Estate Planning

How to Leave a Legacy that’s More Than Just Money with Ben Weisshaut

October 2, 2020

How to Leave a Legacy that’s More Than Just Money with Ben Weisshaut

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How to Leave a Legacy that’s More Than Just Money Show Notes

What legacy will your family leave behind? Will it be a sum of money, or will it be heritage, values, and the amazing experiences parents and their children have across generations?

Tech entrepreneur Ben Weisshaut lost his father to a late-stage brain tumor shortly before his son was born. This tragic loss inspired him to journal, make videos, and capture as much history as possible to help his son get to know his grandpa. He used the discoveries he made along the way to create Wishlife – a platform that helps families capture what matters most.

Today, Ben joins the podcast to talk about how families can go deeper than money and create an emotional legacy to leave to your family. You’ll find out what he learned from interviewing countless families about what matters the most to them, what it means to build a responsible legacy, and how retirees are changing their plans in a world where it’s unsafe to travel to stay closer to family in difficult times.

In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:

  • Why an emotional legacy is so much more important than a financial one – and how families can pass history and experiences down across generations.
  • How Wishlife provides a central archive for family history.
  • Why building a family legacy takes time, just like a financial one.

Inspiring Quote

    • “True wealth is defined as something that money can’t buy and death can’t take away.” – Dean Barber

Interview Resources

Interview Transcript

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[00:00:08] Dean Barber: Welcome to The Guided Retirement Show. I’m your host, Dean Barber. Have I got a great interview for you today. We’re going to be interviewing a gentleman by the name of Ben Weisshaut and Ben has made it a mission to help people leave a legacy more important than money. What he knows through tons of research is that family is always number one. And after starting and selling four businesses, and I’ll let him tell the story, but he had a life-changing event that changed the direction of what his focus was and has created an amazing mission to really help people focus on the family. It fits right into what we do here on The Guided Retirement Show, which is helping you live your one best financial life. Please enjoy this interview with Ben Weisshaut.


[00:01:01] Dean Barber: Ben Weisshaut, welcome to The Guided Retirement Show and you’ve got an amazing story to tell and you’re doing something that I think is going to be really interesting for a lot of people, people that care about leaving a legacy that is more than just money. So, welcome and I want you to start by taking us back a ways before which life ideas and tell me about your background in business and what you’ve done and kind of set us up for why you’ve done what you’ve done.

[00:01:38] Ben Weisshaut: Absolutely. And really appreciate and grateful, Dean, for you having me here today. Our whole focus, and I’ll share a little bit on how we got here, is that our mission is to help families and protect families’ legacies. The DNA of this whole mission and this whole what is now a business but at the core is a mission and the mission of the heart really began with my own family. And this whole platform in protecting my own family’s legacy began with really just a journal. And my dad who was my best friend, he was 20 when he had me so we were very close in age, just the most amazing guy you could think of, coached my baseball team, taught me my values, my spiritual life.

He was diagnosed with a late-stage brain tumor and he, unfortunately, went in for surgery and got an infection and passed away. He had a full life but soon after that, my son was born. And so, it was a very bittersweet moment. And because my dad and I were so close, I really wanted my son to know his grandpa and I want him to know his heritage.

So, I began journaling and I began telling these stories around who my dad was, his values, all the stories around what it was like growing up in a household with him and all the amazing experiences that we had together. And those stories really became the precipice for the beginning of this. It evolved into videos. So, I went from a journal to videos and I organized various topics about my relationship with my dad and then my grandparents.

[00:03:42] Ben Weisshaut: And I began videoing myself, literally sitting in my living room with specific topics to speak about my dad, who he was, where he was born, what it was like growing up with him. And those videos evolved into me wanting to share this insight on how to download intergenerationally those things that matter most to families and family is what matters most to all of us. If you ask someone, if you go and you ask someone on the street, they’ll tell you nothing matters more than family. So, I’ve been a tech entrepreneur since I was 19 years old. I’m not from the financial services industry. I always say we got here by grace.

