Sound Planning
John Shimp of Shimp, Townsley & Associates helps clients obtain a realistic plan for the future
by Phil Gianficaro

People know they have to save for retirement. For everything else they don’t know about saving for retirement, there’s John Shimp.

A financial advisor and managing director of Shimp, Townsley & Associates, an Ameriprise Financial practice in Langhorne, Shimp and his team of financial advisors have the answers to clients’ questions about seeking financial security when their working days have come to an end.

“We help clients enjoy life more confidently knowing they can balance the financial demands of today and the needs of tomorrow,” says Shimp, who has been a financial advisor since 2002. “People know they have to save for retirement. But what they don’t realize is they have to save enough to provide reliable income. Many of them say their expenses will be lower when they retire, and maybe they will, but things usually pick up, like vacations and traveling. They usually don’t spend less.”

Brendan O’Reilly, like Shimp, has heard the promises clients make about “cutting back” during retirement. The reality, he says, doesn’t match the promise.

“In my time in this business, I’ve learned they don’t reduce their lifestyle,” says O’Reilly, a financial advisor at Shimp, Townsley & Associates since 2005. “It doesn’t happen that way. They don’t go from eating steak to eating hamburger. We show them what they need to do to achieve their goals.”

At Shimp, Townsley & Associates, an experienced team of financial advisors takes a comprehensive approach to planning for clients’ entire financial lives. The advisors work together to help clients overcome their stresses over money, help them make better financial decisions, and save to achieve.

“There’s more to a client’s financial life than balances on a statement,” Shimp says. “We help them plan for their dreams and goals and help make sure they have the financial resources to accomplish them. We help them create a vision for their future and execute on that vision.”

Retirement is a tree with many branches, consisting of not only raw savings but also the rate of inflation, health insurance, housing, utilities, transportation, taxes and debts. It also considers life expectancy and, in many cases, saving for both retirement and children’s education.

“Saving for both retirement and your child’s education is a big challenge,” Shimp says. “We lay out and explain to our clients what they need to help accomplish that goal. I tell them we can do a strategy for retirement, but it can also be available for education, if they need it. We can do that through a planning process. Nothing we do is boilerplate; it’s customized. But we do tell clients, ‘If you can’t save for both, remember: There are no loans for retirement.’”

Shimp emphasizes retirement and financial independence isn’t a do-it-yourself project. It requires strategies and knowledge to help clients accumulate enough assets along the way and then effectively convert those assets into income.

“Each generation is facing unique challenges that must be addressed personally,” Shimp says. “‘One size fits all’ is not the way to achieve financial success.”

As financial advisors, the team at Shimp, Townsley & Associates helps clients plan for retirement that may be 30 or 40 years away when, as Shimp notes, “some people can’t see past lunch.” He also notes that retirement isn’t a one-time event; it’s a whole different life experience.

Although clients know they want to retire, many aren’t cognizant of some of the impediments. An example is the aforementioned longevity. People can outlive the retirement savings they calculated they would need.

“We help clients build a portfolio to create income,” Shimp says. “While saving assets are important, when you’re retiring, it’s making sure you have the income to do things you want to do, and also cover essentials and discretionary expenses. People understand they have to save but don’t realize all the things they’ll need. We help them understand what they’ll need.”

Shimp defines the retirement process in three stages: the go-go years; the slow-go years; and the no-go years. The first is when people are working, earning and spending; the second is when they slow down that spending; and the third is when they stop doing everything because they’re fearful of running out of money.

“We want to make sure clients have enough money to have money in the third stage,” Shimp says. “What’s the point saving your whole life if you can’t enjoy life?

“The biggest thing is, we want clients to be able to do what they want to do, and what they thought they could do, in retirement—a confident retirement,” he continues. “That’s big in our firm: to live life confidently. No one has the same goals. People have particular goals, so we customize a game plan for them and also revisit that game plan because it’s not a one-time deal; it’s ongoing and goes into future generations as well.”

Shimp, Townsley & Associates subscribes to Ameriprise’s media campaign and motto: “Be Brilliant.” It illustrates how personal comprehensive planning can help people achieve.

“One of the biggest is retirement,” Shimp says. “But there’s a lot of life between now and then.”

O’Reilly adds that the Ameriprise television commercials currently on air focus on clients’ dreams of retirement.

“Some want to volunteer in retirement,” he says. “A guy’s an accountant who wants to volunteer. Another is a teacher who becomes a potter. People can do what they hope to do when they’ve planned correctly and have a personal passion for a pursuit.”

While some strategies Shimp offers to his clients are relatively new, he also shares with clients sage advice imparted to him many years ago by his great-great aunt.

“She told me, ‘The sooner you save, the more you’ll have,’ ” he says. “She also said, ‘Pay yourself first and everything else will follow.’ What that means is, if you get into the habit of saving early, stay with it.”

Given the current economic climate, where salaries have stagnated in many professions, many Americans fear they may not be able to retire. Shimp navigates those clients through these uncertain times.

“There a fear of the unknown,” he says. “By putting the process on paper, we make them understand, ‘Here’s where you are, and [here’s] where you want to be.’ And if they’re OK with where they’re going to be, we give them a focused direction.

“The most direct point between two dots is a straight line,” he continues. “But life doesn’t always go that way. When it doesn’t, by working together, we figure out a way to get back on the original path or find a new Point B. We do everything we can to help our clients make their dreams come true.”

Shimp says there is a tremendous reward he and his team of financial advisors receive when they help clients achieve their retirement dreams.

“It’s a great feeling when we help them achieve those goals,” he says. “We tell them we will make the complex simple and put them on the right track. When we do that for our clients, and we see that look of relief, there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

Shimp, Townsley & Associates
A financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
1717 Langhorne-Newtown Road, Suite 125
Langhorne, PA 19047

Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results.

Investment advisory services and products are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.

Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC.

© 2015 Ameriprise Financial, Inc., All rights reserved.

photography by Allure West Studios