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Can you really retire?

Here's how to pay for the longest vacation of your life: Retirement

Chuck Vercellone will never forget the day his father came home from work without a job.

“He was a pencil and paper draftsman his whole life. Then, one day, his company was bought out and he lost his job. There he was, in his early 60s, with no retirement plan or CAD experience, nothing but a small IRA. He ended up working part-time as a janitor, cleaning restrooms and emptying trash cans. In those first couple of years, I watched him age a decade.”

It was a defining moment for Chuck, who vowed two things – to plan his own successful retirement and to help others do the same.

“It motivated me to really think about what I do for clients,” says Chuck, owner of Wealth Strategies Group. “Financial advisors don’t just move dollars back and forth. You're placing your financial future in our hands. We had better be serious about it.”

Successful retirement takes a plan, and that’s where he begins. Not an off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter one, either.

“Your plan should be personal to you. It should identify your goals, so you can understand what resources you’ll need to achieve them. If you skip the plan, how will you know if you’re making progress?"

Some experts quote “Rules of Thumb” when determining how much you’ll need for retirement. Chuck says that’s not always accurate. After all, everyone’s thumbs are different, and it’s the wrong question, anyway.

“How much you need depends on what you want to accomplish in retirement. That’s the real question. Do you want to travel? Buy a boat? Support favorite charities? Maybe you’ll need no more than your current income, but maybe you will. It depends on your goals. Let’s work that out, so you’re not surprised in the end.”

Every life change – marriages, career changes, even grandchildren – will impact that plan. That’s why he recommends annual reviews.

“I check in regularly with my clients to see what’s happened in their life that might affect their retirement goals, such as a change in employment, new grandchild or marriage or divorce in the family,” he says. “Or perhaps you’ve just changed your objectives, which could alter how much you’ll need in retirement.”

And his best clients? "People who think they can’t retire. Those who don’t hear from their financial advisor regularly or have a current plan aligned with their goals. I get to show them they can retire.”


Chuck also focuses on helping clients during key milestones in life:

1.     Adult children starting out. Even if you invest, your college-age children have different goals and needs. Chuck can help them begin their careers with smart saving and investing habits.

2.     Mid-career individuals and couples. If you’re in your late 30s or early 40s – about halfway to retirement – this is the time for a plan review that can identify new opportunities. A plan correction can project if you’ll be successful in retirement – before it’s too late.

3.     Almost to the end of your career? Your life goals have changed, so your retirement expectations should adjust as well. Make the most of your final earning years with a fresh look at your plan before you reach the final stretch.

Chuck has all the credentials, of course. He is an Investment Advisor Representative of Sigma Planning Corporation, a Registered Investment Advisor and a Registered Representative of Sigma Financial Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC. Wealth Strategies Group, LLC is not affiliated with Sigma Planning Corp. or Sigma.

That said, Chuck believes financial advising is about relationships as much as dollars and cents.

“I build relationships with clients based on shared values. I take the time to explain everything, so they feel comfortable, confident and in control of their money,” he says. “I treat clients like family and friends.”

Today, he takes his own advice. Although not retired – or even near it – his plan allows him to spend time with his family, especially his wife Debbie, daughters Lauren and Allison, and granddaughters Sofia and Mia.

“We love the grandchildren,” he smiles. “They live not far from us, so we see them often. I’m experiencing what I want my clients to experience – the ability to enjoy life when you’ve carefully prepared.”

He also volunteers across the community, at Kensington Church and the Troy Chamber of Commerce, where he served on the Board of Directors and is currently a chamber ambassador.

He beams as he shares his oft-repeated line: “I help my clients add the initials RET after their last name. That stands for RETIRED.”

It's not just a saying. It’s a point of pride for the man determined to help others reach retirement with dignity.

“I want you to have confidence, to retire on your own terms," he says, "so you don’t have to go through what my father did.”

For a conversation with Chuck, call (248) 680-4622.

“I want you to have confidence, to retire on your own terms, so you don’t have to go through what my father did.”

"My best clients are people who think they can’t retire. Those who don’t hear from their financial advisor regularly or have a current plan aligned with their goals. I get to show them they can retire.”