Charleston Wealth Management Advisors

Charleston Wealth Management Blog

Updated: Jan 24

You are no doubt familiar with The Better Business Bureau, possibly even looking for that recognizable flame logo on a website or physical location before deciding to do business with a company. That’s because The BBB exists to allow consumers to make informed decisions about working with companies they can trust. They help you know what businesses you can trust and which ones you can’t without you having to learn the hard way, which makes them a valuable resource for consumers.

While you probably know about the BBB, you may not be aware of their Annual Business of the Year Torch Award. Each year, for each region of the country in which the BBB has Accredited Businesses, businesses are nominated after a rigorous application process and then evaluated by a panel of experienced business professionals from SCORE, Service Core of Retired Executives. The businesses are judged based on their commitment to their local community, ethical business and leadership practices that unify their organizations. One large, one medium, and one small business from each region are given the prestigious Torch Award. One local charity is also recognized and receives a $500 donation from the BBB.

For 2020, the Better Business Bureau awarded the Coastal Financial Planning Group of Charleston, SC the Small Business Torch Award for the Midlands and Lowcountry region.

The Coastal Financial Planning Group was founded in 2003 by Rick Durkee, an investment and retirement specialist with over 20 years of experience in the financial services profession.

The Coastal Financial Planning Group sets itself apart in an effort to prove trustworthy to its clients, not only by having a Certified Financial Planner on staff, but also by its ISO 9001/2015 certification, a rigorous standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system. Organizations use this standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

As independent advisors licensed as fiduciaries, Rick and the team at the Coastal Financial Planning Group purposefully take an approach that focuses on education and collaboration for all their clients and the community.

Education has been a primary emphasis from the beginning when Rick started his original morning radio show (now a podcast called Navigating Retirement) that many of you have listened to over the years. In addition to the radio show turned podcast, Rick has also developed several educational courses such as Rethink Retirement and Income Allocation that were taught at the College of Charleston’s Center for Creative Retirement prior to the Covid pandemic that shut down the College of Charleston’s North Campus.

Due to Covid pandemic restrictions, these two classes have now been made available online and on demand in a video learning series. In addition, The Annual Retirement Planning Summit, now in its 7th year, invites the community to learn from multiple local professionals regarding topics important to retirees.

Collaboration takes place first developing an understanding of the clients’ needs and goals of their particular situation and built into a written financial plan, and then with a select team of collateral professionals who provide their additional expertise in areas of tax planning, estate planning, real estate, Medicare, and other areas.

The goal of the Coastal Financial Planning Group is that after going through a discovery process focused on tax planning, income planning, and risk management, known as the “3-Step Review,” clients will be fully educated and highly confident regarding their financial plan and their family’s financial future.

This focus on trustworthy financial planning through education and collaboration, supported by an accredited process, laid the foundation for the Coastal Financial Planning Group to earn the coveted Torch Award in 2020. But it was the action taken during the early stages of the Covid pandemic that truly set Coastal Financial Planning Group apart to become a Torch Award recipient.

With many of the traditional avenues of education shut down, the Coastal Financial Planning Group worked to make all of the educational programs they had developed available online, at no cost to interested parties. This meant extensive time and effort spent in reformatting the courses, preparation of materials, website design, and recording.

The Retirement Planning Summit also went entirely virtual as well. These efforts allowed clients and the community free continued access to these educational resources when attending these events in person was impossible, and ended up making it easier! Even as Covid restrictions are eventually lifted this material will be available from anywhere at any time.

Collaboration continued with other area professionals through their appearances on the Navigating Retirement podcast, as well as the Christian Business Values podcast, also hosted by Rick, that focuses on business leaders with Christian principles in their businesses and community involvement.

Rick and the team at the Coastal Financial Planning Group would like to thank the BBB for their support of members of the BBB and the high bar they have set for keeping consumers informed.

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Have you ever started a boat trip or cruised without a captain, without a navigational course charted, or heaven forbid without a rudder or steering mechanism? If you don’t have a plan in place before it’s time to set sail (or it’s your time to retire) how can you chart a course properly to navigate the different risks, issues, and opportunities that will occur during a twenty to thirty-year or longer retirement?

Over the last twenty-plus years of working with individuals and business leaders on retirement planning, we have found that those who have followed a process in their working careers were much more successful at making proper financial decisions regarding their retirement.

