What Do You Mean I Don’t Get My Husband’s Retirement Anymore?

I got a call last month from the wife of my friend “Jack” telling me that Jack had died; and, asking if I could help her with making sense of his affairs.  She felt overwhelmed.  Jack left no will and she was learning that she was in for a rough financial road ahead.  She was afraid that she might not have enough income to remain in her home.
Jack worked hard all of his life; made what he believed were good choices.  To ensure that he and his wife could really enjoy their golden years, he took the highest income possible from his retirement, a “lifetime” income, so that they could travel; see and do things that they’d always dreamed of.  Little did he realize that in doing so, he was sowing the seeds for a financial problem for his wife!
Last week, Jack’s wife got a letter from his former employer informing her that, because he had selected a “lifetime” income from his retirement plan, the monthly retirement check he’d been receiving was being terminated.  The income had been provided for his lifetime only and ended at his death!  While it had provided them with a very generous income while he was alive, she would receive nothing in the future!!  Needless to say, she was both shocked and afraid.  She wanted to know why Jack’s employer had not given him other income options.  What she did not realize was that they had.  Because his wife had been undergoing health issues at the time of his retirement, he never anticipated that she would outlive him.  Consequently, he made his selection in the belief that he was making her last years as full and enjoyable as possible.  He always anticipated that he could fend for himself when she was gone.
Retirement plans offer various choices as to how income will be received; and, people can plan for retirement well ahead of their last year of work.  Let’s take a brief look at the options Jack had in his retirement plan and how a different selection might have provided an income for his wife following his death.
• Life Income – this is the option Jack chose.  It pays the highest monthly income at his retirement; BUT, as his wife learned, that income ends when he dies.  To illustrate the other options, we will assume that this option provided an income of $1,000 per month.
• 75% Partial Benefit – had Jack elected this option, his monthly income would have been reduced by 25%.  Consequently, he would receive a monthly pension of $750 per month.  At his death, his wife would continue to receive a monthly check in the amount of $250.
• 50% Partial Benefit – by choosing this option, Jack would have agreed to receive a monthly retirement income of $500.  At his death, his wife would continue to receive the same $500 per month.
• Lump Sum Benefit – At first glance, it’s easy to ask how taking a lump sum payment would have enabled Jack’s wife to receive an income after his death.  However, the fact is that this money could have been invested in a manner (i.e., a portfolio of dividend paying stocks, interest paying bonds, or an annuity) that would create an income for them both.
Each of these  options has advantages and disadvantages; and, no option is perfect for all situations.  When planning for retirement, it’s important to examine all options and carefully consider how each option might impact you and your loved ones.

Personality Types and Leadership – Do Leaders Have Multiple Personalities?

I had a fascinating conversation last week with a client who had recently completed a COREMAP assessment.  After discussing the outcomes of the assessment, we determined that his dominant personality was that of a Commander with highly developed Organizer traits as his secondary or back-up personality.  This is a relatively common combination, but what made him atypical was that he also had highly developed Relater traits as well and Relater was his tertiary personality.  When I told him about this, he was concerned that these different facets of the same person would create mental conflicts.  He laughingly asked if I was suggesting that he had some kind of “multiple personality thingy” … was I saying that “someday, someone would write a book or make a movie about the multiple faces of ME?”
After we both laughed, I explained that each of us contains all four personality types and that, at various times, we all call upon each of those personalities to help us deal with situations.  To explain how we use them, the following scenario was created —
Let’s assume that the team you lead at work has encountered a problem that must be solved.

• Your Relater tells your mind, “we have a problem that is causing disharmony … it must be resolved in order to restore harmony”.  Your Relater identifies the problem.

•Your Organizer tells your mind, “here are the steps that must be taken to solve the problem and restore harmony”.  It provides the details to the solution.

• Your Commander now instructs the team to take the steps necessary to solve the problem and the time frame in which they must be taken.  In essence, the Commander says, “here’s what must be done, let’s do it!”
Rather than creating conflict, each facet of our personality steps up and does what it does best helping us solve problems and resolve conflict.

Personality Types and Leadership – Part 4

Where Commander-Leaders don’t really want to be bothered by details and Entertainer-Leaders know that details exist but don’t know what they are, it takes a special kind of person to handle details.  COREMAP® calls these special people Organizer Personalities.
Organizer Personalities as Leaders
As a general rule, Organizer Personalities do not usually seek out positions of leadership.  However, when a job requires someone who excels in creating a structured, systematic environment, the Organizer Personality offers traits and skills that enable the Organizer-Leader to flourish.  These qualities and skills include:
Willingness to Train – Great Organizer-Leaders are detail oriented and take the time and effort to ensure that their followers have all of the details needed to properly complete a job.  Since they are logical and methodical in all that they do, training programs that they design and deliver tend to provide sequential lessons that make it easy for students and trainees to follow.
Patience and Fairness – Organizer-Leaders recognize that people learn at varying speeds.  Consequently, they are very patient and willing to review details until their followers understand them.  Once the Organizer-Leader believes that followers are prepared to perform the tasks and complete the projects before them, he/she gives the followers great latitude in how the job is done so long as it is completed within the timeframe allowed.  If there are problems or conflicts, the followers know that the Organizer-Leader will help them find a solution quickly and will fairly arbitrate any disputes.
• Leads by Example – When the time comes to get a job done, the Organizer-Leader believes that the best place to lead is from the front and set the example.  He/She does not have the self-perception of being over others; rather, believes that “many hands make light work” and that his or her hands are every bit as capable of lightening the load on followers as anyone else’s.  Because the Organizer-Leader is working right alongside the followers, he/she has a great insight into the challenges that the other workers face and will always be looking for solutions that benefit “his/her people”.
• Loyalty – Having worked right alongside the followers, the Organizer-Leader is very likely to see them as part of his/her extended family and will tend to take the attitude that “we take care of our own”.  The old expression, “I’ve got your back” could well describe the message that the Organizer-Leader sends out to followers.  This message may not be vocalized; but, is delivered by the actions taken and the examples set by the Organizer-Leader.
A good example of an Organizer-Leader might well be the Compliance Officer, we’ll call him “John”, at a securities broker/dealer I worked with.  A major part of his job was ensuring that agency managers were well prepared for the day when a regulatory inspector would walk into the agency office to conduct a legal compliance inspection.
Each year, John would schedule an inspection at each agency, describing it as a “dress rehearsal” compliance inspection.  He used an inspection sheet prepared by the broker/dealer; an inspection sheet based on the experiences of the president of the firm who was also a securities attorney and an expert witness in many court cases involving securities firms and their registered representatives.  John would randomly select client files, much as a regulator would, and review each file to confirm that the representative had conducted a thorough fact-finding interview and that the investments recommended were suitable for both the risk tolerances and financial goals of the client.  At the conclusion of the inspection, John would meet with the agency manager and review the files with the manager.  John then recommended actions that needed to be taken within the agency in order to offer the highest probability of a successful outcome to a genuine regulatory inspection; and, he suggested training that should be provided to the registered representatives to ensure that they provided all of the documentation that was needed to justify and defend the recommendations that they offered to clients.
About six months after conducting a “dress rehearsal” with an agency manager, John got a call from that manager.  The manager told John that an inspector had just left the office; that the agency had passed with flying colors; and, that at no time was she nervous about the outcome of the inspection because she knew that she had taken action on all of John’s recommendations and that her registered representatives had received the suggested training.
By providing the processes and procedures; by offering a system that the agency manager could adhere to, John made certain that the team he led was well prepared for the challenges that they would face; and, that they would emerge from those challenges stronger, more competent, and more confident in their own ability to succeed.