Each week as I set out on the road to meet with prospective clients, I forecast what the meetings may look like so I am prepared and so each individual knows their hard work and savings are respected. No matter the financial circumstance I walk into, the same questions arise—do you really help people? How do you really help people?
Every month I have the blessed opportunity to foster great relationships with new individuals and couples. Just this past month, I was able to work with a couple—we will name them the Smiths for privacy purposes—who began our first meeting with the same questions I already mentioned, and then they continued: Can I retire? When I retire, where will I get my income? How do I even figure out my retirement income? Should I collect my Social Security at 62, or wait until I am 66 or 67?
These valid questions infiltrate the vast majority of homes that I walk into each week, and I would even suggest they circulate in your head at night while you’re awake or when you’re chasing the grandkids around, wondering how nice it would be to retire and do it more often. Yes, they are simple questions, but they also hold a lot of stock. These are the questions that you and your spouse have to talk about, MUST talk about.
The Smiths and I started mapping out what they would have for retirement income—what their pensions look liked, what Social Security would look like, how their overall debt would impact their income, and lastly, what quality of retirement life they desired. Their largest concern was their debt, and this portion of their finances created a heavy burden on them. They continually were questioning between themselves how they were going to pay off the debt in the next couple of years and still have security in retirement.
What the Smiths and I did together, and what we consistently do at Total Advisor, is build out a plan on paper. It is crucial for a plan to be tangible, and not just in my head. A plan in my head would not provide confidence for any client. The Smiths and I placed pieces together so that this couple would have the same security during retirement they both currently have while working. As we all know, one of the greatest aspects about having a career is the security that it provides. Every two weeks, a paycheck is deposited into your account, and out of each paycheck, a certain amount is designated to retirement. Each calendar year, you receive a certain amount of sick leave and vacation pay. But when it comes to retirement, this security is no longer provided, and retirement is supposed to be one of the most exciting and fulfilling times of life.
In the end, each question the Smiths had asked me turned into answers. We were able to eliminate their fears and provide security by protecting assets and positioning them in a way that fit their needs. And I was privileged to help. Their debt was going to get paid off, they had confidence in the timing of retirement and their Social Security benefits, and they were even able to position their assets so if either were to pass away, the other would be protected. My overarching goal in working with the Smiths was to help them have the freedom they dreamt of having in retirement while also maintaining the security to which they were accustomed. The tangible plan they now have in hand does just that.
So, yes, I do help people. What my team and I do at Total Advisor is not rocket science or brain surgery. But, we have learned that each person’s retirement journey is unique, every couple’s goals are personal, and there is no cookie cutter way in helping people have the retirement they have always desired. My partner, Steve Larsen, who is a licensed CPA and CFP®, makes sure that each plan is meticulously put together and that all of our clients receive tax efficient maximization of their assets.
So, all of those questions that are bouncing around in your head? They are legitimate questions, and we would like to provide answers. We want your dreams to become a reality and the question marks to be replaced with solutions.