At Tall Oak Private Wealth, we have been working for nearly three years on a unique retirement planning process. The question that we wanted to answer for our clients approaching or in retirement was simply “Am I OK?”. This short three word, five letter question was the underpinning of our work. With the help of a PhD in mathematical finance, hours of behind the scene work and the generous and honest feedback of clients, the Tall Oak Private Wealth Retirement VIEW approach was developed and fine-tuned.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a mentor and great friend in the industry, Paulette Filion, to take her through this process. Paulette is a partner in StrategyMarketing.ca, a consultancy dedicated to improving women’s experiences and engagement with financial services by working with those who seek their business. Read on to see what she had to say about her experience.
Sometimes people don’t have a retirement plan because they don’t want one. But retirement planning isn’t a gimmick invented by the industry, it’s a way to reassure you or show you how to get on track. Here’s my story.
Recently, Mehendi Kamani, an independent advisor with Tall Oak Private Wealth of Raymond James in London Ontario, completed a retirement plan for me. To tell you the truth, I was reluctant right from the start. You see, I follow a philosophy that says “if you don’t think about it, in time, it sorts itself out”. In this case, I just didn’t want to know…just in case I couldn’t afford to retire or, the flip side, that I couldn’t afford to live very long. It’s not even that I want to retire because I don’t but I’m also no fool. I know that when it comes to work many of us have an expiry date, if not in our own eyes, in the eyes of those who hire us.
But when Mehendi asked me questions about my hopes and dreams for my life and the future, a conversation ensued and it became easy to talk dreams rather than money. You see my life is less complicated than most – I’m single, with two sisters who have kids, I live alone, I still work (self-employed), and lead a simple life.
When Mehendi asked me to answer some questions about my expenses – both fixed ones like utilities and more discretionary ones like gifts to a niece or nephew, I didn’t spend much time sweating the numbers. There was no spreadsheet for reference. I didn’t have a real budget. I didn’t have a tidy list of bills. I guessed for the most part. Years of experience make it easy to get them right.
But still I feared that somehow decisions I made 20 years ago about savings, retirement plans, and investing were going to come back and bite me. I feared Mehendi was going to shame me. Not that he’d ever done that. It was mostly in my head.
What happened was extraordinary. After a few weeks, Mehendi came back to me to present my “retirement plan”. He opened up our conversation with “you’ll be fine”. He showed me how my fixed expenses would be covered through my pension income, that my discretionary expenses could be covered by the income I earned on my investments and that the growth on my principal would make sure that I had money when I died, regardless of when that happened.
“Whew! What a relief,” was my first reaction. And as I let it all sink in, it calmed me. I felt a sense of peace. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop worrying. It’s in my nature to fret.
An added bonus is that it brought me closer to Mehendi. In those discussions, he became my partner – the one who could tell me straight up “you’ll be okay” and the one I could believe – could trust to be by my side in the years to come.