Exclusive Interview: Beth London, Edelman Financial Engines
Learn How One Financial Advisor Is Reinventing Herself As A Home Staging Professional
Ric Edelman: One of the things you've got to pay attention to most about your future is that it isn't going to be the same as your present. At some point you're going to retire. Then what? This is amazing. We spend so much energy, effort, resources, time to helping babies and young children figure out their future. Look at all the time and effort parents spend on getting kids into school, preparing them for careers. Make sure you get good grades so you can get into a good college. Make sure you choose the right college. Make sure you choose a good degree field. And then we enter that field. We spend 40 years working, and here we are. Now what? Too often people don't spend any thought at all about life post career. And so I'm really happy to provide you with a great case study. Someone who's doing it really, really well, figured it all out. And a good friend of mine as well. Beth London, welcome to the program. How are you, Beth?
Beth London: I'm good. Thanks for having me, Ric.
Ric Edelman: Beth is a financial planner with Edelman Financial Engines, been with the firm for a long time and now getting ready to retire and embark on your next chapter in your life. Right?
Beth: Right. And very excited, hoping it's going to be the best chapter.
Ric: So let's talk about this transition. You haven't yet left Edelman Financial Engines. You'll be doing that toward the end of this year. And you've been a financial planner for how many years? 30 years?
Beth: Yeah, over 30 years.
Ric: With more than a decade at Edelman Financial, where, of course, you and I worked together very closely for a long time. And talk about your thought process of, you know, gee, at one point I'm going to stop being a financial planner. Just talk about when you began thinking about that and how that all came about.
Beth: Yeah, I think I always had in the back of my mind that retirement was not going to be just sitting on a beach in Florida. I wanted more and I still do love what I do. But you had mentioned at one point you want to position yourself where work is optional, that if an opportunity comes up or your life circumstances change, you want to be prepared to move with it. So I took that to heart a long time ago and just kind of followed through on that thought process. And I always loved real estate, loved design and had an opportunity to get involved. So everything just kind of fell in place. To be perfectly honest, thanks to you and Jean, you had always instilled be prepared for the future and Jean had always instilled follow your heart, listen to your intuition and kind of let that be the guiding force. So yeah, it all came together. And I'm very excited.
Next Act: Making the Transition to Becoming a Home Staging Professional
Ric: So talk about staging. You're talking about helping people sell their residential real estate.
Beth: It's very similar to financial planning and it's helping people get the opportunity to get a higher return on their investment. And so it's a matter of positioning the property, turning it from a house to a home, which just like financial planning, it's extremely sensitive. You're dealing with people that have their family portraits on the wall that they can't envision taking down. But you're also on the flip side want the buyer to see it as their home, their opportunity for a future. So it's kind of transitioning the house so that it's more marketable, it's more desirable. It involves painting light fixtures, rearranging furniture in many, many cases decluttering and just redesigning the house.
Ric: So I'm assuming that starting this as a brand new business, you've got the expenses associated with doing that. You're not going to have the income immediately that or even ever that you had as a financial planner. Tell me how that factored into your thought process.
Beth: I did it over time. It didn't happen overnight. So it was kind of a process. And my intention is not to do this full-time. I'm Looking to do it on a more flexible schedule. So I do have more time for other interests that I'm looking to pursue in retirement.
Ric: So the key here is not to try to suggest that you ought to quit your career and become a home stager. It's not really the point. The point here that I hope you're getting from this conversation with Beth London is the transition, beginning with an acknowledgement that I'm not going to do what I'm doing forever, that there are passions that I have in life or that I want to discover in life, and that I might be able to turn them into an income producing activity. And that means thinking about it, engaging in it slowly, casually, learn more. You began by getting a very extensive education, self-study online, going to conferences, mingling with people in the business, learning from experts in the business and, over what has been so far a four year journey, beginning to implement the transition from your current career of the past 30 years to the next chapter in life. Which is going to be part-time, not as lucrative, but with your personal financial planning, it doesn't need to be as economically rewarding as your prior career was, but it's enough to sustain. Aim you to support yourself, allowing you to focus on your passion and just, frankly, have a great time.
Beth: Yeah, so I'm really looking Forward to it.
Finding Your Passion In Retirement May Take Some Time; Start Planning Now
Ric: So what is the advice you would give to others who are themselves five or 10 years away from retirement?
Beth: I actually talked to a number of my planning clients and we have these discussions all the time and many people feel the same way. They want to do something, they want to be productive, but they don't want the same schedule. And it's just following your heart, finding things that you truly are interested in. I think it's important in retirement to have fun if people find things that they're truly passionate about. It won't feel like work. You did a show on once you find that thing you want to do in retirement, you can't wait to go to get there and do it. And when I heard that, I said, Yeah, that's how I feel. So if you find something you love, it just happens. And I think when you do the right thing, you find something you love and you follow your heart, the money comes.
Ric: You know, the real key is to have your situation so that instead of 'going from', it's 'coming to'. And you've expressed that perfectly, not at all a surprise, because you are such a talented financial planner, and I know that your future is going to be bright. Beth, a lot of folks are going to follow in your footsteps with the advice you've shared with us today. Thanks so much for doing that. That's Beth London, who's a financial planner with Edelman Financial Engines. You can reach Beth or her colleagues at Edelman Financial. Just go to EdelmanFinancialEngines.com. If somebody wants to reach you, Beth. Talk to you about your staging business. Where would they find you?
Beth: You can go to my website actually www.StagedSellDwell.com. Definitely let me know because I have contacts and connections all over and happy to connect you with someone more locally. www.StagedSellDwell.com.
Ric: Beth, thanks so much for joining us today.
Beth: Thanks Ric. It's great to see you and great to be here.