One of the many joys of being a “professional communicator” is experiencing miscommunications. A few months back, I had checked in with Michael Finke, chief academic officer of The American College of Financial Services, to find out what he was interested in writing for our retirement-themed March issue. He mentioned Bill Sharpe.

I assumed Finke would do some research and then speak with the Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist by phone. Nope. To my surprise, Finke flew out to Northern California from North Texas and met with him in person. Of course, their exchange involved looking at some charts, graphs and the like, which could be discussed much more dynamically with the two in the same room versus a conference call. Same goes for their analytical take on financing retirement.

It’s our pleasure to present Finke’s takeaways from his meeting with Sharpe. As Finke’s piece shows, the economist, now 84, remains highly engaged in the world of retirement and wealth management, less than a year after he sold the robo firm he started, Financial Engines, to Edelman Financial. The combined entity is now called Edelman Financial Engines.

There’s an office of the venture about five miles from where I live in San Antonio. I drive by it occasionally, because it’s in a popular shopping and dining area called the Quarry. (I live closer to USAA’s headquarters and fund shop U.S. Global Investors.)

After reading Finke’s insightful cover story on Sharpe, I feel like it’s time to visit the Financial Engines office and get to know it a bit. You can’t help but feel very tuned into the math and science of retirement after reading even a few paragraphs about Sharpe’s latest thinking.

Along with the cover story on retirement, we’re also pleased to present a lot of conference coverage in this month’s issue. In Industry Insights, Nexus Strategy’s Tim Welsh summarizes all the ins and outs of the recent T3 tech event held near Dallas.

Keeping up with all the updates in technology and how they fit into the advisor landscape is what Welsh does for a living, along with other consulting work. But he’s able to connect the dots more easily than many reporters, making him a great go-to source for news and a straightforward understanding of what’s going on in the ever-changing world of fintech, wealthtech, compliance tech, voice tech, etc.

Columnists Melanie Waddell and Jamie Green attended the TD Ameritrade Institutional National LINC conference in early February in San Diego. Along with the custodian’s plans for new ways to support its advisor clients, its executives also described what the firm is up to when it comes to bringing on young and diverse talent.

As for me, I was at the FSI OneVoice 2019 gathering in New Orleans in late January. The event brings together leaders of the independent space, who walk attendees through a variety of regulatory and other issues. For me, getting up to speed on these matters is invaluable.

Hearing from outsiders, who focused on new ways to kick-start innovation and better communications, also gave me and others in the packed general sessions outstanding food for thought.

Look for more conference news in the April issue, when I’ll describe what investing experts (and Joe Montana) shared at the Inside ETFs gathering, held each year near Miami. From 30,000 feet, here’s wishing everyone — especially those in mighty cold climates — an early spring.