Secrets of the Happiest Retirees

It’s tempting to think of retirement only from the financial side of things. Yes, it’s important that you save enough to be comfortable in your golden years.

But, says Dr. Larry Kubiak, you can’t forget the emotional and psychological side. As Director of Psychological Services at Behavioral Health Center Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, Larry knows that better than most.

With our identities so wrapped up in our jobs, retirement can bring your whole life crashing down if you’re not careful. And your mental health can suffer.

Retirement can – and should – be your biggest adventure yet! Larry and I talk all about how to make it happen.

Tune in to discover…

  • What you should do now to ensure a fulfilling retirement

  • The best way to react to bad situations

  • A strategy for staying young, no matter what your age

  • How to earn a “psychic income”

  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this Episode:

Episode Transcript:

John Curry: This is John Curry. Welcome again to another episode of our Secure Retirement podcast. 

Today, I'm sitting across the table from a guy I've known a long time. We're both grinning at each other here. Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Larry Kubiak. He's a PhD. He's Director of Psychological Services at the Behavioral Health Center at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. Did I say that right?

Larry Kubiak: Yes, you did. Very good, John.

John Curry: Well, Larry, thank you for being here. This is going to be an exciting interview today, folks. While we were having lunch, getting ready, we were talking about some of the topics, and Larry, I have to tell you, I'm impressed that you took time to think through some of the issues that people who are getting close to retirement or are in retirement are facing. I know you have a wealth of information, so thank you for being here.

Larry Kubiak: Certainly. My pleasure, John.

John Curry: Let's start off by you just kind of sharing with our audience what you do, how you go about the process. Just tell them who you are, a little bit about your background, but also make sure you tell them that you're Rotarian and Vice President of your club. So, jump in. 

Larry Kubiak: Okay. Well, I have my doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Florida, and I have been a professional in the field for 42 years. I have been the Director of Psychological Services at Tallahassee Memorial Behavioral Health Center for the last 27 years.

I specialize there in psychological and neuropsychological testing. When people come into the hospital, it used to be that they were there for up to three weeks, and now it's about three days. One of the implications of that, it is very critical to have the most accurate diagnosis so that they can get the most appropriate treatment. Psychological testing is a very important component in helping to identify what's really going on as quickly as possible so that they're put on the right medication, that they're involved in the right therapy from the very outside, so that when they go back to their home community, that they've gotten started off on the right foot and that can be continued.

I have a lot of doctoral students from Florida State that do placements with me, to help learn how to do this kind of thing. We help make decisions about our people suffering from bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, Alzheimer's, all kinds of things, because those have very important implications in peoples' lives. We work with the psychiatrist and the rest of the treatment team to help make sure that people get the most appropriate treatment they possibly can. 

Also very involved with Boy Scouts. John and I have some ties through that. I was a Scout Master. I had 12 young men become Eagle Scout while I was serving in that capacity. I'm currently on the National Health & Safety Committee for Boy Scouts. I'm the chair of the Mental Health Subcommittee. I'll be on staff and have a major role at the World Jamboree this next year. John mentioned Rotary. I was the president of the Tallahassee Rotary Club, which is the largest club in our 50 club district in 6940, here in North Florida. I currently serve as Assistant District Governor, and will be interviewed in October for the possibility of serving as District Governor on down the road. So, we'll see how that goes.

John Curry: You'd make a great governor. I hope that happens. People listening to this might be asking the question, "Why in the world is John Curry interviewing a psychologist?" based on what they just heard. We were talking earlier over lunch, that it's not just about having money. Over the years, 43 years I've been doing this, we try to give good information to help people make better decisions, not just about money, but about life.

Larry Kubiak: Well, and John, one of the things that has always impressed me about you is, certainly, you do an outstanding job helping people be as financially secure as they possibly can be. Unfortunately, many of your colleagues, that may be as far as they go, but you have always impressed me as being someone who goes beyond that and wants to look at the total person. What can we do to help their total experience in retirement be as positive as possible? 

So, to me, it's certainly very natural that you would ask me, a psychologist, because we know that just being financially secure doesn't mean you're going to have the kind of retirement that you want to have. If you haven't prepared emotionally and psychologically, then you're probably going to be missing out. You have got to have a reason for getting up in the morning. Especially for us guys, maybe sometimes women too. Especially for us guys, a lot of who we are, a lot of our self-worth, a lot of our social connections, are tied to work. 

John Curry: Would you say probably the majority?

