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<<Should I put this money into primarilly a foolish four plan, and being that today was the changeover, do I have time for this?>>

With nearly $2 1/2M in assets, you're not as bad off as the shock of an unplanned retirement may make it seem. Others think the 75/25 (or your age as the percent in stocks and the rest in bonds) is appropriate, and these are sound ideas. However, I'd look real hard at my actual living expenses, whether I can live comfortably on less or want to live on more (the answer to either depends critically on what it is you want to do in retirement--so that detailed introspection is probably the real first step), and then take that answer and do the following. Of course you'll need to run the numbers first, it may prove impractical.

-Set up a ladder of one-year CDs such that 25% mature every quarter. The amount of cash here is driven by your (quarterly) living expense needs, which you determined above.

-The rest I'd put into stocks. I'm using the Spark5 and the BSP (Beat the S&P500--like the Foolish Four, but it draws from a larger universe of large-cap stocks).

-I'd look real hard at that $600k summer home, too--see if there's something just as good, but cheaper.

At 54, you're not ready to unroll your tax sheltered accounts, so use your taxed accounts first (you can do all of the above except actually draw the cash from inside tax sheltered accounts). If you don't have any tax sheltered accounts, look real hard at getting some: IRAs and Roth IRAs. You're probably too old--and/or retired in too high a tax bracket--for a Roth to be practical in purely tax savings terms, but Roths seem to do a better job of protecting your assets for your heirs than do traditional IRAs. Run the numbers here.

Finally, the link below is for the Web site of a Financial Planner who's done some research on what percentage of your portfolio it's safe to withdraw, based on the actual annual fluctuations of the stock market--not blithely assuming a flat, monotonically increasing market.

Hope this helps.

Eric Hines
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