Retirement specialists, especially those certified, spend many hours of training learning about economics, trends and tools. They earn credentials in order to put fancy acronyms after their names. They set up office and hire someone pleasant to answer the phone when you call. It looks and sounds official, and it is certainly professional. As baby boomers continue to retire and plan for retirement in record numbers, there is no shortage of retirement specialists that want your business.
But if professionalism, credentials and products are essentially equal (they are not…but that’s a different blog), how do you choose the best retirement specialist for you?
It is a mistake that so often, personality and values are left out of the discussion. Do you want to work with someone that is highly qualified, but feels no sense of obligation to the community or giving back? No. Values provide insight into the type of person or company you are working with. And, very simply, if you are going to trust them with your hard-earned money, their principles should reflect yours.
At Everest, giving back to the community is something we take seriously. We do it because we care. For years, we have supported Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic, giving a portion of our profits to help turn dreams into reality. Earlier this year, we supported the Blue Valor Foundation, which provides help to families of fallen Maryland law enforcement officers.
There are so many opportunities to help our community—our only problem is choosing whom to support. Based on the interests and feedback of both our staff and clients, we try to determine where we can have the most influence with our money and time. We look at pressing needs in the community and we talk to nonprofit leaders.
September was Hunger Action Month, and upon learning that 1 in 8 of our fellow Marylanders does not have enough food for basic nutrition, we sprang into action. Our entire staff spent several hours working in the warehouse at the Maryland Food Bank, and we also gave a sizable donation to keep the momentum going.
We may be in the retirement planning business to help people make wise decisions, but our commitment to helping others doesn’t stop in the conference room. If you are in the process of choosing a retirement specialist, or deciding if yours is right for you, ask what they do to give back to the community. If their principles aren’t aligned with yours, you might think twice about entrusting them with your future.