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Rekenthaler Report

Your Ideal Retirement Number Is Zero

The neglected subject of liability management.

Pay Offs
You've surely seen ING's advertising campaign, “What's your number?” It features actors toting giant orange signs that represent the amount of money they will need at the time of their retirement. The commercials are goofily memorable and effectively deliver the company's message: Plan for retirement.  

They do, however, ask the question from the wrong perspective--at least according to Michael Falk, keynote speaker of one of last week's Morningstar Investment Conference sessions. ING inquires about assets. Falk argues that the better approach is to begin with debt. The ideal retirement number for liabilities is zero--no mortgage, no credit card rollover, no unpaid loans.