A Life Story (With a Moral)

It’s funny how people sitting next to you on airplanes sometimes open up and like to talk. This happened to me last week with a gentleman who looked at me and decided I was a good person to talk to, or maybe I’m just a good listener.

He told me his whole financial life history. Don’t ask me why. I didn’t know him, and he didn’t know me, but I listened.

Identity stolen twice, divorced twice, both times expensive, and just remarried at age 66 to a somewhat younger woman who has significant debt.

His career has been varied. Fireman, CPA, boat captain, electrical engineer and now talking about retirement. He will be going from a high-income earner to a low-income retiree.

During our one sided conversation, one thing became very clear. He had been dealt some financial hurdles and had worked very hard to correct these issues, but these experiences had left him financially apprehensive.

Here are his concerns. Can he afford to retire? Can he manage on a substantially reduced income? Should he continue to work? Will his employer allow him to work, and if so, for how long? Should he become a consultant to permit supplementing his income? Will he need to sell his house? Will he need to sell his boat, which, next to his wife, he loves dearly?

Many questions with perhaps not the answers he wants to hear. Life’s twists and turns sometimes takes us in directions we would rather not go in, but still have to deal with.

The moral of the story is to plan for the future, protect your assets and work with skilled financial advisors. Life happens, so be prepared.