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The Thrive By Design Retirement System™

All the fiduciary planning, resources, assistance, and one-on-one meetings you need to retire with confidence and clarity.

Our mission is to:

The 8 Critical Pieces to a Retirement Plan

  1. Income Planning
  2. Protection and Safe Money Planning
  3. Asset Growth Planning
  4. Tax Reduction Planning
  5. Health Care Planning
  6. Estate Planning
  7. Legacy and Family Planning
  8. Fulfillment and Experience Planning

Are You Missing Key Pieces of Your Retirement Plan?

At Thrive Retirement Planning, we have found that those who feel the greatest uncertainty about their retirement often have one thing in common: they are missing key pieces of their retirement plan.

Carl Woolston, ChFC® created the Thrive By Design Retirement System™ to address, integrate, and simplify the eight critical components that we believe every successful retirement plan needs to include.

Often, we see financial professionals may address one or two of these components, but it takes all eight of these components working together in alignment to create a truly successful and thriving retirement.

there are many retirement obstacles

You Probably Have Retirement Questions

These concerns are completely normal. Most families don't Have all the answers. they are often unsure how to make essential decisions.

Critical Questions to answer before you Retire

You’ve worked your entire life saving and investing so that you’ll be prepared to retire. As it gets on the horizon, you realize it’s a lot more complicated than you thought. There are dozens of questions to answer and each can have far reaching and unintended consequences.

Social Security – When should you retire? At what age should you start your benefit? How much Social Security will you get? How does the spouses benefit work? Do you have to start Medicare at the same time? What will your spouse get if you pass away first?

Replacing Your Working Income – How much income will you need to live on? Should you take a lump sum benefit from your pension? Are there ways to guarantee retirement income? How do you turn your investments into income? Does it matter which accounts you pull from first?

Retirement couple stressed about when to take social security and reduce their taxes

You May Be Anxious Or Worried About Making The Retirement Jump

It's essential that you create a tax minimization strategy with your retirement accounts and income

Essential tax Decisions will need to be made before and during retirement

Many accountants or CPAs who do tax returns for families look back at the prior year, rather than looking forward at future years. In addition, they often aren’t aware of the complexity of all your investments and income strategies. If you’re not looking at your entire retirement strategy through the eyes of tax reduction, opportunities may be missed that can make a real difference for your cash flow and net worth.

How will your Social Security be taxed? What investments should you use during retirement to reduce taxes? What strategies exist to reduce government required RMDs out of tax-deferred accounts? How do you limit the taxes to your heirs? Is it possible to create tax-free retirement income? Should you use a Roth IRA for tax planning? Should you use cash value insurance?

You'll Also Need to answer Questions about Your investments, health care, and estate planning

Investments – Should you invest differently during retirement? Should you stay in your work 401(k) or move to an IRA? How do you protect your nest egg if the market falls? How do you grow your assets and outpace inflation? Should you use a Roth IRA? 

Health Care – How do you file for Medicare? Which options are best? How will you pay for medical expenses? For assisted living or other medical challenges, should you have long-term care or self-insure?

Estate Planning – Should you put a trust in place to avoid probate? How will your investment accounts pass to your beneficiaries? Do you have health care directives and your power of attorney in place?

Having a Plan in place for health care needs is an essential part of retirement planning

Introducing The Thrive By Design Retirement System™

If you are within 10 years of retirement or already retired, and have investment and retirement assets of more than $250,000 (excluding your primary residence), this is for you.

You only get to retire once and our team wants to help you avoid any costly mistakes. Some decisions have unintended consequences.

We believe traditional retirement planning is outdated and narrowly focused. Many financial professionals only talk about the money. Isn’t life more than money? 

When we meet, our team will create strategies for all the key financial pieces of your retirement, while also helping you focus on what matters most to you; often family, relationships, giving back, and fulfillment.

Hi, I'm Carl Woolston, ChFC®, Founder of Thrive Retirement Planning

My mission is to help you confidently retire, grow your assets, and protect your wealth. I'm passionately committed to your family success and retirement fulfillment.

