It’s something we all look forward to for most of our working lives. But as we inch closer to retirement, the thought of forgoing work (and the steady paycheck) can be equal parts thrilling and terrifying. Questions and concerns about Social Security, investments, health care and inflation can turn what’s supposed to be a joyous time of life into an all-too-stressful one.
Planning for retirement can be complicated and riddled with “what-ifs.” That’s why, for the past 30 years, IBEW 1245 has partnered with Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors to host free retirement planning seminars for members over age 45 employed at PG&E. This year, the union is hosting 14 seminars across PG&E’s jurisdiction, where members and their spouses are invited to enjoy a free meal while learning about the essential principles of a safe and secure retirement.
This year’s seminar series kicked off on September 9 in at Francesco’s Oakland. Among the dozens of members in attendance was Allen Gravelle, a 25-year member at PG&E who currently works GC Telecom in the Central Area. He hopes to retire in the next few years but feels a bit uncertain about whether his investments will provide for both him and his wife in retirement, which is what spurred them to attend the seminar. “I’ve been planning on retirement, but I kind of want to diversify a little more,” Gravelle said. “I want to see what kind of recommendations they have, to be sure I’m on the right track.”
The seminar was led by Cheryl Smith, a Portfolio Manager from Merrill Lynch who presented a ten-step “road map” to successful retirement. Smith touched on a wide variety of retirement-specific “what ifs,” from smart investments to survivor protection to estate planning to health-related expenses. At the end, she answered questions from members and invited all in attendance to take advantage of the free, no obligation one-on-one consultation Merrill Lynch offers to all IBEW 1245 members.
“These seminars end up helping some people actually retire,” said Dave Brantley, a Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch who has been working with IBEW for 28 years. “We’re here to help [members] with their pensions, Social Security strategies, managing their 401k and their IRAs. It’s been a long standing relationship that’s worked for the members and for us quite well.”
IBEW 1245 and Merrill Lynch are hosting 15 more seminars over the next month in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Concord, Stockton, San Jose, Redding, Chico, Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Santa Rosa and Eureka. To view the full schedule, click here. To learn more and sign up for a seminar near you, call Kindy Mann at 800-234-2858.