I’m living proof that you can come from nothing and succeed...
...and I bet you’re a hard worker too, just like me.
Let me tell you a story about possibility...
Growing up in a very small town in Maine, my family did not have a lot of money. Necessities were covered but not much else. I remember listening to my parents argue about money quite frequently from the room I shared with my two sisters. There was so much I didn’t know about life and love and everything in between.
I married young, right after high school, and started my family a short time later. But the marriage failed and I found myself living as a young single mom, raising my two children and a foster child on just a little over $400 a month state welfare and food stamps. We lived in low-income housing initially and I did what I could to get by, eventually taking on two jobs; working one from 11 pm to 7 am and the other, cleaning houses from 8 am to noon. That was enough to move into our own place.
It was then that I met Brent, but life didn’t magically get easier.
We both worked long hours and rotating shift work at multiple jobs to support our family and each other. 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. 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, but it wasn’t enough.
So we made the tough decision to send Brent back into the military.
He had served before, but I had no idea what I was in for. We packed up our family and headed to Japan. Like any other military family, we moved and moved and moved and moved. I think we’re at move number 12 right now. There has been sacrifice but one thing we’ve always understood is the value of education.
The quote in my high school yearbook is: “NEVER STOP LEARNING”.
While we were in Japan, I enrolled in college. I was the first person in my family to get a degree and it led to a job in human resources for the United States government – something I knew nothing about. I sat in my office, day in and day out, reading government regulations and learning. I studied and tested my ever increasing knowledge of retirement and benefits constantly. I obtained my Masters. I grew. I invested in our future.
And here I am at 56, still in love with learning and expanding my mind.
I’ve taken hundreds of courses, gone through thousands of books, studied dozens of topics, and obtained numerous certifications. I’m OBSESSED. But somewhere along the way I realized that what I love even more is TEACHING.
Showing someone something they didn’t know before…
Teaching someone a skill they can use…
Watching people realize their potential…
Helping people, help themselves. That’s my true passion.
Few things light me up more than teaching because it allows me to make a difference. I’ve taught everything from basket-weaving and scuba diving through retirement planning, change management, leadership, and alternative dispute resolution.
I know that thinking about retirement can be scary.
Planning for it seems overwhelming. There’s too much information. You’re worried (and rightfully so!) about being taken advantage of and being sold a bunch of crap you don’t need. You’re overwhelmed from trying to navigate a very complicated retirement system with little good information and too many people who give you answers that aren’t factual. I know. I hear it almost daily. I’ve invested countless hours learning about retirement so that I can simplify it for you.
Here’s what life looks like for me now.
I’ve been running a successful business for over 16 years, and working in the retirement industry for almost a quarter of a century. Now in our 50s – we take dive vacations all over the world. We have the ability to pay to bring our children and five grandchildren along 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’ve even saved enough money to purchase our retirement home without having to go into debt.
I want this for YOU and your family too. We have fully funded pension plans and we’ve done a very good job of preparing for retirement. We should be self-reliant well into old age and I’m so proud that our children won’t be put in the 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. It’s not too late for you to do the same.
I’m here to show you there’s a better way – you can head into the future with confidence and security.
I’ve studied, read, and researched tons of material. I’ve written blogs, articles, and short books about retirement. While I don’t 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 got the credentials.
I am a member of the National Association of Retired & Active Federal Employees and the Society for Human Resources Management. I have been vetted and approved as a federal contractor through the General Services Administration. I’ve completed Financial Coach Master Training and am a certified Blended Retirement System Financial Counselor/Educator.
I’ve spent over 200 days a year on the road for each of the past 16 years. Why?
Because I know how important it is to have options and be able to support yourself and the ones you love. I normally teach 3 to 4 days a week and have 50 – 75 people in each class. I’ve heard the same concerns for over 20 years. First as a federal employee myself, now as a contractor and instructor.
I’ve had numerous people tell me, “I can never retire. It’s just too complicated. I can’t figure it out. My plan is to work until I die.”
That makes me sad. I know – for a fact, though – it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you love your job and want to keep working, that’s what you should do BUT you shouldn’t plan to work your entire life simply because retirement is too complex and scary. Here’s where, together we can make a difference.
I’m on a mission to help you understand federal retirement rules and how you can make them work for you.
Through this platform, my courses and seminars, I am living my legacy of teaching and helping others. I am utilizing my ability of being able to simplify and clarify complicated topics in such a way that people can understand them.
I’m tired of people telling you to, “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.
And NO, they’re not user-friendly nor easy to understand, especially if you don’t deal with them every day.
I want you to feel confident making informed decisions about your future.
I’m sharing my knowledge of the federal benefits system with you so that you will understand your options and can get the peace of mind that comes from being informed.
I’M BLESSED TO HAVE WORKED WITH YOUThank you so much for working with our district in Arizona, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Everyone that has attended any of your sessions praises you as “the best”. It’s because of your training that I was able to prepare my retirement paperwork with confidence. Without your awesome retirement seminars, I would have been lost!
YOU TRULY HAVE THE HEART OF A TEACHERShe breaks down the complicated areas so that anyone can prepare for a comfortable retirement.
I’M NOT GOOD WITH NUMBERS. I DON’T UNDERSTAND ANY OF THISI had 60 students on this day - including Doc and his wife, Anna. Doc was retiring within the next few months after having served his country as a federal employee for 53 years! They’d been married for 52! Anna was nervous and told me, “I’m not good with numbers. I’m so lost. I don’t understand any of this.” You don’t have to be good with numbers, Anna. I am. I know this stuff. I deal with it all the time. For you - this is a once in a lifetime thing. I will help you. This is what I do.
We can do this together.
I want you to plan to take care of yourself, and even provide for your loved ones after you die.
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 don’t 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 want you to feel secure in your future, just like I am. Are you ready to take control?