Larry Kubiak: Well, exactly.

John Curry: The majority.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Because, a lot of guys haven't made those social connections through things like Rotary or Boy Scouts, or the church and so on, and they've relied so much on their job or their family. So, when they retire, they go from having all of those needs met by their job, all of a sudden, to retiring and not having those needs met anymore. 

Unless they have adequately prepared ... And just as you must prepare financially, you really need to prepare emotionally. What is going to give you satisfaction? What's going to make you feel fulfilled in retirement? Now, is that going to be playing golf every single day of your retirement? Well, that might be okay for the first month, but I think you're probably going to get tired of that after a while.

John Curry: Let me jump in on that one.

Larry Kubiak: Please.

John Curry: I had the pleasure a few years back - haven't played in two years because of shoulder problems - of getting to play golf five days in a row. I discovered very quickly that I would not be able to retire and play golf every day. I didn't like it. That's tough. I was worn out. I can't even imagine how these pro players do that the way they do it. If I-

Larry Kubiak: Well, they're paid pretty well for it.

John Curry: Well, they are, but ... Some of them are anyway. 

Larry Kubiak: Yeah, well, some are and some aren't. So, yeah, I mean, if that is what gives you ... And that's fine to do that, and it's fine to travel. I know a lot of people want to travel and so on, and that's fine too. You've got to continue to learn, you've got to continue to grow. When we stop learning and growing, when we stop feeling like we're contributing to life, then that's when we start to die.

I think there are a lot of ways that people can deal with that. Now, some people, unfortunately, for financial reasons, they may be forced to continue to work, but, if you're in a position where you can continue to work because you really enjoy working ... And there's a term that we refer to as "psychic income", that if you're fortunate enough to be in a position where you work not just for the pay check, but because of the satisfaction that you get for working in something that contributes to peoples' welfare, then you get some benefit from that that you just can't put a price tag on. So, it's just very important.

Sometimes people can continue to work, maybe in that same field. Sometimes they may have had another kind of line of work that they might want to pursue. A good friend of my wife, she was a psychologist, and found that she really liked doing craft things. She has completely switched from that major career to something else, because she found that she got more enjoyment out of that. So, whatever that is for you, find that, pursue that, and it will go a long way toward helping you be more psychologically healthy and get more out of your retirement. 

John Curry: All right. Well, let's help the people that are listening to this [inaudible 00:08:06], okay, that's great, but how do I do that? Let's talk with someone, let's say in their fifties, [crosstalk 00:08:12] retirement. Say maybe they're 55, 60 years old. What advice would you offer them as far as beginning to start seeking out things so they have a purpose beyond work? What are some of the things you would suggest?

I know what I've told people to do. Explore things today, experiment, see if you like it. What do you think?

Larry Kubiak: Well, I think it's important for people to try a variety of things and really begin to identify where their passion is. I know, for me, I really enjoy being involved with Boy Scouts. I really enjoy being involved with the Rotary because of the multiple ways that we can give back. What's very unique to me about Rotary is that I have some unique skills, as a psychologist, that allows me to continue to give back through that. Now, for some people it might be church. 

What I'm saying is, don't just sit around watching television all day. I think you were saying earlier, John, that you had to do that for a while, and you realized that sitting around watching television all day would not be how you would want to spend your retirement.

John Curry: That would not be a happy retirement for me.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly. Exactly. So, get away from that. Get out there. Try giving back. Try getting involved ... [Olly 00:09:32]. You know, the Florida State, the classes? Use that as an opportunity to continue to expand yourself, to see if there's a real passion for you. You've probably gained a lot of experience in whatever you do, maybe you could be a teacher. Maybe you could do seminars, learn a new skill, learn a language. Whatever that might be-

John Curry: All good advice.

Larry Kubiak: Yeah. 

John Curry: All good. Part of it comes down to just taking the time to discover for yourself what you enjoy doing.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly.

John Curry: I'm afraid that many people, I think most of us frankly, I know I'm guilty of it at times too, are just getting in this routine where you get out, you do this, you do this, you do this, but my experience has been clients ... My oldest client's 101. Clients that are in their late nineties, late eighties, the ones that seem to be the happiest are the ones who, they've taken care of their financial issues, so the bills are paid. They're not worried about paying their bills. But, they're not sitting home doing nothing. 

Larry Kubiak: Right.

John Curry: They are socially involved.

