Why I do what I do…

Marshall Rathmell |



I have been a wealth manager for almost fourteen years. After all this time, my first career—telecommunications—is a distant memory. However, one memory which has not faded with time is the way I felt when I left my first career.

It was my first professional job out of college and it lasted for more than 20 years.  While I had a variety of positions with this one company, it was still a cohesive career with no gap in benefits, retirement plans or pension.  I was excited about starting a new career, making a choice utilizing all the experience I had gained from work, volunteering and advanced educational opportunities. 

As I prepared to leave my first career, the most unsettling experience was not  looking for a new job. My most unsettling experience was figuring out what would be the best decisions about my future, “real” retirement.  As I spoke to my adviser and several other advisers, I felt they were all competent and skilled in “investing” my financial resources, but what I really needed most was someone to:

  1. tell me how far my current savings would take me in my true retirement in the distant future,
  2. tell me how much I needed to add to my retirement nest egg during my second career, and
  3. let me know they cared about the big picture of my life, not just my finances.

What if I took a part-time paying job and spent more time volunteering, how would that affect my real retirement?  What if I didn’t take a paying job immediately?  What if I made less than I was accustomed to making?  These were the questions that were on my mind every morning when I woke--not what was the right percent of stocks and bonds in my portfolio. 

Well, I never found the adviser I was looking for - the one who could give me peace of mind and help me build a plan for my future retirement - but that experience did help determine my next career.  I decided to get the professional experience, the required education and the credentials to become the financial adviser who I so desperately needed during my career transition; an adviser who serves clients in a fiduciary relationship with customized advice always in the clients’ best interest and attention to their hopes and dreams, not just their portfolio.

Along the way, I discovered that I should not have waited until I received that retirement package to develop a relationship with a financial adviser.  Having an adviser who could help me determine my priorities earlier would have resulted in capturing more opportunities, avoiding some mistakes and provided greater peace of mind at every point along the way.  

Since I am a baby boomer and a woman, I have an invested interest in the specific and unique needs of these groups. I have learned that women and baby boomers have particular tasks to tend, and these tasks can make a big difference. Many of my clients are women and/or baby boomers, and many of them came to me looking for the same advice I needed so long ago. As I watch financial media coverage, I worry that they (like any of the advisers I met before leaving my first career) are sending my peers self-serving messages instead of the useful advice they want and need. While I hope that my blog posts will be beneficial for any reader, I will focus a lot of my thoughts on the needs of baby boomers and women.

My passion is to help people clearly see their hopes and dreams and understand how to move from where they are to where they want to be with peace of mind.  It’s about more than just analysis of the facts; it’s about getting the best advice because time is crucial.  It’s about moving through the experience with understanding from someone who has gone before and who can empathize with the thoughts that are on your mind when you wake up every morning.   

At BCR Wealth, we are passionate about helping you succeed in living well both today and into the new longevity of your future.

If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before." ~ J. Loren Norris

And before we can determine the right percent of stocks and bonds, we want to settle the concerns on your mind.  

-Sandra Cleveland-