Quite some time ago I gave a talk to an industry group and referred to our AAA clients – “Active Aging Adults”. Folks in the 60+ age range who have had, and still have, interesting life experiences. A great reason to go to the office every day.
Having a financial planning practice with AAA clients exposes you to a variety of planning issues over the years — and builds your expertise. For one, my focus since day one in 1982 has been on “retirement INCOME planning. Helping AAA clients organize their various pools of savings at the point of retirement, with a view towards minimizing taxes and maximizing their after-tax cash flow.
Being a Retirement Income Specialist requires much more experience and expertise than simply building wealth for someone. Much more comes into play, particularly when you’re working with someone’s life savings and there’s no margin for an error to recover from. Lately it seems that the whole financial planning industry has discovered that as Boomers age, money will be going out the door, so perhaps they need to figure out how it’s done. Commendable, but late to the game.
For the same reason there’s also been a renewed focus in our industry on Estate Planning. While we didn’t call it “Intergenerational Wealth Transfer” in the 70s and 80s during my time as an “Estate Planning Consultant” at a major insurance company, the underlying planning theme is the same – helping clients plan for the ultimate disposition of their assets with a minimum of taxation.
In our practice of AAA clients we assist with the settlement of many estates on an annual basis. That could be as simple as arranging for the prompt and efficient transfer of a client’s RRIF to his successor annuitant spouse, thereby avoiding any interruption in income. Or, the more complex scenario where our client has both personal and business assets.
We’re always learning from these situations, developing experience and expertise that can help others. On my team, Lydia Bzowej, CFP®, EPC and Derek Polson, CFP®, are in their 20th and 10th years with me respectively, so they’ve been involved in just about every retirement income and estate plan scenario possible.
Part of our learning also comes from continuing education, doing a minimum of 30-60 hours per annum, always looking for ideas that can benefit our clients, as well as to meet the regulatory requirements for licensing and the associations we belong to.
With this in mind, I recently completed the course necessary to achieve the Certified Executor Advisor (CEA) designation, and Lydia and Derek are both enrolled for 2016. It’s a newer, multidisciplinary course that delves into the details of estate administration more so than the other designations we have, and how to help executors with what can be an onerous task. It will fit well with the combined 63 years of experience that my team has.
As my fellow co-founder and business partner at Polson Bourobnniere, Paul Bourbonniere, has said on many occasions, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. That’s why we’re committed to “lifelong learning” – to borrow a phrase. To provide our AAA clients with the highest level of planning solutions and service as part of their Worry Free Retirement Experience™.