But being a tech entrepreneur, I wanted to create a platform for families in which we could humanize digital life. We could take what we do in our daily lives and make a simple platform so that families could capture the things that matter most to them. And so, that’s exactly what we do and what we’ve done. We enable families to protect their legacy, to protect things that matter most to them, whether it be storytelling, all the way spanning two things around things that we have to do responsibly like having all of our affairs in order. Now, everything’s done through video. So, when we think about Wishlife and we think about this download of these emotional assets, we do it through video because we’re ultimately capturing the essence of who we are.

[00:05:39] Ben Weisshaut: It’s not just with modern technology, it makes it very simple for us to record videos. In fact, most of us every day are using now during COVID, we’re using a video-based platform. That wasn’t our intention when we started. We wanted to capture the essence of who we are. I wanted to capture the essence of who I was for my son in this storytelling.

[00:06:07] Dean Barber: Ben, do you ever go back and think what would have been like if your father could have done these videos? And then your son really would have gotten to know him personally even better, I think, and was that really kind of what drove you to this? Because it wasn’t just you telling the story to your son. How much more powerful would it have been? Could it have been your father telling the stories, right?

Or maybe you and him together and just whatever moments whether you guys were out fishing or doing whatever and here’s what it was like today and capturing that. But I want to go back to something that you said because I think it was really, really critical. And I’ve been in the financial services industry now for 33 years and we take people through an exercise. We call it a prioritization exercise. It’s part of our Guided Retirement System, hence, the name The Guided Retirement Show here.

And one of the things that we do at the very beginning is we go through this prioritization exercise with couples and we talk about what are the most important things in your life. And we have a series of 15 different cards that have different sayings on them and one of them is, “Protect my family if I’m not around.” Another one is taking care of my loved ones, etcetera. So, in almost every single case of every person I’ve gone through this exercise with, you’re right. Family is right there at the top. And so, your creation of Wishlife, I think is a huge deal because what it does is it allows people to leave that emotional legacy, what’s important to them and how they want their family to remember them. And so, it’s huge.

[00:07:54] Ben Weisshaut: Yes, that’s right. Yeah. Anyone that you ask regardless of their net worth, they’re going to tell you that. And there’s great studies around this too. So, being a tech entrepreneur, I’m very data-driven. If you look at the studies out there, there’s a great study by Allianz and they say that 86% and MetLife has studies, lots of insurance companies have studies out there, but they say that 86% of families, think about that, let’s pause for a second, 86% say that an emotional legacy, a non-monetary, non-financial legacy is six times greater of importance than a financial legacy. When we think about that…

[00:08:40] Dean Barber: So, let me ask you a question. Let me ask you a question. You bring up a good point there. So, think about this. I have no idea whether your father left you any wealth or not, but I bet you that if he did that that’s not what you were journaling about. Right? You were journaling about the life and the connection that you guys had and I think that’s really what it comes down to because in most people’s lives, it’s never about the money. Money is how you get to do some of the things that you do but at the end of the day, you’d rather had your father around for a lot longer to get to know your son than any inheritance that you could possibly ever receive.

[00:09:23] Ben Weisshaut: Oh, absolutely. And you touched on something a little bit earlier about having videos of my dad and unfortunately, we have very few videos of my dad and my son just longs to hear his voice. We have a couple of recordings and he plays those recordings over and over and over and over again. And so, we want to prevent, the part of this is preventing and doing this while you’re still here.

And, as you’ve said, having the power of video in telling those stories together and making sure that you have all of these things organized in one place for that download. All of us have lost someone close to us. And while we’re still here, we’re healthy, we’re living in crazy times but while we’re here, how do we capture these emotional assets that are six times greater than the financial assets? You’re 100% right.

The financial piece, even for my own son, my wife and I have made hundreds of videos for our own son on leaving a financial legacy. But why we are philanthropists and why we are donating our capital to various organizations and he’s not getting 100% of that capital. My concern with my son, I’ve been very fortunate and blessed and had a couple of huge wins in my businesses. And my concern with my own son is not about capital. It’s about him becoming a good human being and having good values.

