Retirement Planning for Regular Folks

My two grandfathers shaped the way that I view financial stewardship.

Grandaddy Buck, my mom's dad, was the classic example of the American Dream. He fought in World War II and then came home to embark on a wildly successful career as a candy salesman. In addition to delighting every kid who crossed his path with the boxes full of candy in his trunk, he also amassed a substantial portfolio through decades of investing. Later in life, he enjoyed watching the stock ticker every afternoon, not because his lifestyle depended on the market's performance that day, but simply because he liked to see how his stocks did. Thanks to his investing success, he was able to enjoy the retirement lifestyle that he wanted, while extending plenty of generosity to his family and friends.

Papa John, my dad's dad, didn't have such a glamorous route. He ran a small furniture store in eastern North Carolina and made ends meet by doing odd jobs like delivering propane and repairing sewing machines. He somehow managed to put four kids through college and, to my knowledge, never invested a penny in the stock market. He almost never bought anything new because anytime something broke (no matter what it was), he could fix it with spare parts that he kept in the shed. All of his wealth existed in the form of land, a wad of cash in a safe in the closet, and a legacy of relentless work ethic.

Both of these men were exemplary stewards of their wealth, even though their pictures of wealth looked completely different. As a husband and father, my goal is to guide my family with these same principles. My mission as an advisor is to help you be the best steward of your wealth that you can possibly be, no matter what your picture looks like.

John Stillman, Founder of Carolina Wealth Stewards