Neuwirth Associates Consulting: A company on a mission to help millions

Founded by Peter Neuwirth, FSA FCA and Barry Sacks, Ph.D JD, Neuwirth Associates Consulting is dedicated to the proposition that the actuarial perspective is critical for addressing many of the most significant problems that individuals face as they navigate through the current economic environment and grapple with the risks and challenges associated with utilizing their assets to live on for the rest of their lives.

While we do not work with individuals directly, Neuwirth Associates provides analysis and technical support to CFPs, CPAs, Family Lawyers, loan officers, Investment Advisors, and Retirement Plan sponsors in the areas of retirement planning, asset division in Divorce, and Life Insurance/Annuity product analysis.

Our focus is on developing specific strategies and risk mitigation techniques that will enable our clients to solve their client’s problems in a cost and tax-efficient manner.

For more than 40 years, Pete and Barry have each provided cutting-edge actuarial and tax consulting to some of the largest organizations in the world and, since 2017, have collaborated on groundbreaking research in the area of using different asset classes (e.g., Reverse mortgages) to managing risks during the “decumulation” phase of life.

Beginning in 2023, Neuwirth Associates also began to provide insight, advice, analysis, and education to family lawyers and CFPs regarding complex asset division problems among older high-net-worth couples getting divorced (aka Silver Divorce).

We believe that retirement income planning is an actuarial problem of risk management and Asset/Liability matching, even though many advisors focus on their clients’ assets and investment strategies. In complicated  divorce situations where one or both spouses are nearing retirement age, the actuarial considerations can become even more acute while very few of the professionals involved have the background and expertise to address the complex actuarial and tax issues that arise in such situations

In addition to Barry and Pete, Neuwirth Associates has a network of partners/experts in related fields with whom we collaborate to provide comprehensive and cost-efficient solutions to individuals and couples facing financial planning challenges that most advisors are not fully capable of solving.

Philosophy and Perspective: We believe that these days, the actuarial perspective is extraordinarily useful – for individuals and organizations.

For more than 200 years, actuaries and the actuarial perspective on how to balance time risk and money have kept some of the biggest Insurance Companies in the world solvent and able to fulfill a critical societal need to provide safe and secure retirement income and protection against the many hazards of life that make managing our financial lives so challenging.

Today, many actuaries continue to serve that role for the Insurance industry and as consultants to organizations that provide insurance and retirement benefits to their employees. Only today, because of many changes that have occurred, individuals have less of a safety net to fall back on and instead find themselves having to rely on their own resources when it comes to managing their retirement assets and insuring themselves and their families against Life’s contingencies. Many are looking to financial planners and other advisors/experts to help them with that challenge. Fortunately, there are experts like CFPs and other advisors to help, but we also think that occasionally, those advisors themselves could use a little help. That’s the mission that we at Neuwirth Associates have set for ourselves

Over the last 50 years, the world of Retirement and Insurance has changed dramatically. Defined benefit Pension Plans have given way to 401(k) plans, and insurance and annuity products have become more sophisticated/targeted but more complex and difficult to understand. In addition to the proliferation of new/complex financial products, markets and the regulatory environment have become increasingly complex and uncertain. Individuals and their advisors are finding that neither technology nor “rules of thumb” are sufficient anymore to manage their financial lives safely and securely.

As an actuary turned author and a quantum physicist turned tax lawyer,  Pete Neuwirth FSA FCA and Barry Sacks Ph.D. JD has spent many decades watching as the current state of affairs evolved, helping their clients manage through the changes. Since 2012, both Barry and Pete have focused their attention on both the theoretical and the practical ways individuals will need to act to manage their new financial and risk management burdens

They say that everything old is new again. While that may or may not be universally true, we do believe that fundamental actuarial principles that have proven their worth over a very long time are still valid today and fully applicable to the admittedly very new problems of our modern world for millions of Americans approaching or at retirement.

If you or your clients have challenges that you think we might be able to help with, please get in touch. We would love to find out how we can help. Click here to send an email so we can connect.

And click here to read my essay on In Defense of Personal Rates of Discount featuring Jeremy Gold and some “Inconvenient Truths.”

About the Experts:

Actuary and Author Peter Neuwirth, FSA, FCA Photo by, 2023

Peter J. Neuwirth FSA, FCA, is an actuary specializing in retirement plan issues. He is a 1979 graduate of Harvard College with a BA in Mathematics and Linguistics. After leaving Harvard, he went to work at Connecticut General Life Insurance, now CIGNA. For the next 38 years, he worked as an actuary in significant leadership positions Aon, Hewitt Associates, Watson Wyatt, Towers Perrin, and Towers Watson. He spent 5 years as a chief actuary at Godwins, 7 years at Coates Kenney, and a year at Price Waterhouse. In 2016, Pete retired from Towers Watson to focus on writing and researching financial wellness issues, including using home equity to generate retirement income. In 2018 he taught a graduate seminar on this subject for the actuarial science department at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is currently associated with the Academy for Home Equity in Financial Planning at the University of Illinois. In addition to his books “Money Mountaineering” and “What’s Your Future Worth?” Pete’s research has been published in the Journal of Deferred Compensation, Contingencies, and the Journal of Financial Planning. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Conference of Consulting Actuaries and is a frequent speaker at the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, Enrolled Actuaries, and Western Pension and Benefits Conference.

Barry H. Sacks, PhD, JD

Attorney Barry Sacks, PhD, JD, Reverse Mortgage/Retirement Portfolio Longevity Expert, earned his Ph.D. in semiconductor physics from M.I.T., then taught at U.C. Berkeley. He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and is a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law from the California Board of Legal Specialization. After spending 35 years as an ERISA attorney specializing in qualified retirement plans, he used his breadth of skills to discover a role for a reverse mortgage to help make a retirement portfolio last longer. Barry now has a law practice providing special services to tax professionals in the area of “Offers in Compromise” for retirees living on 401(k) accounts or securities portfolios. With his brother, Professor Stephen Sacks, Barry published the pioneering research paper modeling a strategy that uses reverse mortgage credit lines to mitigate the effects of adverse sequences of investment returns in retirement accounts (Journal of Financial Planning, February 2012). A sequel to this paper expanding the range of applications of the strategy was co-authored by Peter Neuwirth, FSA, and Stephen Sacks. While developing his model for reverse mortgages in retirement income planning, Barry became aware of the particular needs of retirees and soon-to-be retirees in divorce. These needs are of special concern in cases where the retirement savings are divided between the parties or where one of the parties has received most of the retirement savings but not much of the value of the home equity. Barry is a frequent speaker on these subjects.