Larry Kubiak: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John Curry: I'm thinking of a guy right now that I had the pleasure ... I'll just call his name, Dr. Charles [Nam 00:10:40]. I had the pleasure of being his guardian on one of the Honor Flights. 

Larry Kubiak: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, yeah. Wonderful.

John Curry: Charlie's in his nineties. He's still going strong. We're constantly sharing ideas back and forth, and every time I'm around him, I have to remind myself that he's in his nineties, because he's got so much energy. He feels like I want to explore more, so now he's acting.

Larry Kubiak: Well, you want to continually be curious about life. You always want to keep learning and growing. So, identify what engages that curiosity. Kids are very curious. I've got three grandkids, and we go for a walk in the woods, and everything is just exciting. Everything is new, and there's something to learn about. We kind of get away from that as we get older. So, try to get back to that, to what really engages your curiosity, whether it be about yourself, or relationships, or getting back in a certain way. 

So, identify that passion, that enthusiasm, those kinds of things that really give you meaning in life, and pursue those. They're not going to come to you. You're not going to get them from watching television. So, force yourself to get out there. Maybe your spouse has to force you. Maybe a friend invites you to a Rotary meeting, or [Kiwanis 00:12:12], or Lions, or something like that. Give it a chance. See, see what you think.

John Curry: Get out of your comfort zone-

Larry Kubiak: Yeah, exactly.

John Curry: ... and try something new. Talk a little bit about ... because I know you experience this in your counseling, you have to, of where one person, one spouse, feels like, well, I can't do anything. I can't go do a because my spouse doesn't like a, and I have to please him or her because they always get their way.

Larry Kubiak: Well, you know, that's-

John Curry: Can you talk about that for a minute?

Larry Kubiak: I think that's a very important point. When we made those marriage vows, they didn't say that we have to enjoy everything together, we must spend all of our time together. I guarantee you, my wife has some interests that I don't have, I have some interests she doesn't have. She loves to go to yard sales on Saturday. That would drive me nuts. I have no interest in going to yard sales, so she can go. I like to, on a Saturday morning, I might like to go for a hike in the woods. I'll go by myself. I'll go with my daughter. But, my wife doesn't go with me.

My wife loves to go to plays in New York with our daughter. That's okay. We don't have to do ... Give yourself permission to not have to do everything together. In fact, that can, in many respects, make your relationship even better. If one of you goes out and does some things, and the other one goes out and does some different things, then you've got so many more things to talk about than if you always did exactly the same things. I mean, I don't mind, and I really enjoy hearing what kind of amazing bargain she got at a yard sale. So-

John Curry: You just don't want to be there in the process.

Larry Kubiak: Well, that's right. That's right. It would be very boring to me. But, give yourself permission to spend time away from each other, and don't feel like it's going to detract from the relationship. It actually will enhance the relationship. 

John Curry: Let's circle back on something you said earlier about, particularly men, so much of their self-worth is wrapped up in their careers. I'm seeing more and more of that with women now that are in the professional fields, where they have similar situations. Are you seeing that, or [crosstalk 00:14:36]?

Larry Kubiak: Well, certainly. Certainly. At the risk of sounding sexist, and I would apologize if it comes across this way, but in my professional experience, generally speaking, women do a much better job of forming relationships, friendships with other women, talking with them about their feelings and so on. Us guys, we don't want to talk about our feelings. We're the strong, silent type, like John Wayne, so it's not okay to talk about your feelings. But, that's probably why women live longer than we do, because they've learned how to do that. 

We were talking earlier about, well, what happens if a couple's been married for 50 years, and if the husband dies first, how long with the wife live? Well, she'll probably live a long time, because she's got all kinds of social support. If it's the other way around, a lot of times that guy will die fairly quickly, unless he has taken proactive steps to develop social relationships, to get involved with other men, to learn to express his feelings, to learn to go through the grieving process. We talked about that earlier.

One of the things that we see ... Well, life is filled with loss. I mean, you lose your pet, you lose a girlfriend, you lose a job, but the longer you live, the more losses that you've had in your life. It's normal to go through a grieving process when it comes to losses. It's not normal to get stuck in them, and to never work through, and to stay depressed, and become suicidal and so on. So, it's important to give yourself permission to experience the stages of grief. Kübler-Ross has talked a lot about the five stages of grief - the denial, the anger, the depression, the acceptance and so on. It would be nice to say that people go through those at the same time, in the same way, very quickly, but everybody's different. 

