Pursuing Your Purpose: Interview with the Retirement Answer Man, Roger Whitney

Pursuing Your Purpose: Interview with the Retirement Answer Man, Roger Whitney

Hear what Roger has to say about building hot rods and the life that you want.

What can building a hot rod teach us about changing careers?  What can we learn from good communication in a healthy relationship and apply toward pursuing our purpose?  Find out in this interview Roger Whitney, the Retirement Answer Man.

In the interview we talk about how and why Roger intentionally built his advisory practice and wildly successful podcast.  Perhaps my favorite point that Roger brings up is that our purpose is constantly evolving and must continually be pursued. I hope you enjoy the interview!  And check out Roger's podcast, The Retirement Answer Man.

Shoot me an email and let me know what you think of these videos!  And of course, if you need help getting your finances in order to help you live the life that you want, I'm here to help. 


Full Transcript:  Pursuing Your Purpose - Interview with The retirement answer man, Roger Whitney.

Hey folks in today’s episode I’ve got a video interview with Roger Whitney, the Retirement Answer Man.  During the interview we talk about:

  • Some of the mistakes that Roger made along the way in his career and what he learned from those mistakes,
  • How building a hot rod could be like changing careers and
  • What communication in a healthy marriage has in common with pursuing your purpose and checking in with yourself along way.

I hope you enjoy the interview and definitely check out Roger’s podcast on iTunes – it’s the Retirement Answer Man Podcast.  I hope you enjoy the interview.  Cheers.

Patrick King:  Hey this is Patrick King with Transformative Financial Planning.  I’m here at the 2017 XY Planning Network conference in Dallas Texas and I am with Roger Whitney with the Retirement… you’re the Retirement…

Roger Whitney:  The Retirement Answer Man.

PK:  The Retirement Answer Man!  So he’s been kind enough to let me interview him.  So Roger, you know, what you’ve done - you’ve kind of created this thing where you got this like this rabid following of fans.  So for my folks at home who are out there who are trying to create the life that they want – whether it be a retirement or building a business or building a community – what in your experience of building something can you share with those folks that you learned over the years of creating this career that you’ve done?

RW:  Well it’s that whole concept of lifestyle design that Tim Ferris talks about.  Maybe not to his extreme, but what I have found is people think of retirement and life is like a light switch, right?  You’re either in your career or you’re retired and you’re like your grandparents or something.  And it’s really not that way.  Life is more like a dimmer switch, right?  There are in-betweens between full-time hard work and what we think of as retirement.  So what I try to encourage people to do is think of ways of gaining more time freedom in your life.  Because really what we value more is we want to do something we love and we want to have freedom to pursue things outside of work and there are ways of creating work and community where you can do that.  It’s just being intentional about making about thinking about it.

PK:  So it’s about creating a life by design rather than by default?

RW:  Exactly.  So if you think – let’s take a career.  Let’s say you’re working in the corporate environment and you don’t want to.  You long for more freedom.  So the question is – longing is great because that’s the tension that gets you think about it – but now you have to go back down and ask what is the next thing I can do to start walking that direction?  How do I – and that could be learning a new skill, it could be networking outside your industry in the industry you want to be in.  There a lot of very short-term actionable things you can do but you always have to bring it back down.  What’s the next thing I can do intentionally to start positioning myself for the new thing?

PK:  So do you start with the end in mind and then just do the next thing?

RW:  Yeah – you figure out what what’s the next little step.  Now, a big mistake that people can make – and I’ve made this mistake so I know it – is that we think we have to be noble and just jump into it.  Like some big, grand gesture that you take to live the life that you want.  Well, that’s a sure way to go to financial disaster, because I’ve done it! 

PK:  Oh boy!

RW:  So think of it like a car.  So if your old career or the career the way it currently designed is your old car that you’re driving around.  It’s not that sexy, you’re not really that excited about it.  It still gets you around town, from a cash flow perspective, if it’s your career, right?  It pays the bills.  So you don’t just scrap the old car and have to walk everywhere until your new hot rod is built, right?  That doesn’t make any sense.  It would suck!

