“To all the clients I’ve worked with over the years, thank you for demonstrating that through hard work, character, and responsibility, it is possible to start from nothing and build a fulfilling retirement for you and your families.”
That dedication opens my new book, “Keen on Retirement: Engineering the Second Half Of Your Life.” It’s a summation of what it is we do every day at Keen Wealth Advisors. But it’s also my small way of recognizing what an honor it is to serve folks who are actively involved in their retirement planning. Most of our clients are self-made success stories who want to make their next chapter a success as well. They’ve built their wealth not by winning the lotto or inheriting a windfall, but through discipline, sacrifice, and commitment.
I appreciate the journey that these successful retirees have been on because it’s very similar to my own. On today’s show, I discuss how my personal history led me to a career in finance, why I decided to write this book, and what I hope readers will learn about engineering their best lives in retirement.
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Growing up around money anxiety.
There was a lot of love in my family when I was growing up. But there was not a lot of money. I can vividly remember sitting in my father’s small apartment, watching him wait for his unemployment check to hit the mailbox. Even if I didn’t entirely understand what was going on with my family’s finances, I was very aware of the anxiety that money – or the lack of it – was causing. I didn’t wish that my family was rich. I just wanted peace of mind. I wanted my father to be happy.
Most of us try to shield our children from these kinds of money experiences. But I wouldn’t change a thing about my childhood. Experiencing that anxiety made me want to be able to handle my own affairs when I grew up.
And there was another major influence over my childhood experience of money: my great Aunt Nina. She was the Personnel Director at Kansas City’s iconic Emery Bird Thayer department store at a time when women just didn’t have those kinds of jobs. She was also totally in control of her finances. She worked hard, lived within her means, and taught me so much about saving, investing, and the economy. Aunt Nina made it to age 100! It meant so much to me that, later in her life, when I was just starting out in finance, I was able to help her navigate things like Medicare and organizing her estate.
A marathon, not a sprint.
27 years and some 15,000 meetings later, I’m proud to say that I think Keen Wealth is the kind of advisory firm that my Aunt Nina would have loved working with.
Our clients understand that money doesn’t buy happiness. But it can definitely cause strain that makes it difficult to live your best life. The world is smaller, faster, and more connected than it’s ever been. It’s now possible to analyze the market or your portfolio minute-by-minute. That’s a whole new level of anxiety no previous generation of investors has ever dealt with. And because of that, there’s a greater danger than ever of scammers manipulating our insecurities, and of the media distorting real news with scare tactics designed to drive up viewership and rack up more clicks.
One of the big messages of my new book is: retirement planning is a marathon, not a sprint. I hope the book will help folks understand that you need to unplug from the moment-to-moment craziness of whatever’s happening in the news right now to make an effective retirement plan. A 35-year-old investor who didn’t panic on Black Monday, 1987 and stuck to his long-term financial plan is, most likely, preparing to retire right now with a comfortable nest egg. That might not be the message you see on social media when the market experiences corrections, but it’s the tried and true path to building real wealth.
Practical advice for every stage of your life.
I believe one of the greatest benefits of working with a financial advisor is that sense of perspective. We help our clients stay focused on the big picture. Do we make adjustments when necessary? Of course. But we never forget that the major events that influence our planning process aren’t out in the markets or geopolitical arenas. They’re the events in our clients’ lives. Buying a new house. Starting your own company. Kids going to college. An unexpected job loss. A major illness. Managing a parents’ estate after they’ve passed. And transitioning from your work life to your golden years.
People often wonder if they should be working with a financial advisor, if they’re too young or too old, if they have enough assets. Well, the minimum to work with Keen Wealth is that we ask that our clients be grateful, humble, teachable, and nice on most days – and committed to your long-term financial health. Whether you’re a baby boomer looking to fine-tune your plan before retirement or a millennial just starting out, we can help as long as you meet that criteria.
And I think the same is true of the audience for my new book! Wherever you are on your financial journey, you’ll find easy-to-read advice and instructive stories that will inspire you to chart a better course towards retirement.
You can click right to here to pick up a copy of “Keen on Retirement: Engineering the Second Half Of Your Life” in paperback, Kindle, or Audible audiobook formats.
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Got a question or comment? Email it to me and we’ll get back to you or call our office at (913) 624-1841.
Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
Keen Wealth Advisors is a Registered Investment Adviser. Nothing within this commentary constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Keen Wealth Advisors manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed here. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.