Retirement Event Draws Crowd To Coastal FCU

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Seeking more business for its financial services team, Coastal FCU had hoped to attract 100 or so members to a series of talks on retirement issues. Instead, it drew nearly 750 people.

A year ago, Coastal FCU VP of Trust & Financial Services Jerry Casper attended a CUNA-sponsored seminar at which he heard author Mitch Anthony talk about his theories on retirement and how Americans don't need to fade away into the sunset during their golden years.

Anthony advocates his ideas in his book "The New Retirementality," maintaining that the traditional idea of retirement is outdated and simply won't work anymore.

Casper felt Anthony's message would sit well with Coastal members and invited him to speak in conjunction with the credit union's own efforts to expand the Trust & Financial Services division. The Trust & Investment Services team at Coastal FCU is comprised of 12 employees who assist members at the CU headquarters or in branches providing financial planning in trust and estate plans, investments (mutual funds, annuities, college savings) and insurance for home, life, auto or businesses.

Coastal FCU Director of Community and Corporate Relations Joe Mecca said the CU has a full array of financial services available for its members, but most simply aren't aware of them. "We're trying to draw attention to those things," Mecca said.

Anthony seeks to dispel what he calls common myths of retirement in America such as: 65 years is old; being retired means you no longer have to or want to work; being retired means living a life of luxury and leisure, and you can prepare for retirement by yourself. Retired Americans are now more robust and active, working and living longer, he said.

Today, retirees tend to work part time during their retirement years out of enjoyment, boredom or financial need, and a low-key, "life of Riley" is out. A crucial aspect of Anthony's retirement theory is deciding what type of lifestyle you'll live and trying to adopt it now, and carrying those same attitudes and behaviors into retirement versus changing everything once the "big 65" comes knocking at the door.

Mecca said Coastal FCU regularly holds monthly member seminars and scheduled the Anthony retirement lectures in Raleigh and Charlotte. The special seminars were promoted on the Coastal website and through targeted mailings to members. The level of interest regarding retirement was so high, Mecca said, that three seminars generated hundreds of survey sheets and members promptly set 115 appointments for financial advice with CU staff.

In addition to sponsoring Anthony's presentations, Coastal FCU's Trust & Investment staffers were on hand at each talk to discuss insurance, business services, mortgages and home equity loans with interested members. "We had quite a range of people (exhibiting)," Mecca said.

Anthony's seminars were a unique approach to retirement that got people thinking about how they'll actually spend their retirement years, he said.

Mecca said perhaps the most important result of the event was that many seminar attendees remarked that Anthony's presentation encouraged them to do what they really wanted: return to the workforce to be productive citizens again.

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