So what you do is, you go home you find free time and you noodle in the garage on this new hot rod car or this new hot rod career, while you still drive that jalopy that you don’t love anymore.  And at some point, you build up that new engine, whether it’s a career or a community or whatever it is, and at some point that car is going to be road ready.  And now you can get rid of the old car.  That’s a better way of making the transition and managing that rather just being noble and I’m gonna go live the entrepreneur life…

PK:  And burn it all down.

RW:  Totally.  And I’ve done it because I was trying to be noble and I didn’t know any better.

PK:  So, like, tell me about that.  What happened there? 

RW:  So, I’m and old guy, right?  So I’ve been a financial advisor for 27 years.  And I traded tech stocks in the 90s.  It was mainly commission based and I realized this isn’t what I wanted to do.  So I started to get my CFP® and my CIMA® all these designations.  So my nobility that I latched on to was I wanted to be a fiduciary.  I knew who I wanted to serve so I am going to scrap my entire business and be that fiduciary.  And be that fee-based planner talking about things that are more important than just simply investments.  And I did it where I literally scrapped my business.  So my income…

PK:  So you went to zero revenue to make this transition?

RW:  Well, I took the ideal clients, but they were very small relative to what I had at the time.  So peak to trough during that transition – this noble transition – my income went down peak to trough about 80%.

PK:  Wow.

RW:  And my wife went back to work to help support while I was rebuilding up.  Uh, and it sucked.  It was noble but it sucked!  And think God I made it.  And we made it – my wife and I made it because it was a team effort.

PK:  So what was the one thing that kind of started the genesis of the podcast, which has kind of grown into this thing?  What back in that time had you say, “Hey you know, I’m gonna try this thing and I think there’s some potential there.”

RW:  So from a podcast perspective it was, what am I – my business had matured where I wasn’t in need of cash.  I wasn’t trying to hunt and kill.  I was growing organically.  I had reached that flexion point and I had gotten into a little bit of a rut.  I have lots of free time and I’m like – I was looking at myself I think I was 45 at the time – I’m like, OK I could easily just coast and ride this, have a great life, make decent money, but then I was like, well if I look back at 60, 65 and said, “Oh that was sort of fun, but what did I really do?”  So it made me start to explore, “What am I supposed to be doing?”

And it connected with I’m changing how people think about retirement, because I think it’s done all wrong.  And this is what I deal with every day, so I started the podcast to start to explore what that meant and hone my craft and become a better advisor and it’ s grown to something I never imagined.

PK:  So it all comes from a connection with your purpose?

RW:  Yeah.

PK:  And all of a sudden here you created this really cool unique thing.  That’s kinda neat.

RW:  And I didn’t know my purpose at the time.  I just knew I was in search of it…

PK:  Ooh, that’s a good point.

RW:  …and I think you just slowly discover it.  It’s not like you know it and you write it down and now – it’s not that Jerry McGuire movie.

PK:  That’s a gem right there.  That it kind of unveils itself to you over time.

RW:  You have to pursue it right?  You have to pursue it.  It’s just like with clients, you know – and this is the hard part especially with Gen X, Y – is, retirement?  I’m 50 and I don’t think about retirement.  I don’t know what that means to me, right?  Because I’m – I’ll be a different person then.  So it’s how do you become agile enough to identify changes about what you care about and then start to act intentionally on those changes.

So a good example is, I’ve been married 28 years next month

PK:  Good job!  Congrats!

RW:  But I always say I’ve been married to, like, five different women.  She’s not the same – I mean, she’s a version of that lady.  And I’m a version of that man, but we’ve had to go through all these changes.  She’s changed multiple times and you want to be aware of those and make sure you’re still connected as we’re changing because divorce happens if you’re not. 

PK:  Right!

RW:  So it’s all about having lots of little conversations.  Whether it’s about money, family, life so you can make a little adjustments along the way.  Because if you don’t, what will end up happening, whether it’s financially or in money, you’re going to have big conversations when it blows up and that can be really uncomfortable.

PK:  Great stuff!  Well, Roger, thank you so much for letting me ask you a few questions and how can our viewers find your podcast?

RW:   Yeah, so Retirement Answer Man on... just Google it – it’ll be all over.

PK:  Thanks!  And until next time...

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