JourneyGuide… It all began with a question

My Journey with JourneyGuide

Two years ago, JourneyGuide™ wasn’t even a blip on the radar. Tim Ash had no idea I had experience in portfolio modeling … and I had no idea he would ask me a question that would change the course of the future for so many people.

JourneyGuide has gone from an idea, to an Excel spreadsheet, to a soon-to-be-launched online tool that is truly changing the way people think about and plan for retirement. It’s been incredible to be a part of something so truly revolutionary.

Starting the Journey

Back in early 2015, Tim Ash and Jeff Rocke went to a meeting in Atlanta, where they were talking to a group of advisors about longevity risk. They agreed a lot had been written in the media and academia about the positive impacts of annuities, but still nobody had “proven” annuities worked to address longevity.

To make a long story short, Tim asked Jeff and me to “prove or disprove an annuity makes sense in retirement planning.” We stepped up to the challenge and what started as a couple-week project turned into something huge.

We found that, sure enough, annuities definitely helped address longevity risk, as well as sequence-of-return risk – two of the biggest factors that impact retirement income withdrawals. It wasn’t long before we knew we had to share our findings with advisors.

Jeff and I started running single cases. Using an Excel model, we found the after-tax, after-inflation income the clients could sustain to a particular age – for a lot of advisors, that’s not an easy number to calculate. That’s been the main focus of JourneyGuide and it’s something that sets the tool apart from a lot of other software out there.

But, we’re constantly looking at the next step in planning: What can we do to improve that number? Annuities aren’t the only factor that can improve sustainable income levels – we’ve also looked at retirement age, Social Security, asset mix, etc., to help find that optimal mixture for clients. 

Making an Impact

I’d say three things make me most excited about JourneyGuide:

  1. We’re making a difference for people. We’re helping people have confidence in their retirement plans, which is huge.
  2. We’re taking what’s been written about in academic theory and making it a reality. We’re confirming what a lot of people have already said and putting it into practice.
  3. Because the tool is able to do the calculations so quickly, advisors can get a better, more holistic perspective on retirement income – they can see and adjust all the different facets at the same time. What used to take days can now be done in minutes, which means advisors can give better planning advice to more clients.

I have to admit, this is the most fun that I’ve ever had in my career. We’ve invented something that’s truly unique and can have a huge impact on people’s lives.

Every day, we’re learning something new about retirement planning, and we’re finding ways to incorporate that knowledge into something that’s easy for advisors to use – and easy for clients to understand.

To see more of what I’ve been up to the past two years – and keep up with where we’re heading in the years to come – visit or follow JourneyGuide on LinkedIn.

Feel free to reach out to me directly for more information. I’d be happy to tell you more about this powerful tool.

Michael Smith

DISCLAIMER: All content on the JourneyGuide blog is provided for informational purposes only. Any statements or opinions expressed throughout this website are those of JourneyGuide and are subject to change without notice. The information provided on this website is from sources JourneyGuide believes to be reliable, but the accuracy of such information cannot be guaranteed. Nothing provided on this website is intended to be personal investment advice, nor does JourneyGuide evaluate or consider the specific financial circumstances of those who read this website. Any references to securities or insurance products are for informational purposes only. Past performance is not indicative of future results.