Recently I was interviewed for a local television show on preparing people for the one thing they just didn’t want to talk about…and that was their retirement future and how it related to how much money they had, would give away, or be able to live on. These are the questions I was asked:

Q. What is the one thing you wish you could tell anyone on the subject of setting yourself up for financial success?

A. I would tell everyone that you don’t have to go it alone. Regardless of your age, or your perceived lack of enough money to matter, everyone deserves to have a relationship with a trusted advisor to help them make the best decisions for their circumstances.

Q. If you were talking to a woman or a man who is in their early fifties and they tell you they feel like they have their financial retirement taken care of because they have money in a 401k at work, what would you say?

A. I would ask them if they know what their income will be when they retire? I would also ask them if they know what they are going to pay in taxes upon retirement? After they look at me like I set them up, (because I did) I would tell them that they aren’t supposed to know. Uncle Sam doesn’t want them to know what their tax burden will be. My job, my purpose, what I want for everyone is to know the answers to those questions with absolute certainty.

Q. What would you tell someone who feels like they don’t have enough money to do anything with? They feel they’d just be wasting your time….

A. Henry Ford was 45 when his entrepreneurship began. Julia Child was 49 when she wrote her first cook book. When most are thinking of retiring, Colonel Sanders was 65 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. Maybe you don’t want to write a book or even like fried chicken but my point is any talent, any dream, like any amount of money is enough to start. The key is making it work to your advantage so that it allows you to have the life you want. You have to start somewhere, use what you have and do what you can. Again, they don’t have to do it alone but the first step is to start.

Q. What is the difference between you or what you do and brokerage houses such as Charles Swab or JP Morgan?

A. One main difference is I can talk about guaranteed returns and brokerage houses don’t have such instruments because they work off of the markets which are obviously unpredictable. I offer lifetime incomes that you can never outlive, with little or no downsize risk and no management fees.

Q. Before you and I sat down and we began this interview, I did some research on some of the instruments that you use and I am wondering why they seem to be a bit of a secret?

They are not a secret at all. These instruments have been around forever. It’s about educating people and giving them options. That is what I love to do because I can’t nor should I ever, cook.

Q. Bill, what is your biggest challenge when you sit down with a new client?

A. As odd as it may sound, I want people to be able to tell me their fears, hopes, dreams and everything in-between. We must have mutual trust. They have to tell me details even though to them what they say might be embarrassing or perceived past mistakes, but I don’t look at it that way. The past is important, but it doesn’t have to dictate their future circumstances. If we’re talking, then it’s not too late. I’m asking them to share their life. They have worked, sacrificed, saved and made decisions to the best of their abilities with the information they had at the time.

Q. If you were to meet with a business who wanted to offer their employees retirement benefits, what would you advise them?

A. I have talked to small businesses and large businesses and it always is an advantage to let the employees choose between an instrument that they would have to pay taxes on at retirement or not pay taxes on at all? The answer is always that they’d rather not pay taxes. (Companies hire smart people!) I would then help the company set up a tax-free retirement plan that would give them a great option that they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on!

I had an instance with a small business owner who really wanted to retain one of her managers. She was going against some competition because her key person was being wooed  by another company, so after sitting down together, they came up with a plan that if he agreed to stay with her for five years,  she would agree to pay him some bonus dollars that would go directly into a retirement plan that would enable him to take an income stream totally tax-free when he retired! She even agreed to pay the taxes when the plan was turned over to him.

Q. I am an Entrepreneur. I am self-employed with no large umbrella to help me with a pension, or contributions to a 401k, etc. What would you advise me to do? Where do I start and is it going to cost me more since it is just me?

A. You and I would sit down over a strong cup of coffee and I would ask you what your goals are. When do you want to retire? How much income do you want per month? After I know that information along with your age, and other details, I would present you with options and one would be income that you could never outlive. No, it wouldn’t cost you more money…and the best time to start is the day after we meet.