Thanks for watching this latest Verizon retirement pop up episode where we are answering the question, “Why Verizon?” We wanted to tell the story of how we started working with a lot of Verizon employees, and how it's grown into where we are today with the launch of the Verizon Retirement Red Zone.
The Retirement Red Zone is an area on the Hapanowicz & Associates website that is dedicated to all resources associated with your Verizon retirement benefits. If you have not checked it out, we hope you will. And we think that there will be a lot of great stuff on there that would be of interest to you.
Our goal is to help make the Verizon retirement benefits as straightforward for you as possible and as easily to navigate it as possible. So, with that, let's attempt to answer this question, “Why Verizon?” I have here with me today two individuals who started this whole thing, Bob Hapanowicz, who is my father, and also founder and president of H&A. And Casey Gibb. Casey, how long have you been with H&A?
Just over 24 years now.
24? Where does time go?! So, going off of that, how long has it been since you first started working with Verizon employees?
It was back in the late 1990s. That was Ma Bell. That was Bell Pennsylvania. Yes. Bell Atlantic. And then of course, there was a merger. And now we have this thing called Verizon. So yeah, who would have known, it's the whole thing with Verizon, they went through a big hiring spurt, 30-40 years ago, as technology became more prevalent.
They needed people to work in the central offices and come and install phone cables into homes and all those things. And we all know what happens. The computer generation happened and now instead of going into a central office, and seeing, 10 people working there, now you see a row computer of computer banks.
So back in the late 90s, what caused you all to think, “Hey, there's a large group of people here who probably could benefit from some financial planning and advisory services?”
With a typical Verizon employee, the vast majority of their liquid net worth is in their Verizon retirement plans - the 401(k). And there is the option to take a lump sum out of a pension if they choose to do that. We always go over the pros and cons. But for the vast majority of those folks, the largest significant part of their net worth is in those retirement accounts. And the thing about it back then, it was a really poor communication from Bell Pennsylvania and Verizon to the people we encountered. We had to double check the pension calculations, because they were notorious for doing them wrong. Remember that?
Oh, yes. We had the capability of calculating it. It was a better number.
It was a better number than what they were calculating. So, that was a service we were providing until today. Back then it was it was like the Wild West, because you couldn't get an accurate pension calculation.
It's really interesting. Also, Bobby and I are now very much involved in, and working with, a lot of Verizon employees, still with Casey's help for the most part - and the other advisors as well. But how we're going about things today is so different compared to what the two of you were doing starting back in the 90s. So, tell me a little more about that.
We were putting on workshops back-to-back maybe two or three times a week. It was standing room only going up to 50 employees. So, it was very popular and were well attended and offered good information.
In fact, the information we provided, according to the union, was better than what the company was giving out. So, we became experts, because so many people wanted to talk to us and wanted that information. They wanted good information. I mean, this is their life savings. What’s more important than being able to retire financially and being able to do it in a very secure way? You want to have some certainty in your financial future when you retire. A lot of certainty.
To your point, it's different today. From our experience, specifically, there's still a benefit to having a second set of eyes, or a team and advisory team advocate for you during the retirement process. But it's changed so much. That information is very much dependable these days, because you have more information, but also they have an advocate with you through that process.
It makes a difference, for sure. I think because that information is so available, today, compared to how it was in the 90s. How we have offered our service when it comes to retiring from Verizon has also morphed to not just first and foremost be providing that information, but to provide people with the tools to make the right decisions based on that information.
And so that's why we put together the Verizon Retirement Red Zone. That's why we are still hosting workshops. A lot of them are virtual these days, for obvious reasons. But it's very much morphed into how can we take this information that's so readily available to us, and to a lot of employees, and help everyone make sense of it within their specific, retirement plan.
So, it's been a great ride, and we are excited to continue this. I think the Verizon Retirement Red Zone is just the start of a new chapter and something to continue to build from, and we hope you all enjoy it.
And we hope that we'll get to meet you, if we haven't met you yet. Please reach out to us and introduce yourself. The world of Verizon is a very small one. And so, when we meet someone new, we tend to know five other people who will know each other through that person.
Thank you everybody for watching. And again, check out the Verizon Retirement Red Zone; check out our YouTube channel for more Verizon-specific content on there. Reach out to us if you have any questions or want to talk about your specific benefits and how they relate to your retirement income plan. And we'll see you next time.