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Collaborative retirement planning with an emphasis on longevity

Reaching the age of 100 was once an elusive milestone in the U.S. But, times have changed. The U.S. Census Bureau pegged the number of Americans who are 100-years-old or older at 86,248 in their 2017 report, marking a sharp increase from 1990 stats when just over 37,000 contrarians were recorded.

While financial advisors and wealth managers have always helped clients plan for longevity, the conversation has changed significantly over recent years as people live longer.

“I think this is a great time in our industry, it's a perfect time to help people and be successful,” said Annette Findling, CFP®, founder of Stonebridge Wealth Advisors LLC based in Chicago.

Longer life spans are a nod to the hard work and success of people devoted to research, technology, and healthcare, however, seniors, their families, and society face complex issues concerning lifetime income, long-term care, and other considerations earlier generations faced less often, or for shorter durations.

“When life gets more complicated, that’s where the value of an advisor comes in to navigate through these complexities,” said Findling.

In helping clients plan for longevity, Findling says that clients first have to understand what their lifestyle costs them, and unlike a steady paycheck that is often the same week to week, the payout from your investments during retirement can fluctuate.

“The transition from earning a paycheck to living on your investments is a huge psychological shift,” she said.

Most new clients of Stonebridge Wealth Advisors are referred by existing clients and bring a minimum of $1,000,000 in assets to manage. Providing comprehensive services including retirement and estate planning, and insurance and investment management, Findling says that the firm specializes in long-term relationships with people who want to collaborate on financial issues affecting their lifestyle. Frequently, new clients are in the midst of a life-changing event.

“Often, I feel like a therapist. We could be dealing with a family transition of a business, a divorce, the death of a spouse, or the loss of a job, or a move from one job to another. In these situations, people need help understanding what to do next financially,” she said.

Insurance companies have become increasingly more innovative by offering diverse annuity products to meet today’s financial concerns says Findling, and she views them viable options to help people receive an ongoing income during retirement.

“They may not be suitable for everybody, but an annuity is there to pay you for as long as you live. So, with people not receiving pensions and with social security having trouble, annuities are another way to help people have some sort of paycheck for the rest of their lives,” said Findling, adding that long-term care options offered by insurance companies have also increased.

Starting her career at a large financial company in 1992, Findling said a passion for numbers is what led her to become a financial advisor.

findling300x400“My mom always told me you had to be good in math, and I loved helping people. As a young person in my twenty's, I met people in the industry and I really liked what I saw,” she said.

A strong believer in the power of networking led Findling to meet the owner of advisory firm who was searching for a successor for his business. At that time, women working in the financial industry were few and he recognized that she would be “a good fit,” so a partnership was formed. While his experience was in traditional insurance and employee benefits, Findling gravitated towards investments and financial planning. Their synergy paid off – they provided clients with a holistic financial planning approach. Eventually, Findling purchased the business.

Today, clients of Stonebridge Wealth Advisors span in age from 40 to 80-plus and the firm excels at transitioning people into retirement and planning for longevity. As an independent advisory firm, Findling says their customize approach lacks a corporate agenda – something that clients of large financial investment firms often encounter.

Findling suggests that people in search of a wealth management professional should understand the full scope of services that an advisor offers, and they should be very clear on how and why fees are charged; but the most important indicator as to how well someone can work with an advisor is the same as it is for any relationship: chemistry.

“Clients have to feel a comfort level, because if you don't have that, then services and fees don't even matter,” she said. “It boils down to whether an advisor and the client have a good chemistry and feel that they can work together and have a level of trust with each other – that's what makes a relationship. The clients that I work with value a personal relationship with somebody that knows their situation and knows the intricacies of their family dynamics.”

With a strong focus on client education, Stonebridge Wealth Advisors presents clients with strategic solutions and options to help people and families achieve their goals, now and in the future. They also reach out to the children of their clients.

“We explain our recommendations so that clients can see how they fit into their life versus the mindset of 'this is the latest and greatest thing I should have in my portfolio,'" Findling said, adding that part of their value-added service includes meeting with their clients’ children who are earning money on their own to discuss saving and investing options. “The kids love it, and they're open to it.”

Beyond Stonebridge Wealth Advisors, Findling has launched “Rich Women Rock,” a blog and online resource that continues to gain a loyal following among women of all ages and status.
With its tagline, “Defining Your Own Rich Everyday,” the platform was created to “inspire, educate, and entertain” with original content to help women gain control of their financial lives.

“I'm not sure where it's taking me, but it's taken me into the lives of so many amazing people that I've met,” Findling said.

For more information visit: and

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Fixed and Variable annuities are suitable for long-term investing, such as retirement investing. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges may apply. Variable annuities are subject to market risk and may lose value.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Highpoint Advisor Group, a registered investment advisor. Highpoint Advisor Group and Stonebridge Wealth Advisors are separate entities from LPL Financial.


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