And the way he’s going to do that is the way that we raise him. And so, having all of this organized for him in the event that something happens to us or doesn’t happen to us but having it there for his children, my grandchildren, my grandchildren’s grandchildren, is something that’s very, very important.

[00:11:23] Ben Weisshaut: Intergenerationally, I want to touch on one thing. There are studies that have been done around children knowing these stories, knowing how families have made their wealth. And children who know where they come from are stronger emotionally and physically and there’s lots of studies out there on this particular topic. So, this isn’t just about leaving stories in the sense of, okay, well, I’m leaving this great story. It’s also that children long for knowing where they come from where grandma and grandpa, how they met, how they came to be, how mom and dad built their wealth, why mom and dad have made these decisions. And so, this process that we take families through enables that.

[00:12:18] Dean Barber: So, let’s get into it a little bit. So, you created this platform called Wishlife. You talked about the reason why you created it. Talk to me about the evolution of when you first introduced this concept, who do you introduce it to first? What was the reaction and how has it taken off? How many people now are using your Wishlife platform? What kind of reactions are you getting from people?

[00:12:50] Ben Weisshaut: When we first set out on this mission, it was very basic, and we actually started being kind of scientific. We started with case studies. So, we visited 50 families just with a notebook and a pen, no digital life, no iPad. And we just sat down with families and we interviewed them. And we asked them these questions because we wanted to validate the data that was already out there with the Allianz study and the MetLife study and some of these large organizations studies.

So, we literally interviewed them and we asked them, “What are the most important things to you? Tell us a little bit about what it was like in your household when you were growing up.” And at the end of each one of these 50 case studies that we did, in all 50 the conclusion was that they would prefer to leave a non-monetary legacy versus financial wealth when it came down to it because real wealth is about more than just money.

So, that evolved into a version 1.0 of us what we call wireframing, which is basically sketching out before you write software, what it would be like. We wanted every generation to be able to use this in a very simplistic way. And it wasn’t to be a platform that it was one and done. In the old days, we would film grandma and grandpa sitting on the couch with a VHS recorder where we’ve been fortunately blessed with technology in the sense that now with our mobile devices, we just click and storage is so inexpensive that we can create a video.

And so, we started building this and testing it with baby boomers, my mom, family members that were in their 70s, and we’ve made it easy enough and fun enough for both the young generation, my 12-year-old, who is on things like TikTok and YouTube all the way to the baby boomer generation to where they enjoy that as well.

[00:15:02] Ben Weisshaut: So, it’s come full circle. And what we’ve seen is when families go through this process, there’s a playbook for it. You can do it yourself as a family. It’s a little bit gamified with different topics. It’s enabled on all devices. And we also have a digital home device with Apple, where this is embedded. And you can actually on an iPad, just have this as a device that you’re using to communicate that it’s only for family communication. So, the families that have done this, thousands of them now, going into the tens of thousands, the families that have done this, the reaction has been overwhelming and it’s as a mission-driven company and a socially-responsible company to help families capture their emotional legacy.

Peace of mind is the first thing that we hear. I am so glad that I’ve gone through this process. I’ve recorded my parents and I’ve shared everything I wanted to with my children and I downloaded everything from my heart. And I’ve continued on using the platform to build on capturing significant events and capturing conversations that matter most with my family. The peace of mind piece is huge that this is done and that the emotional assets are protected but the other really cool thing the reaction that we get is our photos, our videos, everything scattered everywhere.

So, after that first download happens with these amazing topics from ancestors to children to why I love you, we have over 300 topics to choose from and you can create your own topics and questions but once that first download’s done then it becomes very fun. And what I mean by that is imagine having one place for all of your family communication. It’s not scattered in Dropbox…

[00:17:11] Dean Barber: And you’re talking about grandma, you’re talking about grandpa, you’re talking about kids, the grandkids, everybody.

[00:17:16] Ben Weisshaut: Grandkids. And it’s not about amplifying out per se to your outer circle of your family. This is a private family communication platform. It’s the most secure video platform on the internet. We’ve got security experts. We go through audits with some of the biggest companies in the world, companies like Pacific Life Insurance Company, lots of Fortune 100 companies that we work with and so security is key.