Over sixteen years ago, as my parents approached retirement, I saw them struggle with when to take Social Security and how to get the highest benefit possible. They wrestled with how and when they would retire. They also worried about how to protect their nest egg from down markets and how to serve a church mission. Watching them struggle with preparing and then transitioning into retirement led me to the financial services industry and a passion for working with families grappling with these same decisions.

Since then, I’ve immersed myself in this industry. Over the years, I became passionately convinced that the greatest result occurs when clients gain an understanding of all their possible financial options through holistic fiduciary planning (a fiduciary advisor is legally obligated to do what is best for a client, not for themselves). When families approach retirement and make optimal Social Security, income planning, investment, and tax minimization decisions, families can thrive because they can have less anxiety and worry about their retirement.   

Whether you’re preparing to retire or already retired, my purpose is to cut through the chaos so you have clarity and confidence now and throughout your retirement years. I do this through the Thrive By Design Retirement System™.

steps to our planning process

How the Thrive By Design Retirement System™ Works

All the fiduciary planning, resources, assistance, and one-on-one meetings you need to retire with confidence and clarity.

Strategy #1

Create an Income Plan

We’ll work with you to create a customized income plan that addresses when to start Social Security, when to retire, and how much money you’ll need monthly during retirement. We’ll then assist you to determine if an income gap exists and which investments to draw from first.

Your income plan will give you clarity about when and how to retire. It will show you how to coordinate Social Security, pensions, annuities, real estate, and investments, while also focusing on tax efficiency.

Strategy #2

Design an Investment Plan

As we work together, we’ll propose an investment plan that includes protecting safe money needed in the near future as well as strategies for long-term growth that hedge against inflation. Using our three-bucket retirement system, we’ll prioritize investments by when you need them and the appropriate risk. Whether you have several million dollars or smaller amounts, you need a plan to protect your money from down markets. Your personalized investment plan is designed around your specific goals and risk tolerance. It will also address other potential obstacles such as long-term care costs, emergencies, providing for a spouse if you’re gone, and passing on assets to future generations. 

Strategy #3

Construct a Strategy Around Reducing Retirement Taxes

We’ll help you construct a strategy around reducing retirement taxes. The risk of taxes going up in the future and ever-changing tax laws provide a potential threat to retirement portfolios and quality of life. We’ve identified over twenty-one different tax strategies that could be utilized during retirement and depending on your specific situation, we’ll suggest specific solutions. These include but aren’t limited to required minimum distributions when you’re 72 and older, knowing which accounts to spend down first, taking advantage of current tax rates and brackets, and understanding how Social Security is taxed. Having a plan for your specific situation that proactively takes a long-term approach to tax-reduction can have a significant impact on your retirement. Coordinating this strategy with your tax professional can also be paramount to your success.

Strategy #4

Make Decisions Around Health Care and Estate Planning

Together, we’ll weigh various options and make decisions around funding future health care needs and necessary estate planning. One of the greatest concerns for those retiring is one day becoming a burden on their children or those they love. While an eventual decline in health is inevitable, decisions around how to handle health care expenses are vital to your retirement confidence and peace of mind. In addition, we can also work with you and an attorney on estate planning decisions around trusts, wills, power of attorney, and medical directives. A trust has the potential to save heartache, headache, and money at your passing. These decisions can also provide unity and clarity to those you’ll leave behind.

Strategy #5

Legacy, Family, and Fulfillment Planning

We’ll help you create a clear vision about the legacy you want to leave and encourage you to make it happen as we meet on a regular basis to review your retirement plans. We’ll also work with you to create a future self that you’re passionate about. Retirement and end-of-life financial scenarios have the potential to unify families or divide them. We’ll do all in our power to have the legacy you leave be exactly what you want it to be. We’ll show you how to create purposeful events with those you love and introduce you to experts who can assist you in reaching your potential. We’ll make sure your goals to lead a fulfilling retirement are backed up with a plan to achieve them. Whether you want to travel, create incredible experiences with those you love, golf, or serve a mission for your church…we’ll ground your dreams in practical planning. 

