What Will Your Retirement Experience Be Like?

My wife is at the beach right now. I couldn't go because I'm stuck in meetings all week. So being the great wife she is, she sends me pictures every day. I think she likes rubbing it in!

But this whole thing got me to thinking: a lot of folks imagine themselves in retirement resting on a calm, relaxing beach. I know my wife would - the beach is her happy place.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who will retire frustrated because, like me, they can't experience the beach for themselves and have to settle for a picture instead of the real thing.

See, I've found that people enter retirement in 1 of 3 ways:

  1. They end up running into a brick wall.

  2. They end up racing against the clock carrying a ticking time bomb.

  3. They are able to rest on the beach like they imagine.

A lot of people end up running into a brick wall in retirement

This happens when people haven't prepared enough for retirement or sometimes just have trouble making the transition into retirement. Perhaps they have never learned how to live within a budget or they dramatically underestimate their spending habits. They have spent their entire lives living for the moment instead of a balanced approach that allows them to save for the future. For instance:

  • I know of one small business owner who has a grand vision for retirement but his habits are preventing him from ever achieving it.

  • I know of another couple who underestimated their spending by half of what they need in retirement.

Yes, unfortunately, many people end up running into a brick wall because they have chosen the wrong priorities.

A lot of people end up racing against the clock carrying a ticking time bomb in retirement

These are folks who were trying to plan ahead, but a financial salesperson convinced them to buy a product that was not in their best interest. While the salesperson ended up with a great commission check, they ended up with high fees or an inappropriate product. They end up racing against the clock of inflation or running out of money before they die all because the investments they were sold turned out to be a ticking time bomb. For instance:

  • I know of one couple who bought a fixed annuity in their 40s with a super low rate of return. Had they simply continued what they were doing, they would have doubled the money they have today.

  • I know of another couple who bought an annuity with 3.7% annual fees and as a result their assets will be depleted before they reach their 80s.

Through no fault of their own, many people end up racing against the clock carrying a ticking time bomb because they were sold the wrong product.

But there are some people who end up resting on the beach in retirement

They are doing what my wife is doing and what I wish I could do right now. For them, retirement is relaxing and enjoyable - much like sitting on the beach listening to the ocean waves. They are the fortunate ones who will be able to experience retirement like the grand adventure it can be. For instance:

  • I know of one couple who will be able to retire early - I mean 10+ years early! - because they have diligently saved and invested wisely.

  • I know of another couple who will be able to spend their retirement volunteering and giving to causes they care about.

There will be a few people who are able to experience retirement like they imagine - resting on the beach because they have the right plan.

What will your retirement experience be like?

Why I Started My Own Investment Firm - WisePath Advisors

For nearly 20 years I served as a pastor. Much of that time I was an Executive Pastor, which means my role was to handle the finances and operations of the church. Now, most churches are known for asking people for money, right? However, I was privileged to serve at churches where we created a different culture around money. We never guilted or shamed people into giving. It was awesome!

In fact, my personal passion was to help people make wise decisions with their money. Over the years I have taught over a thousand people how to be wise with their finances using principles found in the Bible. 

But there was a problem.

You see, the church were I most recently served as Executive Pastor had grown so much I needed to spend more of my time on the administration part of my role - think budgets and buildings - rather than my passion which was working with people. 

The other problem was that as I was helping people to implement the principles I taught, I discovered that many of them were taken advantage of by "financial advisors." These financial advisors would sell "my people" insurance they didn't need or have them in investments which had really high fees.

I was stuck. I didn't know how to best help "my people" AND I was spending more time doing administration instead of ministry.

Then I received a phone call. 

A Christian financial services company called me and wanted to pay me to help them improve how they serve Christians. It started out as just a consulting gig, but the more I thought about it and the more I talked about it with my wife, the more excited I was about working with this company as a full-time financial advisor! 

So that's what I did. 

I became a financial advisor determined to always put my clients best interests first. 

I soaked up the training. I learned the rules and regulations and the science behind investing. I helped people with investments and insurance and it felt great!  I helped train other advisors on how to create financial plans. I was even invited to share my experiences at my company's regional gatherings. 

Then I started getting emails about annuity sales being down and we needed to sell more annuities. No one could ever tell me why it was in the best interest of my clients. (Because it wasn't.)

I started doing research on what was happening in the finance profession and I discovered there were many other investment philosophies that made sense. There were products and strategies that I was not allowed to implement at my company. I learned my job was really to sell financial products and that 98% of financial companies operate this way.

I had thought the company I worked for was different because it was a Christian organization.

It wasn't.

So what was I going to do?

It quickly became very clear that I would need to start my own firm where I would be able to fully implement the vision I believed God had given me. I knew I needed three building blocks:

  1. Most financial advisors scare you into buying something you don't need. I started WisePath Advisors to help you achieve the vision for the future you desire. Yes, we talk about what can go wrong, but we focus on helping you make the most of life.

  2. Most (98%) financial advisors do not have to do what is in your best interest. Legally, they are required to do what is in the best interest of the company they work for, not you. WisePath Advisors is an independent Registered Investment Adviser, and legally I must do what is in the best interest of my clients. 

  3. Most financial advisors make money on commissions, hidden fees, referral fees, and kickbacks that you don't know about. At WisePath Advisors, we never take commissions, referral fees, or kickbacks and our fees are 100% transparent.

The result of these three foundational principles is that clients of WisePath spend most of their time planning their future instead of their finances. Because at WisePath advisors we help you get the most out of your money so you can get the most out of life.

Is Your Money Being Used to Improve Your Life?

Is Your Money Being Used to Improve Your Life?

There’s a movement toward redefining money: instead of accumulating money for what it can buy, more of us want to use money to live the best life possible with what we have––a concept known as the WisePath Way.

When you follow the WisePath Way, money becomes a tool to help you live the life you want. Accumulating as much wealth as possible is no longer the primary objective of your financial plan.

The traditional path to saving and investing has been to focus on the future (retirement), and rely solely on numbers. However, this approach often can be misleading because it doesn’t consider your individual circumstances.

What is relevant is developing a financial plan that considers the following:

  • How much do you currently have invested?

  • What is your current cash flow?

  • What transitions are you currently experiencing, or expect to experience (examples include paying down debt, divorce, concern about illness, job loss, retirement, purchasing a home, providing financial assistance to a family member)?

  • Do I feel comfortable with my level of financial obligations (examples include housing expenses, leisure activities, and healthcare expenses)?

By incorporating these factors into your planning, we can begin to understand what needs to change (or not change) in order to live the best life possible without overextending yourself. You may even be pleasantly surprised to learn you can enjoy the fruits of your labors sooner than expected!

Money does not exist for its own sake. Money exists as a tool that we use to improve our lives.