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The Ready.Set.Retire! Blog


The Retirement Success in Maine Podcast Ep 026: The One-Year Anniversary Special!

Benjamin Smith, CFA

Executive Summary

Episode 26

Today's the day ~ our podcast turned ONE year old! To celebrate, we recorded a one year anniversary special where we review our first year. Check it out AND also let us know what YOU think about our show through the first year. What's been your favorite episode and why??

What You'll Learn In This Podcast Episode:

On this special episode of The Retirement Success in Maine Podcast, the show turns 1-year old! The team got together to recap the last year of the show, spending time discussing some key takeaways from the first 25 episodes. Ben, Abby, and Curtis also spend some time sharing what has surprised them the most from doing the show over the past year. The conversation wraps up with a discussion about where the show will go next. What will year number 2 have in store? Be sure to tune in and hear what the team has to say!


What are some takeaways from the first 25 episodes? [2:00]

What been surprising from the show thus far? [7:09]

What is some feedback we have received? [12:17]

What’s next for the show? [18:17]



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Ben Smith:                    Welcome everybody to the Retirement Success in Maine podcast. My name is Ben Smith. I'm joined by the moose and deer to my black bear, Abby Doody and Curtis Worcester, how you doing today guys?

Curtis Worcester:          Good Ben.

Abby Doody:                 Good Ben, how are you?

Ben Smith:                    I'm great. We are at Episode 26. This is a momentous occasion for us, because this is our one year anniversary of launching this podcast. You go, "The math doesn't quite work out right Ben, because you've been issuing two episodes a month and now if it's one year, why are you on 26?" We did throw a couple out to get the thing rolling there, but yeah, our first episode was, I think, September 10th, and so we've done a lot of work over that time frame. Learned a lot as a group, refined some skills.

Ben Smith:                    What we wanted to do was maybe just have an episode where we don't have a guest today, was really just to reflect a little bit. Let's reflect on maybe the things that we've learned, some of the things we thought was maybe unexpected, or surprising to us. That was a lot of what we wanted to just have a little round table for you all today, on just looking backwards to some shows, and maybe highlight some of those shows for you, of ones that we think might be at the must listen, if you've not taken a chance yet. I know for podcasts, sometimes people will, they'll skip or they might tune out for a bit and then come back in, so good part about this medium is you can catch up whenever.

Ben Smith:                    One thing we wanted to start out with, in terms of the questions we wanted to tackle today in this review show was, what are some of the takeaways that we've learned from our guests over the first 25 episodes? I will have Abby just kick that off in terms of what she thought was important.

Abby Doody:                 Okay, great. What I found really interesting is how important good communication is, and it was talked about in a lot of the different episodes that we've had for the past year, and how it's really at the core of good relationships, whether it's with your spouse, a family member, or even your financial advisor. Having good quality communication can help you achieve your goals, and what you're looking for out of your retirement. That was woven through a lot of different episodes. I think that's a really important takeaway, communication can get lost sometimes, so making sure that we focus in on good communication is important.

Ben Smith:                    That was something where I know, well we'll just talk about it going forward, but that's the theme that whether it be Chris McLaughlin with grandkids, was one thing that hey, we just have trouble relating at times.

Abby Doody:                 Right.

Ben Smith:                    Sometimes we just don't know how to start a conversation, or come up with something, so I know a lot of times we've been siloed in topics, but absolutely, a nice one there.

Ben Smith:                    Curtis, in regards to any things you've taken away from our guests over the first 25 episodes?

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah, I think it's going to seem odd that this is my takeaway here, it's just looking at retirement globally, and just how in depth it is. I say that it seems odd, because we have these conversations every day with our clients, and for me personally, I'd never really looked at it from my own point of view, so being a part of these conversations, the takeaway for me is utilizing things like, or people like Dyan Walsh, the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, and they're all over, in any community. Then things like estate planning, and just how in depth that stuff gets.

Curtis Worcester:          We had Stuart Ritter on the show to talk about visualizing your retirement. That's a big step. It was just take a minute and think about what you want. Everyone sees this cliché answer of, "I want to do what I want, when I went, how I want," which is great, but really knowing what it is you want to do, I just ... I guess, short answer to your question is just flipping the switch myself and stop trying to, thinking about other people as they go through this process, and looking like, "Wow, I just personally never thought about some of this stuff," so that was really informative for me.

Ben Smith:                    It's one thing, I think it's very romantic to say a lot, is this idea of independence money, is that we all want to accumulate enough wealth that we have so much independence that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, but that the next question, which I think we don't ask ourselves is, "Well what do you want?"

Curtis Worcester:          Right.