How do you know if you're a good fit?​

We can provide the most value to:

Individuals and families who are within 10 years of retirement or who are already retired

Diligent savers and investors who have investment and retirement assets of more than $250,000 (excluding primary residence)

Families who value collaboration and expertise and are team players  

Our Guarantee

We'll meet one-on-one, as many times as you need, as in depth or high level as you want, as slow or fast as you're comfortable, until you feel confident in all 8 critical pieces of your retirement plan.

You won't be on your own, worrying if you're making the wrong decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Simply schedule a time for a Discovery Meeting and we’ll see if your situation matches our services. It’s a great low-key way for us to get to know each other without any pressure.

As human beings we’re very good at procrastination. This is especially true with money and retirement planning. Tax rates are some of the lowest in decades and there is real opportunity to take advantage. Meanwhile, rising national debt, pandemics, and civil unrest have the potential to create greater financial challenges if you’re unprepared.

Initially, we work with individuals and families every one to two weeks for thirty to sixty days to understand your circumstances and then create a plan. 

Once plans are in place for all eight areas of financial planning, we’ll meet one to two times per year, adapting your plans to life changes and evolving goals. We also strive to connect and inspire clients dozens of times per year. Our services and client process takes clients from retirement preparation all the way through end-of-life scenarios, then passing assets and values to the next generation. Our hope is to serve your children as well.

We are a fee-based fiduciary financial planning firm. As a fiduciary, we’re legally obligated to do what’s in your best interest. Our process is educational and collaborative, with zero pressure. Depending on the complexity of your financial situation, we may charge a financial planning fee to create your initial plan.

We may be paid on a percentage-of-assets basis, meaning that as we invest and manage your assets, we’re paid a small percentage of the assets we manage, generally around 1%. If you have investment assets of more than $500,000, we have custom pricing available. We may also use products that work well and are chosen by our clients that aren’t available through a fee-based structure. On these occasions, we may be paid a commission.

Yes, we’re a fiduciary firm who is legally and ethically required to do what’s in your best interest. That means that we are committed to putting what best for you above what’s best for us.

Absolutely, rather than focusing on a specific product or service, we specialize in helping families retire and focusing on 8 keys areas. 1) income planning, 2) protection and safe money planning, 3) asset growth planning, 4) tax reduction planning, 5) health care planning, 6) estate planning, 7) legacy and family planning, and 8) fulfillment and experience planning. 

We’re different in two main ways. First, we believe that retirement fulfilment and happiness is much more than about money, yet most advisors only discuss the money. Our focus at Thrive Retirement Planning is to have a client community and culture where family, purpose, future aspirations, travel, legacy, and much more are discussed. The second way we’re different is that we’re committed to comprehensive solutions and giving our clients options. We don’t believe one particular product or strategy works for everyone. Our goal with every client is to show them potential solutions, so that they have choices. Unfortunately, with some financial professionals it is more about making a sale and always using a specific product, no matter the client’s situation.

stop the procrastination

Let's Sit Down and Discuss Any Missing Pieces of Your Retirement Plan

As human beings we’re very good at procrastination. This is especially true with money and retirement planning. Tax rates are some of the lowest in decades and there is real opportunity to take advantage. Meanwhile, rising national debt, pandemics, and civil unrest have the potential to create greater financial challenges if you’re unprepared.

Schedule a time to talk so we can see if our services and expertise would be right for your situation.

Click the button below to schedule a time to talk, either in person or zoom. We’ll see what you’re trying to accomplish and answer any questions you may have about our process. We don’t want you to be unprepared for the next market downturn, unexpected emergency, or potential tax rate increase. 

P.S. Chances are, you would rather have financial advisor or coach that talks straight rather than beats around the bush. We’re here to help but it’s up to you to take the first step. Famous last words that you never want to say, “I wish I would have.”