No two work days are created equal. Like everyone else in the working class, I have good days and bad days. I have days of great success, and days of unexpected disappointment. However, every once in a while I have a day that reminds me why I do what I do for a living…and I never forget those days.
Yesterday was one of those days.
I met these particular clients in August of 2017. At the time, these clients had never used a financial advisor. The biggest problem they had was a collection of 401k and IRA accounts from previous jobs…five to be exact. Essentially, I served as the janitor that cleaned up their situation, and combined five accounts into one. Once we completed the consolidation, they were happy to be on board and grateful that I organized their accounts. At that point, we agreed to continue building the relationship over the next year with quarterly appointments and constructing their financial plan.
In December she called me very worried. From the onset he had planned to retire in 3-4 years, however, his biggest client went bankrupt, and in order to stay with his company of 30 years, it would require a significant relocation. This couple relocated several times over the years, but Indianapolis is now home, and she had no interest in another move whatsoever.
If he didn’t relocate within the company, the odds of finding another job locally that would pay him a similar salary were pretty slim. So therein laid the problem…she didn’t want to move, and he was convinced they didn’t have enough money to retire. We set an appointment to accelerate the financial planning process right away.
Once I built their plan, even though he was not yet 60 years old, it was clear to me based upon their assets and projected spending, he could retire right away. I’ll never forget the look on both of their faces: it was a mixture of pleasant surprise and worried skepticism. As the meeting ended they felt much better about their position, but he still intended to travel to other cities to interview within the organization. He didn’t quite believe me.
He completed some interviews, and while he was away, she came to the office again to run through the numbers. She became increasingly convinced that I was correct.
The reluctance to let go of a career happens with almost every retiree. I tell them up front…at 41 years old I’ve retired hundreds of times alongside my clients. I understand the emotional transition from collecting a paycheck to living off the money saved. I’m not only the advisor that guides clients with investments, but more importantly, a coach that guides them through the emotional roller coaster.
Over the years I have had clients tell me of their dreams in retirement, yet continue to work extra years because of the irrational fear of running out of money. In many cases, one of them passes prematurely never reaches any of their dreams. I have made it my mission as a trusted advisor to make sure my clients retire when it is financially possible, even if I have to push them out of a comfort zone.
In the spring of 2018, he decided to take a chance that my analysis was correct, and ceased looking for employment. I remember him saying, “You better be right.” I chuckled and said, “Get out of my office and go enjoy yourself. Let me worry about the money while you worry about having fun.”
Yesterday was our first quarterly review since his decision. As I was waiting for them in my conference room, through the window I saw smiles ear to ear and casual clothing as they exited the car. I was greeted with an iron grip handshake and a big thank you. Immediately I was validated. I did my job.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I will never forget this day. As their trusted financial advisor, I changed their lives forever. I prevented a move half way across the country, and added extra years to their retirement. This moment is what motivates me to get to the office every morning.