Ideas in the Wild: How Pat Strubbe is Using Storytelling to Teach People How to Prepare for Retirement
Pat Strubbe is the master of story-based retirement planning. His last bestselling book taught America how to defeat the seven retirement villains using the oldest and most engaging teaching method in the world: storytelling. Now, in The Retirement Secret, he introduces the three retirement mentors, teaching readers how to understand their finances and plan their retirement before they get there. If they’re like most people, they’re facing the looming specter of retirement on their own, in what Pat calls the do-it-yourself retirement system.
I recently caught up with Pat to learn about the moment that inspired him to write this new book, the biggest lesson he’s learned on his journey, and how he’s applied that lesson in his life.
What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?
I’ll never forget the exact moment when I realized The Retirement Secret needed to be shared beyond our clients. I’ve been helping people with their finances for over 23 years. Sure, some people are confident about their money (over even overconfident!), but what is far more common is that people are scared and worried. It is truly something that keeps people awake at night; and while that may have to do with being broke or being behind on your bills, for most people it simply comes from the fact that we receive so little education on how money works and how we should handle it. So we worry and wonder, “Am I doing the right thing? Did I make a mistake? Should I be doing something else?”
That leads me to that exact moment I knew I needed to share this secret with as many as I could: I’ve worked with this couple for about a decade. They were always worried because they felt like they didn’t understand investments, how they worked, and if they were doing ‘okay.’ In an effort to help them better understand their money, we started using The Retirement Secret. Soon after, the wife said to me, “Pat, we just want to thank you so much. For the first time in our lives, we feel like we understand what’s going on with our money, and that gives us more comfort and peace of mind than we ever thought was possible!”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned going through the journey you share in the book?
The biggest lesson that became clear to me as the story of the book came together has to do with how much time, mental energy, and emotional energy we all waste when it comes to our money. Yes, money is important. Yes, we need enough to take care of our loved ones and ourselves and to live the lifestyle we want; but as long as we have enough to cover our basic expenses, the vast majority of time and energy we spend worrying about it is wasted.
The bottom line is, we need to get clear with ourselves what our goals are for our money. Of course, this is often about retirement, but this holds true for anything else you want your money to do for you: a new house, kids college, starting a new business, etc. Once we know your goal for your money, then we can create a plan to help you accomplish your goal. After that, you can STOP worrying about it, checking your accounts or markets on your phone or computer, reading or watching the financial media. Take all of that time you just found and spend on things that really matter to you.
It has been proven time and time again, the people who are most successful with their money are not the ones that are checking it the most, or adjusting their investments the most, or seeking out the best ‘hot stock tips,’ or reading the most articles on the ‘best funds of the year,’ or are the ones who can figure out how the next election will affect the markets and the economy. The people who are most successful with their money are the ones who know what they want to accomplish and have a plan to achieve it.
How will you apply this lesson in your life moving forward?
My wife and I have applied this lesson, and it has made us happier and strengthened our marriage. We’ve followed the steps laid out in The Retirement Secret, and we know where we stand financially and where we want to go. Sure, handling savings and investments isn’t anything new for me since I’ve been helping people with theirs for over two decades; but it’s a game changer for my wife, who has never had any kind of formal financial training or education.
We ignore the financial media, we don’t have to check our accounts every day, and we spend our time and energy on the things that are most important to us, which for us are our faith, our marriage, our kids, the rest of our families, our friends, and my business. Not only does this make our daily lives better, but it also gives me peace of mind. You know, they say the #1 cause of marital problems is money, yet we never argue about money because now we’re on the same page with each other. That’s a peace that I want to share with as many people as I can!