Ben Smith:                    To go, well yeah, if you have masses of money, but what do you truly want to be? Who's important to you? Where do you want to spend your time? Who are you going to spend your time with? What sort of activities are you interested in? What is a legacy to you, all of those key questions. It's easy to go, "Well let's just work really hard and get the money part solved," but we're really not been reflective and introspective enough to look at ourselves. That's something where, I think where we can have broken structures at time is there. We maybe just haven't looked at what we want, and that's, I think, what my takeaway has been is about this whole basis purpose driven retirement. You get to this point and you go, "What is my purpose?"

Ben Smith:                    I know we had A.J. Walker on, and talking about religion. One of the things he was talking about, which I thought was very poinient from a structural perspective, but was, where am I from? Where am I going, and what is my purpose, and so using ... Obviously, he was talking about using religion as a structure, which you don't have to do. You can do that introspectively and find this yourself, but I think that's a lot of where it's been pretty cool is listening to this. Whether it be Barb Babkirk and saying, "Hey, here's a career coach," and you're going, "Hey, a lot of get purpose from career," and they love touching lives through their job and getting paid money to do it.

Ben Smith:                    Chris McLaughlin talking about, as we said, with grandkids. Chris does an excellent job talking to relating to people, especially with kids. All those things, I think have been really great, and I like the idea that, even with Dr. Gerber had around the staging, stages of aging, that really you can look at retirement, but maybe is a different way to look at it is a physical perspective of as we're aging, and that retirement really has three stages. That early retirement, mid retirement, and late retirement, and thinking about our bodies and our mental needs, and the things that we want to do, and putting that into three stages, and applying that as a bucket. Again, some really cool takeaways there.

Ben Smith:                    I want to ask, maybe a different question which is surprising. We, obviously, go into it with an idea of, "Here's what we want to get out of a show," but what have you been surprised about with our show so far?

Abby Doody:                 What I found most surprising is how interconnected all of the shows are, unintentionally. Without meaning to, almost all of our shows have had a thread of another show in them, without us even realizing it. When we're doing the show, we're like, "Oh my gosh, this is just like they're bringing up this conversation that we had two episodes ago," so technology has been a big theme through a lot of the shows, especially right now. We're still in COVID times, and how in retirement you don't want to become isolated, and how can we use technology to maybe connect with our relatives, or help us to stay in our homes longer. Communication has been a theme. There's just been a lot of themes, which I would have never expected how connected everything really was throughout the episodes.

Ben Smith:                    I would say too, from a surprising perspective is, when we schedule these, in terms of the interviews, we're at the whim of the people coming on the show. It's not like we can say, "Hey, you know it would be excellent if this person, then that person, then that person." In a perfect world we could do it, but in this world where we're, especially now, where people are busy in lots of different ways, it's almost impossible to do that, but to that point, then you go, "Wow, here's two different topics," again almost back to back, where we had Maria MacDougal talking about college expenses, and Barbara Babkirk talking about career. Well, money is something you get from your job, in which maybe to pay for college for your kids, so you go, "Wow, that was ..." Topics and questions come up about the purpose of these things, and they were very accidental that things just work out that way, so that was a really good one.

Ben Smith:                    In terms of what I, maybe from a surprising perspective, is again, we're goal oriented people, I think all three of us. Our business is all about goal setting and thinking about things. I think we purposely came into this podcast with, "Well we better get this many listens," or "We better have this representation otherwise it's not worth it." I think we just said, "Look, let's put our clients as the center of it. Let's get their needs at the center of it, their questions, find the expert to match it, and let's not worry about the rest."

Ben Smith:                    From a surprised perspective, just to give you as the audience some stats here, in September 2019, when we started a year ago, we had 76 total listens to three episodes, which we were like, "High five." We were like, "That's great, 76 people cared enough to listen to us talk for an hour at a time, all right, good job team." This last month, again we're in September now, is when this would come out, August 2020. Again, COVID times, people usually doing podcasts when they're traveling, but even with that, when people aren't traveling as much, we've gone from 76 listens a year ago to 589 listens for the month of August. For the first full year, we've had nearly 2,300 full length listens of our shows, so that was really humbling, really just appreciative that people are finding this as meaningful and they're tuning back in, and they're listening to more episodes.

Ben Smith:                    What also maybe just extends what's surprising there is it's really not just in the State of Maine, because you go, "Okay, Retirement Success in Maine, who else is going to listen to this thing?" Out of that 2,300 listens, 690 of them have been in the State of Maine. You're like, "Well that's a lot of people not in the State of Maine listening to this show."

Curtis Worcester:          About Maine, in the title.

Ben Smith:                    About Maine, yeah, and so I think that was really interesting. That is like we have a lot of Massachusetts, New York, California. We've hit 39 out of 50 states.

Abby Doody:                 Very interesting.

