The 3 Pillars of Successful Retirement Plan

A Simple Checklist to Kick-Start Your New Work-Free Life

If you’re within 5 years of retirement, you’re in a critical period – if you take action now, you may still be able to make up for past mistakes. The decisions you make now will define your retirement lifestyle and your ability to retire successfully. This checklist is designed to highlight your strengths and weaknesses for retirement preparation.

Go through each step of this checklist and take action. As you go, jot down any questions or concerns you may have. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want some pro guidance, schedule a chat with me.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” —Colin Powell

Pillar #1


A Holistic Income Strategy

Why should you get a professional opinion of your income strategy?

Turning your savings into enough income to last the rest of your life is complicated — and frequent rule changes make it complicated to navigate alone.

Would you like help planning for your own retirement?

Schedule a Retirement Success Session

Pillar #2

A Market Readiness Strategy

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” —Helen Keller
  • I have completed a risk questionnaire and understand all the risks I’m taking with my retirement savings.
  • I understand that my investing strategy will need to change in retirement so I don’t run out of money later in life.
  • My income strategy includes guaranteed income to help protect my lifestyle from market volatility.
  • I understand “sequence-of-returns” risk and that withdrawing too much when my portfolio has lost value can have a lasting negative effect on my retirement.
  • I have run multiple portfolio scenarios with different growth and inflation assumptions and am confident that my withdrawal needs are “safe.”
  • My income plan is flexible, and I’ve planned for the inevitable ups and downs of the stock market.
  • A financial professional has reviewed my market plan and assumptions to identify any problems.

Why should you get a professional opinion of your market strategy?

I have access to sophisticated software that lets me “stress-test” your portfolio under different market conditions to find the weak points and suggest solutions.

Would you like help planning for your own retirement?

Book a FREE 1-on-1 Retirement Success Session

Pillar #3

A Forward-Thinking Tax Strategy

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” —Marie Curie

  • I have reviewed my strategies in light of recent changes in tax legislation to make sure I’m using every opportunity to potentially lower my taxes now and in the future.
  • I understand how Taxable, Tax-Deferred, and Tax-Free wealth buckets work, and my drawdown strategy helps maximize my after-tax income.
  • I understand that Medicare and Social Security depend on the future fiscal stability of the U.S.
  • I understand that the debt held by the U.S. is expected to break historical records by the 2030s (surpass 100% of GDP) and that my future tax rates are likely to increase.2
  • I am staying abreast of changing tax rules and working with a financial professional to proactively plan for future taxes.

Why should you get a professional opinion of your tax strategy?

Simple: don’t give Uncle Sam a dime more than you have to. Tax laws change constantly and your strategies need to keep up.

Would you like help planning for your own retirement?

Book a FREE 1-on-1 Retirement Success Session

Esmond Pabilona, CFP® Wela Financial Advisory


(210) 530-9599


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I can help you get clarity about your retirement plans and help you create the roadmap to a successful work-free life.


You might be thinking to yourself: this is too overwhelming to deal with right now. Before you set this checklist aside for later, I want to remind you of something: you’ve already made the decision to take action. The first step is the hardest, and you’ve already taken it. Just taking that step puts you much farther ahead than most people.

It’s okay not to have all the answers to the questions presented in this checklist. What’s important is identifying where you still need to take action. If you need some advice or encouragement, please schedule a chat with me.

Even if you feel comfortable with your current retirement plan, I’d recommend getting a professional to find out if the changes from the new retirement regulations impact your current strategy.



Esmond Pabilona, CFP®
Wela Financial Advisory
(210) 530-9599

Would you like help planning for your own retirement?
Book a FREE 1-on-1 Retirement Success Session!

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Sources & Disclosures




Risk Disclosure: Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This material is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information; no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability, or usefulness of any information. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. For illustrative use only.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Brent Forrest & Associates, LLC. dba Wela Financial Advisory (Wela) is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered specific investment advice, does not take into consideration your specific situation, and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein.