Stay on top of your health. Try to form some healthy habits before you retire and start young! Health is important for a couple of reasons. Health care is expensive, but also being able to enjoy the retirement you plan for. My doctor specifically told me the older you get, the more the decisions we make earlier in our life determines quality of health. You body is a system and one wrong thing can lead to a bigger problem. Most recently, I had some back problems. Old me would just ignore it, however this time I went to the doctor. After some physical therapy, I feel incredible. If I would have continued to ignore it, it would have progressed into surgery leading to a lifelong pain management program. I could only imagine the cost.

As a part of my series about the “5 Things Retirees Say They Wish They Were Told Before They Began Retirement” I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Boyles, CFP® . Scott is the COO of Brightscape with over 16 years of experience as a fee-only financial planner to business owners, executives, and successful families.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Sure, when I was in college, I always had the idea to do something of my own. I was intrigued with the idea of being an entrepreneur and was studying Business and Marketing. But I really found myself drawn to Finance. The numbers always made sense to me.

As my father was approaching retirement age, we talked about me helping with his finances. After working as Controller with a privately held national landscape company and a Financial Analyst for a Fortune 500 company, I knew that I wanted to find a way to help people achieve their dreams. I couldn’t see myself sit in an office “pushing papers.” Financial Planning is that opportunity for me. It combines all the aspects of entrepreneurship with helping others.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Early in my career, my business partner and I were asked to speak at a conference of professional athletes. The purpose was to provide the athletes investment opportunities along with advice and guidance to help make their money last. We realized right away it was not the prestigious event we thought we were attending and ended up bailing on the conference. Unfortunately, years later, most of the people presenting are now being featured on ‘American Greed.’ They were apparently running Ponzi schemes. Honestly, when it comes to money, there are a lot of people with their hands out and only truly care about themselves.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

I hosted a dinner seminar a long time ago when I was starting my practice and was expecting about 10 dentists. About 30 of them showed up and frankly, I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have enough handouts, food, pens, you name it. The worst part about it is I didn’t exactly have the budget to pay for the drink tab these dentists had. Luckily my friend that helped me set up the event worked in the dental industry and picked up some of the tab. It’s kind of embarrassing to have a person pitching you on your finances that couldn’t pay the bill. I don’t typically do dinner seminars anymore, but from that point forward I learned to limit the tab and make sure I limited the number of people. As a side note, the waiter did ask me for a job after the event.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve met quite a few amazing people through the years that have guided, supported and helped me. But by far the person that has had the biggest impact on where I am today is my Father. In fact, both of my parents. My Mom and Dad were always supportive and encouraged me to put the hard work in to get where I want to be. My Mom is a nurse and has dedicated herself to her career, always taking care of everyone. My Dad started out in humble and rural beginnings and has created an entire career for himself across multiple industries and as an entrepreneur.

I remember specifically when I got home from school we would have dinner together and then, following his full day or work, Dad and I would get in the car and drive 30 minutes to the batting cages. I was dedicated to baseball growing up so my parents dedicated themselves as well. Both of them were always supportive and would basically give everything they had for my sister and me, whatever we were pursuing.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

To consistently challenge yourself and have an inquisitive mind. Too often we get stuck in our own pattern and can’t see different ideas. We then start living in an echo chamber where we shut down outside-of-the-box ideas. It’s almost like driving home from the office the same way every day. There might be something new on the other side of neighborhood that you might not know about. I heard a long time ago the second you feel comfortable doing something, there is someone out there doing work better than yours. This being said, I also think you have to live in the moment sometimes and enjoy the successes. It’s okay to take days off.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Believe in people and allow them the opportunity to screw up. Nothing kills motivation like consistently being told “no”, or not feeling validated. You can learn something from everyone, no matter how young or seemingly inexperienced. Create an encouraging environment and always do yourself what you ask of your employees. Lead by example.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact nearly every aspect of one’s life. Obviously everyone’s experience is different. But In your experience, what are the 5 most common things that people wish someone told them before they retired?

I’m lucky that I frequently get to work with people who are currently retired. The common theme I hear is start saving on day one of your first job, even in high school. Getting in this habit only works in your favor. The longer you have to save, the longer you have for your money to work for you.

One surprising thing I see is that typically, people end up spending the same or even more in their first few years of retirement than they did when working. I think this is for a couple of reasons. First, they’ve probably gone to work for years and had somewhere to be daily. All of a sudden they’re on zero schedule and have the ability to do things during the day. There’s a saying that if you aren’t making money then you’re spending it and it’s so true. Every day not working people walk out of their house and spend money instead of earning money while at work. Second, I think it has to do a bit with an emotional mindset that all your life you’ve looked forward to retiring. Now you are getting the chance to do all of the things you’ve dreamed of for years.

Another interesting thing I hear from clients is the day you leave work you might believe you will be getting a call for a contract job. Unless this is something agreed to, it’s probably not going to happen. You might have believed you are the most valuable and that you hold a bunch of information, but honestly that work is going to happen without you. It’s difficult for a lot of people going from a paycheck to “having to rely on investments for income”. Being a retired “consultant” can’t be counted on as income. It’s a different mindset.

My clients tell me by really sitting down and planning a course of action helps manage the unknown. Expanding on that plan, I encourage clients to really sit down and plan out a course of action. Where are you going to live? How are you going to fund the money to live on? I work with my clients on planning, because without a plan some things will end up surprising you. One of those surprises is that insurance costs can explode.

I wish people understood stock market volatility and investing a little more. Return based investing, meaning constantly focusing on your return, when you are retired can be extremely risky. The past 10 years we’ve lived in what they call a bull market, but in 2008 we had the largest drop in the stock market since the Great Depression. This was very traumatic to a lot of people and was extremely difficult to manage the emotions of my retired clients through that time. If a retired client had exclusively had their funds in the stock market, it would have been a difficult time for them to live on their investments. Understanding investing isn’t always about achieving the greatest return, but achieving the goals you want to achieve.

Lets zoom in on this a bit. If you had to advise your loved ones about the 3 most important financial issues to keep in mind before they retire, what would you say? Can you give an example or share a story?

First, know where you are currently spending your money. You need an overall analysis of the house you live in, the amount of money spent on vehicles, monthly grocery and food bills, etc. Make sure you are keeping up with this and are comfortable with it. These are things within your control.

Second, do you want to find a second career? A retirement career? My father decided he didn’t want to work a 9–5, but didn’t want to leave the social aspect of working. Also, my Mom didn’t want him hanging around the house all day. Following his official retirement, he began work in real estate and eventually obtaining his brokers license. He enjoys real estate and working with other people. Plus, real estate allows him to earn some income and feel that reward of making money. Some people really miss the pride of a paycheck.

Finally, deciding when to take Social Security. The timing of when to take it is an important decision that directly impacts the overall health of your retirement plan. Certain strategies can maximize your monthly benefit, reducing the stress placed on your personal retirement savings.

If you had to advise your loved ones about the 3 most important health issues to keep in mind before they retire, what would you say? Can you give an example or share a story?

Stay on top of your health. Try to form some healthy habits before you retire and start young! Health is important for a couple of reasons. Health care is expensive, but also being able to enjoy the retirement you plan for. My doctor specifically told me the older you get, the more the decisions we make earlier in our life determines quality of health. You body is a system and one wrong thing can lead to a bigger problem. Most recently, I had some back problems. Old me would just ignore it, however this time I went to the doctor. After some physical therapy, I feel incredible. If I would have continued to ignore it, it would have progressed into surgery leading to a lifelong pain management program. I could only imagine the cost.

Create a daily exercise routine to keep or get in shape in your retirement. It can be as simple as walking the dog every day or as complex as a trainer and set weekly schedules. Whatever you choose, it’s important to stay active. Not just because it keeps you in shape, but also so you can enjoy the retirement life you want to live. Imagine planning a European vacation and not being able to survive the 10-hour flight without pain or not see the sites around the city because you can’t walk.

Third, maintain a positive attitude. They say your mindset can directly contribute to your overall health and I’m a true believer in this. Consistent worry about things out of your control lead to stress, which just leads to more issues. Realize you can only control so much and enjoy doing the things you like.

If you had to advise your loved ones about the 3 most important things to consider before choosing a place to live after they retire, what would you say? Can you give an example or share a story?

Understand how much in total housing cost you will be paying. There are all kinds of considerations on this: property tax, maintenance, replacement. Property tax used to be fully deductible on your taxes, but now with new tax laws it’s not always. If you are purchasing, how old is the house or place you are purchasing? Sometimes when you buy a house, you might have to replace a lot of existing systems such as HVAC and pool equipment, which on a fixed income budget can have direct impact on your successful retirement. Do you live in an area with an income tax or higher cost of living?

Find the city you want to live that provides the retirement life you want and live there. Understand that you don’t have to live somewhere for any other reason than that it’s where you want to live. You aren’t tied to a job or responsibility. You can live somewhere for family, for weather, for lifestyle or whatever reason you choose. Keep in mind; however, that if you can reduce your monthly cost of living, then it requires less money to retire.

Finally, location of healthcare facilities. One thing we probably don’t want to think about is how far a drive it is to the doctor or care facilities. Unfortunately, as we get older, these become an even greater concern. If you have to drive an hour to see your doctor, what happens when something really goes wrong? It’s something to think about if you are making a move.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I have two, actually. I try to always educate my client in their finances, not just tell them about it. At the end of the day it’s their money and they need to understand it. It would benefit a lot of people if there was a financial literacy course somewhere in K-12, but I also think having openness at home about how money is spent is imperative. Financial literacy and communication at a young age is where we can create a true understanding of how money works. It’s difficult to ask someone graduating college without any money experience to try to live within their means. They don’t know what their own means are and usually learn the hard way. Teaching your kids realistic expectations of how long it takes for you to work for that new phone or making them understand the impact of saving money can help them understand when they’re making their own financial decisions. I remember my sister saving all of her money. I swear she would save for years. But then she would reward herself and go buy something really nice. It’s something she started young, but is a habit she still does today.

The next idea is to help people truly understand how your dollar can impact small business. This hits me personally because my Dad operated a small business growing up and my wife and I had a boutique for a while as well. I think we have become a society of ‘race to find the cheapest item.’ We talk about supporting others and our love of small businesses, but don’t spend our dollars there first. I know first-hand that the person trying to open a new restaurant or store is just trying to provide for their family. They have some of the most amazing stories to tell. In finance, people sometimes assume the best plan is to lean towards the cheapest option. I think paying for the experience can be just as important as the product itself and twice as rewarding. When I decide to buy a coffee, it’s typically my favorite coffee shop down the street. The owners remember my name from the first time I went and what I order. The coffee is amazing and the fact is, I may have spent a couple of dollars I didn’t need to, but it led to starting my day well and helping a small business keep their doors open. When my wife and I travel, we always seek out the local places to eat and shop. We love hearing the stories of the people there and supporting the business owner. Sometimes even asking someone their story is the worth the money spent on the meal or item.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

Simon Sinek “Start With Why.” It challenges you to think of what you are doing in life. I remember being told about the book several years ago. Once I picked it up, I read it in just a few days and next thing I knew, lightbulbs went on. My why is to make everyone around me successful. Be it me helping two people make a connection or in my practice of helping them make a decisions towards achieving their goals. I can’t tell you how much it makes me happy by connecting the dots in my relationships to see who can help whom with a simple introduction.

Another book that I really enjoyed was ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight. I’ve always had a fascination with how businesses are built and Nike is one I basically grew up with. I remember walking into the store in the mall wanting to buy the Air Jordans from the first day they came out. I didn’t have the money, and Mom and Dad were very good about telling me how much those truly cost. In the book Phil talks about some of the risks and decisions he had to make to build the brand into what it is today. I’m not saying every business owner should work on the edge he did. Writing a very large check and knowing he didn’t have the money isn’t advisable. But there are going to be decision points in life that will dictate whether you are successful or not. It was really cool to read about it now and learn the other side of what was happening at the time that I wanted to buy those Nikes back then.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

It’s long, but I remember this from when I was young. It was a framed picture close to our backdoor growing up. To me, it makes a lot of sense. I would rather fail trying, rather than admiring from the sidelines. The hardest thing to do is to take the first step. I’m finding the people that do take this first step and “try” are much happier in life than those that say I wish I would have. You can’t try everything but having a plan in place allows for those times that the dream is following you around. Maybe you see a problem that you feel you can provide a solution for. It might require some periods of being uncomfortable, but at least you tried it. If anything, you learn by doing. You’ll have the knowledge of doing.

My now wife and I started a fashion business together. It was an amazing journey and experience, yet it didn’t lead necessarily to where either one of us wanted. However, we picked up so many friends and adventures along the way and learned a tremendous amount about each other in the process. We started this journey by just saying ‘Why Not?’

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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!