Why a One-Page Financial Plan is So Powerful | The Limitless Retirement Podcast

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“The problem is, a lot of people end up not retiring simply because they don't have the confidence to do it.”

Navigating the murky waters of retirement planning often feels like trying to read a map in the dark, but what if there were a beacon to guide you through? That's precisely what our host Danny Gudorf offers in this latest discussion: a one-page financial plan designed to clear the haze of overwhelming choices and set you on a definitive path to a worry-free retirement. As Danny unfolds this method, you'll discover how condensing a lifetime of financial strategy into one actionable page not only brings peace of mind but also carves a clear pathway through the ever-shifting landscape of life's changes and economic fluctuations.

With the three-bucket approach to retirement income planning, Danny explains a framework that spans cash, bonds, and stocks, crafting a financial flow that's built to last. As the episode weaves the intricate web of investments, taxes, and risk management, you're equipped with strategies such as Roth conversions and tax gain harvesting to optimize your financial journey. Danny also casts light on the less-talked-about avenues of insurance planning, from Medicare decisions to pre-eligibility health coverage strategies, ensuring you're as confident in your health planning as you are in your fiscal foresight. Listen in and transform the complexity of retirement into a mastered art of strategic simplicity.

Key Topics:

  • Creating a One-Page Financial Plan to Reduce Retirement Anxiety (00:36)
  • Focusing on Actionable Items in Your One-Page Financial Plan (03:55)
  • What to Include in Your One-Page Financial Plan (10:59)
  • An Example of How Gudorf Law Group Builds One-Page Plans (27:44)
  • Wrap-Up and Next Steps (29:49)

Are you feeling overwhelmed when thinking about retirement? You're not alone. Many retirees face the daunting task of navigating the complex world of financial planning, often leading to information overload and analysis paralysis. But what if there was a simple solution to help you gain clarity, confidence, and peace of mind in your retirement journey? Enter the one-page financial plan.

Key Takeaways

  • A one-page financial plan is a concise, actionable document that sets the direction for your retirement.
  • It helps you identify the most pressing items and concerns specific to your unique situation.
  • Creating a one-page plan involves deep work and analysis, but the end result is a powerful tool for simplifying your retirement planning.
  • The plan covers essential areas such as goals and objectives, income planning, investment strategies, tax optimization, risk management, and estate planning.

The Power of Simplicity

In today's fast-paced world, we often equate more information with better decisions. However, when it comes to retirement planning, the opposite may be true. As Mark Twain once said, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." This paradox highlights the importance of simplicity in effective communication and planning.

A one-page financial plan is not about cramming every detail into a single sheet of paper. Instead, it's a distilled, concise set of steps and objectives that will guide you in making better decisions throughout your retirement. By focusing on the most critical aspects of your financial life, you can avoid the pitfalls of information overload and analysis paralysis.

Creating Your One-Page Financial Plan

So, what goes into a one-page financial plan? At its core, it's a bulleted list of things to do or ideas to consider, tailored to your specific situation. Here are the main areas to focus on:

1. Goals and Objectives

Start by defining what's important to you. Why do you want to retire? What do you plan to do in retirement? Is saving on taxes a priority? Do you want to leave a legacy for your children or grandchildren? Answering these questions will help you establish a clear purpose for your money in retirement.

2. Income Planning

Next, develop a strategy for turning your assets into a steady retirement paycheck. Consider using a three-bucket approach, segmenting your money into cash, bonds, and stocks based on different time horizons. Determine your living expenses, discretionary spending, and monthly income needs, then assess whether your assets can sustain your desired lifestyle over a 30-40 year retirement.

3. Investment Strategy

Your investment plan should be informed by your income plan. Evaluate your risk capacity and consider factors such as pension income, Social Security, and other fixed income sources. Determine the appropriate asset allocation for your unique circumstances, taking into account the fees associated with different investment vehicles and the location of your assets across various account types.

