"An Unexpected Early Retirement"
Sometimes a little voice tells you “It’s time to get things organized”. That voice may be nagging at you for a few months or a few years. Eventually, it gets loud enough for you to ask a friend who he uses as a consultant for retirement. Fortunately, Ken listened to his little voice. Here’s his story:
Ken was a busy health care professional that had worked hard saving for many years. He felt fairly confident making most investment decisions on his own. His wife felt confident he was taking care of things and left that responsibility to Ken. At the end of last year, Ken’s little voice started telling him he needed to take things a step further. He was now 51 and something was telling him he needed to organize the various investments he had made and make sure things were on track. His son was now 13 and Ken was starting to have some back issues. Life was marching forward.
One day, Ken was seeing a patient and they began discussing the market. Having known the patient for many years, he respected his opinion and decided to ask him who he used for a financial consultant. The patient gave him our name and he wrote it down for future reference.
A few months went by and Ken’s back became more painful. His little voice reminded him of the conversation he had with his patient and Ken finally called for an appointment.
The first visit, as usual, was simply an introduction, but a major step for Ken. It was the first time he felt like he could put “everything on the table”. This was different from his previous dealings with financial advisors who were trying to sell him an investment. This was the first time he had been asked real questions about his personal long term goals and biggest immediate concerns.
“What keeps you up at night?” was the question that hit home with Ken. He realized he was, indeed, really worried about his physical ability to continue practicing given his increased back pain. His son was still very young and his wife really didn’t know anything about their finances. The meeting ended with Ken realizing he needed to “get it together” and soon.
“What is your Standard of Living?” was the next question we asked Ken. A family's Standard of Living is basically their average monthly spending. Nine out of ten people we ask can not give us an answer the first time we ask them. The ten percent that give us an answer are usually only close to the real number fifty percent of the time.
So, we sent Ken home with homework. We told him to look at his spending on both fixed and variable expenses. Then we asked him to gather all of his statements from the various savings accounts he had put together on his own. He was supposed to drop them off to our office so we could begin answering the question: “If Ken didn’t want to or couldn’t work anymore, how would he take care of his family. Did he have enough saved or did he have a problem?”
It took Ken a while to get the information back to us. After a few reminders, he came back in with his wife and here’s
“the rest of the story”...
Ken and Jill came in to our office on a Thursday afternoon. We had completed putting all of their investments together along with incorporating expected social security benefits. It was the very first time Ken or Jill had seen a complete picture of their financial health. A plan was in place.
The little voice had to have been an angel on Ken’s shoulder. As they walked out of our office, Ken began feeling pain. Three days later, Ken was on life support. Jill was being told that he may not make it and if he did, he would never be the same.
The positive news is that since we had just completed the retirement planning process for the couple, we were able to help Jill feel confident that things were in order and that she was in good financial position to get through this difficult time. We were able to take a major worry off her shoulders at this critical time.
The great news is that Ken and Jill walked in to our office a few weeks ago for a follow up appointment. Their lives have been changed forever. He will not be returning to work, but the family is clear and confident in how they will manage financially.
Message: I can give many accounts of new clients coming in because something was telling them to “get things in order”. Don’t wait for the little voice. Be proactive. But if you hear it, call us.