Garrettsville – “People are flying blind,” says financial planner Chris Perme of this generation of retirees and those soon approaching retirement.

“We are living through the Great American Retirement Crisis — a perfect storm for Baby Boomers whose retirement benefits got whacked 30-40 percent at just the wrong time, thanks to the recession. Now people who have overspent and under-saved are very concerned about outliving their income.”

Previous generations worried about dying before reaching the Golden Years of retirement, but now — with rising longevity and exponential rises in living expenses — people are worried that their bodies will hold out, but their retirement portfolios won’t.

Due to this very real threat, Perme finds himself “busier than a one-armed paper hanger.” Since 1989, Perme has offered retirement services, annuity and life services, disability income insurance and executive benefits for individuals from his office at Perme Financial Group in Garrettsville. These asset management services address six key areas: financial position, adequate protection, wealth accumulation, tax reduction strategies, retirement analysis, and estate planning.

Now, more than ever, retirees are coming to him for advice and resources — as well as “someone to trust, someone to listen,” as Perme puts it. “I’m a financial therapist. By listening to people’s dreams and fears, I can customize solutions for their particular situation. Some advisors prescribe to people a list of financial products even before they know their clients’ goals. That’s backwards. And it wastes individuals’ money.”

With all of this in mind, Perme has begun hosting free public seminars to equip the community — especially those aged 55-70+ — with the knowledge they need to navigate through the new and confusing realities of retirement planning.

By sending out mailers to 6,000 individuals, he drew people from Garrettsville, Mantua, Hiram, Chagrin Falls and beyond to The Main Street Grille and Brewing Company restaurant last month, where Perme supplied dinner as well as a half-hour PowerPoint presentation covering Social Security, pensions, projected tax rates and other retirement issues.

Titled “But What if I Live? The American Retirement Crisis,” the content is based on a book, But What If I Live: The American Retirement Crisis: A Retirement Guide for Baby Boomers, by Gregory Salsbury, Ph.D., executive vice president of Jackson National Life Distributors LLC, the distribution arm of Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

Salsbury’s motivation for the book is “My profound worry is that the Boomers will be the first generation that will be worse off in retirement than the generation before.” Perme plans to offer these community service events quarterly with the next seminar expected in March or April.

The seven key issues that now stand between Boomers and their retirement goals are identified as: 1) the Aging of America, 2) Disappearing Pensions, 3) Social Insecurity, 4) The Tax Axe, 5) The Invisible Enemy – Inflation, 6) The Healthcare Nightmare, and 7) Red, White & Broke. This final element exposes how Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement. In 2004, America’s savings rate hit its lowest point since the Great Depression and personal bankruptcies hit an all-time high. In spite of these trends, the spending continues, according to Salsbury.

Essentially, Perme says people need to prepare for retirement with forethought and a strategy. They cannot afford to let it simply creep up on them from behind. “You’ve got to have a plan. How much money do I need for the next five years after retirement… and the next five years after that… and the next five after that?

“Where is that income going to come from? Your pension? Social Security? Assets? If it’s too confusing to figure on your own, you need a financial planner who will walk with you, hold your hand, and help you reach your goals. I enjoy bringing that security to people, protecting their wealth and generating income for them. It’s a lot of responsibility and a sacred trust.”

For more information, see,, or call the Perme office at (330) 527-9301.