4. Tax Optimization

Develop a tax-efficient strategy for investing and withdrawing your money in retirement. Consider the role of Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, and taxable brokerage accounts in your overall plan. Explore opportunities for Roth conversions, tax-loss harvesting, and tax-gain harvesting to minimize your lifetime tax bill.

5. Risk Management and Insurance

Assess your risk exposure and insurance needs in retirement. Evaluate your options for Medicare, including Part A, Part B, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage plans. If you plan to retire early, determine a strategy for bridging the gap in health insurance coverage before age 65. Consider the potential need for long-term care insurance and explore asset-based options to cover these costs.

6. Estate Planning

Don't overlook the importance of estate planning in your one-page financial plan. Ensure that you have up-to-date healthcare powers of attorney, directives, and a trust in place to protect your assets and provide clear guidance for your family. By proactively addressing these issues, you can save your loved ones from unnecessary stress and financial burdens down the road.

Implementing Your Plan

Creating a one-page financial plan is just the beginning. The real power lies in taking action and regularly reviewing your progress. Set aside time to work through each section of your plan, breaking down larger tasks into manageable steps. Remember, the goal is not to solve every retirement challenge at once, but rather to establish a clear direction and framework for making informed decisions along the way.

The Confidence to Retire

Ultimately, the true value of a one-page financial plan lies in the confidence it provides. By distilling the complexities of retirement planning into a simple, actionable document, you can gain the clarity and peace of mind needed to enjoy your golden years to the fullest. Rather than getting bogged down in the details, you can focus on what matters most: living the retirement of your dreams.


In a world filled with endless financial advice and overwhelming choices, the power of a one-page financial plan cannot be overstated. By embracing simplicity and focusing on the essentials, you can navigate the retirement planning process with greater ease and assurance. Remember, simplicity leads to clarity, clarity leads to confidence, and confidence leads to action. So take the first step today and start crafting your own one-page roadmap to a successful and fulfilling retirement.


Transcript: Prefer to Read — Click to Open

Danny (00:05.454)

Welcome to the Limitless Retirement Podcast. My name is Danny Gudorf, the owner of Gudorf Financial Group. Whether retirement is on your horizon or you’ve already made the leap, this podcast tackles your most important questions in retirement. Every episode, I’m here to share valuable tips and strategies to help you succeed in retirement. So let’s go ahead and get started with today’s show.

Do you feel overwhelmed when you think about retirement? Does it feel like there’s too much to know or to plan for? Well, if that’s how you feel, just know you’re not alone. If you’re listening to this podcast, perhaps you’re here to learn, understand, and grow in all of these different ideas and concepts so that you can move into retirement a little bit more confidently.

Today’s show, we have a great episode and one of my favorite topics. Today, we’re gonna be discussing how to create a one -page financial plan and the power of having one. This is something that’s a little bit unique to our firm and something that we’ve been working with clients a lot on over the past five or six years. So going back to the idea of reducing your anxiety around retirement,

and increasing your confidence. One of the many issues that retirees face is information overload. Sometimes the more you know, the scarier it gets. And it’s hard because we’ve got so many different sources of information talking from all of these different directions and telling us what to do. Should you buy an annuity or not?

Should you invest aggressively or conservatively in retirement? What about inflation rates? Should I be doing Roth conversions? How do I reduce my taxes in retirement? Do I have enough money to live on? All of these different questions can make you feel like it’s a lot of information to process leading to information overload. Plus we get flooded with different ads and different websites.

Danny (02:32.206)

and all of different individuals throughout our lives trying to give us guidance on what we should do. I guess that’s why they say ignorance is bliss. Because the fears that I see come up in retirement typically stem from these overwhelming questions. However, this information overload often leads to analysis paralysis.

which in the end becomes the biggest hurdles a lot of our clients end up facing. Let’s face it, everybody is trying to make sure that they do all the right things at all the right times in the right way. Nobody wants to mess up or make a large mistake when it comes to their retirement planning. But this uncertainty is a part of almost every conversation

that we have with clients and prospects. So how do I help solve these questions, tackle some of these problems, and reduce the fears for my clients? Well, I like to try to keep things as simple as possible by creating a short list of actionable steps that can be taken. The key word here is actionable. Because if we have a plan,

but we don’t take any action on it, then that plan is not going to be worth anything. It’s not worth having or even going through the process of building out a plan if we’re not going to have any action items from it. So this, in our office, this short one page plan is distilled list of what needs to be done and its purpose is to set the path or the trajectory.