Ben Smith:                    Then, on top of that, we've gotten Thailand, the Philippines, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Belgium, and then eight other more countries. We're like, "What? That's amazing." I think, from our end, that was I think a surprise of the reach. To go, "Hey, if we can get some people in Portland, and some people up and down I95, that would be great, and people that listen to this, but I don't know, do people listen to podcasts, or is this something where the State of Maine, people will do?" Yeah, so again, from our expectations, we didn't really have goals on that, but pretty cool to see who things have then taken off, and there's some exponentiation that's happening with our listenership.

Curtis Worcester:          For sure.

Ben Smith:                    Not counting on that happening, and even if just a few people still listen, I think this is worthwhile for us, but again, from a surprising end, I was personally just very flattered that it's resonated out there.

Curtis Worcester:          Sure.

Abby Doody:                 Definitely.

Ben Smith:                    I want to then, likewise, is then ask the question of what some of the feedback we've received, and I'll just lead that off here, because we use Fidelity to hold our clients' money, and so Fidelity, of course, is working with lots of advisors just like us, and you hear, and our relationship manager up there, her name is, she's phenomenal, her name is Kristen Dorsky. Kristen works with advisors like us all across the country, and hearing about their practices and how they built things, and how they work with clients, and how we make ourselves different, all of it.

Ben Smith:                    What's really interesting is these conversations with Chris and you say, "Well what do you think? Is this good? What is your takeaway from it?" What's been pretty nice from a feedback, from what she says is, "Ben, and Abby, and Curtis, you guys as a team, and Wes of course, Chris and Larry, and A.J., your team there, by doing this sort of things, and talking about things that matter to your clients," she goes, "I'm not seeing any other advisors do this anywhere." Pretty neat that she's saying other advisors are really spending their time on the market, as "Here's where we think the market is," and "Here's why it's that way," and "Here's some things to think about for themes," but what was really ... She's been given us some really good compliments and feedback of, "Hey, what you're doing is really helping to change a conversation or resonate in lots of different ways." Things like that has helped me go, "We got to keep going. We got to keep doing more, keep this thing rolling."

Ben Smith:                    What have you guys heard from feedback on your end?

Abby Doody:                 I think, when people listen to the podcast they may forget that we are actually financial advisors on a day to day basis, so we are actually having real conversations with real clients daily, and the questions that we get are often episodes in the podcasts. We try and make it really relatable for people who are approaching retirement, or in retirement, to have some of their questions answered. I think the feedback that we've gotten from our Facebook likes, from our page, or even the more listens that we've gained over the 12 months that we've been doing this really show that at least we're resonating with some people, and really hitting on topics that they're interested in. It was encouraging to have that feedback.

Abby Doody:                 If people have suggestions for what they would like to hear on the podcast, we are always welcome to them, so send them over, but I found that very interesting.

Ben Smith:                    Curtis, think from your end of feedback you've heard from people, or friends, or family, or anybody that you've run into there.

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah, it will piggyback on what Abby just said. It's not from any one person, or people, but looking at those stats as we've seen in the past six months specifically, as this COVID world has hit, as anyone who's listened to us from Episode 1 to 25, and now 26, they will know that we adjusted how we do this podcast as we were all sheltering in place and started using technology like Zoom to record these episodes. We started taking these videos that we're doing, with these Zoom meetings, while we're doing the podcasts, and putting the material out there in a little different form than just the hour long episodes. Abby mentioned Facebook, and we're on LinkedIn, and we have YouTube, and we're posting these ... We take each episode and cut it up into five, six, seven, eight small, short, two, three minute video clips, and we've seen that a positive reaction to that on our social medias, and it's just telling that maybe, and again as you mentioned, Ben, people may not be traveling as much, or they certainly weren't in the last six months from now, and just seeing how people are still consuming the content, just a little differently.

Curtis Worcester:          I guess that's some indirect feedback I've seen on the analytic side anyway.

Ben Smith:                    Yeah, and I think kudos to you, Curtis, in terms of helping us drive there, because to say, "Hey, what would be really interesting is just because we have really great conversations and really good ideas, does it mean the only way we can ever deliver that to an audience is ever through a podcast." Abby and Curtis, you guys make fun of me, I use this all the time is, "But you're making your Thanksgiving dinner, once you use the leftovers all week, right?" That's the idea here, is why don't you ... If anybody, whether it be Maria MacDougal, or John Diehl from the MIT AgeLab with Hartford Funds, they're saying some really great, important points. They're saying, "Hey," John Diehl saying the three questions that impact aging, and going, "Well, let's really explore them," and if someone says, "Well where am I going to get my ice cream cone, and why is that going to be impactful in my retirement," he's got a really great formatted answer to that, and if that's something that, even if they just listen to that formatted answer, can be transformative, and help maybe go, "Wow, I've learned something here out of that."

