The following is the transcript from Episode 11 of Retire Happy with Roger Gainer, a financial and business audio podcast.

Andy: Well, I’m sitting out on the sun porch with my feet up on the coffee table.

Clark: You’re retired happy. That’s what it is.

Andy: Yeah.

Clark: I love it.

You are listening to Retire Happy with Roger Gainer, president of Gainer Financial and Insurance Services Inc. In this episode, Roger interviews a client who shares his story of retiring happy. Andy’s a retired high school teacher who worked with Roger to create a spinning plan that enabled him to live the life he and his wife always wanted. Now they enjoy the relief they gained from knowing where their income is coming from. Roger also talks us through how to apply this same approach, even during troubled economic times and how visualizing your financial plan can help you stay on track. For more content like this visit Thanks for joining us. I’m your host, Clark Buckner. Let’s jump in. So, Roger, you and Andy, you both met back in 2006 at a workshop. And just to keep it really high level, just to paint a picture of where things were, can you tell me really quick, Roger, where was the economy from your perspective, from a financial advisor’s perspective? And then let’s talk about where Andy was and what you did in order for Andy to in a really unique time be able to retire happy.

Roger: Well, yeah. It’s one of the things that most impresses me about our work together is, you know, when we met in 2006 everything was going gangbusters. The price of residential properties was jumping in leaps and bounds especially around here. So their house was going up in value 15%, 20% a year and stock markets were doing great. And when that’s all happening, you get kinda, you know, comfortable if you will kinda like today. And then 2007 hit and, you know, that was the year that they had always targeted, Andy and Christine, had always targeted for retirement. And when 2007 began, we really started to see a major shift early in that year. Real estate markets cooled off dramatically. In many parts of the country, we started seeing prices drop dramatically.

In the middle…towards the end of the year, we started seeing the stock market jump in and accelerate losses. And I know a lot of folks that targeted 2007 or 2008 for retirement just plain didn’t because their investments dropped in value and they just didn’t feel financially secure. But Andy and Christine marshaled on with that background and made what I think are great decisions, and that’s why I look forward to talking to Andy all the time. Every time he picks up the phone, he’s just the happiest guy I know. And that’s why they’ve been an inspiration and helped me with the type of planning I do with clients. They’ve really helped refine that. So Andy, if you can, go back to that time and when we first started working together in the spring of 2006 and kinda tell me what was going through your mind at that point about retirement.

Andy: Yeah. Both of us were doing pretty well in our schools.

Clark: When you say schools…so you both were teachers?

Andy: We were both teachers. I was teaching in one school in the northwest corner of San Francisco and Christine was teaching in another school in the northeast corner of San Francisco. We both felt pretty good about the jobs we were doing and we had been planning about looking forward to retirement and so on. We both…one of the big dangers in leaving a job is holding onto it for too long. You want to retire when most people seem to think you’re doing a good job. You don’t wanna wait for another year or two before they say, “Good God. We’ve gotta get that idiot out of here.”

Roger: It’s kinda like retiring on top.

Andy: Yeah. Fair enough. So we both left feeling good about the work we had done and we had bought a piece of land up here at a ridiculously low price. So we had a general idea of what we wanted to do and some sense of what it was gonna cost us to get this thing done. One of the steps Roger was talking about a few minutes ago was he advised and we finally agreed that we would take all the equity we could get out of the house we had in San Rafael. And that in fact left us having to pay back to the bank when we sold the house a fairly small amount of money. But in the meantime, we had lumps of cash that we could use for other things. We knew that our short-term 10-year income was going to be safe. We knew what it was and that it would…that would dry out to the end of 2017. We knew about Social Security, what part that would play in all of this stuff. And so we had remaining things that we wanted to…other forms of money that we wanted to start using beginning in the year 2018. So that was the 10-year process if you will between retiring and going on to some of the other policies that we’re not…we haven’t used yet but we will be using in the coming year.