of your retirement. It’s not about figuring out every little detail or planning for every single scenario that could come up because we’re going to have to accommodate and adapt to changes over time. Your life is going to change. The markets, they’re going to go up. They’re going to go down. Inflation. We’re all experiencing high inflation right now, but previously,

Danny (04:59.406)

The previous eight years, we had extremely low inflation and everything we know about the future will not be the way we thought it would be. I think we can all attest to that. But the idea is to set the direction and to give us guidelines for us to follow when we’re heading into retirement. To create this one page financial plan. Now, I did not come up with this idea or name it myself.

but it’s something we’ve been using for the last six or eight years with great success. And I’ve seen firsthand the impact of creating a one -page financial plan. I’ve witnessed people in retirement with peace of mind and confidence because of this one piece of paper. Now let’s be clear, there’s a lot of deep work that has to be done to develop that one -page.

financial plan. There’s many different spreadsheets and scenarios and software we use to give us the information to be able to prepare this. You can’t just assume that it’s really easy because it’s short. But when you come out the other end of this deep work and all of this planning with a short list of ideas and steps, that’s the power of simplicity.

and that’s what can give us clarity. If you’ve listened to me before, you know that I’m a huge fan of keeping things really simple. However, most of the time we confuse simple with easy. Simple is not easy. In fact, I’d say that it’s probably harder. There’s a quote from Mark Twain that he once said, I didn’t have time.

to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. And this quote presents quite the paradox. We equate more time with more stuff. So the paradox here is that they’re taking more time to make something less or make it smaller. Typically in our minds, we think the longer amount of time it takes us to do something, the larger it should be. Think of it this way.

Danny (07:28.078)

I could record podcasts for you to listen and find value in. I could make every episode an hour or two hours long and kind of ramble my way through it. But what’s the problem here? Just because it’s longer, that doesn’t mean it’s more valuable. And I think this plays into the power of having a one page plan. It’s a distilled, concise,

set of steps and objectives that will help you make better decisions in retirement. The key word here is guide. These are not your decisions necessarily, but they can be. But most of the time, the items we list on our one page financial plan are ideas and are things we need to evaluate now and look at over time. We’re not trying to solve.

all of your retirement issues or questions right now in this one page plan. The idea is that we have to identify what problems could come up based on your specific situation, your age, your family, what assets you have, and most importantly, what you’re trying to accomplish in retirement. We might say because of X, Y, or Z reasons, we need to pay attention.

to Roth conversions between the ages of 60 and 65. Or because of this reason, we might need to delay your social security till later in life. Let’s say 67 or 68 or 69 or even age 70. These are things that are saying, hey, here’s a list of things we need to think about and give us guide of how to act on them. That’s the purpose of this one page plan.

is not to say you must do this or you must convert $100 ,000 over the next four years or you must take your social security at 68. The reality is if you’ve got any gap of time between when you create your plan and whenever you actually go to execute those things,

Danny (09:48.782)

we know that things are gonna change and life is gonna get in the way. Because the problem is that the plan we made today is going to be outdated or stale by the time we get to the point in the future when we actually need to act on it. So what this is hopefully trying to do is give you an idea around what you should evaluate and not so much what you should do to the exact certain point.

It’s really to identify and figure out what the most pressing items and concerns are that are specific to you. So I’m sure you’re asking yourself, Danny, I understand what you’re talking about here, but what does this look like in action? What should be included in this one page plan? Well, it’s really just a bulleted list of things to do or ideas that you should consider on a piece of paper.

It’s really nothing fancy at all. So I’m gonna kinda walk you through some of the main areas that we discuss and work with on clients and things we like to include on our one page financial plan for clients. So the first thing we always start with is goals and objectives. What’s important to you? Why do you wanna retire? What are you going to do in retirement? That’s a big one.

