PLAN BYou realize, of course, that there’s a bit of a problem formulating a so-called Plan B in anything. Namely, that it generally presumes Plan A has no hope—ever–for success, and that a new plan (or even more plans after that) will fare much better when the reality is they may not  The dilemma is particularly acute when it comes to retirement issues, says Kevin F. McCormack, president of Pension Parameters Financial Services Inc., “because while it’s important knowing when to throw in a bad hand (and why), it’s also worth reminding our customers that even in inflationary times and amid stock-market gyrations, patience and stability, mixed with necessary flexibility and sound adjustments, work in any plan. But too zealously over-reacting to current investment performance and economic conditions by totally scrubbing one financial plan for another is a decision to be thought out very carefully.”

McCormack says that solid financial planning means understanding when to stay—or alter—the course. “There’s an array of innovative, cost-saving actions you can take to deal with setbacks and disappointments, and I don’t know of a single case in my career when exercising financial prudence didn’t produce a better outcome than portfolio panic.”

Though it has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject, McCormack quips that whenever the term Plan B (or C or D) comes up, he’s reminded of Ed Wood’s brazenly campy “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” which is acknowledged by many as the worst movie of all time. “That’s how I view the notion of a single client having plan after plan after plan after plan after plan. It seems to me a strategy from outer space.”