Leaving Lockheed: Employees facing retirement talk strategy
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
February 17, 2013 12:32 AM | 10196 views | 8 8 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Richard Artzi, left, managing partner at Atlanta Capital Group, reviews Cobb County resident James Kohler’s portfolio at his Buckhead office. Kohler retired from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics after 26 years and meets with Artzi at least once a month to discuss his finances and once a quarter to plan long-term strategies regarding his portfolio.<br>Staff/Laura Moon
Richard Artzi, left, managing partner at Atlanta Capital Group, reviews Cobb County resident James Kohler’s portfolio at his Buckhead office. Kohler retired from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics after 26 years and meets with Artzi at least once a month to discuss his finances and once a quarter to plan long-term strategies regarding his portfolio.
Staff/Laura Moon
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MARIETTA — Vic Auito wasn’t exactly thrilled last October when he received word from his longtime employer, Lockheed Martin, that his job would be eliminated.

He was forced into retirement several years before he was ready for that phase of his life to begin, and he is still looking for another job to fill the gap.

But Auito says the sting of his sudden unemployment would have been far worse if he hadn’t already been working toward retirement with a trusted financial planner.

“I had kind of prepared for this,” he said. “I didn’t have any hard feelings about it either, and I didn’t take it personally. It was kind of a blessing.”

The 57-year-old Marietta resident worked with Lockheed for 33 years as an engineer.

Auito wasn’t sure how many others from the company were let go at the same time he was, if any, but said the transition hasn’t been so bad because he had what he calls his “trump card.”

“I was able to get unemployment from the State of Georgia and six months of severance pay,” he said.

So, while he continues to look for another job, because he’s not ready to be retired, he has helped out neighbors, started running daily, works to get his home ready to put on the market and has caught up on his hobbies of fishing, kayaking and working on his 1971 Corvette Stingray.

“Psychologically, you never know what you’re going to do until you’re in that circumstance or situation,” Auito said. “The secret of retirement is not to focus on yourself but those who could use help.”

Having a financial planner has also helped soften the blow for Auito.

“The last thing you want to do is joke about life savings,” he said. “Tolerance for mistakes is very little when you get in your older years.”

He ended up hiring Richard Artzi with Atlanta Capital Group about three years ago. Nearly 60 percent of Artzi’s clients are Lockheed employees or retirees like Auito.

He advised Auito to seek ways to invest and manage his savings, external accounts and financial portfolio and better prepare his 401(k) and IRA accounts.

“It helped set me up for my retirement,” Auito said. “He also encouraged me to pay off my house, which made me feel better because everybody likes to have a house that’s paid off. He told me to double-down on my mortgage payments, invest this much and pay against my mortgage.”

Just a few months short of being let go from Lockheed, the Cobb native had his home in Marietta paid off.

Artzi said his role is to make sure clients retire comfortably.

“A lot of people who work for companies neglect the idea of putting money away,” he said. “A lot of individuals think that they can manage their funds themselves and since 2008, it’s come to a lot of people’s attention that it’s harder than it really seems, and we try to take the emotional responses out of it.”

He tries to catch employees about three to five years prior to their retirement.

One of those clients is James Kohler of Cobb County, who retired from Lockheed in 2011.

He was a director with the company for 26 years and met Artzi through his wife around 2008.

With Artzi, Kohler said he was able to take his 401(k) out of Lockheed, balance it and learn how to self-manage his portfolio.

“I hear from Rich at the bare minimum on a monthly basis,” he said. “We sit down together, tweak my retirement funds if needed so that we don’t run out of money each month.”

Kohler said it was important for him and his wife to find a financial planner to keep a close eye on their funds.

“Get advice from people that know where you need to be and take an interest in where your finances should be, rather than just wing it,” he recommended. “It’s pretty unforgiving if you’re wrong.”

He also said the importance of keeping his finances in order was handed down from his parents.

“They taught me to balance my money, not live from month to month,” Kohler said. “I’ve always done that, and I think that if you do that, you can develop some good financial and spending habits.

“Having said that, I think people need to start planning for retirement the day they start working because you just never know. Some people may think they are set, but they don’t consider the medical costs or other cost-of-living expenses. If you wait till the last minute, you may not be able to retire.”
Comments
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401k saver
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February 25, 2013
I don't know about others, but if someone can make me more money than I have saved in my retirement fund, is trustworthy and great with people...I'm for all the help I can get! No matter how much money I have, I'll always welcome more!
Current Client
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February 19, 2013
I am a current client of this advisor and I can tell you, from experience, that he is the best thing that could have happened to me. I met with him after my husbands death about 10 years ago and was very lucky that I did. I was volnerable at the time and he really spent time with me and listened to what I wanted and needed to accomplish. He was patient, and explained things to me so I fully understood what the plan was. He has been great to work with and have referred him to many of my friends and family. They too have been very happy. I am so happy for him and hope this article will help people realize that there are advisors out there that really do care.
anonymous
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February 18, 2013
After 33 years, and reaching Director-level at LM ($250k after incentives), this guy should have no problem retiring at age 57. If he's having to meet monthly to make sure they have enough money at the end of the month, then he didn't save and invest enough during his working years.

Finance is actually pretty easy - live a minimalistic life for the career/job you're in, spend less than you earn, and analyze big decisions for the long term. Investing funds is trickier since there is so much uncertainty in the markets and with government policy - but if you save enough it will cover minor/moderate investing mistakes (saving an extra 5% a year can make up for losing a couple percent on a large investment).

My guess is that if this guy listed his assets and expenditures, he would not be living a minimalist life for his career.
Just Wait
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February 17, 2013
The guy worked 33 years as an engineer and still needs a job to get by? Maybe he should have looked for a different adviser.
Emlpoyee
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February 19, 2013
He is not looking for another job because he has to, he is doing it because he was not ready to leave in the first place. Sometimes you are let go when things are out of your control.

You may want to reread the article.
anonymous
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February 17, 2013
Wwll, there you go. Thank goodness for that trump card....our money, given to him by the politicians who are taking it away from the working people. Looks like he's another former producer, gone over to the ways of the nanny state.

Hope his early retirement goes as well as he's hoped. When Obama comes for those 401ks....who knows what will happen.
In Your Shoes
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February 18, 2013
Wow, a little harsh don't you think ? I guess none of us will be there to see if you turn down your benefit package when you are suddenly unemployed. Does that comment include the severance package ? Must be nice to make enough that you can turn down some help until you can get another job. I have been working 38 years at Lockheed Martin and I am not an Engineer or Manager .. I would have to get another job until I am of retirement age and I might need a little help until I find that job but I guess that would just make me a former producer turned blood sucker. Must be nice to be in your situation where you can turn down your severance pay and benefits. I guess some of us will use any article as a chance to preach politics while others of us just want to make it as best we can. It is not like we are accepting a 2.1 million bonus when we leave.
anonymous
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February 22, 2013
When the government is giving us every bit of propaganda they can, trying to get us all dependent on them for EVERYTHING, I don't feel harsh at all for pointing out the obvious.

Facebook advertises to young people how they can get Social Security Disability benefits. The FDA advertises how people can get on the SNAP food stamp program. Don't you get it? They want us all dependent, even former producers. The more we depend on the government for our livelihood, the more votes the democrats will get. The object is to make us all used to the idea of "getting help" so it becomes just fine....MARXISM
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