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Some of you may recall that I wrote several months ago about my personal house hunting and how technology has changed the way that homes are marketed and sold. I am happy to report that I have sold my former home of 24 years and bought a new(er) home, helped again by technology—while there was plenty to sign at the closing, much of the paperwork was done with e-signatures.

So here’s what’s interesting. My new home is in an age-restricted community (I qualify because I’m over 55), and the first question every one of my new neighbors asked was “Are you still working?” So my wife and I have taken to calling ourselves “SWs” in response.

I recently attended a Mozart-Monteverdi choral vespers concert (I should have been singing in the Monmouth Civic Chorus myself, but I’ve been doing a little traveling for work during rehearsal season, so I was an audience member this time). I was pleased to see an old friend also attending the concert, and afterward we caught up. “I heard you had retired,” I said to my friend, “and for somebody so young!” He replied, “Jamie, I’m 72,” before telling me how active he was “in retirement.” This youthful 72-year-old (a Catholic priest who I call Father Tony, by the way) was helping out at two parishes in the area on weekends, doing some counseling work at Covenant House (a place for homeless kids in New York) a couple of days a week, had kept up his prison ministry and was doing a couple of other part-time “jobs.”

We all know people who seemed old when they were in their 20s, and we probably all know people in their 80s who are active and open to new learning and activities. Being old is more than a function of chronological age, and being engaged in life can happen at any age.

I’ve met many advisors who have reached or exceeded their traditional retirement age who have no intention of quitting their job. The smart ones, like Mike Hines of Consolidated Planning Corp. in Atlanta, say they enjoy their work too much to quit. But in an interview I conducted with Hines about IA 35 for 35 honoree Tom James (he’s been affiliated with RJ for 40 years), sitting right next to him was Hines’ much-younger successor-in-waiting, Varun Marneni. Hines explained that he cares too much for his clients to not have an exit strategy that will keep those clients in good hands, even if he leaves his office feet-first.

Right before the Envestnet Advisor Summit in May, I caught hold of CEO Jud Bergman and commented that he was looking good. He put on a half-grin and asked if it would be all right if he quoted me in his speech. I said yes, and a few minutes later I heard Bergman relate a story his father had told him about aging. “When you’re young,” his father had said, “people ask you how you’re doing. When you’re old, they tell you that you look good.” So Bergman told the 1,600 attendees: “Jamie, what you said to me was no compliment.”

The lesson to me was that you can look good while you’re also doing well, and that I was now a member of that over-60 club who was still “working” and had little intention of stopping, even if my future “work” has more to do with doing good than doing well, much as Father Tony was continuing to do in his 70s.

Are your clients in a similar position? Are they figuring out the next stage in their life, now that they’ve accumulated assets and educated children? Give them second-career guidance, I’d suggest, just as you do investment or charitable or estate planning advice. And increasingly, advisors should follow Mike Hines’ succession program—it’s good for the owner, for employees and it certainly seems like the fiduciary thing to do for clients, whether the SEC requires a succession plan or not.


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