With longevity being a multiplier of everything else, failure to prepare for long term care expenses can be tragic for the family, not just financially.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things Retirees Say They Wish They Were Told Before They Began Retirement” I had the pleasure of interviewing Bruce T. Yenk CFP. Bruce is a Certified Financial Planner Professional with over 25 years of experience and a public speaker on a wide variety of topics related to retirement and estate planning. Mr. Yenk is a 27-year resident of Marlboro, NJ. Bruce previously worked for the Royal Bank of Canada for 12 years as a Corporate Banker analyzing financial statements of some of the largest insurance companies in the world. His workshops are said to be humorous and entertaining, but most importantly, they are informative, enlightening and will motivate the attendee to take appropriate action to improve and enhance their current and future financial situation.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Bruce! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Myfirst job out of Rutgers University was working for Prudential focusing on Life Insurance sales. I really wanted to be a Financial Planner, but I did not like the world of life insurance sales at that time or the sales practices used to generate business. I decided to take a step back and use my accounting and finance education to get a job as a Financial Analyst at a manufacturing company. This led me to the Royal Bank of Canada, where I worked for almost 12 years as a Corporate Banker. RBC also helped finance my MBA. I was however determined to see if I could create a Tax and Financial Planning practice and every night and weekends, I found myself doing tax returns and Financial Plans for anybody that would let me. This ultimately led to the creation of my Financial Planning practice.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I was only able to start my business because my wife had a successful job at Lehman Brothers. When Lehman collapsed in 2008, she had been with there 25 years, and was promised a full pension at age 55. Around the same time period, my daughter was diagnosed with a Cancerous Brain Tumor and went through brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She is fine now. Also, my wife just finished with her treatments for Breast Cancer.
I asked my wife to help me by taking over the Corporate Benefits side of my business, which also afforded her the flexibility to take care of our daughter, who had just been diagnosed with cancer. Robin now has a successful benefits company that works hand-in-hand with my Retirement and Legacy Planning business.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Shortly after I joined a leading Benefits Consulting Firm in 1996 to focus on 401k sales, I landed my first plan with a cemetery. I scheduled an employee enrollment meeting on the same day that a worker was retiring after 30 years with the cemetery. I watched them give him a Silver Shovel as a parting gift. The cemetery had no 401k plan up to that point nor did they have a Pension Plan. My takeaway from that experience was that, you may work for 30 years and end up with nothing but a Silver Shovel if you do not take control of your financial future.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
A few years after Wells Fargo purchased the benefits company I was with, I bumped into a childhood friend of mine, who is also in the Financial Planning business. He was creating a Financial Planning franchise and asked me to join him and help grow the franchise. His specialty was doing various workshops on many different topics for the public. He taught me how to create a workshop series, from advertising to the presentation, following up with prospects, etc. We grew the franchise to 14, until the proposed Fiduciary rule helped break the company up.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
You must like working with people and be prepared to get disappointed by prospects. You must also love what you do.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Once you recognize that you are helping people protect their greatest assets like their lifetime paycheck or their quality of life, then the reward is to enjoy the ride. We work hard, and play hard.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact nearly every aspect of one’s life. Obviously everyone’s experience is different. But In your experience, what are the 5 most common things that people wish someone told them before they retired?
As Tom Hegna states, the happiest people in retirement have 3 things in common; 1. They surround themselves with family and friends that love them. 2. Have a purpose in life. 3. Have guaranteed (increasing) income that will last their whole life. The one remaining things that people tell me that they wish someone had told them to prepare for, is the significant cost of Long-Term Care. With longevity being a multiplier of everything else, failure to prepare for long term care expenses can be tragic for the family, not just financially.
Lets zoom in on this a bit. If you had to advise your loved ones about the 3 most important financial issues to keep in mind before they retire, what would you say? Can you give an example or share a story?
I sometimes take clients to an Estate/Elder Care attorney and invariably, once they find out about the Medicaid 5 year look back rule, they say, “I wish I would have planned earlier.” With married couples, the healthy spouse can become impoverished taking care of the unhealthy spouse.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The gift of Financial Literacy. I am tired of Accountants telling their clients that they will be in a lower tax bracket in retirement. The issues surrounding us are startling, — Increased Longevity combined with low interest rates that will last in perpetuity, as well as tax rates that will most likely double in as little as 5 to 10 years. David Mcknight’s recent documentary called, “The Power of Zero”, is startling. We need to let politicians know that they cannot spend our money recklessly, which they have done. We have a pension crisis that is currently imploding. Something must be done and nobody is addressing the issues.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I attended Tom Hegna’s presentation 10 years ago at a Transamerica conference. His book, Paychecks and Playchecks” has become my mantra.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
As Ed Slott, says, move your money from Forever Taxed to Never Taxed. Do it now!
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I am currently blogging monthly and I am doing workshops wherever and whenever I can find an audience. We are currently doing workshops on Social Security & Medicare at many libraries located in Central New Jersey. In December, we are joining up with Linda Hilton, a CPA based in Monroe Township NJ, on “Reducing Taxes & Optimizing Retirement Income”. We advertise our workshops on social media as well as to our current database.
Thank you for all of these great insights!