Dean Gray, a partner with his father in Robbin Gray Senior Planning Services of Pittsville, Md., summarized the company’s purpose simply: “We are here to help those thinking retiring, seniors, or those about to be seniors.”
That help includes a broad range of services from pre-retirement planning to lifetime income planning, end-of-life and estate planning, Medicare supplements, annuities, reverse mortgages and advice in making other financial decisions. Another important service is assisting with Medicaid strategies — how to preserve assets for their intended purposes when someone goes into a nursing home. (All Medicaid approved.)
“We like to start with people at age 52 to 55, or at least 59 if they plan to retire at 62. My dad likes to say, ‘Most people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.’”
Dean cited as an example a man Robbin met who was 62. He was getting ready to retire after 40 years in the insurance business. “Pop asked him, ‘How are you doing?’
“He was the most honest man we’ve ever met. He said, ‘I don’t know if the money is going to last.’ He was honest about the challenges ahead. We sat down and made a road map, then he was more comfortable.
“I find many people, when it comes to retirement, are like college students. They are so stoked; they’re going to graduate and take the world by the tail. Then they reach their goal and ask, ‘Now what?’ There’s no one to tell them what to do. It’s their responsibility.
“Retirement is like that. You’ve been working all your life toward this goal, and you retire. There’s no gold watch. Few people have the retirement benefits our grandparents had. Now what?
“That where we at Senior Planning Services come into play. We can tell you what the ‘what’ is, or at least help clear some of the fog out of the way.”
Dean and his father help clients estimate what they will need to maintain the lifestyle to which they are accustomed after retirement. “We look at everything to get a good idea of where they are going and where they need to be to meet their own objectives. We do wills, power of attorney, advance directives and living wills.” Dean explained most people can do their own simple wills using online resources that are just as valid as expensive legal documents.
“I have seen my father do this as a ministry. He loves what he does. He does what he does as a matter of service to the community, and just happens to make a living at it.
“He has instilled that in me. Our primary goal is to help. That’s what Robbin insists on.”
Sometimes the younger generation needs help knowing how to help one or both parents. “Sometimes an older parent can be … um, obstinate,” Dean observed. He and his father can help the family discuss important matters respectfully, with more patience, encouraging an open forum. “That’s all we do — try to help,” he said.
Clients have become friends, and for their friends, the Grays take on extra kindnesses such as helping see that bills get paid, checking on a house while the owner is away or calling a son or daughter to hint that Mom needs a phone call.
“If we make life a little better, we’ve met our goal,” Dean said.
See how Robbin Gray Senior Planning Services can help you. Call (410) 543-8174 or visit our contact page.