By Kristi De Rycke, Registered Assistant
Did That Really Just Happen Moment #1:
I have been an occupational therapist for 22 years. 2 years ago the 401lk guy came to the office to meet with anyone interested. I signed up for a 30 minute slot. The day came and I had my papers ready with 8 questions. The guy could not answer 1 of them!!! I finally looked at him and asked how long he had been doing this. He said he had just started. I asked what he had to do to get to be a 401k representative. His answer... wait for it... well if you answer phones at the investment company for a couple years, then I guess you get to start meeting with clients. What?!? I am sure he was joking but I walked out of there fuming! This guy was supposedly helping all of my colleagues to meet their retirement dreams. The people that work hard every day to do the best for their patients. To be fair I probably had more complicated questions than most healthcare professionals might. The truth is I had read a couple of books on financial planning in my 20s and was hooked! Since then, I have read, listened to and watched everything I could get my hands on related to investing and personal finances. I do recognize that this is not a recreational activity for most people, but I really enjoy it. A few years ago I started more formal studying on the topic when I was working at Johnson Insurance. I now have passed my Series 7 exam and I am working as a registered assistant with the Johnson Insurance team. However, I still think these questions were something that anyone in the position of "helping with 401ks" should have been able to answer
Life Lesson Learned That Day: No one is going to take care of my financial goals or retirement unless I do. We all can ask for guidance and help on investments but we are the captain of our team and our success or failure depends on us.
Did That Really Just Happen Moment #2:
I had still not calmed down from my meeting when I asked one of my colleagues about her experience with the 401k guy. She said it was great. She had not been saving enough to get her match for the past few years and he pointed that out. I was so surprised! Here was a very smart, driven women who was extremely good at her profession but missed the free money.
Life Lesson Learned That Day: People spend a huge amount of time on their education, training for their trades or building their own businesses. The same people that excel at their chosen field continue to devote their time in that area to remain on the top of their game. They don't have time to dive through information to learn how to best manage their finances. These same men and women are trying to balance the other aspects of their lives including family, friends, volunteer commitments and hobbies. Researching funds, reading financial magazines and listening to podcasts about asset allocation, compound interest and investment risk is often not a top of their mind.
Did That Really Just Happen Moment #3:
I have a good friend who has been a source of guidance for me in many areas of my life. She confided to me one day that she has a lot of guilt over not knowing more about finances and her retirement picture. She is an amazing OT! She is a loving wife! She is an amazing mother! She is such a caring friend! It really bothered me that she had this secret pressure to be great at financial planning, too. She was very honest when she said she has no desire to read or study financial planning, but wants to be sure she is doing the right things. Why is that a source of guilt? We only have 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and 365 days per year. We have to decide how we want to allocate that time.
Life Lesson Learned That Day: People want more information about handling their finances to build their confidence and likelihood of success, but without spending a great deal of their limited time.
The purpose of Kristi's Koffee Talk is to research information on topics that are important to our financial future, break down the information into hopefully easy to understand information and more importantly write it in a concise way, so that you can read it over a cup of coffee or during a lunch break. My intention is to present the information in an unbiased way but present pros and cons to the options so you can apply it to your individual situation. Greg Johnson, Financial Advisor, will then add his comments or thoughts to consider. I am excited to start this new adventure. If you have further questions on a topic after reading the articles or want information on another topic, take the guilt out of it and contact our office for further assistance. Financial planning is our passion.
Kristi De Rycke is not registered with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.