Roger: So what you’re saying, Andy, is we put different buckets together for…to create the reliable income stream at the beginning of retirement and then we timed in additional income streams that would kick in. The next one kicks in in 2018 to match your spending requirements.

Andy: And in fact, I think there was great virtue in being able to do all this at the time that the economy was going down the tubes. Historically in the United States…I taught history for 40 years and historically there…yes, there had been all sorts of crashes here and there and everywhere but they don’t last forever. So if you start out at a low point, then you’re actually in a pretty good position historically, probably to come out pretty well down the road. And we do have a 10-year span. The road is coming around the corner this coming January. That makes a big difference. Even if our investments don’t grow at all from where they were last spring, we can plan ahead, we can live on the money we will be getting starting in 2018 and plan ahead accordingly. Yes, I’d like to have more. Why not?

Roger: Well, Andy, when we first started putting a spending plan together for you, an income plan, you and Christine sat down and really filled in the colors in the outline of your…what you wanted your retirement life to look like as far as dining out and activities and travel and all these other things. So we were able to put a spending plan together for both of you and I think…do you feel that that’s added to your happiness in retirement or peace of mind? Or what is the result of having that spending plan and knowing where your income is coming from? How does that influence you daily?

Andy: So the concept is we don’t worry about where our next meal is coming from. We do things that we want to do. We do things that we love and have loved all of our lives. For example, this is small but it’s important to us, we first met together in a summer school. We were doing somewhat different things back and forth and we got to know one another a little bit but we wound up becoming very close friends and we got married. And we do a lot of musical things together. I’m a…I play piano and organ. Christine is a choral conductor. So we’ve got a little program that doesn’t…going up here in a little church that doesn’t pay us a plugged nickel but that’s all right. We do it for fun.

Clark: And you tour too, don’t you, Andy?

Andy: Yeah. We’re going to be going to a festival over in Reno early next month that we’re a part of. That sort of thing. So the ideal, I think, the ideal plan for retirement is to do what you love. And we’re in a position of not having to worry all the time. And that’s a huge relief.

Roger: So Andy, one of the things that you talked about was how much you enjoy, you and Christine enjoy traveling. And you guys have been to some pretty interesting places since you retired. Name your two favorite trips that you guys have taken since retirement.

Andy: Oh. Only two? I’ll give you three. How’s that?

Roger: Okay. Three is great.

Andy: One was the Galapagos Islands and actually several other things that went along the same trip. Then there was a month in Britain where I was doing a lot of family history research. Third one was we went to Central and Eastern Europe where Christine’s father came from and met long lost cousins and spent some time there. Now I’m up to a fourth one. We went to New Zealand for, last February, for most of the month and had a wonderful time. And we’re going to Scotland to the Highlands and Islands next June basically for the month.

Roger: Well, that’s fantastic.

Andy: And these are all things that…neither of us particularly likes being part of big travel things. So we’ve never been on a great big ship and never will be on a great big ship. So Christine likes to plan out all of the…stay in this B&B, go to this site, blah, blah, blah, blah. And we…she’s been working on the Scottish trip since we got back from New Zealand.

Clark: Andy, I love the visual. I can see in my mind how both you and your wife, you’re traveling around the world. You have a great life at home, you’ve got beautiful scenery, you’re enjoying it, you’re retiring happy. So as we’re wrapping up here, Roger, if you could just bring it home. Take us back…snapshot of how it started in 2006, what you had to work with. Two private high school teachers, two teachers, what you could see with the timing and how you were both able to work together to create clarity with a thought organizer. Roger, bring us home on how it all fits together.

Andy: I’m going to take the liberty of starting to bring you home which is that Roger turns out to be a good listener.

Roger: Well, thank you, Andy.

Clark: Why is that a big deal for you?

Roger: Well, listening is a critical skill because when I work with a client, it isn’t about me. It’s all about the client. So it isn’t about trying to fit everybody into the same solution and I have to get to know a client. And we spent quite a while getting to know each other, didn’t we, Andy?

Andy: Yes, we did.

