Radon Stancil and Co-owner Rick Parkes head up Retirement Investment Strategies, a fee-based advisement firm specializing in retirement planning. The company focuses on advising about financial matters, including IRAs, 401ks, income planning, risk tolerance and annuities.
Diversified Estate Services, LLC was the first incarnation of Stancil’s business, which opened in 2000.
“Rick Parkes had been working in financial services for a little over thirty years, but he was more in the insurance arena than where we are today,” explains Stancil. “Today we do full retirement planning. That’s really what we focus on.”
Stancil explains that he was raised in a family-owned business environment. His father ran a heating business that Stancil and his brother took over for a period of time in their father’s later years. Because his father had had children in his 50’s, a later age than most, Stancil says that he had a large hand in dealing with the health and financial issues of an older parent. Interestingly enough, this role triggered a new career path for him.
“I liked the whole idea of understanding and dealing with what can be complicated things and then being able to explain and describe that in a way that’s easy to understand. So I made a shift back in 2000 and started off with the mindset of trying it and it worked really, really well, and I never had to go back anywhere else.”
With a large generation of baby boomers now retiring or close to it, Stancil says his company is staying busy.
“I teach people how to shift from saving money to taking money, and that’s the biggest issue that people have,” he explains. “You wouldn’t think about that being a big deal, but it is a very big deal because for some thirty-odd years you’ve put money away and now all of the sudden, you’ve got to start thinking about taking money out of those categories.”
Stancil says that this process can create a lot of stress for people. “Where do I pull it from?” “How do I pull it?” and “How do I know if I’m going to have enough money for the rest of my life?” are questions that crop up repeatedly, he explains.
“Dealing with taxes and then estate planning issues and all those kind of things; it’s a complete mind shift compared to what they’ve done their whole life. So we walk them through that and work with them ongoing because when they first initially retire, they think they’ve got a good feel for how much money they think they’re going to need, but that’s a shifting process.”
In addition to the stress and worry that can be associated with financial planning, Stancil says there’s an emotional element of vulnerability that clients often face as well.
“I help people work through dealing with real personal issues,” he says. “Whether that be with their children getting their first job or first child, and a lot of that is emotional. So it’s how do we deal with that, and how do we process all that, and what people think they’re doing is coming in here to talk about financial stuff, and it is, but there’s a large part to us that just talks about how do we deal with this emotionally?”
Stancil says the nature of his day-to-day work changes and keeps him on his toes. It’s not all about retirement planning.
“I get involved in a lot of interesting stories, and I get to be involved in a lot of people’s lives. I just had clients the other day who were planning how they were going to remodel their kitchen or can they remodel their kitchen? And so I get to be involved in a lot of different interesting scenarios. Some also that are not so fun. I’m in the middle of a couple of divorces right now so that’s not fun, but it is extremely interesting.”
As for the challenges that face his particular field, Stancil says that the financial crisis of recent years cost some trust on the part of the public.
“When the financial crisis hit, we had a couple of big, bad things come out. Bernie Madoff was a big one, and then the financial crisis was all driven by greed within the industry. A lot of big names headed that up and so what our biggest challenge was and still is, is about gaining trust.”
This trust factor has to do today not so much with embezzlement but more with a lack of trust in the entire economic system, says Stancil. He gets many questions a day from clients fretting about the potential of the dollar or the treasury system collapsing.
“You can’t over-worry yourself with that and, honestly, one of the biggest shifts that I’ve come to in my own planning process is I now focus so much on talking with the client about what it really means to have peace of mind,” says Stancil. “And that’s clichéd a little bit, but I work a lot on that and it gets us away from thinking “Am I going to run out of money?” and from thinking “What if the financial system breaks down?,” because otherwise you live through retirement worried to death.”
Stancil says he prefers long-term relationships with his clients, in which he can build up trust and a personal rapport.
“Sometimes people come in here expecting to be sold, and what they find out is we really don’t want clients that we have to sell,” he says. “I know that sounds like the other business owners will say I’m lying, but that’s reality. If I’ve got to sell you on being my client, you’re probably going to be difficult. All of my clients are ones who have met with me multiple times, and decided over that time that I was the right person for them.”
Stancil says the future of his business will likely be tied up in work with the baby-boomer generation for quite some time.
“They are 10,000 people a day right now turning 65, which means setting up for Medicare,” he says. “So we have a major shift occurring right now. In addition, there’s a major shift in wealth, meaning the parents of those people are starting to, at a faster pace, pass on and leave wealth behind. And so, how do their children deal with those inherited funds?”
One of Stancil’s core values is maintaining a healthy work/life balance. He says his favorite book, The Present, by Spencer Johnson, helps him keep focus on this issue and to maintain priorities. He keeps copies of the book on hand to give out to clients.
Stancil says when he’s at work he dedicates himself completely, but the weekends belong to his family.
“I don’t want to look back and regret the amount of time and effort I put into things, if I gave up what I think are the more important things in life.”
Enjoying one’s retirement is another one of these stages in life that Stancil feels deserves its own focus.
“I get a lot of clients who decide they want to retire, and they’re going to all of the sudden be their own financial adviser because they’ve got all this time now,” he says. “Well, I mean, did you work thirty-five years to retire to work another thirty years? And there are people that are going to do that, and that’s okay. I’m obviously going to be attracted, and people are going to be attracted to me that have the concept of “No. I want to have somebody that helps me watch these things and understands these things.”