For example: A surgeon must carefully follow a well-defined process to achieve a successful surgery and an architect must draft a set of building plans before the builder can start ordering materials or can begin construction.

Most people who are accustomed to following a process in their working lives can then apply those process development principles to help them easily develop their plan to achieve their retirement goals. Simply stated…Retirement planning is much more effective when you follow a well-defined process.

But, those of us who have been successful in our work lives can still feel at a loss when it comes to planning effectively for retirement because we don’t know where to begin (we don’t have a process).

You may be eager to “jump in” and get started, but how can you start if you don’t even know what questions to ask to get the information you need to start on the right track?

Here’s how…follow a process based on facts and logic instead of myths, misconceptions and incomplete information. Retirement decisions are often like squeezing toothpaste out of the tube; once you squeeze the tube, you can’t put the toothpaste back in! If you proactively develop a well-defined retirement income plan first, you can avoid making critical financial mistakes (that often cannot be reversed).

Defined Outcome Investing

What if you could define your investment results and feel confident that they were achievable within your desired time frame and also taking into account the amount of risk you are willing to take?

Defined outcome investing allows you to earmark your retirement based assets to create income and/or growth based on parameters you set for risk and return in order to achieve a high probability for success in meeting your goals for growth and income in retirement.

There are two methods of defined outcome investing:

1. Growth investing: When you are investing in your pre-retirement years you want to make sure to focus on growth investing. During your accumulation years you’re typically willing to take on more risk because you have a longer time horizon before you plan on using your money.

2. Income investing: In your retirement years however, a shift occurs from accumulation or growth of your wealth to a “spend-down“ of a portion (or all) of your retirement assets…and risk is reduced to achieve the desired income you need (your desired outcome of a well-defined retirement income plan).

Transitioning from growth investing to income investing during the retirement red zone (the 5-10 years prior to and the 5-10 years after retirement) is critical in order to increase the probability of a successful retirement where your retirement assets don't run out before you do! Having this well-defined retirement income plan (combined with a defined outcome investment plan) can also reduce market risk, longevity risk, and sequence of returns risk. These are three critical risks in retirement that must be avoided when we are withdrawing from our investments to create retirement income.

Defined Income Planning

Remember the analogy that I used in the beginning of this article with the boat without a rudder? Developing a retirement income plan before you develop strategies of how to invest will help you increase your odds for a successful retirement.

If you don’t have the navigation plan in place first, how can you possibly know which investments to steer toward to accomplish your goals?

Having a well-defined retirement income plan will incorporate your expenses, your sources of income, and your timeframe of how long the assets earmarked for retirement “spend down” should last. A well-known financial author, Anthony Robbins, has been quoted as saying “old and broke are two things I do not want to experience at the same time in retirement.” Having a well-defined income planning process that generates a written income plan (created and reviewed annually by your personal CFO or financial planner) can help you avoid many of the risks retirees face while assisting you to “chart your course” and navigate properly throughout your retirement years.

Join Rick Durkee for his weekly podcast called “Navigating Retirement” visit


On April 12th, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster renewed the state of emergency currently in place, extending it for another 15 days. The new executive order will continue the state of emergency amidst the COVID-19 outbreak until at least April 27, and maintains previous orders made by McMaster. While we are considered an “essential” business under the Governor’s orders, The Coastal Financial Planning Group continues to have most of our employees working remotely.

Rest assured that regardless of where our employees sit, they remain well equipped to perform their essential functions, and our firm remains open for business and prepared to address any needs or concerns you might have. All of our remote systems are secure and encrypted for your protection. Importantly, there is no change to our ability to:

  • Update your financial plan

  • Facilitate any trades including rebalancing

  • Invest new money or raise cash as needed

  • Process any new account paperwork or other important documents

  • Talk with you via phone, email, or virtually and answer any questions you have during this difficult time

While many of us are working remotely, we are still able to receive and process mail. We are also available via our email addresses, as well as by phone at (843) 735-5065.

We realize this is an unusual and trying time and our entire firm remains committed to helping you get through it. We hope to return to more traditional office arrangements as soon as the law allows but are grateful that our ongoing preparation and planning have placed us in a position to continue providing uninterrupted service despite these extraordinary circumstances.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are here for you.

We hope you and your families remain healthy and safe, and look forward to seeing you again in person as soon as possible.


Rick Durkee, LUTCF®

President, Founder and Chief Investment Advisor

Coastal Financial Planning Group