Here’s a question I’m sure many people wonder and are too polite to ask:
What makes you a retirement guru?
It’s a great question, but I prefer to pitch it as a statement; i.e. “What makes me a retirement guru: (insert reasons here)”
What could a person who still works full time and doesn’t live in an empty nest know about retirement? In my case, a lot. Sometimes more than I wish.
My expertise in the retirement arena comes primarily from work experience. For over 20 years, I’ve worked for companies whose operations revolve around helping people save and invest for retirement. In the process, I’ve learned most of the things financial advisors need to know in order to help others figure it out.
Truth is, before I switched to the marketing side of the business in 2005, I had all the credentials needed to advise people on retirement matters. Interestingly, it was after I moved into marketing that my knowledge of the ins and outs of living in retirement – not just the money piece of it – really ramped up.
You see, in order to market anything effectively you need a keen understanding of what’s going on in the minds of the people you’re marketing to. We do that through surveys, focus groups, online forums and one-on-one conversations. What I’ve learned that most people who talk about and plan for retirement often overlook is that it’s not just about how much money you have. If it were, this would be an easy topic to master, and everyone who knows how to invest money would be an expert.
It’s not just about how much money you have.
In one online retirement forum I used to manage, money was rarely the topic of conversation. Topics getting the most views and comments had more to do with health, caregiving, travel, and family. Money came up sometimes too, but the conversation was usually more around strategies to get the biggest Social Security payments or reduce taxes.
Given my line of work, I have been the one in the family that my and my wife’s family members reach out for help with matters pertaining to challenging financial situations. Sometimes it’s their investments they need help with; other times it’s taxes, insurance and healthcare.
Without going into a lot of detail, let me just say that events over the last few years have given me plenty of experience in these areas:
- Relocating an elderly family member across the country
- Terminal illness diagnosis, treatment and caregiving
- Loss of cognitive ability to manage finances
- Recovering from natural disasters
- Filing for benefits from insurance companies and the Veterans Administration
- Making funeral arrangements and writing eulogies
- Dealing with both poorly and properly planned estates
- Preparing tax returns
- Liquidating estates and distributing the assets
- Transferring investments to beneficiaries
- Dealing with doctors, lawyers, bankers and advisors
- Creation of a trusts, wills and powers of attorney
Believe me, I learned a lot about life in retirement – unintentionally – and took a lot of notes. My plan is to continue to share my learnings with RetireGenX readers well into the future. I would not wish unnecessary hardships on anyone and will do everything I can to help others avoid them through one of the most powerful assets I have: knowledge.
I know where to get answers
There are plenty of things that might affect us in our retirement years that I still don’t know, or don’t know in great detail. However, with all of the contacts and resources I’ve accumulated over the years, I am confident I can find reliable answers to questions and issues in very short order.
When I seek answers, I’m always thinking two or three steps ahead; taking into consideration how each action might affect other pieces. For instance, how tapping into a retirement account might trigger taxes or penalties – and how they may be avoided.
I’m the right age
My age also helps make me a guru on the topic of retirement. Many of the existing tools we have at our disposal for retirement planning came about in my adult years, while I was actively consulting clients.
Since I’m near the leading edge of Generation X (born in 1967), I will experience things ahead of the curve and be able to relay my findings back to other Gen Xers. For instance, if there are shortcuts or tips to getting more out of Social Security and Medicaid when we begin retiring in the decade of 2030. I’ll be able to share that with my readers.
How you can benefit from my expertise
My goal is simple: By the time Gen X begins to hit “normal retirement age,” I want RetireGenX to be a go-to resource that our generation can rely on for objective answers to the questions that most of us will face.
Most of the information I provide here is free. Since I don’t make money based on decisions people make, I have no reason to sway people into purchasing anything they don’t want.
If I have tried a product or service and believe in it, I will not hesitate to promote it. I promise that anything I offer for sale will be worth far more than what I sell it for. I feel no shame in asking a fair price for something that can benefit others. After all, it’s one prong of my plan to develop multiple streams of income for retirement.
Important! Do this right now
The simplest thing you can do right now is take a few seconds to follow RetireGenX by clicking ‘YES’ at right or below (if you’re on mobile). If you’re on Twitter, follow me there too. That way you’ll be alerted whenever I publish helpful info in the future.
As Gen X marches toward retirement these next 10 to 20 years, the focus will be getting our financial and legal houses in order. Health too. Then, the focus will shift to getting the most of our retirement years. We’ve worked hard and we deserve to enjoy ourselves after we close the door on our full-time careers.