Frustrated That You Don’t Understand Your Retirement?
Worried That You’ll Never Be Able To Retire?
I Want to Help You Finally Understand.
Plain & Simple
Here's where I came from:
Growing up in a very small town in Maine, my family did not have a lot of money.
Necessities were covered but little extra. I remember listening to my parents argue about money quite frequently.
I shared not only a room, but a bed, with my two sisters. As a young woman coming out of a failed marriage, I found myself a single mother raising two children and a foster child on state welfare of just over $400 a month and food stamps. We lived in low-income housing.
My husband came from only a slightly better background.
When we met, he was existing on Chef-Boy-Ardee pizza and Ramen. That’s where we started.
Brent got his degree by putting himself through college. He worked from 9 pm until 7 am, and went to school during the day. I began bettering my situation by taking a job on rotating shifts. I would work 7 am to 3 pm for a few days and then 11 pm to 7 am and then 3 pm to 11 pm. I took a second job cleaning houses. This was difficult but it was an investment in our future.
We worked hard, just like you do day in and day out.
Let me tell you, it’s not easy to be changing hours all the time. Especially while raising children and trying to build a relationship.
Our employers didn’t have a 401k but they did offer payroll deduction for savings bonds. I could only afford to buy one $50 savings bond per month. Not much. My husband did the same. We wanted to be able to provide for ourselves, and the children, over the long term though so this was a step that needed to be taken. It was an investment in our future.
Together we agreed that Brent would go back into the military. Not easy. We left family, life-long friends and the only place I’d ever lived. I’d never been outside of New England. When we got on the plane that first day, headed to Japan, it was our family of four against – and out into – the world. We were investing in our future.
Brent had been in the military previously but I understood nothing about this lifestyle.
I couldn’t find paid work when we arrived on Okinawa so I volunteered. Although I knew nothing about the military, or because I knew nothing perhaps, I took an unpaid job working 50-60 hours a week in a very fast-paced military customs and courtesies office. After a year of volunteering – another bit of sacrifice and investment in our future - my hard work was recognized and I was offered a paid position.
I also started college.
The first person in my family to do so. I realized I wouldn’t be competitive for promotion without a degree.
Life became 40-60 hours of work per week, plus college classes, homework, and raising children. It was hard. It was also an investment in our future.
We put our heads down and focused on the future. These were steps that needed to be taken. We wanted a better life for ourselves and for our children.
Once I earned my Bachelor’s, I had an opportunity to change careers. I moved into human resources: an area I knew absolutely nothing about. I sat in my office day in and day out reading government regulations.
Every single day. Not fun at all…but totally necessary. I read and studied and tested my ever increasing knowledge of retirement and benefits constantly. I obtained my Maters. I grew. I invested in our future.
As a military family, we moved, we moved, and we moved again. Every single member of a military family makes sacrifices, not just the military member. There were deployments, missed holidays and long periods of absence. We left friends and started over in a new location every couple of years. My husband served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ultimately both of my children also went into the military. Their decision, not ours. My son served in Iraq, my daughter in Afghanistan. As a mom, those were the hardest and most emotional years of my entire life. They were investments in our collective future.
I became even more resilient and fiercely independent.
Throughout the years I learned that I loved teaching. I’ve taught basket-weaving, scrapbooking, and scuba diving. I’ve learned that few things light me up more than being able to teach people something they didn’t know before.
Knowing that, and with my husband’s support, I ultimately left my government job to create Pinnacle Personnel Services, LLC.
Through this platform I am living my legacy of teaching and helping others. I’m utilizing my ability of being able to simplify and clarify complicated topics in such a way that people can understand them.
Here’s where I am today:
My husband has been in the military for almost 30 years.
I have been running a successful business for over 16 years, and working with retirement for 24.
In our 50s we are taking dive vacations all over the world.
We pay to bring our children and 5 grandchildren on a vacation every other year. In 2019 that was to Oahu, Hawaii. In 2017 we spent a week at Hershey, Pennsylvania. I’m so grateful to be able to gift these experiences.
We have saved money enough to purchase our retirement home without having to go into debt.
This gives me peace of mind.
We have fully funded pension plans and done a very good job of preparing for retirement. We should be self-reliant well into old age. I’m so proud that we will not be putting our children into a position of having to take care of us, financially.
None of this was given to us. None of this just happened overnight.
We made investments into our future: financially and otherwise.
