Funnily enough, that’s a big part of what Roger and I discuss in our latest episode: time. As a financial planner who serves retirees, Roger has a unique perspective on the planning process. He dives deep into the three phases of his retirement planning experience, as well as the Retirement Answer Man podcast and his membership community, Rock Retirement Club.

What people really want out of retirement

After 300 podcast episodes of the Retirement Answer Man, Roger has learned quite a bit about his clients, retirees in particular. One of his biggest discoveries was how people approach retirement. Roger likened retirement to a release valve. Daily work stress, a hectic commute, meetings, traveling for the job: all this builds up pressure. Our culture and marketing (as well as our profession) make retirement out to be a goal that will release all of that pressure. But it doesn’t. It may be because people don’t spend enough time thinking about what they really want out of retirement.

What do people really want? It’s not so much the absence of work. “They just want more control over their time and freedom to pursue things that they enjoy,” Roger said. “Rather than retirement being like a light switch that you turn on or off, work or no work, most people would prefer to have more of a dimmer switch, to slow down their pace and do work that they love a little bit more, but have some time freedom.” 

Discovering this has influenced Roger’s planning and how he talks to his clients about retirement. He’s even taken the advice to heart, swapping a 9 to 5 career for working remotely, more freedom to spend time as he likes, and more control over his life.

The “bling of planning”

Roger likes to view financial planning as project management. The relationship between financial planner and client is a collaboration, not a delegation. By setting that expectation for the relationship first, Roger is able to help clients figure out what they want and how they can achieve those goals together.

Optimization is the “bling of planning” as Roger called it: it’s the fancy and fun part of financial planning. This part involves setting goals, called SMART sprints, for his clients to reach. They’re not limited to financial goals, either. Roger shared the experience of a retiree client who was able to enjoy traveling, but didn’t have many people to talk to when he was home. Roger set a goal for this client to build a social network slowly by participating in local community events. This kind of work, Roger said, is the one of the only ways planners will thrive in the future. Anyone can handle the financial side, but if you’re not adding value in other ways for your clients, you’ll become irrelevant.

Podcasts and the Rock Retirement Club

Roger himself is a great example of evolving as a financial planner and offering clients value that they can’t get elsewhere. In addition to his long-running The Retirement Answer Man podcast, he founded the online community, Rock Retirement Club. Members of the club receive resources and tools for financial planning, as well as the support and engagement from other like-minded people who want to plan for retirement on their own.

And to better his practice even more, Roger recently started another podcast called The Agile Financial Planner. (“Because I don’t have enough to do,” he quipped.) Starting this podcast and talking about his agile financial planning process has helped him tweak his tools and processes. 

The financial planning profession is a hard journey for everyone, especially those who are newbies. That’s why it’s important to always be learning and evolving, to add value to yourself as a financial planner. And remember that the journey takes awhile, “a lot longer than you think it’s going to take,” said Roger. Surround yourself with people that you want to be like, grow your network, and you’ll have a better chance of finding career opportunities down the road.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What Roger has learned about clients through podcasting
  • Roger’s views on the evolution of the financial planning process
  • The first phase of the retirement planning experience
  • Optimization, or the “bling of planning”
  • How client decisions change over time
  • What it means to deliver the “wham”
  • All about Roger’s podcasts and retirement club
  • Roger’s advice for those new to the profession

Show Notes:

In this episode of YAFPNW, Hannah Moore, CFP® and Roger Whitney, CFP® talk about:

Want to keep up with Roger on social media? Follow him on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @Roger_whitney.