There are some baby boomers who do not equate retirement only with playing golf and traveling. There are some boomers who want to do more in retirement than merely enjoy the fruits of their labor.
It is important, yes, to be financially secure and to plan properly for retirement, says Joseph Sturniolo, an RIA and founder of Denver-based Joseph S. Sturniolo & Associates, but the period after working full time can and should also be an inspirational phase of life, one in which people should dare to discover, or rediscover, their passions and see them to fruition. “About 10 years ago, I realized that financial planning wasn’t all that I wanted to do for my clients,” Sturniolo says. “While they were likely to be prepared financially for their retirement lives, I wanted them to also have something of value, something that would give purpose to their lives.”
Spurred by client interest and his own questioning, Sturniolo, a rep with Geneos Wealth Management, thus created what he calls “The Transition Formula,” a program designed to steer interested clients toward a deeper, richer quality of life in retirement by unlocking their passions and improving the lives of others.
The program has three stages: The “Life-Vision Articulator” phase, in which clients are guided toward creating a direction for their lives; the “Financial Life Strategist Phase,” where they improve the efficiency of their resources through careful financial planning; and finally, the “ROAR” phase, in which clients allow their passions to guide their activities.
Thus far, clients who have participated in ROAR (www.roar-in.com)–a three-day workshop with a fee separate from Sturniolo’s other services–have built a community shelter for battered women, developed a hands-on program for foster children, and created an organization for orphans in Africa.
While ROAR has naturally had the most success thus far among people who are financially comfortable, it is also starting to appeal to a broader client base of individuals who are looking for greater meaning in their lives, Sturniolo says. “There are plenty of 20-year-olds out there who feel they’re in the wrong job and don’t know where they’re headed,” Sturniolo says. “There are also people in their 70s who are looking for something new, looking to add some new meaning to their lives.”
The ROAR phase of the program has been created with the help of psychologists who serve as consultants to Sturniolo. The workshops–which include discussions and a series of special exercises designed by the psychologists to get participants’ ideas flowing–are held monthly, but Sturniolo believes their regularity will increase as more people become interested. “We are trying to encourage other financial planners and brokers to use our method, and we have seen interest from about half a dozen planners,” he says. “I firmly believe that if financial planners are going to satisfy the needs of their clients, they need to have something to offer them beyond the money side.”
Sturniolo is also quick to speak up for proper money management and the importance of financial planning for retirement. After 26 years in the business, “I don’t think that the financial side of retirement has become any less important, and financial planning is a very thorough and comprehensive part of our process,” he says. Indeed, most clients come to Sturniolo for this purpose, he says; only about 20% of his client base–most of whom are affluent boomers–are in the ROAR phase of the program.
In order to reach out to a broader client base and increase the Transition Formula’s appeal, Sturniolo’s firm is about to release a book–a parable on the life of a caterpillar, which after going through different stages of life, finally realizes its full purpose upon becoming a butterfly. The as-yet-untitled story is due out in a few months, and is the simplest way to illustrate what Sturniolo hopes his clients–and those of other advisors–can achieve.