2022 January Retirement Lifestyles

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‘Set yourself up for the future’ Hutton shares insights on preparing people for retirement

ART DIRECTOR Jennifer Stolz MANAGING EDITOR Greg Forbes ASSISTANT EDITOR Elizabeth A. Elliott SPORTS EDITOR Grant Egger REPORTER Cheyenne Alexis - Blair Jenna Comes - Mapleton, IA. Curt Hineline - Oakland Jason Redding-Geu - Lyons Tonia Copeland - Missouri Valley, IA. NEWS CLERK Fallon Eele DIRECTOR OF SALES Paul Swanson ADVERTISING MANAGER Lynette Hansen ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Tom Jelinek Paige Anderson GRAPHIC ARTISTS Rachel Birdsall Nicole Robinson DESIGN STUDIO SUPERVISOR Sandy Diaz DESIGN SPECIALISTS Alaina Albright Scott Strenger BOOKKEEPING Shauna Gerke Sarah Schmidt Tracy Hineman DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Julia Smith

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BY GREG FORBES editor@enterprisepub.com

n nearly 30 years with Edward Jones, Kirk Hutton learned a thing or two about retirement. Now retired himself, Hutton has been able to use some of what he learned throughout his career to put himself in a comfortable position. Hutton said there wasn't one, single trick he learned but rather a series of observations in order to make a seamless transition from the workplace to the good life. “We can watch others and you can tell those who are successful and those who aren't,” Hutton said. “The trick to me was always to watch those that were successful and see what they did and yet never get caught up in the love of money.” Hutton said planning for retirement is not a copypaste solution. Everyone is different, comes from different financial backgrounds and has different financial lifestyles. What Hutton said is key, however, is making sure people live within their means and strike a balance between saved money and income, if needed. “Very often, a client wanted to know how much money they needed to put away to be able to retire,” he said. “The neat thing about knowing that is if you need to put away x number of dollars per year, if you have 30 years to retirement, if you


Kirk Hutton served as a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Blair for nearly 30 years. Over that time, he learned a few tips and tricks to help him transition into his own retirement. put that money away, then any excess or discretionary income you have, you can enjoy to live on. “You’re setting yourself up for the future and I think that’s important.” Again, Hutton said financial planning varies by person and an individual should set up a plan that fits his or her needs and lifestyles. “It’s important, for yourself, that you create a foundational belief structure how money works in your life and work to adhere to those rules that you create for yourself,” he said. When saving money, Hutton said diversification is key. Throughout his career and since his retirement, he’s seen fluctuation in the stock market and changes in inflation. Keeping cash

on hand, investments in the stock market and money dedicated to growth are three steps towards financial stability in retirement. “Through most of my career, we saw markets go up and down fairly regularly. In fact, we would say we expect the stock market to come up three years out of four and come down one year out of those four,” he said. “As a person nearing retirement or in retirement, you have to find that way to balance the amount you should have in cash for emergency needs and living expenses, have some intermediary money in case the market falls on you but still keep the dollars you aren’t spending for five years or longer in something that’ll grow. It’s just simple diversification.”

Hutton said the general rule of thumb for savings is to put away $1 million for every decade until retirement and not have debt. The one rule Hutton said he encourages all planning for retirement to abide by, and followed himself, however, is to make sure enough money is available for an additional 20 to 30 years beyond retirement. “One of the things that I used to say to people who ask, ‘What if I don’t live that long?’ Well, the problem isn't that you might die, the problem is you might not die,” he said. “People are living far longer and need to have those resources to live on.” In his own retirement, Hutton said he’s seen the value in taking money seriously, but not making it the dominating factor. He said to not look at money as a necessity, but rather as a tool that allows people to enjoy retirement without having to work full-time. He abides by that thought process and said it’s allowed him to be productive but to also take time for family and hobbies. “It takes two or three years to get into a grove of retirement. All the activities I do each day, I try to do by noon and take the afternoon and spend that time reading and exercising," he said. “That also leaves time to do volunteer activities.”


