the top of the list of our family’s favorite destinations is Disney World, and it does require a significant amount of foresight for a successful vacation. Just like financial planning, creating memories that last a lifetime starts with vision and requires action.

I’ve always loved Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and from the day my daughter was born, I’ve dreamed of sharing the magical moment of her first trip to Disney. I imagined the trip, talked and planned for it years before our dream came true when she was three years old. That day may be one of the best days of my life, and truly was everything I had dreamed about. However, as grand as the vision for that day was for me personally, it pales in comparison to the forethought of the great Walt Disney himself.

The creator of Disney passed away almost six years before the opening of Disney World in 1971. At the incredible unveiling of that magical site, a reporter commented to Walt’s brother that it was a shame that Walt didn’t live to see it. His simple reply was, “Walt saw it first. That’s why we are seeing it now.” His incredible vision was paramount to creating Disney. Without his great imagination and action, Disney would never have existed.

Although you and I will never create a Magic Kingdom, we do have our own hopes and dreams that similarly require clear goals, planning, and action. These may be simple, but personally fulfilling goals such as a vacation, or they could be bigger plans for enjoying our retirement years. Undoubtedly, the best way to enjoy a vacation to Disney is to consult a Disney vacation specialist and likewise, consulting a retirement planner may help in clarifying and achieving retirement goals.

It was with clearly defined goals, expert advice and thorough pre-planning that we were able to show our daughter, Jillian, the perfect day that we’d envisioned. It’s amazing how many dreams can come true when you have a clear goal, a well-thought-out plan, and expert advice to help you along the way. No, we’re not just talking about a trip to Disney World. The process works for any kind of long-term goal: from learning to skydive to planning a successful retirement.

Just as there are stages of Disney expertise based on how many times you’ve visited, there are stages that most people experience on their way to planning a successful retirement. At Disney World, a “newbie” may have visited before, but doesn’t know all the tips and tricks to effectively navigate the park.

When planning for retirement, a “newbie” may be someone who’s just become eligible for their company’s 401K plan and signed up to contribute just enough to get the company match — probably because someone in HR told them they should.

Like a Disney “newbie,” it’s a good start, but not the most efficient way to lay the groundwork for a long-term successful retirement plan. This is the time to start the visualization process and decide how you want your financial future to look. This is where the planning begins.
“Advanced” visitors to Disney are a step ahead of the “newbies.” They have some experience now, see the value in consulting an expert, and have done some pre-trip research on their own.

When you reach the “advanced” phase of retirement planning, you’re no longer a “newbie.” You probably have a few investments outside your 401K plan, and at least a cursory relationship with a financial planning expert of your own. Like Walt Disney’s vision for the Magic Kingdom, your vision for retirement is becoming more refined. You’ve decided what you want your retirement to look like, and are making the right decisions to turn your vision into reality.

After years of laying the groundwork, visualizing your ideal retirement, working with a trusted advisor, and taking incremental steps to reach your goals, you can now be considered an “ultimate” at planning for retirement.

An “ultimate” Disney visitor knows all the tips and tricks to maximize their time at the park, and instead of trying to see everything it offers every time they visit, they know which rides, shows, and attractions are meaningful to them, and keep their focus only on those.

Just like we dreamed, visualized, and planned our first Disney trip with Jillian; just like Walt had to dream, visualize, plan, and refine his ideas for the Magic Kingdom, to have a financially secure retirement, you need to do the same: dream, visualize, plan, and take action.

After all, missing the Disney parade due to poor planning would definitely be a “newbie” mistake and ruin your day, but running out of money in retirement could have far more severe consequences! Do yourself a favor and take the time to establish a relationship with a financial planning professional you can trust. Choose an expert who will help you “see it first.” Your future self will thank you!

Krista McBeath is a Chartered Financial Consultant, a Licensed Insurance Advisor, a Fiduciary, and an experienced tax advisor who specializes in financial planning, investments, taxes and insurance. McBeath Financial Group’s Technology Empowered Advisor Method (TEAM) is a financial planning process that integrates the personal touch of a relationship-based advisor with high tech software tools to assess a client’s current portfolio and then analyze options from a variety of financial vehicles. Phone 309-808-2224 or email krista@ for appointment information.

Advisory services are offered through McBeath Financial Group and Motiv8 Investments, LLC. McBeath Financial Group and Motiv8 Investments, LLC are not affiliated. Insurance products and services are offered through McBeath Tax and Financial Services, LLC. McBeath Financial Group and McBeath Tax and Financial Services, LLC. are affiliated.