I think when it comes to retirement, a lot of the enjoyment you might get of retirement can be lost if you are going through a severe grieving process. Don't be afraid to seek some help. I don't mean drugs, drugs are not going to help the process, but giving yourself permission to talk to people that can really help you through that. For many of us, it might be family, it might be friends. It doesn't necessarily have to be professionals. It may be a support group. But, give yourself the permission to do that and work through that grieving process, and I think that the more effectively you're able to do that, the more enjoyment you can get out of life, out of your retirement, and much better things will be for you.

John Curry: That's true if you're 20 years away from retirement.

Larry Kubiak: Oh, yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

John Curry: Because, we're going to experience losses no matter what we think or say or do. I mean, I think back to [three 00:17:44] years ago, my dad died. He was battling cancer for several years. I look at the quality of my mother's life now, and in a lot of ways she hasn't gotten over his loss and is still grieving, and it's taken its toll on her health. 

Larry Kubiak: Sure.

John Curry: Frankly, her sister's around her. You're right, we handle it differently. 

What would you suggest as a way to learn more about dealing with these losses? Because, it's true, we lose friends. In today's politically charged environment, I witnessed at a Rotary club, not mine, but a club I was visiting, two guys arguing so loudly, and the profanity over political issues right now, that they stomped away angry. I'm told that, even now, they won't even speak to each other, and this happened two months ago. Two months ago. 

We're becoming so polarized in different areas. What advice would you have to, I don't want to say "protect ourselves", but to put ourselves in a way where we don't become guilty of being the cause of that, or if we receive that, we can get over it fairly quickly and not worry about it?

Larry Kubiak: Well, I think several things come to mind. I think one is the whole notion of empathy. Empathy is so critical in everything that we do in life, and being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Again, without getting political, before you speak, before you yell at somebody for being whatever you want to call them, try to understand where they're coming from. A lot of times, it comes from fear. 

People might be afraid of immigrants, for instance, because they're afraid that their way of life, their income, is threatened. So, a lot of times, people react perhaps through prejudice and so on out of the fear. I would say really work to try to hear what is behind those words, really try to understand the other person rather than just yelling at them. I think that's one of the things that's most missing in the discourse and why we see the issues being so apart. 

Because, I think ... Well, again, I'm very involved with the Rotary, Rotary Youth Exchange, and we have so many international high school students that come to Florida and the United States from other countries, and we send them overseas and everything. I think one of the things that we learn from having exchange programs and so on, or traveling internationally, is we learn that there is a lot more that's similar among us than there are differences. 

John Curry: Right. No matter where you travel.

Larry Kubiak: That's right. Exactly. That deep down, while the governments may be at loggerheads with each other, if you relate to the people in that country, the parents there are interested in the same things that we are. They want their kids to grow up into healthy, productive citizens, just like we do. Once you begin to empathize and identify and understand things from their perspective, it's harder to encapsulate them in being this kind of person and so on. You begin to see them as more of a whole human, and that's what we're after, is to foster those kind of ties. 

I think empathy and taking the time to really understand and really listen ... I mean, I always like to say, God gave us two ears and one mouth because he wants us to listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately, in today's society, it's a matter of not just I want to talk, but I want to out-yell you, and whoever's the loudest yeller is who gets paid attention to. To me, a much greater characteristic that I'd like to see for everybody is that we take a lot more time to slow down and really listen to what the other person is saying.

John Curry: Good advice. I want to share something that happened back in 1992. Pat and I were going to take a trip to Paris, and we were told how everybody in France are going to be so rude and righteous and all this to Americans. 

Larry Kubiak: Exactly.

John Curry: We experienced none of that.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly.

John Curry: None.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly.

John Curry: In fact, we had people going out of their way to guide us when we were on the wrong train one day. 

I've thought about another experience back in the 70s, going to New York City for the first time. Back in '78 I think it was, '78 or '79. Same thing. "Oh, they're going to be so rude." I was so lost. I was on the wrong subway. This guy looks at me, and he says, "Sir, where are you trying to go?" I told him. I said, "I'm trying to go to [inaudible 00:22:56] Broadway, near City Hall." He said, "You're on the wrong train." So, he's trying to explain to me [crosstalk 00:23:01], and here's what he said. He said, "I got time. Come with me." We get off the train, he takes me over to the proper turnstile, he drops in two tokens, goes with me. He goes, he gets on the next train, takes me back to City Hall. He said, "At City Hall, your building will be to the left somewhere." He said, "Enjoy your time in New York City."