But you touched on something right there that I want to focus on for a minute. The family is the focus. This isn’t Facebook, where you’re going on and you’re sharing about the last meal you had or your buddies wedding or bachelor party. This is about family communication. Typically, we have something called a family circle in the platform that is your homepage and imagine it as a circle with all of your family members who are closest with you.

And those family members are creating data in content on a daily, weekly, monthly level and they’re sharing that content. If grandma and grandpa lived on the east coast and you live on the west coast, you’re able to see that content and share more content, invite other family members to come in and collaborate on that content. So, your videos and your photos aren’t scattered just on your iPhone, and you’re going, “Oh my gosh, I wanted to see when my son’s graduation was.” You got to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll. Well, no. The platform allows you to organize it in a way and search on it in a way where it’s chapters of your life. So, if you had a graduation and imagine creating one chapter or your kid’s graduation and delivering that chapter to him or her on their graduation day.

[00:19:17] Ben Weisshaut: And by the way, there’s one really cool feature that we have in there. It’s called the invite feature. And you literally, again, this is all video through your mobile phone. You could make a video inviting all the people in your family and outside the family not to see the content but to create content. So, in my case, my son graduated from the fifth grade and I invited 100 friends, family members, and I said, “Please leave a video of how proud you are that he’s graduated.” And all those videos came into that chapter and I presented it to him and he was just wowed. So, you can use that invite feature. It’s collaborative and it is for the family.

[00:19:55] Dean Barber: That’s really cool. You know, you touched on something earlier and there’s a quote that I like to put out there all the time and it’s about wealth, and the quote is true wealth is defined as something that money can’t buy and death can’t take away. And that’s really what you’re doing here, right?

[00:20:16] Ben Weisshaut: Yeah. We’re balancing, we’re bringing in, we all worked so hard. I mean, sometimes we spend more time at work than we do with our family, and then by the time we get there and we’re successful, we look back, and we missed a lot of things. We missed a lot of things, at least I have, regretfully. And so, making money, it’s great. You have your belongings, you have your toys, and all that.

But for me and for all of the feedback going back for the feedback, when it comes down to it, nothing matters more than family, and being able to capture and balancing the things that matter most, those great stories, how you came to be, your values. In my dad’s case, there’s one thing that I wanted to touch on. When my dad got sick, it all happened so quickly. It was like whiplash. One day he was here and the next day he was ill.

It was chaotic, it was a crisis, and one of the things in the platform that was really important for me and this is something that we’ve gotten feedback. We call it a responsible legacy. And this touches on some of the things around our wishes, whether it’s our trust, estate, our will, or healthcare wishes. In my dad’s case and we all have our horror stories of what happens when someone passes but in my dad’s case, there were family members. He had his Advanced Health Care Directive. It was in place, but there were family members who were trying to keep him alive longer against his will by hiring attorneys. And again, we’ve all had our experiences. So, what we’ve done at Wishlife and through these guided topics is we touch on this responsible legacy and we make videos alongside of documents.

[00:22:16] Ben Weisshaut: The neat thing about that is that our family here is exactly what we would want if there was a crisis.

[00:22:24] Dean Barber: So, nobody’s going to be able to misinterpret the way that the will or the trust is written.

[00:22:29] Ben Weisshaut: Absolutely. And again, you can’t use that in the court of law but the family hears it straight from the person’s mouth. In my dad’s case, he said, “No heroic measures. If I can’t eat, I’m ready to go. I’ve had a blessed life.” Well, a lot of times family members for whatever their own personal reasons they get very attached to certain things. They read things differently in a trust or a will. And whether it’s fighting over capital or going against someone’s wishes. I

n the process, what we do is we take families through this guided experience that allows them to actually express their wishes alongside of a potential document, or going again, back to storytelling, the pictures and the amazing photos you have of your ancestry and being able to narrate that and talk about what it was like going fishing with your dad and what it was like growing up on your grandpa’s farm.

