What Exactly Do You Do?

February 1, 2019


When most people tell you what their job is, title alone will give you a general idea of what the job entails. A teacher teaches, an actor acts, a salesman sells—you get the point.

I’ve been in the retirement industry for over 30 years, and in that timespan, I’ve come to accept that my job title doesn’t carry that same luxury of people automatically knowing what you do for a living.

This week, I hope to shed a tiny light on what being a Retirement Coach means.

Imagine this scenario: my wife and I will be travelling, on a cruise or maybe just hanging out at the lake, and we meet another couple…

They ask, “So, what do you do for a living?”

I’ll say, “I’m a Retirement Coach.” Followed by a curious look in response.

They say, “Interesting…what does a ‘Retirement Coach’ do?”

Trying to keep things general, I’ll walk them through the various steps I go through with both prospective and current clients.

Retirement brings up questions that people haven’t had to face before, and it’s not an area where you want to risk having the wrong answer.

I explain how we coach them on tax laws, evaluate their current retirement set-up to see if there’s room for improvement, establish a realistic budget, create an income plan, and define what some of their core goals are. If someone has been a client for a while, it is generally a bit of rinse-and-repeat while making sure to update income buckets or long-term goals if sudden changes occur.

This inevitably raises the next question: how do you become a Retirement Coach?

While there are multiple ways you can get into this industry, I took the path of becoming a licensed insurance agent and Registered Investment Advisor (RIA.)

To be frank, this is the type of job where putting in the years is the only way to become truly familiar with the field. While school certainly helps, there is not exactly a “Retirement Coaching” major. I learned the most about the job by doing the job. I improved my skillset over the years by meeting retirees from all walks of life and customizing over a thousand retirement game plans built to suit each retiree’s unique situation.

After all this, I’ll get a look from them that says, “I need to change the subject—now!”

In all that explanation, the phrase that stands out to people is insurance. Their ears pick up on that word and it instantly conjures images of charlatans and door-to-door salesmen hocking something-for-nothing in order to make a quick buck. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience by someone in the industry, or maybe it’s just a natural wariness we’ve all had to develop in an age where you don’t even have to leave your house to be greeted by a sales pitch. Whatever the case, it’s often a guaranteed end to the conversation.

The reality is that we are seeing a huge surge of people entering retirement, and thousands of them need help with what can be a complex process. Most people are smart enough to identify the basics of monthly budgeting, and even building an income strategy can be simple since it boils down to a numbers game.

The purpose of my job is to help people realize that retirement is more than just figuring out an income strategy or talking about tax options.

  • We help our clients see there are bigger questions that need answers.
  • What do you want to do in retirement?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • Are you and your spouse on the same page about goals?
  • What’s the best way to achieve those goals?
  • What are your family’s expectations of your retirement?
  • What age is the ‘right age’ to retire for you—and is that different for your spouse?

One question begets another ad infinitum, and the answers you need are not going to instantly pop up on Google.

If you’re like the people I’ve met while traveling, I understand the hesitancy that can come with speaking with someone about your finances.

I encourage you to meet with someone who doesn’t charge you up-front for their services or requires you to buy into a product before going over their plan with you.

Would you ever buy a car sight unseen, even if the dealership promises you it’s a good deal? That’s likely a definite no for most of you out there. If you’d like a free consultation just to make sure your retirement plans are on-track, reach out to us today!