I only remember the first name was Bob. I wish I had ... So many times, I wish I'd gotten his name and address and kept in touch. But, there is an example of not only empathy, but also expectation. If I expect you to be angry, that's probably what I'm going to get. 

Larry Kubiak: Exactly.

John Curry: Because I'm going to send off vibes that I'm expecting that.

Larry Kubiak: That's right. That's right. That's right.

John Curry: But, if I'm expecting that you're going to be nice and friendly, and you're going to be my new friend ... And I'm reminded of a quote that's attributed to Abraham Lincoln. He said, "I do not like that man. I should get to know him." 

Larry Kubiak: Yes. A lot of wisdom in that. I think, to help diffuse that kind of escalation and tension and so on, really try to listen to the person. If you can reflect to that person what you hear them saying, "Boy, you sound like you're really afraid that dah dah dah dah dah," or you ... And the more we can identify the feeling word behind what the person's saying, the more they feel understood, the more that lowers their tension. Because, so many of us feel like nobody hears us, nobody understands us, and that's really critical in any relationship in life. 

Certainly, when we're talking about retirement, and we're talking about men having difficulty when they lose their job, lose those relationships they have at work, begin to form those elsewhere. The more you're able to do that, when you get away from work, then the more successful your retirement's going to be. So, use those skills that you developed over all those years in work to develop new ones, and that's one of the exciting things about retirement. You get a chance to try some different things, to develop some skills that you may not have had, to form some new relationships.

The friendships that I've developed through scouting, and through Rotary, and through my church and so on, have been extremely enriching to me. I would not want to trade them for anything else. That can be the same thing for someone looking forward to retirement. You can't start too soon to begin to develop those kinds of things.

John Curry: In fact, I would argue that if you waited until retirement to pursue those, you're going to be very unhappy in retirement.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly. Certainly. No question.

John Curry: But, if you start pursuing those well before ... I keep three books on my shelf. One is [Kurt Douglas' 00:25:53] book. He's 101. [George Burns' 00:25:56] book, he died at age 100. And Betty White, she's still working at 96 years old. I keep those as role models, because when people say, "When are you going to retire?" I hope I never retire. 

Now, I want to do more of the things that I want to do, and not feel like I have to come to work every day-

Larry Kubiak: Exactly.

John Curry: ... but I don't want to stop doing what I'm doing. It's like you said earlier, no plans, no desire to retire, as long as you're bringing value and helping people.

Larry Kubiak: Yeah. 

John Curry: We're both doing counseling work. Mine's counseling regarding ... Well, it's not just financial. A lot of times I feel like I am a psychologist, psychiatrist, lawyer, accountant, all bundled into one.

Larry Kubiak: Sure. Exactly. Exactly.

John Curry: It's funny. When I was a kid, I always thought I wanted to be first a school teacher, then a preacher, then a trial lawyer. 

Larry Kubiak: Oh, my.

John Curry: I'm convinced that I'm in the right profession, because I get to do all of those.

Larry Kubiak: You do all of ...

John Curry: I'm teaching, I'm preaching, and I'm trying to persuade. 

Larry Kubiak: Yeah. Very good. Very good. [crosstalk 00:26:58].

John Curry: Let's address something that we haven't talked about, but I think is very important, and that is trust. Having trust in ourselves, in the people around us. We live in a world today that's become more and more untrusting, and frankly, rightfully so. When you look at what's happening in the political world, the corporate world.

Larry Kubiak: Sure. Sure.

John Curry: Address the importance of trust for a minute, especially entrusting yourself and seeking help with people that can guide you, that you have confidence in.

Larry Kubiak: Well, trust is very critical in anything that we do in life. If we don't ... When we're born, going as early as we possibly can, when we're born into this world, we have zero ability to take care of ourselves, and we are 100% dependent on our parents. [crosstalk 00:27:48]-

John Curry: [crosstalk 00:27:48].

Larry Kubiak: Yeah, that's right. But, let's say you cry when you're a baby, and your parents come to you and they attend you. If you need to be changed, they change you, and if you need to be fed, they feed you, and so on. If that is the consistent pattern that happens, then you start to learn that I can trust this world. Obviously, as we get older, we have to decide, well, who can we trust and who we can't. But, we're born and we are totally dependent on our parents. If they meet our needs, then we realize that we can trust, and we can begin to trust.

On the other hand, let's say that you're a baby and you cry, and nobody comes. You cry, and nobody comes. You cry, and nobody comes. Or somebody comes and slaps you. So, what is your image of the world starting out there?