All these really important things that ultimately our children should know about us and generations going forward. It’s great. We’ve got You know where you come from but what about going forward and capturing the essence of who you are? How cool would it be to have a video of your great, great grandparents telling you their story? Many of us are immigrants who our ancestors came from Ireland and Italy in places, and we don’t know their story, their struggles. Knowing those struggles, what they went through are so important for us. So, both the living legacy on the storytelling side and the responsible legacy, they are equally as important. This foundation will help build the family and continue the family values.

[00:24:16] Dean Barber: That’s awesome. I’m thinking about how my grandfather was my best friend. And my kids got to know him a little bit, but not near enough. I don’t have those stories. You know, you got what do you have? The photo album, right?

[00:24:36] Ben Weisshaut: Yeah.

[00:24:37] Dean Barber: You know, sitting around and you’re looking through the photos and it can help you tell some stories but once I’m gone, then those stories are going to be gone for good.

[00:24:44] Ben Weisshaut: That’s right. And you telling the stories about your grandpa, and all of the amazing, amazing experience in the learning, the learning, and how you are shaped by those learning experiences. I know that you had an amazing relationship with him and I’m sure your own values of who you are in your daily relationships, your family, your practice, they were shaped. And it’s so important to capture these stories and why, and that impact that he had on you.

[00:25:20] Dean Barber: Ben, you said something earlier that I think is really critical because I think that – so just like in my job as a financial planner until I can actually guide people through the process of financial planning, they have a hard time with the concept of financial planning and the concept of having peace of mind, clarity, and confidence, and control over your financial future.

And I’m sitting here thinking if somebody doesn’t really know how they would put all this together, you said you have a guided process that helps them put this all together. And I’m assuming that this guided process is ever-evolving based on things that you’re learning, as you’ve done this with thousands of people and thousands of families across the country.

[00:26:15] Ben Weisshaut: That’s correct. What we’ve seen culturally is that families want to do this but there’s never been a digital platform to humanize this. And what I mean by that is, and I don’t want to get too deep into this, but we all know that our devices take us away from our family. Whether we’re sitting at the dinner table, the kids or the mom that whips out the cell phone, still doing text, still doing email and all that.

Well, Wishlife brings you closer together, and they bring that family unit closer together. And that, in fact, if we look at the history of the internet, that’s what the internet started as is to bring people closer together but it brought us further apart, unfortunately, in many platforms. So, what we do is this product was built as a do-it-yourself product. So, if you take the time and I don’t want to sugarcoat it, it does take time just like anything else in life.

Whether you’re planning your financial future, it’s the same thing. It does take time. It’s very simple but it’s fun. And the outcome is amazing when you deliver this to your family and continue communicating on this your family. So, it was built as a do-it-yourself product. You can do this yourself but what we’ve learned is many times families want a little bit of help. They want a little assistance.

So, we have trained coaches from the wellness space that are on staff that we match families with. We take them through this guided process, starting from literally where were you born and what was it like growing up in your household? Do you know why you were named Ben? Me being the name Ben, renamed after a grandparent, all the way through to what I spoke about on the responsible legacy.

[00:28:14] Dean Barber: That’s pretty cool. So, I’m just thinking, right, so you’re going to have a lot of content there. And then how do you put that together? How does that come into a thing where people aren’t going to sit down and watch eight hours of a video. They need bite-sized pieces. What have you done there?

[00:28:35] Ben Weisshaut: Yeah. That’s a great question. Most people after three minutes of watching video, whether it’s themselves or something else, their attention span wane. So, we have expert editors who actually they edit the videos and they organize them in chapters, chapters of your life. And you can also go back and re-edit and edit on your own. And should you choose, you could also edit them and make these videos right in front of any device, mobile device, web. It’s for everything. But should you choose us to help you, we organize those for you.

It’s very simple. It takes about a week once you’ve done that first download of going through the process, and we deliver that back to you. So, it’s hands-on. There is that service component but I do want to say that we have families that are doing this themselves, both complete the process themselves or we do it for them and they continue to build on it.