What are you retiring from? Is saving taxes something that’s important to you? What about your legacy? Do you want to leave money to your kids or grandkids? Or maybe you don’t. That’s an important planning factor. And then what about giving money to charity? Or how are you going to serve in different ways? Finding out what things are important to you in terms of your life and your money, we write down these

in a short section and say, hey, these are my goals, these are my objectives. It doesn’t have to be this long fancy list. It just needs to say, here’s what’s really important to me. Here’s why my money is important to me. And here’s how I wanna utilize my money in retirement. Because we all know when it comes to money, it’s not necessarily about having more.

Danny (12:16.494)

It’s more about how you can effectively use it in retirement. And then we have to ask ourselves, number two, we have to ask ourselves, what questions and concerns do I have?

When should I take social security? That’s a big one for a lot of our clients. It’s gonna be one of your largest retirement income sources for most people. How can I give to a charity or a church in a tax efficient way? What if I wanna leave a legacy for my kids one day? How do I do that? So we break these many areas and these many plans down. These are individual subsets of plans for each different,

kind of planning topic along the way. They’re not comprehensive by any means, but they are different mini plans that I like to have included on this one page financial plan that you can work through. So like we talked about your purpose plan, your why, what you want to do in retirement, that’s where we start off at. You know, a lot of our clients,

you really have to think about how you’re gonna spend your day because it’s one of the struggles that a lot of retirees face. They go from a working 40 hours a week for 40 years with a definitive schedule and process of going throughout their day. And then all of a sudden, they just stop cold turkey. Then they don’t know what to do when they have to get to a point where they have unlimited time or unlimited capacity.

So we’ve got to have a plan for that and we got to know how we’re going to spend our time and what we’re going to do every single day. The next category is going to be the income plan. This is where we develop out how you’re going to go about taking your assets and turn them into a steady retirement paycheck. In our firm, we like to do a three bucket income strategy.

Danny (14:26.734)

using our income guardrails system and our income guardrails method. We’d like to have a certain amount of money in cash, certain amount of money in bonds and fixed assets, and then our other assets and stocks. And we like to segment these out by different time periods. But basically you’re building out an income plan that meets your specific income needs. What are your living expenses gonna be?

What is your discretionary spending and how much are you wanting to spend on a monthly basis? Then we have to figure out you’re gonna be spending X every single month in retirement and we have this much in assets, is retirement possible? And are we able to retire the way that we want to? So when we’re developing this,

three income bucket plan using our income guardrails, it’s gonna allow us to know if we have enough. And how can we integrate our social security decision and our social security income into that. So at the end of the income plan, we know exactly what our retirement income’s gonna be and how much is gonna be coming from our investment accounts. And it’s coming in a way that is sustainable.

over a 30 or 40 year period of time. The next piece we need to look at is the investment plan. The reason I like to list this one after the income plan is that we’re going back to our three bucket strategy and we want to make sure we have our plan for income before we identify on how we want to invest. A lot of people say, I’m going to have a 60 -40 portfolio in retirement because that’s just the general rule of thumb.

but it may not be necessarily right for you. Everyone has a different risk capacity, meaning we need to take in terms of how much risk we should be taking in retirement. If your income is fixed, meaning you have a pension, Social Security, maybe you have a real estate income coming in, or anything else, and you don’t need to take any money out of your portfolio, well potentially,

Danny (16:52.718)

That means you could be fairly aggressive because you’re not actually needing to pull assets out of your portfolio every month. This means you have an increased amount of risk that you can take, which could be an advantage for you. But that’s not the case for everyone. Some people have to take everything they need from their investment portfolio to satisfy their retirement income needs, which means,

they have to make sure they accommodate all of that correctly. And that’s where the three bucket strategy or the income plan goes to help inform our investment plan. So we have to develop the income plan before we develop the investment plan.

