So You Think You Want to Retire?
I think I can still be of value in a lot of ways, but probably different from what I have primarily done in the past.
During Covid, I began to think of what regrets I would have if Brenda or I died from the virus. I’d regret that I didn’t do more things with her, simple things like walk around the neighborhood. I think I’d regret that I didn’t take a “drive” with her with nothing on the agenda. Just go until we decide to stop. Stay until we decide to go. Come home when we are ready.
We’re actually planning to do that, almost. We want to start driving west and stop to visit some family members, my oldest brother, and his wife in Memphis, some cousins, and some very long-time friends who we met in Richmond, VA. We were just “kids”. It was in Lamaze class just before our daughters were born that we met and have remained friends since. We were brand new to Richmond. They attended the same church, but we had not met! They have just made the big move to little Rock to be near their children. They need a visit and so do we!
We want to be more involved with our church family and do some things that will have a positive impact on other people, even if small. We want to go to Norway (long story). We want to see places we haven’t seen, mostly in the USA. We aren’t sure what all that will look like. With health permitting, we have things to do!
So, if you see us somewhere you wouldn’t expect to see us, just remember, that is part of the plan!
I want to take a brief hiatus from my blended family newsletter theme and focus on a tribute to my longtime business partner, Conrad Slate. Our dear friend, mentor and firm co-founder, Conrad Slate, retired on June 30th. We enjoyed a wonderful celebration that evening where Conrad even got to throw out the first pitch at the Tennessee Smokies game. We enjoyed ballpark food, had some fun, shared in fellowship and even indulged on a delicious sheet cake. Conrad has served his clients for over 50 years in financial services. As he shared in his speech, most folks he served weren’t just clients, they are friends.
Conrad was not just a business partner to Will and me. He played the role of mentor and father figure to us in addition to being the voice of experience and helping us through those long days that often occur early in our careers. I’ll share one of the greatest gifts that Conrad gave to me over the years. He helped me in understanding more about my faith, and spirituality and strengthening my walk with Christ as a man, husband, father, and businessperson. He did it through his actions, his advice, his encouragement and YES…..even through his critiques of things I had done or said. He was always truthful in his words and actions. As I reflect on our years working together, I’m thankful for Conrad always being steadfast in his honesty, truth, and objectivity.
Now if you know Conrad, then you also know he has been around the office a few times since June 30th and still has an occasional client meeting here and there. I’m sure that will continue for some time and our team is happy to see him on the days he is here in the office. I hope that he knows just how much he is missed and how much he is appreciated for all of things he has contributed to our firm over the years.
Most importantly, in his creating a firm with a culture of honesty, truth and objectivity.
I wouldn’t be here serving the SDP client family today if it weren’t for Conrad Slate.
Conrad and I both graduated from Tennessee Tech University and I believe that was a big contributor to Conrad inviting me in for my first job interview back in early 2018.
I had been interviewing with many financial services firms throughout my junior and senior years at Tennessee Tech and I actually had already started the onboarding process with another firm in Knoxville before I had my first interview with Conrad.
When I first arrived at the SDP offices, I was welcomed by Kim in the front office and I immediately felt at home. The smell of coffee in the office paired with Kim’s diffuser and the welcoming atmosphere somehow instantly reminded me of visiting my grandfather at his office when I was young. It is bizarre how distinctly I remember that moment. I am naturally an anxious person, so I was very nervous about the interview and making a great first impression. Despite this, the interview went great, but it was not like any interview that I had participated in so far. Conrad asked me questions about myself, my upbringing, and my school journey. He asked me many of the questions that I have learned to go through with new prospective financial planning clients.
He even went through the “SDP approach talk” with me to give me an idea of how he, Rick, and Will run their business and care for their clients. I didn’t know it then, but Conrad was already showing me how to operate before even offering me a job. We went through that approach talk together many times for practice after I had joined the team and Conrad would help me by role-playing as a prospective client. Anyway, after that first interview, I got in my car and immediately called my mother, “I think I am going to back out of the onboarding process at ‘anonymous financial services firm’ so that I can join the SDP team. It seems like the perfect fit for me.” She cautioned me against being too hasty in my decision-making, but my gut told me that I needed to be apart of Conrad’s team. The rest is history, Conrad invited me back for another interview with the rest of the team and I canceled my onboarding at the other firm immediately.
When I received my offer letter to join the SDP team, I jumped at the opportunity to learn from Conrad. I took the job, earning less, with less benefits because I was so excited to work on a great team and have the opportunity to be mentored by Conrad, Rick, Will, and of course Kim.
I am so glad that I met Conrad, and had the opportunity to work with him. The knowledge and wisdom that he passed down to me are invaluable. Thank you, Conrad. I could not have asked for a better mentor in life and business.
Enjoy your retirement and be ready for my phone calls when I need an extra set of eyes on a case. I will always value your input and advice.
“It’s Different When it’s YOU.”
Everyone I know, including myself, wants to retire… one day. And the picture in our minds of what retirement looks like is generally a carefree life of travel and leisure doing things that only and always bring us joy. Over the many years being a financial advisor I’ve discovered one word that actually encapsulates all of it for everyone: Freedom.
We actually want to be able to own our time and do the things we want to do!
For all of these years in our firm, our team has asked people “What does retirement look like for you?” and the answers do not come easily. Most people answer in generalities and have a rough idea of what they want retirement to be, but struggle to define the specifics. I’ve found that when folks actually reach retirement the picture tends to look much different than the “sketch” they’ve had in their minds while working. That’s why we help our Client Family define a plan, and work on it to the end they want to see.
The SDP Team recently celebrated the over fifty-year career of our own Conrad Slate. Thankfully, Conrad is still around and part of our planning process, but not so much in the daily operations of our firm. Conrad, like most of us has looked forward to retiring primarily to spend more time with family and go to places he and Brenda haven’t visited yet. And they are doing it! It’s all part of the plan!
Conrad, I, and Rick are no different from anyone else though. We have our plans and work on them daily. But like anyone, Conrad, (and I have to think myself and Rick included) struggled with letting go of the reigns, and feels the same mild trepidation that comes with such a big life change. Even with a well-thought-out plan, things may not look exactly as we expect when we retire, and it generally has little to do with money or investments. Why? Because it’s different when it’s YOU!
“I’m busier now than when I was working!” is one of the most common phrases we hear, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing! Especially if there was a plan in place and that busy time is being spent doing the things you love and wanted to do (freedom), which for many of us is spending more time with the ones we care about. No matter how we feel when we retire, or what the world, our investments, or lifestyle looks like, spending time with those we love can only be considered a “WIN.”
Retirement may not feel exactly how we thought it would, or even look like we thought, but if we get more clear on what we want it to look and feel like now and come close to that surrounded by those we love, who could say that’s anything less than a success?