My grandfather was a preacher and my multi-talented father has never shied away from offering “sermons” on relationships, business and life. One lesson that has been particularly true in my life and in working with over 250 retirement income planners is “you have to get your hands in the soil.”

“Do you know how a farmer learns to farm, son?” Dad often asks. “By getting his hands in the soil and farming.” Last week, we put this principle to the test. Our office building hosts “lunch and learns” for tenants. A few months ago, I asked the building manager if they would be open to a Social Security Workshop. They were. The building management promoted the event and paid for the lunch. We had 25 folks shows up and 5 or 6 set an appointment to come meet with me and another advisor. We met with one gentleman yesterday: 56 years old; his wife is 59; they want to retire in 4 years. We looked at their Social Security (they should wait until 66 and 69 to begin taking it); we reviewed their $1.5 million in savings using our Retirement Analyzer income planning software (remember, free to active Tarkenton agents). We will meet again to show them a plan to realistically retire in 4 years and have their money last into their mid to late 80s.

I talk a lot and host webinars on Social Security, Retirement Analyzer and prospecting for new clients. But, I have been really invigorated these last two weeks by “getting my hands in the soil.” Opportunities abound to talk about retirement with folks who are nearing that stage of life. The best way to learn is to jump in and DO. Once you start working with these tools and programs, you are forced to learn them. And once you learn them, you experience the joy of helping others. Jeff, the prospect we met yesterday, was very interested to learn his optimal Social Security strategy, a bit perplexed that he would run out of money at 86, but mostly he was encouraged that we could build a plan together.

Go get your hands in the soil. It’s fun to be a farmer!

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