Ten Stops in Eight Days

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: John Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, RLP®

This year, for the second year in a row, Alex Weiss and I decided to embark on a snowbird tour to Florida. This tour is intended to see as many of our clients as possible and hang out with them in their element.  For some, the snowbird part is history as they have become full time Florida residents for a number of reasons.  On the top of many lists are the income and estate tax benefits of becoming a Florida resident.

What I learned on this visit confirmed our financial planning assumptions.  For many living the Florida life in the winter, every day is like Saturday. It doesn’t take being there for too long to forget the exact day and date because every day is filled with beach, golf, dinner out and events with your neighbors or visiting friends. It reminded me of my days in the dorms at Bentley – except I was with people with less hair and more money.

And if every day feels like Saturday – forget about all of the dumb rules of thumb that you’ve heard regarding how much money you’ll spend in retirement or on extended vacations.  It is definitely going to cost you more than you think, so please set the plan to accommodate that or ask us to update your forecasts.

This trip started in West Palm Beach and went down to Ft. Lauderdale before we trekked across Alligator Alley. Once crossing the Alley, we went straight up to Venice FL.  For me it was the first trip to the Venice area, and I thought that it was fantastic. We then proceeded down the west coast of Florida all the way to Naples as if we were on a spring break trip for adults visiting family and clients.  When I go somewhere different, I aim to see the true culture and underbelly of the area that we visit. Shoot me an email and I will send you a video taken during the trip at a small bar/restaurant on the island of Matlacha, FL.  As crazy as it seems, the pronunciation of that island is Matt-Le-Shea. I would have never figured that out without my Uncle’s help.

The most fulfilling part was seeing our clients in the world that they had once dreamed about while in the wealth accumulation stages of their life.  A financial plan, like any other plan, is only worth anything if you follow it.  It was extremely gratifying to see the plans of our clients lived out in full color without the snow. Just as gratifying was the amazing hospitality rolled out for us.  We sincerely appreciated the red carpet treatment that was delivered by each person we saw.

If you are one of the aforementioned snow birds that did not get a visit… don’t take it personally.  The good news, at least for us, is that next year may deliver an extended stay in sunny Florida. We want to make sure that every client who sets foot in the state will be visited, tormented on the golf course or asked to enjoy the 19th hole with us. To that end, I think we will be looking for a month or two anywhere between Sarasota and Naples.  Please let us know if you become aware of somewhere that you’d be pleased to visit.