Retirement Tips from Henry “Bud” Hebeler: A Model and Inspiration for Retirement Planning

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Bud Hebeler was an early contributor to NewRetirement and an advocate for actively planning and managing your money and always offered sage advice. He died on August 21, 2017 in Bellevue, Washington at the age of 84. His insights stand the test of time.

Bud Hebeler
Bud loved skiing, particularly in Utah

A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bud spent most of his working life at Boeing Aerospace Company where he became president of the most profitable part of the corporation with major accomplishments and innovations.

Bud retired from Boeing at the age of 55.  However, he adopted a second calling as an enthusiastic and tireless evangelist for personal finance and retirement planning education — developing free calculators and an advice column on and writing for many esteemed publications like the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, AAII and others.  He has been interviewed and quoted in almost every major financial outlet.

He was a clear unbiased voice around financial literacy and he helped millions of people plan for a more secure and wealthier retirement.

Here are a 8 of the most important retirement and estate planning lessons from Bud:

1. Roll Up Your Sleeves and Really Plan Your Retirement

Bud embodied what we hope to help people achieve with their own retirements. He achieved financial security and carefully managed his retirement finances.

Bud took the time to deeply understand esoteric issues around financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, taxes, investing, annuities and many other topics which he translated into helpful articles and tools that were used by millions of people.

He had a clear point of view and was a critical thinker – he had a strong belief in how to approach problems and solve them – he wasn’t shy in sharing what he liked or thought could use improvement in the spirit of making things better faster.

  • Not everyone needs to dive as deeply into retirement planning as Bud did.  However, we should all take an active interest in our retirement finances.  Retirement is the only time in our lives when we are living for a long period of time off of a relatively fixed set of assets and we can’t really afford to get this wrong.

2. Be Conservative if You Want to Have a Stress Free Retirement

Bud urged people to do serious retirement financial planning with conservative inputs.

In one of his last articles for NewRetirement, he wrote: “The future will not turn out the way we may expect because we don’t know how long we will live much less what the rates will be for taxes, returns and inflation, but the ability to be financially stress free in retirement may turn out one of the biggest blessings you can have.”

  • Consider what would happen to your finances with conservative returns and bad economic news.  This knowledge can help you plan a more secure future.

3. Seek Professional Advice When Needed

While Bud was largely a do it yourself retirement planner, he knew when to seek professional retirement advice from a financial advisor — especially when he was just getting started.

He said, “I give large credit to the professional retirement advice I had when still working with regard to investments, specifically to buy low cost index stock funds and actual bonds, not bond funds, for our fixed-income allocations—and make a financial plan to determine how much we should save.”

4. Your Retirement Plan is for You, Your Spouse and Any Other Dependents

Bud was keenly aware that he needed a retirement plan that enabled him to thrive, but also one that would support the surviving spouse.

5. Have a Purpose, Support a Worthwhile Cause

Bud wasn’t driven by money. He wanted financial security and he wanted to be efficient – but once he achieved “enough” for his household and extended family he shifted his focus to working on things that helped other people since he felt that was a better use of his time.

He was generous with his time and expertise — always writing new articles and willing to write detailed responses to people’s retirement questions, typically overnight.

  • Having a purpose in retirement is scientifically proven to keep you mentally, physically and emotionally healthier.

6. Know What is Truly Important to You

Family was always first and foremost in Bud’s mind.  He was careful to purposely make time to enjoy skiing and time with his loved ones.

  • Prioritize what is important to you and always make sure you have time for that.

7. Think Beyond Retirement

Bud did not just plan his own retirement, he was careful to make sure his survivors would be comfortable after he was gone and he thoughtfully gave conservative gifts to his children, grandchildren and charities both during his life and via his estate.

8. Make Sure Your Loved Ones Know What to Do After You Are Gone

Bud was certainly the consummate planner.  He even wrote his own obituary and had lots of advice for how to make sure it would be easy for his heirs to carry on after he was gone.

  • Most experts recommend that you have at least four documents prepared for your estate plan. Bud has listed at least 34 documents he recommends you leave behind to make it easier for your loved ones.

Bud will be sorely missed.  However, we hope to keep his retirement planning ideas alive so that you can have a secure future too.

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