How much do I need to have saved to comfortably retire?

What could I do right now to increase my chance of a successful retirement?

If I die tomorrow, what kind of (financial) legacy will I leave?

Should I pay down my mortgage or set aside more money into an investment account?

Whether expressed directly or indirectly, these are the types of questions I help people answer. I work with very smart people, many of whom I look up to and admire.  What I have found is that most of the people I talk to already have a pretty good idea of what they should do or would like to do.  As a good friend and mentor of mine likes to say “the answer is in the room.”  My clients already have come to a conclusion and they then come to me for confirmation.  How cool is that?

Do you have any idea how good it feels to help someone sort out their options and then give them additional options they may not have considered? Or, to eliminate five options for them and instead concentrate their choice around two alternatives?

Can you imagine how good it feels to tell someone they no longer need to work unless they chose to?  Or, how great it is to remind someone that the one planning tactic they implemented 20 years ago has paid off in spades?  Or, that their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will never have to worry about paying for college because of the choices and sacrifices they made?

At the end of the day, this is the real reward I receive from the work I do. Yes, it pays the bills and yes, the job is extremely interesting (to me at least), but I truly get a rush when I can help my client help themselves.  All of the time and effort I have devoted to my career can be shared with so many others.  My thirst and dedication to continue learning is directly translated to my clients.  After all, this is the very reason people choose to work with experts and specialists.  It is one thing to help yourself, but to help others; that is the gift that keeps on giving, right?