I remember being 8 years old and wanting a Nintendo. Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt and the plug in gun. Remember that thing?!?
After that it was a CD player. One of those top-loading, 5 disc players that had the big speakers on each side. It even had 5 vertical bars on front to adjust the bass and treble! What were the first CDs I should buy right away?
And in each of those situations, with those material items and 8 year old desires,
my father found an opportunity to teach me.
You see, for as long as I can remember, dad worked at a credit union. Being young I didn’t really understand what he did. I just knew dad left early and came back before dinner, always in a shirt and tie. I knew he was always busy. I knew he helped people with their money and I knew that when money came up in conversation around our house, he had plenty of wisdom. So at the young age of 8, after my mother helped me get a paper route, my father taught me the basics of money management; as I opened savings and checking accounts in my own name.
Fast forward 30 years later and I still remember riding my bike to “Charlie’s Sports Cards”, walking inside and writing a check for thirty dollars (asking the owner how to spell “thirty” on the check!) for that Ken Griffey Jr. card. It’s engrained in my memory forever. But me opening that checking account with dad’s help was only the beginning.
For the last 40-plus years dad has been connecting with local people as a trusted guide for their finances. There’s not a place in town he can go for lunch without running into someone he’s impacted. From someone at the local Tony’s Pizza plant that needed a car loan when their credit might not have been great and they needed someone to believe in them, to a former employee who needed that extra time off when their child was sick. Everyone dad came in contact with left in a better place.
So a couple weeks ago, when it was time for dad to retire, it was a bit surreal. It was surreal to him I know for certain; but also to the rest of our family, all his clients and to every staff member he’d led for the last 40 years! Dad was a rock to all of us and someone you could depend on. Now that he’s walking into the next chapter of life, we’d all need to readjust in our own little ways.
I was happy for him, and proud. Of course in our line of work we needed to make sure dad (& mom) were financially secure forever. (Part of that solution came from the security provided in an index annuity with a guaranteed, lifetime income rider!) They’d done a great job planning and were set. They’d done everything within their control to make sure of that.
But when it’s your own father retiring, it’s different.
When it’s your own family, your own friends, your own connections, it means more. When you’ve watched them work their entire lives to accomplish something, it needs to be carefully executed and details need to be taken care of. Because this one felt different. While everyday I help millions of dollars from dozens of financial advisers and retirees move into safety, I don’t know them on a personal level. Everyday is volume. But this one, specific situation is gravity.
Which has me reminding myself, and reminding you, that every client you work with – for every client you serve – this is their one time. This is their “different”. They’ve worked for decades. They’ve planned. They’ve worried and striven, saved and budgeted. Now they’re looking to you… they’re looking to us… to get it right this one time.
For me, and my own father retiring,
this time it was different.
Please remind yourself often that for the person sitting across from you, and talking to you on the phone, this time it’s different for them. And let’s get it right.