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Radon Stancil, CFP, Provides Retirees with Sound Investment Strategies and Peace of Mind

Radon Stancil is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner and is co-owner and co-founder of Diversified Estate Services in Raleigh, North Carolina, and while its numbers and strategy that drew him to the industry, it’s the emotional side of it that he enjoys and surprised him the most.

“I talk a lot about peace of mind and what clients have to have in place. It’s a major role of what I’ve been,” he says. “People were talking confident in the 90s’ and 2000’s. Everything was wonderful but by the end of 2008 people had heavy anxiety about their finances and my role changed. It used to be all about money and today it’s not. Today it’s about how to deal with the stress of retiring in what you could call the most financially unstable time in the United States history.”

According to Stancil, even clients who did not lose anything in the downturn of 2008 experienced anxiety, confusion and fear which is why he says he shifted his role from financial planner to financial coach.

“Regardless of how good you are, there’s not a point in life where you don’t need coaching. Even top athletes still need coaches at the top of their game or they risking getting beat,” he says.

“It’s not about me telling you the one thing you need today—it’s a month by month, year by year coaching program because life changes.”

Stancil adds that while other financial planners might put together a sound investment strategy in the beginning, it’s important to have an advisor that not only changes the strategy as the clients’ needs change, but coaches them along the way, too.

“Life changes because of health problems, the loss of a spouse, maybe your kids came back home,” he says. “What we did last year doesn’t always apply to this year. It’s a moving coaching program. When people come here they’re entering into a relationship where I coach them on life.”

Stancil received his financial planning certification from Boston University and founded his companies more than 11 years ago but Stancil’s been a businessman since he was 12 years old.

His father, a small business owner specializing in heating and air ventilation, was 52 when Stancil was born. Having a father older than most of his friends’ fathers was a unique situation, Stancil says, but one that offered him life-learning opportunities.

Each summer his dad would hire him and his siblings to work for the family business. They would get paid the same wage as adults and would do most of the same work, too. The catch was that he was responsible for managing all of the money he earned since it was the only money he’d have all year.

“I could buy whatever I wanted as long as I understood I also had to buy what I needed: school clothes, shoes, etc. That kind of training was very unique and it was very pivotal. It’s what made me who I am today,” he says.

At age 12 he started off holding a flashlight but by the time he was in his teens, he and his brother were completing entire jobs by themselves, crawling under houses, installing and fixing air conditioners.

“We did everything. In the HVAC business, you crawl under houses, you install, and fix air conditioners—we did it all. Obviously I couldn’t do it unsupervised but back then there were no rules saying we couldn’t do it,” he laughs.

Upon graduating, Stancil took over the family-owned business but sold it before receiving his financial planning certification from Boston University. He looks back on that time as one of the best and unique learning opportunities where he truly learned the complete inner workings of a business.

“When you run a family owned business you learn about running a small business. I learned a lot about that. It’s helped me work with clients who run a business or are a senior business executive. It also taught me a lot about running my own company, how to work with employees, how to operate independently and how people who do that think,” he says.

Now 92 years old, his dad is still accompanying his brother, who purchased the business, on jobs twice a week.

His father significantly impacted the way he viewed business and also offered him the chance to see someone he knew personally transition into the retirement stage of life. It’s what motivated Stancil to focus his financial planning expertise in that direction.

“By the time I was out of school my dad was 70 years old. The idea of seeing someone go through retirement and the emotional side of that part of life, to me it’s the biggest, most difficult transition. If people don’t know how to deal with it it’s a very stressful time. Retirement is a major life change,” he says.

He helps his clients work through a variety of life-changing scenarios as they transition into their retirement years. That’s where Stancil’s coaching manner and his ability to build close-knit relationships with each of his clients separates him from other advisors.

“Most clients for the longest part of their life have been saving and working and they don’t know how they are going to transition to retirement and make it last. It’s a major shift—they wonder what else they are going to do in life and they have a lot of anxiety,” he says.

He has a different focus than most other financial planners. While he incorporates sound investment strategies and products into each client’s plan, he prefers to focus on the process of developing that plan through building a one-on-one relationship with each client.

“People can expect a coaching environment rather than a salesman environment. Most people realize once they meet me that I’m not going to sell a product or service. We’re going to look at life and look at it with the most peace of mind,” he says.

He emphasizes that there’s no one strategy or product that’s a catchall for people entering the retirement phase and that assuming so is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make.

“Most people that are going to play golf focus on the club, but the swing is what’s important. Financial products are clubs and you could have the best clubs but still be unhappy. Those clients didn’t understand the process and instead just got a product,” he says. “I focus on the swing. What is it we want to happen? Which way do we want the ball to go?”

Despite being a top financial planner he says that most of the conversations in his meetings with clients aren’t about money.

“My clients and I have a very close relationship, and I’m in the middle of a lot of things. If they get cancer, I know about it. If they have a grandchild, I know about it. I’m a part of major events in their lives,” he says.

Stancil’s stellar communication skills on educating his clients on the complex issues in a manner in which they understand is what his clients say they appreciate most. The close relationships have also helped him continue his own pursuit of never-ending education.

“I’ve gotten to meet very interesting people and I get to know about what they’ve lived through life and I’ve learned a lot from them. Most people I work with are financially successful and lived all through their working life. It’s interesting to hear how they dealt with family, life, and kids. Getting to know them is my favorite part of the job,” he says.

And that’s the way he likes it. Just like his dad, Stancil doesn’t plan to ever completely retire—he loves his job that much.

“It’s the biggest and most rewarding thing for me to work with people. Retirement is the largest most transformational period of life and if we can work through the transition they can be happy,” he says.

For someone who’s established himself successfully in the financial industry he still believes there’s always room for improvement and is constantly on a mission to be better.

“I think constantly about how I can have a bigger impact,” he says. “I’m not in business to be mediocre. I’m in business to make a difference in my client’s lives.”



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