Now, we’re also gonna be looking at what different asset classes do we own? What fees are we paying on our investment accounts? And what’s our asset location of all of our different investments? We have other podcasts and episodes on asset location, but those are all the things we’re looking at in the income plan. Next, we have our tax plan. If we’re gonna be investing our money,

We need to know how we’re gonna do that in a tax efficient manner. We need to say, do we have three different account types? Do you have a Roth IRA? Do you have a traditional IRA or any sort of tax deferred accounts? And then thirdly, do we have a taxable brokerage account? If we’ve got all three of these account types, we’ve got to make sure that we have, like we talked about,

our asset location done correctly.

Danny (18:45.326)

and we want to match the account type with the correct taxation of those investments. That way we’re not paying any additional taxes every single year or in the future that we otherwise could have avoided. Having a tax plan and understanding when to do Roth conversions, how we should be investing our money effectively, and lowering our tax bill every single year are just a couple

of the things to include on the tax side of things. We just want to make sure that you have a plan for your taxes. Maybe if I can do all my conversions before I take Social Security, that means I’m not going to have very much tax on my Social Security benefits in the future, assuming very little other income. We can also think about tax loss harvesting, but perhaps even more importantly,

tax gain harvesting. All of these things kind of wrap up into a tax plan and just give us different ideas on why we want to do this or why perhaps we should not do other things. Remember, these are all specific things to your individual situation. And we’re not necessarily looking at your taxes this year or next.

But you have to look at your total retirement tax bill. What are the total amount of taxes you’re going to pay over a 30 or 40 year time horizon? And how do we go about lowering your lifetime tax bill? All right, next we want to move into and have a section on risk or your insurance plan. I like to say risk and insurance because when we think about insurance, sometimes people are like, I don’t want to buy insurance.

Well, insurance is not the solution for all of your risk, but there are a few things to consider. So we have to think about Medicare at 65. You’re gonna get part A and part B. But what about Medigap versus a Medicare Advantage plan? We have to do an analysis there to figure out what the best solution for you specifically is and why one might be better for you individually compared to your friend.

Danny (21:12.814)

your family or your neighbor, or whoever you’re talking to about this. You might end up choosing different plans. Then we have to think about pre -65 insurance. If you decide to retire early, what are you gonna do about insurance from 58 to 65? We have to come up a plan for that and determine what the estimated cost and build that in to your retirement budget. Next, we have to think about long -term care.

and long -term care insurance. Is this something that we need or perhaps want? I’m a fan of using asset -based long -term care insurance to help cover the cost of long -term care. So those are some of the things we need to think about and diagnose when it comes to our insurance. All right, we’ll move on to the estate plan. This might be one of the most important mini plans, but a lot of people ignore it.

and kind of defer it into the future because they don’t maybe see the value in it or they think, hey, this isn’t gonna happen to me right now, but it’ll happen to me later. I work with people all the time and I see the negative effects of not having an estate plan. If you ask anyone who’s going through an estate and trying to figure out where all the assets go,

Who gets what? Every single time you’d probably hear them say, you need an estate plan and you probably need a trust. So we need to make sure that you have all of your healthcare powers of attorney, your directives are all lined up so that your family doesn’t have to make those decisions for you in the dark. We wanna have it all written down. We wanna have it all laid out.

So we know and we can say out loud, here’s what’s gonna happen with my money, with my assets and my life. Everything that I’ve done. Here’s who’s gonna get what and here’s when they’re gonna get it. And here’s how much they’re going to get. If you can do that while you’re alive right now, it’s gonna save your family so much heartache and a headache.

Danny (23:41.422)

Because if it’s done now and you explain it to them and everybody knows what their role is and what they need to do, then everything is going to go smoother. And in the end, it’s going to end up costing you a lot less. An estate plan is huge to have and a lot of people I find do not have one. Or if they do have one, it’s 10 or 20 years old. So you have to make sure.

that you get it updated, and you kind of list out the things here on your one page plan that you need to check on and update in this estate section. So depending upon the couple and the situation, there could be additional sections for different planning areas and different things. So what do we need to do right now, today, over the next three years?

to get started on these items. What do we need to do to simplify our accounts? How do we consolidate them? A lot of times we want to lay out a plan to combine our accounts together. We may have three or four different IRAs or different 401ks. And then the last and most important section that’s there would be the next steps. And sometimes this overflows into a second page, but don’t really get hung up on that. But the principle really remains the same.

