From 38 Years at Black & Veatch to Living a Full Retirement
All of us Chiefs fans have incredible memories of watching Super Bowl LVII that we're going to treasure forever. But not many of us had a seat as close to the action as my guest today, Teresa Hannon.
"This game was such a nail biter," Teresa told me, "and where I sat was lower level, right by where the winning field goal was made. Just seeing it go through the goal post right by where I was sitting was incredible. And Arizona had perfect weather, it was 75 degrees every day there. The stadium was beautiful. And the experience of just being there was everything I imagined."
But Teresa did more than just imagine this Super Bowl experience. She worked with her Keen Wealth advisor to make this trip part of her comprehensive financial plan. And as we discuss on today's episode, that plan helped give Teresa the means and the confidence to live her best life in retirement.
An impressive 38-year career.
Teresa grew up in Mission, Kansas and attended Benedictine College in Atchison. After graduating she took a job at Black & Veatch, where she spent her entire 38-year career.
"I worked in many different divisions there as a project controls manager," Teresa says. "I have a business degree with an economics minor, so I worked with engineers every day on budgeting items and scheduling on things that we would design and construct. Mainly power plant design for the majority of my career, and then some ballistic missile defense in the federal division, and then the oil and gas division, and then the telecom division."
When I tell other financial advisors that our firm has developed a strong working relationship with Kansas City's engineering community, I hear a lot of jokes about being a "glutton for punishment." But in my experience, engineers are a hard-working, detail-oriented group of high achievers who like to understand and commit to a plan. Teresa had similar experiences working with engineers, especially because Black & Veatch had a very inclusive culture even at a time when engineering was very much a male-dominated profession.
"All the engineers that I personally got to work with all had great, fun personalities," Teresa says. "Our project meetings were always very engaging. Engineers are very smart individuals and I really enjoyed working with them. I had great project teams my whole career. When I started, there definitely were not as many women as men at my company. But all the individuals I worked with very much treated you the same. I felt like they respected the opinions of all the women that worked there. And then as time went on, I saw more women engineers coming into the company and getting promoted to high positions. That was great to see that happening at my company."
"You don't have to go back."
Like a growing number of engineering firms, Black & Veatch has a robust benefits program that's really focused on helping top employees build wealth and prepare for retirement. The firm is 100% employee-owned, and at age 59 1/2 employees who are eying early retirement are eligible for a health insurance plan that covers them until Medicare kicks in at age 65.
Teresa remembers, "Once I started approaching 59 1/2, I thought, I need to see if I have enough money in my 401(k) and profit-sharing plan to be able to retire. I met with four different financial firms and all four of them said, 'You don't have to go back to work this afternoon if you don't want to.' So, I retired at 60."
Teresa wasn't worried about transitioning into retirement. She had a network of friends stretching back to college and high school. She knew that she would still stay connected to her old Black & Veatch co-workers. And she had a clear vision for what she wanted her retirement to be like.
"I didn't want to ever have to work again once I retired," Teresa says. “I want to volunteer, but I don't want to have to work again. And I want to be able to travel domestically and internationally and be able to go out to dinner with friends and not worry, do I have enough to do that much this month?"
"I went with Keen Wealth!"
Teresa rounded out her weekly retirement schedule with volleyball, pickleball, and volunteer shifts at the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. In her first year as a retiree, she also set a monthly goal of visiting someplace new outside of the Kansas City area.
Five years later, Teresa has taken a serious bite out of her bucket list. Her Facebook account is an incredible travelogue: Egypt, China, Africa, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand. This spring she'll be in Sicily, and in the fall, she's visiting Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Too many seniors who have the means to make retirement an exciting and impactful chapter in their lives never do it. They're so worried about running out of money or they feel guilty or anxious about spending that they aren't able to enjoy the life they've earned. I'm proud that Keen Wealth's comprehensive planning process has helped give folks like Teresa real peace of mind around spending.
"I had no trouble spending my money, because I went with Keen Wealth!" Teresa says. "We put in my plan so many international trips per year, going out to dinner with friends, buying a new car. I knew what my budget was each month. I knew that the Super Bowl would be expensive. But I talked to my advisor, Rey, and he said, 'No problem. We built that into your planning budget.' So, I was not concerned in the least."
Helping retirees clear that mental block and get the most out of their golden years is one of the most meaningful services we provide at Keen Wealth. Make an appointment to talk to one of our advisors and let's start planning for your dream retirement.
Teresa Hannon is a client of Keen Wealth Advisors. She provided the testimonial on her own will and was not offered or provided cash or non-cash compensation in exchange for her testimonial. Client experiences and testimonials may vary.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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