John Curry: [crosstalk 00:28:45].

Larry Kubiak: I need things, but nobody is going to meet those needs. Then that's replicated in other things in your life, and so on. 

So, trust is something that is very critical from our very beginnings in life, and the more it's replicated, that we can trust people and they will meet our needs, the more likely we are to trust other people. Now, again, it's a lifelong process of learning to trust, and sometimes we're going to get burned, and sometimes we get burned and we may not want to trust anybody for a while. But, hopefully, we learn that, well, the only way to go through life like that is to be a rock, and it's not much fun being a rock, that we've got to get out there and we've got to take some risks and so on. 

What our parents and people who care about us need to help us to is to help advise us on who to trust and who not to trust. Sometimes we'll listen to them, sometimes we won't. Sometimes we're going to be headstrong and we're just going to rush ahead, and we're going to make some bad decisions, and we hope that that helps us to learn what to look for more carefully in the future. That's true in any relationship. Employers. 

John Curry: True.

Larry Kubiak: Spouses. I mean, Jeez, one of the most important decisions you make in your lifetime is who you want to marry, and who you want to be friends with. 

At the Behavioral Health Center, one of the things that ... We see a lot of young people in our adolescent unit there, because they have ... Maybe a girl trusted a guy, then he runs around with her best friend. That's very serious trust, and just imagine how hard it's going to be for her to trust another guy in a relationship. Or if she's been abused in a relationship, it's going to take that much more effort to ever be able to trust again. So, trust is very, very critical. I mean, it's set in place from our initial relationship with our parents, but it's a lifelong endeavor. 

We can never get to the point of saying that, well, I can always trust these people and so on. It's unfortunate that there are people who will take advantage of you, with all the identity theft, and people just have so many more creative ways to take advantage of you. Certainly those who are retired, who may have saved a lot of money and so on, they're going to be a target, a magnet, for people who are going to try to take advantage of them. Maybe when they need some care ... I mean, you read about it in the newspaper all the time. Somebody who offers to help take care of them, to be a friend for them, to handle duties for them, and they take advantage of that, they take them for thousands of dollars. 

John Curry: Would you believe that in our world, the training we get, we actually are trained by some of the financial regulatory bodies on what to look for, so that if we see or suspect that somebody's being taken advantage of ... And, sadly, it's usually, as you just pointed out, either a family member or a close friend who's doing it. It's not some total stranger. 

So, we have to take classes each year to be on the alert, if you will. Or if we see somebody who, maybe they're not able to make a decision, you contact a family member, I'm concerned about your mother or your father, whatever. That's a tough call.

Larry Kubiak: Well, it's interesting that you bring that up, because I mentioned that I am a neuropsychologist, and so part of what I do is neuropsychological testing to help identify whether or not someone may be experiencing dementia. The greatest risk factor for dementia is getting older. Well, getting older still beats the alternative of not getting older-

John Curry: Yes, [crosstalk 00:32:42].

Larry Kubiak: ... but, the older you live ... Now, it's not inevitable that everybody will have Alzheimer's or anything like that, but certainly the risk increases. Fortunately, we know more about that whole process than we did 20 years ago, and 20 years from now we will know even more. I'm hopeful that, within our lifetime, there will be a cure for Alzheimer's. Actually, I'm going to be part of a drug study that's looking at a very positive possibility there's- 

John Curry: Are you going to be taking drugs, is that what you're saying?

Larry Kubiak: Well, no. I'm going to be testing people who are, but ... 

John Curry: [crosstalk 00:33:19].

Larry Kubiak: I think one of the important things for your listeners to be aware of is that whether it be them, a spouse, a family member as they get older, if you start to see some cognitive issues, have them checked out. Certainly, first of all, I would have them alert their physician. Go to their physician. There are some kind of screening things that the physician could do to help begin to identify if there were some cognitive decline there. There also are neuropsychologists and neurologists that can do assessments that can begin to identify how severely impaired someone might be, and whether or not there may be areas in their life that they should not be making decisions. Maybe there needs to be a power of attorney to help them make certain decisions, and so on.

So, all I'm saying is that, certainly, if you see in yourself or someone else some cognitive decline, check it out, and make sure that a person is not going to be taken advantage of otherwise.

John Curry: I'm glad you discussed that, because we've had several cases in the last few years where it was almost like divine intervention in that we were able to get people to go see an attorney, get their legal documents done, get the [inaudible 00:34:45] power of attorney in place, before a stroke occurred or some other health issue. 

