My oldest client died this spring, shortly after his 90th birthday. We met nearly 15 years ago, introduced by his CPA.
During his working years, he owned an auto dealership. He focused on the business and never used traditional retirement savings vehicles like IRAs or 401(k) plans. For him, it paid off. I met he and his wife a few years after they selling the dealership. They had a nice-sized nest egg and wanted to make sure it would last. For privacy’s sake, I’ll call them Henry and Kathy.
When I met them, Henry and Kathy were traveling, golfing, gardening, active in their church, and spending a lot of time with grandkids — this is what early retirement is all about. For Henry, it also involved tennis. A lot of tennis. Whether you call it the go-go years or the golden years, this is the retirement most of us plan for.
I had to watch out for Henry — in a good way. He had the kind of wit that keeps you on your toes. One day he called, and there was no joking around. I knew something was wrong. Kathy had cancer. It went quickly, and within 10 days, she passed.
Slowly, Henry’s humor returned, and he began to figure out what was next for him. He downsized out of the big house into a beautiful, centrally-located condo that required little maintenance. He continued to travel. And when I opened up my new office in 2012, who showed up on a Saturday morning while I was putting together office furniture?…