We want to create a short list of the most important things that will set us in the right direction for our retirement. There’s really no set amount of time in terms of how long this is going to take. It could take you a day, a week, or even perhaps a month to really just dive in and digest what’s important to you and why you’re trying to build out this one page plan. The hard part is doing the work.

But once you come out of the other side and actually have these things listed out on a piece of paper, you’ll really find that it’s gonna give you peace of mind and confidence about your retirement and the possibility that it’s gonna give you the exact clarity and steps you need that you probably wouldn’t have gotten any other way. I or any other financial planner can send you 40 pages.

Danny (26:05.166)

of a software analysis, but like we said, just because it’s longer and more detailed, that may not give you the confidence you need. I found that one of the biggest ingredients in all of retirement and a successful retirement is having the confidence in your plan because that gives you the confidence to go out there and spend your money and do all the fun things that you want to do. It’s not so much knowing everything,

is not so much making sure you have all the I’s dotted and all the T’s crossed. The problem is a lot of people end up not retiring simply because they don’t have the confidence to do it. And they just work one more year and one more year and one more year. But if we can increase your confidence rather than give you all these different things you need to know and all these different nuances and figure everything out to create certainty as best we can, then we know.

that we’ve done the right thing. What we’re really trying to do is set the direction of your retirement. Here’s the way we need to go and where we’re going to figure out what to do in each step of the way. What you’ll find when you do that is you’ll have the confidence to actually pull the plug and go retire, enjoy retirement, and make sure that you’re covering all of these things that I mentioned here.

on this one page plan. You’re evaluating them each step of the way to make sure you do the best thing for your unique situation. So here’s what I want to do. I want to show you an example of a one page plan and what it looks like and how I build these. You can do whatever you’d like with this sample. You can kind of take it and model it on your own. Or if you’d like to use it,

as an example of what we do with our clients and come in and talk to us about it, that’s something you can do as well. So in the show notes, we’ve attached a copy of this one page plan. And remember, this is a sample version and condensed version. It’s not everything you need to do. But what this does is hopefully send you an idea or a list of all the things.

Danny (28:29.678)

that you need to be thinking about in retirement. So I’m gonna give you a little bit of a behind the scenes of what we go through with our clients when someone comes in to meet with us and wants to hire us as their advisor. We go through this same one page financial plan process when we are taking clients through our retirement assessment process. We create their own one page plan.

to help set the direction of what they’re trying to do and how we can accomplish it together. And we like to do this before someone actually becomes a client and starts paying us money.

I like to show the ideas and the ways that we can help someone before they ever begin paying us any fees. I think it’s hard for you as a consumer to really understand which advisors are good or really know what they can even do for you. That’s why we like to take clients through our retirement assessment and show them this. That way you can get a good proper assessment of our firm and how we work with clients.

before you ever start paying us any fees. All right, that is the end of this episode. If nothing else, I hope you learned today that simple is more powerful than chaotic and detailed and over analyzing. And then having a one page plan will give you the peace of mind and set the direction for your future retirement. I’m gonna leave you with this one thought to kind of wrap everything else up.

Simplicity leads to clarity, clarity leads to confidence, and confidence leads to action. Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode. I look forward to talking with you again next week. Thank you for listening to another episode of the Limitless Retirement Podcast. If you want to see how Gudorf Financial Group can help you get the most out of your money, go to goodorfinancial .com.

Danny (30:43.758)

This is where you can schedule a 20 minute call to see how our firm can help prepare a free retirement assessment. Please remember, nothing we discuss on this podcast is intended to serve as advice. You should always consult a financial, legal, or tax professional that is familiar with your unique circumstances.

before making any financial decisions.

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