Preparing a Handyman for Retirement

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The other day, I met the nicest man. He is in his late 40s and wanted to talk about what to do with his retirement accounts so that he could have more money when he retires. Basically, my field of expertise! My favorite question to ask new clients is, “What do you want most after you stop punching that time clock?” Most people think they will have an answer, and you can see it as they open their mouth. Then they usually close it for a minute and actually think about what I am asking.

Sometimes I get really general answers like “travel,” “spend more time with family.” or “enjoy a hobby” or something equally as generic. It’s like they think it is a test with a right or wrong question rather than a necessary, personal, question to formulate how much money they’ll need to retire. Then I have to ask a qualifier to actually get them to think about it. For example, where would they like to go? Around the world, or around the country? Do they want to fly and stay in luxurious hotels, or buy an RV? On the other hand, if they want to spend more time with family, what does that mean to them? Family that lives in the house with them, or family that lives far away? If far, how far? Are they spread out all over the place, or do they live in the same vicinity as one another? The hobby one drives me crazy. I always have to ask if it is a new hobby they’d like to take up, and if so, what it is, or if it is an existing hobby. They are two completely different things! Usually, if it is a new hobby there is a bunch of money laid out up front (think like photography, for example, if you need to buy a new camera and lenses and the like) or if you already have the stuff you need. The answers I get from clients really give me insight into what is important to them and where to go with their investments.

But this man answered me right away. He told me he wanted to restore classic cars. Something like that I can really run with. We got to talking about whether he would need to add on additional garage space to his existing home (yes), and whether he’d need new tools (yes, he said he would need things like an air compressor and air tools, a storage system, and a bunch of other costly items). I also asked if he already had any cars that he was planning to restore and he said he’s already got one, and he has been accruing parts for it for years. His boss lets him store everything at his current job for now. We talked about the cost of all this for awhile because I am not big into cars. He was able to show me some numbers to allow me to figure everything out.

I was able to show him a great plan for his future, and he left the office feeling very excited and hopeful. It is so nice to be able to tell a client that the thing they are hoping for is a real possibility. When they have that spark in their eyes when they talk about their golden years, I hate to be the one to put that light out. Some people have really unrealistic plans about what they want to do with the very small nest they have put aside, and that is a tough pill to swallow, especially when they come to me too late to do a whole lot about it. So today was one of the good days that make me love my job and I just had to share it.

Til next time, keep making your money work for you!