Roger: Okay. And really painting your picture is what I call it, you guys came with that outline of a vision. We wanna live up in the mountains. We have this piece of land and we’ve done some research and we kinda have a target date and, you know, and I’ve got some ideas that I want our house to look like. So here I’m working. I’m meeting some private school teachers who…if you know anything about the industry of teaching, they’re not the highest paid people in the education community. And they’ve done a nice job of saving on a regular basis but by no means did they come in with a huge seven figure portfolio. They were not worth millions of dollars. But they brought another thing that I thought was really impressive to me was a great attitude and an open mind. Now, Christine’s wasn’t quite as open as Andy’s to begin with, but as we got to know each other and we got to understand where they were coming from and where they wanted to get to, it was easier and easier for Christine to make decisions.

We started to execute a plan towards the end of 2006 and into 2007. We implemented a variety of strategies over the next couple of years, actually. But what was so impressive, to me, was that even though there were some bumps in the road, the market had slowed dramatically for selling their house when they did put it up on the market, and maybe we got a little bit less than we were hoping for but because we knew where they were going that was not a deterrent. It didn’t slow anything down. And your ability to retire on time and on your terms really very impressive. And I just wanna say Andy, I look forward to speaking to you guys every chance I get when we do phone reviews. And you guys came down here a couple of months ago which was great. I haven’t seen you in a year or so face-to-face. But it just…it’s like the ray of sunshine. You don’t answer the phone and, “Yes. Hello.” You’re always high. So Andy, if you could give any piece of advice to our listeners, whether they’re 25 like Clark or they’re just coming into the home stretch of retirement or they just went into retirement, what would it be? What would you say your secret to being so darn happy is?

Andy: You and your spouse need to have as clear a plan as you can about what you wanna do. Or even you could have a clear plan about what you don’t wanna do. You want to shape your own future. And increasingly, as you do that, you get a picture of what you’re going to need to make it happen and where you have to go to make it happen. Do all of this together. I think it’s far better to have somebody to argue with, to talk with for years as a way of coming up with a retirement plan. And don’t wait till the last minute to hope that somehow the light will come out of the clouds and tell you, “Do this.” No. Doing something takes a lot of work and a lot of thinking.

Roger: I think that’s great advice, Andy.

Clark: Excellent. Andy, thank you so much for being our guest today on the Retire Happy Podcast. Roger, always a pleasure. So final call to action. We always like to wrap up things with inviting the listener to fill out that thought organizer. So real quick. How can someone access that? What does it mean? And how does that get them connected to you?

Roger: Well, I think Andy summed it up perfectly, why you use a tool like the thought organizer. Because it…he and Christine were able to get on the same page, were really able to work towards a clear vision. And the thought organizer is a tool that’s designed to do just that, to help you begin that journey to clarifying your thinking and to getting on the same page with everybody that’s involved in the decision-making. So if you go to our website at, scroll down to the bottom of the page and there’s a button that allows you to download the thought organizer. There’s no cost. And if you are single and doing it, that’s great. If you are married and doing it, make two copies and complete that in a room separate from your spouse and then compare your answers. If you do download the thought organizer and you would like to come and see if I can help you clarify your thinking, contact us through the contact us section of our website and I would be happy to extend a free consultation to see if I can help you achieve a happy retirement.

Andy: And when you’ve done all that then…when you’ve done that stuff, you begin to see the money as a tool, not as a big goal. It’s a tool to get you to the goal.

Roger: I think that’s the perfect sentiment to end on, Andy. That’s great.

Clark: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Retire Happy. Be sure to head on over to to download your thought organizer to get started. Roger L. Gainer, CHFC California insurance license number 0754849 is licensed to sell insurance and annuity products in California, Illinois, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and New York. Roger L. Gainer is an investment advisor representative, providing advisory services through HFIS Inc., a registered investment advisor. Gainer Financial and Insurance Services Inc. is not owned or affiliated with HFIS Inc. and operates independently. Thanks again so much and we’ll see you next time on Retire Happy.