Shakespeare Blog: View from the Lake

Group 512

30 Years as a Client: Part 1

Written By: Kevin Reardon, CFP®

Kevin's Early Headshot

A Glimpse into Kevin’s First Client…

It was 1992 and I had just started my first job as a financial advisor. A more ‘seasoned advisor’ in the office was introduced to a young married couple who weren’t a great fit for his busy practice, and he was gracious enough to pass the client to me. This introduction was the beginning of what has become a wonderful 30-year relationship. With their permission, I would like to introduce you to Curt and Cheri. We will take a walk down memory lane to learn about the various financial planning issues we have addressed over the years, as well as the various life events we have helped them navigate. Although their story and our relationship will continue, it did culminate earlier this year with the milestone of Curt’s retirement.

The Early Years:

Curt and Cheri were in their late 30’s when we met. Curt was an engineer and Cheri a nurse. They were both progressing in their careers and Curt was contemplating a return to graduate school to pursue his MBA. As conservative Midwesterners, they had little-to-no consumer debt and were saving nicely in their retirement accounts, as well as stashing some money away in their bank accounts each month. They were financially ‘comfortable’. The triggering event that caused them to seek financial advice related to the potential adoption of a child, which wonderfully came to fruition in early 1993 with the arrival of their son, Eric.

In our initial meetings, we tackled some important financial planning issues. In preparation for the adoption, we reviewed their insurance needs to ensure the family was financially protected in the event of their premature disability or death. As they each worked for large employers, both spouses had group disability & group life insurance. We identified a need for more life insurance for both and made sure they bought the right type of insurance with an adequate amount of coverage.

With the arrival of their son, it was imperative they have a proper estate plan. We directed them to meet with an attorney who drafted a Will, as well as Health and Financial Power of Attorney documents for each of them.

Our discussions in these early years frequently centered around their budget and goals for their income and savings. With the addition of their young son, Cheri wanted to spend more time at home and less time working. They were interested in saving for their son’s education, even though it was a long way off. They knew they needed to budget for new cars in the coming years, and having a secure retirement was always something they planned for. Curt started his MBA, going to school at night, with the intention of furthering his career and income potential in the future. Curt was an early user of Lotus Notes, the predecessor to Excel, and he created spreadsheets to track expenses and savings. We reviewed the spreadsheets together and made necessary ‘tweaks’. Although the budget grew tighter, they focused on funding their most important goals and were able to consistently live within their means.

Stay tuned for our next blog, where we dive into a plethora of planning issues we helped Curt and Chari tackle during their 40’s and 50’s.