Pat and Amie Bowers, the husband and wife founders of Gratitude Financial, are on a mission to help people create and protect their retirements from the impact of rising taxes and the death of the 60/40 stock-bond retirement ratio. With over two decades of experience in W-2 and entrepreneurial endeavors, Pat and Amie have experienced all the methods corporations, employees, and entrepreneurs use to set themselves up for retirement, and they sum those traditional methods up in one word “Broken.”
“The current plan, whether 401(k), 403(b), TSP, or pension,” Pat says, “will be rife with taxes, market volatility, plenty of fitful nights of worry, and the significant possibility you’ll be returning to work at some point after you think you’ve worked your last day and your organization has thrown you a farewell party.” Pat and Amie are out to show people there are better ways to diversify in order to achieve a sense of financial freedom and control.
“It’s not that stocks, bonds, or the 401(k) are inherently bad, They’re not. It’s just that the average 401(k) owner has become too reliant on the market to determine whether they will or will not be able to retire on time, without much thought of impending taxes or the sequence of returns at the time of retirement.”
““The best laid plans of mice and men [often go awry],” says Pat, quoting Robert Burns’ 1785 poem “To a Mouse.” As a former English teacher, Pat often draws comparisons between the books he once taught and the state of current affairs.
Amie, an English major in her own right, is quick to elaborate on Pat’s thought: “Funny to think all Burns was writing about was a field mouse having his nest destroyed by a farmer’s plow–but that image of trying to prepare for something in the future and having that prep destroyed through no fault of your own is timeless. It inspired John Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice and Men, which took place during the Great Depression, and it works as a cautionary symbol now for young and old, both those retired and those dreaming of retirement: what good is a nest egg if when you need it, it’s gone?”
Pat and Amie, who reside in Alpine, CA, a rural town in east San Diego county, will be the first to admit they don’t have a thirty year track record of financial advising and controlling assets under management, but to the many clients they work with, that is what they are most grateful for: “Our clients see federal spending going up, the national debt spiraling out of control, and the stock market as volatile as it has ever been,” Amie says, “and they don’t want the same old advisor response of ‘Don’t worry. Just ride it out. If you pull your money out now, you’ll only lock in your losses.’ Traditional advisors use those lines like a ransom note in order to keep a person’s assets under management. Our clients are fed up with that.”
The name of the Bowers’ financial advising agency, “Gratitude,” is a two-fold testament: to their appreciation for the blessings both in struggle and kindness they’ve been given that have led them here; and to the appreciation they strive for and overwhelmingly achieve with their clients.
Pat says the goal for all of their clients is financial freedom. “We like to think of our clients as heroes on their Financial Hero’s Journey, and we are the mentors that can help them. It’s their story not ours. We just want to help them make it a successful one. Whether the timeline of the journey is 10, 20, 30 years, with our framework–The Financial Hero’s Journey–we can work with them to make that happen. 45, 59.5, 65, 75, no age is impossible with the right information, mindset and mentors. We have helped as many young go-getters become financially free within 10 years as we have more experienced go-getters become financially comfortable in their twilight years.”
How quickly can that journey be completed? What vehicles and tools can they provide to assist their hero? What are the tax traps now and along the path that could disrupt the journey? These are a few of the questions they consider with each of their clients.
“Every person’s journey to financial freedom is different,” Pat says. “Do they see themselves working even after they don’t need to? Do they see themselves exploring the world by sea? Running a food kitchen? Turning a passion into a storefront, website, or service? We want to see clearly the image of our client’s heroic accolades in financial freedom so that we can backward plan strategically to help them get there as soon as possible.”
Amie emphasizes how crucial it is for their clients to visualize and articulate their destiny. “Self-Actualization happens when what you think about, visualize, and talk about becomes your reality. After knowing what you want, it is essential that you create actionable items each month to achieve your set goals. With that in mind, you can follow the best and quickest route to your financial destiny.”
And finally, they say, "surround yourself with mentors and friends that add value to you and support your heroic goal: the kind of people who can see your vision as clearly as you do and can help you push through the struggles and sacrifices you may have to make along the way."
“Most importantly,” Pat says “You have to believe in your story. You can do this. You can retire happy. You can retire–or be financially free–at 35, 50, 60, 70, or whatever you set your sights on. Your Financial Hero’s Journey can happen; and it can serve as an example to others that they too can avoid the destruction of the farmer’s plow on that poor timid mouse’s nest. Amie is quick to point out: “The line from Burns’ poem is ‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’ It doesn’t say ‘always go awry.’ And it surely doesn’t mean that not having a plan is a better strategy than having a plan. You choose your destiny. We help make it happen.”
If you’d like to work with Pat and Amie, you can contact them directly by emailing [email protected], booking a time by going to their Gratitude website, or calling their offices at (619)353-9119 to explore whether the Gratitude FInancial Hero’s Journey is a good fit for you.