Here's how I can help you:
I get it…
I really do.
I know how hard it is to make changes and sacrifice knowing it may be years before you ever reap any reward.
I know retirement can seem like a distant dream.
- You can’t afford to worry about or fund it today.
- You have other commitments.
- You’ll start planning for retirement later.
I also know that time has a way of slipping away from us. It’s critical you start now. You can’t wait to plan for retirement until you are eligible.
Preparing for retirement requires a consistent series of small of sometimes difficult and/or boring steps. Dr. Stephen Covey talks about “the law of the harvest”. You cannot plant seeds today, and reap a harvest from your garden tomorrow. You have to prep the land, plant the seeds; weed, and nourish the seedlings; make sure they get enough sun and water, but not too much. You have to repeatedly chase the damn squirrels and deer off!! You have to wait for the plants to mature before you get vegetables.
That’s the beauty of it though. We all understand that.
Simple is the foundation of every single thing I do. Pure & Simple. Your life is complicated. Your job may be complex. Your retirement planning doesn’t have to be.
I’ve seen some very sad things happen. Like people:
- Losing everything they’ve worked for.
- Trying to live only on Social Security with nothing else saved for retirement.
- Unable to retire because they never planned for it.
- Scared to retire because they don’t understand all of the rules.
- Working until the day they die because the idea of retirement was too overwhelming.
- Divorced later in life and starting over with nothing saved for retirement.
- Sandwiched between caring for adult children as well as aging parents.
I’m tired of “the experts” making the topics too complex to make themselves feel important.
I want you to have the knowledge necessary to put together a financially secure future, for yourself – based on your situation.
I’m tired of gurus speaking in technical terminology and jargon instead of explaining things in a way people can understand. They’ve looked down on me, and even attacked me online for making things “too simple”.
I want you to understand the federal retirement rules and how you can make them work for you.
I’m tired of people saying, “just go online and read the regulations for yourself”. Yes, you can most definitely do that. Yes, much about the topic of retirement is regulatory. Yes, I do deal with laws and regulations. No, they’re not user-friendly nor easy to understand. Especially if you don’t deal with them every day.
I want you to plan to take care of yourself, and even provide for your loved ones after you pass on.
You’re probably doing so many of the right things but we all have blind spots. That means you miss seeing a critical thing (or multiple) that can make all the difference. I do not sell any investments or financial products which means I don’t work on commission.
I have no “angle”.
What you see is what you get. I’ve crafted my business model very consciously and I love that my income is aligned with my passion for helping others.
What I AM is an instructor.
What I AM is an experienced retirement counselor.
What I AM is a person who has helped thousands of others prepare for their retirement future: the next (and perhaps longest) chapter of their lives.
I have invested countless (countless) hours learning about retirement.
I’ve studied, read, and researched tons of material. I’ve written blogs, articles, and books about retirement. While I do not sell annuities or information, I was licensed in both through the State of Virginia. I completed that curriculum and intense licensure process specifically for training purposes to supplement my knowledge of the topics I teach.
I’ve accrued the credentials.
I am a lifetime member of the National Association of Retired & Active Federal Employees and a professional member of the Society for Human Resources Management. I am registered and approved as a federal government services provider through the General Services Administration. I’ve completed Financial Coach Master Training through Ramsey Solutions and am a certified Blended Retirement System Financial Counselor/Educator.
My extensive knowledge of the federal benefits system and my ability to explain difficult concepts in an easy to understand manner provides clients quality information upon which they can make their own informed decisions.
I’ve been employed by, and also worked as a contractor, with the federal government for more than 24 years. I’ve learned some hard lessons. I have become an expert on federal retirement and benefits and I don’t want to keep that knowledge to myself. I love teaching.
We are a military family. My husband has served in the Marine Corps and Air Force. My son, the Army. My daughter is prior Air Force and my daughter in law prior Army. I have spent many years working for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs as a federal civilian.
My sense of family and service are strong. Everything I do is based upon my core values:
My passion is in helping to decode complicated topics.
My super power is making things plain & simple.
My training is for everyone from the person starting their career, and earning minimum wage – to the Director / SES at the top tier of organizations. I teach based upon my firmly held believe that every single person should understand his/her retirement benefits.
I want you to feel confident and competent in your financial life. I want you to know what retirement will look like, and how you’ll get there.
Pinnacle Personnel Services, LLC