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From working in the mortgage field to serving on the local school board BY JENNA COMES


aren Kennedy of Mapleton, started her career in the mortgage field in 1962 with a large real estate firm in the mortgage/loan division in Omaha. “My boss, I didn’t realize it until I looked back, she was a mentor that I’ll be indebted to for the rest of my life,” Kennedy said. “She taught me every aspect of mortgage banking.” She received her MBA (mortgage bankers association) certification in the early 1980s. “I had to do it all by correspondences,” Kennedy said. “There wasn’t such a thing as online.” Once a year for a couple years, she had to go MBA workshops and classes to complete the certification. Most of Kennedy’s duties were in the servicing side of the mortgage business. She managed between 20150 employees depending on the size of the portfolio that the mortgage company owned. She worked with collecting mortgage payments, paying tax/insurance (private mortgage insurance), escrow loans, submitting funds to investors, and there were various accounting methods that investors required. “The fun part of servicing, was collecting those mortgage payments,” she said. The job came with a lot of variety. She also had to do lots




After working in the mortgage business for over 40 years, Karen Kennedy moved back to Mapleton when she retired. She is now in her third-term serving on the MVAO School Board. of repayment plans to save mortgages from going into default, which was a challenge. “It was a very detailed process,” Kennedy said. “I enjoyed it immensely. It was challenging, there was a lot of change and it was highly regulated.” She added with those regulations it made the job

easier if you follow them. In 1989, Kennedy moved to Minneapolis, Minn., to work for an S&L (federal savings and loan) owned out of Boston. She was there about three months and the government resolution trust corporation (RTC) took over the savings and loans. The company was one of the failed sav-

ings loans that went under in the late 80s. “That was a little scary after picking up roots and moving that distance and being in that situation,” she said. In 1999, she moved back in Omaha to work for an S&L. She retired in 2006 after 44 years in the mortgage business and moved back to Mapleton, her hometown, in 2007. Along with the challenges of the mortgage business, Kennedy enjoyed the people she worked with. “There were a lot of young kids that I hired,” she said. “I saw them realize their potential and move on in the same profession. I know a lot of people I worked with in my 40 years that are still in the mortgage business.” She also liked interacting with the customers. Since retiring, Kennedy has seen a lot of change in the mortgage business including the financial crisis in 2008. In late 2008/early 2009, Kennedy said she had offers from two agencies (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to work part-time and help with defaults and delinquent portfolios. There were really good offers, it was only part-time, and she could work when she wanted, too. “It was so tempting to put my hat back on,” Kennedy said. “Then one day, I said to myself, ‘Karen,

there is no such thing as a part-time job in the mortgage business. You will be working 50-hours like you did before.’” Kennedy said it was a tough transition when she retired. She decided to move back to a small-town to relax and she doesn’t regret her decision. In her retirement, Kennedy chose to run for the open school board seat. She was just elected to her third-term on the Maple Valley-Anthon Oto School Board. She decided to get involved with the school board shortly after getting custody of her three great grandkids who were all in elementary school at the time. She also missed the adult intellectual conversations. It is Kennedy’s past management skills and financial knowledge that help her serve on the school board. Kennedy said there is so much to learn when serving on the school board, as it is very complex and there are so many laws. She enjoys learning about them. “We are blessed to be in the financial position we are in and the facilities we have,” Kennedy said. Besides serving on the school board, Kennedy stays busy running her kids around, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

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Watts continues assisting around community following 45-year banking career BY CHEYENNE ALEXIS features@enterprisepub.com


eginning her banking career right out of high school, Leslie Watts experienced many different jobs and emphasized volunteering throughout her time working. Watts started her longtime career at Washington County Bank in September 1974, the year she graduated high school. Though she stayed at the same company her entire working career, Watts held many positions and worked in every department. "When I started, it was a bookkeeping position that was available," she said. "I was actually going to college to go into accounting, so I thought this was a nice thing to go into the bank. I had gone into the bank as a customer throughout high school, and I thought it was a fun place to work, everyone had a good job." Over the years, Watts became a secretary in the consumer loan department, a supervisor for customer service personnel, executive secretary for the president and vice president of the bank, human resources director, several other management positions, an administrator for the local area networks, was the first person to learn how to use the bank's computer and many more. "I moved into another position where I was working with the chief financial officer and I became his assistant and worked with numbers and all of the bookkeeping," she said. "I worked with the CFO, and he was a great mentor and trained me along the lines of the accounting world. I kind of learned my on-the-job training rather than going to college just using common sense and working hard, putting in the hours and not being afraid of doing things." Watts also became the director of