We've thought about it several times as a team. We go, "Wow." That, we can't take credit for that, because there was the timing issue of getting people motivated, who for years wouldn't do it. I'm thinking of a couple now, where every time I would discuss it with him, he would get angry. I mean, angry. One day he was just cussing at me, and said, "I don't want to deal with these blank blank lawyers." But, when he was ready, he was ready. We took advantage of it, got him in front of the attorney, got it all done. 90 days later, the man suffered a stroke.

Larry Kubiak: Yeah. 

John Curry: And everything was in order. Everything was in order. He since has passed away, but this lady has been able to carry on.

Larry Kubiak: I think it gets back to what you were talking about with the whole issue of trust, what we were talking about earlier. I think, when you have developed a relationship with your clients, and they have seen that you have worked very hard to help prepare them for their financial future in retirement and so on, if you develop that level of trust, you might be in a very important position to advise them about those kinds of things, or their spouse, or whatever. 

Certainly there may be some initial pushback, but don't be afraid of that, and don't be afraid to encourage them to do what's needed in getting that identified. If there's nothing, well that's fine. It may be a temporary thing. But, if it's something that's going to be more serious and more long lasting, then it's best to prepare for it and take the proper steps to deal with it.

John Curry: Good advice. As we wind down here, let's talk about this for a moment. You made a comment earlier about the importance of goal setting, and the image. I don't want to leave that, because we both have talked about the importance of visualizing and imaging. Spend a moment on that please.

Larry Kubiak: Okay. All of us need to set ... We don't want to just wait until New Year’s Eve to set a goal for our life. We should be continually setting goals. Financial goals, employment goals, relationship goals, whatever. We always need to be setting goals. Half the battle in accomplishing a goal is to actually be able to visualize yourself accomplishing that goal. 

Before I've used the analogy of a golfer. If you're having to hit a ball over all water, if it's me, I'm going to imagine the ball going in the water. A professional is going to imagine it landing on the green and going in the hole. So, if you can't form an image of yourself successfully accomplishing your goal, you're doomed not to meet it. So, imagine that. Imagine what life is going to be like when you're retired and you're free to do the kinds of things that give you the most satisfaction in life.

So, picture that. What's that going to be like? What’s your day going to be like? What are your relationships going to be like? Who are you going to be spending time with? Where are you going to be spending time? The more you can visualize that and you can describe that to someone else, the more likely that it is to happen. So, forming that image is very important in any goal setting, whether it be ... 

I remember working with a woman one time who was going to have a bariatric bypass surgery. She was morbidly obese. Her goal was to be able to walk around Lake Ella with her child, just without being in pain, the pain that she had so much weight on her knees, it was so painful. So, being able to form that image of what it was going to be like walking around there, and the look on her daughter's face and everything, is what helped her get the motivation to actually make that happen.

John Curry: When I had heart surgery 10 years ago, there was a guy in the room next to me who had the same procedure, a triple bypass. He was so angry, throwing things at the nurses and the other staff. The doctor, same doctor, he asked me, "Would you please, when you're taking a walk, invite this guy to join you?" I said, "Sure. What's up?" and he told me. And he did. Finally, he got out of bed, took a walk.

But, the first time we were taking a walk, he was focusing on all the problems. There was nothing to look forward to. He was like, "Why are you so happy?" I said, "Because I'm not dead." I mean, the surgery worked.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly. [inaudible 00:39:28] exactly.

John Curry: I'm able to [crosstalk 00:39:30]. I'm white as a sheet. I walked 10 feet, I thought I was going to pass out. But, at least I'm moving.

Larry Kubiak: Exactly.

John Curry: I finally got the guy laughing, and we're talking, and then he looked forward to walking three or four times a day.

Larry Kubiak: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John Curry: As you were talking about the importance of goals and imaging, that popped in my head. Because, I think about ... There are times when I'll dwell on the negative side, and I've gotten pretty good at quickly saying "stop". Just stop. Don't go there, and then get out. I'm convinced that people who are happiest and most successful in life, they have the ability ... Like a pro golfer. A ball goes into water, they don't dwell on that shot. It's over. 

Larry Kubiak: That's right.

John Curry: That's behind you.

Larry Kubiak: Can't change that.

John Curry: What's coming forward next?

Larry Kubiak: Exactly. 

