May 3

Coffee with Mike – Generic Versus Personalized Retirement Plans

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If you’re a financial planner working for a major company, that company is pushing certain products--it’s the business model for large corporations. That means every planner within that company is providing the same products to all the people they meet with; therefore, you’re always going to end up in the same place, no matter who you’re talking with. And that’s you’ve been thinking, but haven’t been saying, and you have to take a risk and say what is this going to do to our relationship? If people really want to resolve those differences, they have to work through them; they just can’t ignore them, they just can’t set that aside. That’s not extraneous information--having a different set of priorities is really reflective of a different set of values and we can’t ignore that. We’ve gotta dive into that. Something that strikes me: if we’re really truly different, and we all have different desires, why do we all keep ending up in the same place? Why does everyone keep telling us the same thing? Why isn’t there any difference in what we’re supposed to do, if we’re really different? 

When you get on the internet and you’re looking at calculators, and you’re figuring out what the math is, that’s very generic. I mean, nobody can resolve a relationship by looking at a math problem. As scientific as that may be, that doesn’t help build a relationship and that doesn’t help build a future. 

What does help is making sure you understand what’s truly important to you: your values. The way I think about that is not what’s morally right or wrong, but what makes you feel valuable. What is it that makes you feel valuable? I feel more valuable when I do things for my wife. I feel more valuable when I do things for my grandchildren. I feel more valuable when I’m available for my children. That’s my value--I want to be available. Availability is really important to me; I never want to be in a spot where I cannot be available. That value drives my life and my decisions.

"When you figure out what your values are, that’s going to properly determine your priorities."

When you figure out what your values are, that’s going to properly determine your priorities. Your priorities will properly determine your goals. Your goals will properly determine the best thing to do right now. And that makes you feel like you’re making progress, that you’re doing what I believe I should be doing. But copycatting everybody else...that’s just generic. 

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