Employers bring my company onsite to provide comprehensive, unbiased retirement education as a benefit for their employees. Each seminar is customized for the employer's needs. My company provides experts on a variety of topics, including Social Security, Medicare/health care options, estate planning, financial planning, long-term care, care giving and transition to retirement. The sponsoring companies choose which topics they want, when and in how many sessions and if they want to include their company's retiree benefits. Smaller companies that do not have enough employees to hold a seminar on-site, send their employees to one of our congregate off-site events.
I was facilitating similar seminars for a local nonprofit that closed last year. Former clients and professional colleagues encouraged me to use my knowledge and passion to continue the seminars. We all knew the need for this kind of unbiased information, especially with the large number of baby boomers entering retirement.
Working and volunteering with people in retirement has been a passion of mine. I know how reassuring it is to have the right tools and unbiased information when transitioning into retirement. From my work with human resources professionals, I learned how valuable this information can be to them, especially in this uncertain economy, as they try to answer their employees' questions on Medicare/Social Security/401 (k) decisions.
I started with the model of providing this service used in my previous employment. I have worked hard to improve and expand the content and scope of the information and possible delivery systems.
This economy has been a curse and a blessing. Previous clients were unable to sponsor seminars last year due to decreased revenue or reorganization; that forced me to be more creative and flexible in finding new clients and ways of providing services. We have now provided seminars to companies that look at this as a pre-retirement benefit that may help employees decide if they can take early retirement, participate in voluntary lay-offs or accept decreased retiree health benefits. These companies appreciate the goodwill that has grown up from providing this service in such difficult situations.
I provide objective information because I am not selling additional products or services. The information is the product. By providing experts on many topics related to retirement, one person is not attempting to answer questions outside his/her area of expertise. People appreciate human contact in addition to the online retirement education tools they may have access to at their company. I thrive on working with employees directly to provide the most relevant information for feeling comfortable about their retirement decisions. They come with questions and leave with confidence.
Interview 5/3/2010 by Business News Pioneer Press, St. Paul, MN
I feel successful when I hear the enthusiastic response of employees who attend the seminars. They thank us and their employer for providing such valuable information on topics they had not even considered previously. They also appreciate the opportunity for follow-up from our experts. We cannot answer all their potential questions at the seminar, but we provide resources they can access in the future. One attendee rated our handouts 110%. That felt like success!
My biggest obstacle was my lack of business experience. I spent a lot of time learning about business plans, marketing, websites, insurance and business taxes at SCORE, the free small business training service supported by the Small Business Administration. My mentors Ed Hennen and Ralph Larson helped me with that entrepreneur education.