Washington County Bank's Heritage Club. "It's not like I went to work to be a bookkeeper and then was a bookkeeper for 46 years," she said. "I moved around a lot in the same organization, which is very unusual to stay that many years." “I learned a lot and I got a lot of support from the bank and I feel like I gave them a lot of good years." One big emphasis Washington County Bank maintains is community involvement with its employees. "One of the things was when you became an officer of the bank, it was expected of you to be involved in the community, which was not a big thing because it was something I was interested in," Watts said. Watts was a Blair Board of Education member for two terms, was on the district's foundation board for 16 years and led a team to assist with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life beginning in 1999. "Years ago, when I first became an officer at the bank, what they would do is every year they'd make a list of service organizations with all the boards and any volunteer organizations like Optimist or Lions, Board of Education," Watts said. "They would go through the list and see if anybody from the bank was a representative of these, are we missing any places, are there any that we can go and be of service? It was a strategic plan on behalf of the bank to look at these organizations and see where we can help." Watts continued that volunteer work after retirement, and is the president of the Memorial Community Hospital and Health System's Auxiliary. "My focus has changed in retirement — I can spend more time doing volunteer work, now during the day and not the evening when I was working," she said. "I'm busy still. I never stopped volunteering. I was busy then and I just continued it."


Leslie Watts worked for Washington County Bank for more than 45 years in several areas.

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It’s never too late to start to save for

RETIREMENT The sooner, the better says local financial advisor CURT HINELINE Oakland Independent


or many, beginning to save for retirement is something that gets pushed to the tomorrow, next month, maybe next year and maybe after the kids are grown. Whatever the case may be, Andy Rennerfeldt of Rennerfeldt Financial believes that as much as 90% of people wait too long to start saving for retirement. Yet getting started is actually pretty simple once you take the first step. Twenty-one years in the business with an office in Oakland and another at Tagge Rutherford in Omaha, Rennerfeldt is trusted with investments made by 400 to 450 clients. Seventy percent of those are saving for retirement. Much of his other accounts are for education or to just save money for a rainy-day situation. “I think many people would like to have a nest egg for retirement someday but it’s tough to get started like anything else,” Rennerfeldt said. “Most people save money because their mom or dad told them to or they heard something on TV or through their job.”

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Rennerfeldt said there are many different options in regard to saving for retirement. Most people use their job as their main source to save for retirement through 401(k)s and retirement plans. “You can buy individual stocks you can buy bank CDs but I would say most people use mutual funds and annuities to save for the retirement,” he said. There are so many expenses in life including kids, housing and every day bills making it tough to get started. “You should never feel it’s too late to get started in retirement planning but obviously the sooner you start the easier it is,” the financial advisor said. Many of the clients Rennerfeldt serves are personal friends and fellow community members. He realizes that in helping people understand the need to save for retirement, education plays an important role. “I enjoy going into the high school classrooms. I encourage the students with the thought that if they were to start saving right away when they get their first job, it’s not too hard to become a millionaire. The scary part is in the

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years to come even if you are a millionaire, you may not have enough money to retire. Inflation and cost of living is going up rapidly. Best time to start investing is in your 20s but I have some people start their 40s and 50s and it’s never too late to start.” Rennerfeldt said that he has had clients personally select individual stocks and lose more the 90% of their retirement value and could not retire. “It’s never good to have all your eggs in one basket.” That is where a financial advisor can help you diversify your investments to better help you reach your goals. “I love to see people realize how much money they can make over time if they just let the stock market do its thing. I helped a gentleman years ago that had cancer and he had no idea he

had enough money to retire through his job retirement plan and through his investments. He was then able to spend this time with his wife and kids over the next two years before he passed away. His plan was to work till the day he died and while he was in my office, he understood that he had enough money in pension to retire. To watch a 68-year-old gentleman cry in front of you is pretty moving,” Rennerfeldt said. It really is never too late to start your investment plan. Rennerfeldt said it is important to feel comfortable with an advisor to be able to ask questions. “Some people often feel intimidated and don’t want to ask what they believe to be the dumb questions. Find somebody you trust and hope and pray the market continues to climb.”


Encouraging high school students to begin saving for retirement from day one is key to building your retirement plan. Andy Rennerfeldt says for those that have not, it is never too late to start.

