Retiring in Style: Maintaining Retirement Income Requires Smart Planning. (Investment Strategies)

By Brown, Carmen | Black Enterprise, March 2002 | Go to article overview
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Retiring in Style: Maintaining Retirement Income Requires Smart Planning. (Investment Strategies)


Brown, Carmen, Black Enterprise


When Baltimore transplant Charlotte H. Brown retired from her job at the Bank of New York three years ago, she was a 57-year-old divorcee with no regrets. With an IRA rollover valued at $350,000, which generates income of about $35,000 annually, Brown embraced a life of leisure, extensive travel, and relaxation between visits with her two grown children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. However, ennui soon set in, so in 1999 Brown started both The Brooklyn Achievers investment club and launched Garments of Distinction, a small side-business that sells African-themed garments.

Dissatisfied with her financial planner, Brown was relieved to meet Genie L. Zeigler, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, who not only attended St. Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, as Brown did, but who also conducted financial seminars there, too. Zeigler's strategy was to create a financial plan that focused on asset allocation, risk reduction, estate planning, and wealth preservation. "As a retiree, Charlotte's primary objective is to maintain her pre-retirement lifestyle without depleting her principal," explains Ziegler.

Zeigler devised a customized investment discipline that has met Brown's income and growth objectives. Brown's asset allocation consists of 45% stocks, 45% fixed income, and 10% cash or cash equivalents. Her portfolio includes a well-diversified mix of growth securities, such as General Electric (NYSE: GE), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). In order to ensure a steady stream of income, Zeigler recommended fixed income investments such as a government-backed bond (GNMA), yielding 7.

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