Ben Smith:                    Again, I like that we're evolving. We're getting better, and we're learning ourselves. We're not perfect, and we know that. We're trying to get better at it all the time, but we're getting more and more feedback, and I think we're drawing more people in. I think our Facebook page has grown from, again, zero to, I think 620 something followers at this point. That continues to grow, so again, we're seeing a lot of really great momentum, and Curtis, from your end too, of working with our producer, Zach as well, and Zach’s doing a great job editing these episodes and making sure the rhythm's right, and the ums and the ahs, which probably he will just edit that part out and it won't sound awkward, but it's like you're getting this, be it really cohesive and rhythmic thing. It's getting easier for us as we go, which has been pretty nice.

Ben Smith:                    I do want to ask a last question here though, is where do you think we should go next, because I think that's always the hard question which we ask ourselves almost every episode, is like, "Okay, that was great. What next?" Maybe Curtis, I'll have you start here, of where we should go?

Curtis Worcester:          I think your question is the answer to your question, Ben, if that makes any sense. We spend a lot of time, in these first 12 months, talking about the how's and the what's of retirement, but I think where is an important step. As we start talking about where do I want to retire? Where is my family going to be? Where can I retire? I think in terms of something that's come up on every episode, as Abby was stating is, people wanting to stay in their home as long as they can. We talk about that all the time, and whether you can do that, so I just think, short answer there, I think where is where we should go.

Ben Smith:                    Got it, I like it.

Curtis Worcester:          Back to your statistics for a second, you said 39 states we've reached, so I think at a minimum we should try to hit those other 11 states anyway.

Ben Smith:                    Okay.

Curtis Worcester:          We can hit the pod waves in 11 of those states as well.

Ben Smith:                    You're going to shame them into listening to Retirement Success in Maine podcast.

Curtis Worcester:          Exactly.

Ben Smith:                    I like it. Abby, from your end, where do you think we should be going next, for our next, maybe the next 25 or the next episodes here coming up?

Abby Doody:                 One question that we get a lot is about a retirement community or a nursing home, and what's the next step after you maybe can't live in your own home, so finding some resources and having some podcasts about that, I think would be really helpful for people going forward into retirement, and later into life.

Ben Smith:                    Yeah, and I'll add to that, as I think for, again looking for the next 25 bridge here, I think you're right. Where is an important part, so if we can find some people that maybe can talk about either they've moved somewhere, which is pretty interesting, or maybe even they've gone further than just even moving somewhere, maybe moving away from the U.S. I know that's cheating by Retirement Success in Maine, in Maine is the key part there, but I think at the same time is we want to be tackling retirement and purpose, and betterment, and those sorts of things, but I think from the next 25 perspective, I think if we can have fun here and there, so we might come out with a light episode here, and we have some ideas on that, but also there might be some serious issues that we want to tackle too.

Ben Smith:                    I know it might not be for everybody, but maybe death is something we should be tackling a little bit more, and going through the dying process, and thinking about that, and putting a little purpose behind how we want to pass if we had our choice. Again, there's some fun stuff we want to do too. We think travel is an area that is just ... I think we all have a lot of dreams around travel, and I think we all have a lot of dreams about having fun more, so I think the more we can do those things, so we want to have a balance of, "Hey, let's just go all the morbid things like dying and nursing homes and retirement communities," which they're necessary, right?

Curtis Worcester:          Right.

Ben Smith:                    These are necessary things to go to, but like we had Bodhi Simpson on around grief counseling, but I think there's enough around counseling too, that maybe there's topics that we struggle with, and trying to overcome some of the things that we all have inherent in ourselves, so from a theme perspective, what's pretty fun, as Abby said, is we are getting, we sit down and we'll, "Why do you do this," and "Where do you want to be in retirement?" We get lots of really great answers. This whole where in retirement, and somebody wants to retire out of the country, that was a real one. Somebody said, "I want to really investigate retiring, but I don't know what it's like, and I don't know if I need a visa, and I don't know if I can afford it. How does money work with currency?" All of those things, and they become, "Well that's pretty easy then to jot down some questions and let's go track somebody down."

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah.

Abby Doody:                 Right.

Ben Smith:                    That's been the fun part for us, so obviously we're doing our anniversary show, want to wrap this up here. Appreciate everybody tuning in today. Abby, Curtis, thank you also for co-hosting with me, and making sure that we're all on pace here, but appreciate everybody tuning in. Again, this is Episode 26. We usually have a blog for it. We will have one, it will be light, because I don't think there will be a ton of resources there. If you could let us know your feedback. Love to hear your review of our first 25. Don't feel like you've got to be gentle. You can tell us if we could get better anywhere, we're happy to hear constructive criticism, but if you have ideas, as Abby said, love to get them. Again, we can always be on the hunt and this is a great way for us to network, and just meet some really great people impacting retirees.

Curtis Worcester:          Yeah.

Ben Smith:                    Until next time, take care and we'll catch you later.

Topics: Pre-Retirement, In Retirement, Podcast