John Curry: And I think that helps also a lot with the loss and the grieving. Now, there's also a line, you have to understand, where you could become so callus and become arrogant about it, but the longer we dwell on stuff, I call it the "downward spiral". I'm sure there must be merit to that from the psychological training standpoint and counseling, because some people just want to dwell on the negatives.

Larry Kubiak: Well-

John Curry: Some people can't help it.

Larry Kubiak: Yeah. Bad things are going to happen in life. Bad things are going to happen. That's just part of life. Some things will be much more traumatic than others. But, we all can make decisions. We can't decide if something bad is going to happen to us. I mean, a lot of times things just happen, not for any fault of our own. We have an accident because somebody else was drunk and ran into us. But, what we can make decisions on is do we want to continue to be a victim, or do we want to move on with our life? 

There are people who make decisions to be ... They've had bad things happen in their life, they were abused, they were molested and so on, and certainly they didn't deserve that, but the longer you make the decision to be a victim, the longer you keep putting your life on hold. When you make the decision to not be a victim, to make the best out of a situation, to move forward with your life positively, then the sooner you're able to move on and accomplish the things that you really do need to accomplish and want to accomplish and deserve to accomplish. 

John Curry: Let me tell you, Larry, we see that a lot. We see people who lost money in 2008, when the market crashed, and they've made good decisions since then. Some have made poor decisions, like parking their money out of fear. Because fear's a big, big, powerful issue. But, the people that seem to be doing well now are those who say, "Okay, yes, I lost money. The market's very high now, I could lose money again, so I'm going to protect some of that money. I'm not going to live in fear with it." Whereas, others, no matter where they are, if the market's high, they worry about it crashing. If the market's low, they're worried about when is it going to come back up. 

So, what you just said about ... That's somewhat being a victim, isn't it? I'm allowing my loss from before, of 2008, to keep me from doing the things I need to do today, to be able to make better decisions. I never thought of it that way, but that is being a victim, isn't it?

Larry Kubiak: Yeah, it is. It is. There are a lot of things in life to be afraid of, but if we live our life based on all of those fears then we never move forward.

John Curry: We have no life.

Larry Kubiak: We have no life. That's right. Exactly.

John Curry: Wow.

Larry Kubiak: So, we have to make a decision to step forward. Not recklessly, obviously, but to listen to the advice around us. Obviously, those who didn't listen to your advice and took all of their money out of stocks are regretting it now. 

John Curry: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Larry Kubiak: And you can always say, "I told you so," but you would not do that.

John Curry: I would not do that. That would not be very empathetic.

Larry Kubiak: No, it wouldn't. It would definitely not be empathetic.

John Curry: Or sympathetic either.

Larry Kubiak: Right.

John Curry: I'm looking at that computer screen. We've been talking for 43 minutes. 

Larry Kubiak: Oh, my.

John Curry: This has been a fantastic interview. I'm hoping we can do this again some time-

Larry Kubiak: Certainly.

John Curry: ... and expand a little bit deeper. 

Larry Kubiak: Sure.

John Curry: Larry Kubiak, I thank you so much.

Larry Kubiak: Well, my pleasure. 

John Curry: Thank you.

Larry Kubiak: All right. Thank you.

Outro: If you would like to know more about John Curry's services, you can request a complimentary information package by visiting Again, that is Or you can call his office at 850-562-3000. Again, that is 850-562-3000. John H. Curry, chartered life underwriter, chartered financial consultant, accredited estate planner, master's in science and financial services, certified in long-term care, registered representative and financial advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC. 

Securities products and services and advisory services are offered through Park Avenue Securities, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Financial representative of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, New York. Park Avenue Securities is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. [inaudible 00:44:38] Financial Corporation is not an affiliate of subsidiary of Park Avenue Securities. Park Avenue Securities is a member of Finra and SIPC. 

This material is intended for general public use. By providing this material, we are not undertaking to provide investment advice for any specific individual or situation, or to otherwise act in a fiduciary capacity. Please contact one of our financial professionals for guidance and information specific to your individual situation. All investments contain risk and they lose value. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents or employees do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with your attorney, accountant and/or tax advisor for advice concerning your particular circumstances. Not affiliated with the Florida Retirement System. The Living Balance Sheet and the Living Balance Sheet logo are registered service marks of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, New York. Copyright 2005 through 2018.

This podcast is for informational purposes only. Guest speakers and their firms are not affiliated with or endorsed by Park Avenue Securities or Guardian, and opinions stated are their own.

2018-68854 Exp 10/20