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DREAM Retirement Process

DREAM Retirement Process

We define retirement as being who you want to be, doing what you want to do, spending time with who you want to spend time with and making the impact you want to make while being protected from life’s uncertainties.

With that in mind, we have created the simple, four-step DREAM Retirement Process:

Retirement Planning – Where do I start?

By Beverly Bertram and Michelle Bertram

“I know I need a retirement plan, but where do I start?” asked the Smiths, a retiring professional couple.

That’s a very good question, something we have heard quite often over the years in our work with retirees and those planning to retire. That is why we created the DREAM Retirement Process.

Many people think of retirement planning just in terms of numbers: How much do I need to have saved for retirement; how much income do I need to generate in retirement? But we believe a DREAM Retirement is about more than just numbers.

We look are retirement as this: Becoming who you want to be, doing the things you want to do, spending time with those you want to spend time with and having the impact you want to have while being protected from life’s uncertainties. Our DREAM Retirement Process is a four-step process based on that foundation.

1. Paint Your DREAM Picture.

Do you remember the pictures of the little boy in the doctor’s office? The artist who painted them is Norman Rockwell. What we ask everyone to do as the first step in our DREAM Retirement Process is to paint a Rockwell of your future. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be with? What would a great retirement look like to you? A clear picture is the starting point for a good plan.

2. Identify Obstacles Both Seen and Unseen.

 “Some of these obstacles are easy to see,” said Mr. Wilson, a retiring business owner, “but how do I identify obstacles that are unseen?” That is a million-dollar question. The fact is, most retirees and pre-retirees are not aware of some of the obstacles that face them in retirement. This is why it is important to walk these steps with a professional advisor who works with people just like you every day. They have firsthand knowledge of what obstacles their clients face. You can, in essence, learn from other people’s experiences and identify obstacles before they become a problem.

3. Create Your DREAM Blueprint.

If you had 100 people design their dream house, chances are you would have 100 different blueprints when they were done. The fact is, we are all a little different. What might be right for one person is not right for another. This is why it is important to design a DREAM Retirement blueprint that is unique to you. Just as someone wants to build their dream home doesn’t use a prefab design, if you want to create a DREAM Retirement, you can’t use a cookie-cutter financial plan.

4. Outline Actions to Take.

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” – Joel A. Barker

In order for your Retirement DREAM to become a reality, you will have to take action. The key is knowing what actions to take. To do something just to do something is really action without vision. That is why the action steps are the last step of the process. We first need to determine where we want to go, what is in our way, what is our plan and then take action. If we skip any of the previous steps, our actions may just be passing time, getting us nowhere. However, if we complete the first three steps but don’t take action, your DREAM Retirement stays just that, a dream.

These four easy steps are the pathway to creating a DREAM Retirement … to becoming who you want to be, doing what you want to do, spending your time with who you want to be with and making the impact you want to make!

Beverly Bertram and Michelle Bertram are financial advisors, insurance professionals, consultants and the creators of the DREAM Retirement Process. Bev and Michelle can be reached at 608.987.1511.

We are an independent financial services firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of investment and insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.


Listen to Michelle talk about the first part of the DREAM retirement process here and the second part here.


Please do not put off future planning

It is important to feel you have control over your future. At Bertram Financial, we offer our experience and knowledge to design a specific plan of action that helps you work toward your financial independence.

To schedule a time to discuss your financial future and the possible role of insurance or investment products in your financial strategy, contact us at or call us at 608.987.1511 today!

We are an independent financial services firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of investment and insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

Insurance services and products are offered through Bertram Financial Group LLC and Michelle E. Bertram LLC. Investment advice offered through Bertram Financial Advisor Services LLC, member FINRA & SIPC and Redhawk Wealth Advisor, Inc. respectively. Redhawk Wealth Advisors Inc. is an SEC-Registered Investment Adviser.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. None of the information contained on this website shall constitute an offer to sell or solicit any offer to buy a security or any insurance product.

*Any references to protection benefits or steady and reliable income streams on this website refer only to fixed insurance products. They do not refer, in any way, to securities or investment advisory products. Annuity guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Annuities are insurance products that may be subject to fees, surrender charges and holding periods which vary by insurance company. Annuities are not FDIC insured.

The information and opinions contained in any of the material requested from this website are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. They are given for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual's situation.