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nsuranc i e helping to insure a future during retirement



inancial stability seems to be the key to retirement. People work for decades to build a life that allows them to one day quit working. Insurance is a thing that you pay for month after month, in hopes that you never have to use it. We get it to protect ourselves financially in the instance that accidents happen. What role does insurance play when retirement comes along? For Farm & Home Insurance Agent Tim Slaughter, insurance has been a way of life for well over a decade. But now that he is planning on retiring within a year, Slaughter is able to answer that question. "Insurance is the most beneficial to people before retirement," Slaughter said. "But, there are ways that it can be helpful to retired people as well." Slaughter went on to explain the difference between term insurance and whole insurance. Term refers to a policy that lasts for a certain number of years; usually 30 years. "People that have this type of policy are usually using it to help in the event that a death happens when they are paying off a mortgage," Slaughter said. According to Slaughter, whole life insurance is the type that could potentially help the most for people in retirement. The policy is for the life of the



person. "In these cases it is helpful for the policy holder to get this early in life," Slaughter said. He explained that these policy premiums get locked in, but the older a person is when opening the policy, the higher the price goes up. "I believe one of the keys to being able to afford retirement is to have as little to pay monthly as possible," Slaughter said. "Before you retire you should try and have all the car, home, and loan payments paid off. If you do have insurance to pay on, you want the lowest payments you can get." According to Slaughter, life insurance isn't necessarily for the person that is insured but for the ones they leave behind. A person needs to decide at retirement whether or not the benefit of having the insurance pay out in the unfortunate event of death outweighs the monthly payments that they have to pay, for possibly years while they were alive. "People's life span is getting longer, and people need to make sure they will be able to afford living without an income for some times decades longer than planned," Slaughter said. “In my opinion, the best way to do that is to compare the numbers, live within your means, and have as little to pay monthly as you can. Insurance is important, but get with your agent and make sure you are doing what is best for you.”


Tim Slaughter of Farm & Home Insurance Agency has been giving people advice on insuring what is important to people for many years. Now that he is looking at retirement, he has some advice on what rule insurance can play in that.

Building retirement income

ONE BUILDING AT A TIME BY TONIA COPELAND reporter@missourivalleytimes.com


hough they are not yet retired, Wayne and Toni Kester, currently of Omaha, have purchased property in Missouri Valley as they plan for their retirement – but they didn’t purchase the home they want to retire to – yet. They have purchased a property that

will provide them with ongoing income for the Kesters in the future. Now 51, Wayne said he got into real estate several years ago when he realized he was financially behind where he wanted to be in terms of retirement. “We started buying real estate when I was 48,” Kester said. “I was considerably behind where I should be in terms of retirement.”


Fire damaged the upper floor of the building several years ago, but Kester said the damage was mostly superficial.

They bought a few single-family homes before the market exploded. “We were in Missouri Valley looking at a single-family home,” he said. “We saw (the building) and we fell in love with it.” The Kesters purchased the two-story building that was previously damaged by fire at fourth and East Erie Streets in Missouri Valley. Since the purchase they have been renovating the building, which


In addition to the corner units, the building the Kesters purchased includes the commercial and residential units next door.



includes seven apartments on the second story and two commercial spaces on the main floor. They liked the structure, the number of units in the two side-by side buildings, and the brick. They were especially interested in it due to the already rented commercial space and another open retail space next door. “It just has a lot of potential,” he said. Kester has worked in Information and Technology for 20 years and Toni has been a stay-at-home mom. He added that neither of them are do-it-yourselfers. “I am qualified, really, to scrape the plaster off the brick,” he said. “I am not a handy man. I am not very good at fixing stuff.” Though he has learned a lot with this project, which has increased his confidence, he calls in professionals to do the majority of the work. “What has been challenging for us is labor,” he added. “Anyone who

works in construction is as busy as they want to be. We have had a great team. There are some local guys who have been working on it and they are awesome and two or three guys come up from Omaha, but they are all busy.” Because the building is already in place, they have not experienced much of a pinch with the increase in material cost. Currently three apartments are occupied upstairs, and Lavish Salon occupies one retail space at street level. Hilary Siekman has signed a lease for the other commercial space, where she plans to open a photography studio and boutique. There will also be four more apartments available in the future. Future plans will include other real estate projects in Missouri Valley. They went through a grant process for a project planned for the lot at 800 E. Erie, but they didn’t get approved. Still, they plan to buy that lot, on which they plan to build.

“What has been challenging for us is labor. Anyone who works in construction is as busy as they want to be. We have had a great team. There are some local guys who have been working on it and they are awesome and two or three guys come up from Omaha, but they are all busy.” – Wayne Kester

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