So, you’ve got the DIY all the way to the full what we call a concierge service, and we work with, again, we do not offer this direct-to-consumer. We work with our ambassadors, folks like you, Dean, who take this to the family in those trusted relationships and we work with you on behalf of you as an extension to help the families create, organize, and share the content. Once they get into it, it just kind of becomes addictive and viral is what we’ve seen as families just keep building and building, and instead of using iPhoto, they use this, and then other family members can comment and see in the platform in the chapters.

[00:30:26] Dean Barber: Okay. Let’s take a quick break. This is The Guided Retirement Show. I’m Dean Barber. We’ll be right back.


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[00:31:48] Ben Weisshaut: There’s a great study by Allianz and they say that 86% and MetLife has studies, lots of insurance companies have studies out there but they say that 86% of families, think about that, pause for a second, 86% say that an emotional legacy, a non-monetary, non-financial legacy is six times greater of importance than a financial legacy.


[00:32:30] Dean Barber: Welcome back to our program. I’m Dean Barber. Now, you’ve got demos of how this works, what it looks like, and we’ll put links to those demos out here in the show notes so that you can take a look at that if you want. Then also, there are links in the show notes to contact us if you’re interested in getting started or learning more about the Wishlife process but I think it’s something that I can go back to, you know, doing this for 33 years, I’ve had a lot of really, really good relationships with a lot of clients.

I’ve got one family that I’m actually in the fourth generation of managing wealth and working with the fourth generation of the original couple that I started working with years and years and years ago. It’s powerful. But I’m thinking how much more powerful would it have been had this technology existed when that original couple became clients of mine? Could we have done this and shared this?

It’s cool to see the progression and I can tell that third and fourth generation stories about their parents or their grandparents that they didn’t even know, right, because this was a side of their life from a financial perspective that a lot of families don’t ever talk about. This gives them that platform and the ability to share whatever they want to share.

[00:33:58] Ben Weisshaut: Absolutely. Yeah. That would have been amazing to capture that a fourth-gen. I mean, that is amazing that you’ve had that client that long. And it is. I mean, again, our mission is to help families. We feel like we’re in a rush. We’re in a sprint to get to as many families as possible, to get that cast net out there, and try to basically awaken families and make them aware that this is out there and it’s for them.

And what we see is most families that get to hear about this, they say, “Oh, man, I wish I would have had this when my mom was still and my grandparents were still around,” and as you said, four generations going back. So, we encourage people of every socioeconomic status to take the time to do this and they will see the impact immediately when they see that first video and have that peace of mind.

This isn’t a deferred gratification platform. This is instant gratification. When you make that first video and you tell your story about your grandpa, and what it was like being around him, what type of person he was, what you learn from him, his values, how he shaped you. That’s immediate gratification. You send that video to your kids and they see it and say, “Wow, dad. I never knew that. You never told us this stuff.” And that’s saved forever.

[00:35:40] Dean Barber: And then my grandkids will be able to see it and so on.

[00:35:44] Ben Weisshaut: Great grandkids, great-great grandkids. Technology is evolving so fast and storage is getting less expensive and everything is going to be captured. By the way, this platform and this mission wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago. It’s only because of the evolution of technology and the fact that storage has gone down. Even seven years ago, it would have been an unaffordable product. But now that storage is so inexpensive in digital life with mobile devices has come into play, it makes it seamless.

[00:36:26] Dean Barber: So, you said every socioeconomic background, right? So, this isn’t something that is reserved for the ultra-wealthy or even the multi-millionaire. It’s something that you think is you priced this so that families can afford it?

[00:36:44] Ben Weisshaut: Absolutely. I grew up in a very middle-class family that was hard workers, did the grind, and our mission is it’s everyone’s birthright to be able to capture, share, and preserve their legacy regardless. This is affordable for every family out there. The difference is, is that if you are someone who wants to pay for more of the service piece with a concierge or coach to take you through this, if you want to upload, help uploading your photos or help with your directives, and you want someone by your side actually hand-holding you and interviewing you in your home or remotely as we’re doing now, there’s a cost to that. But in terms of you being able to do this yourself, it’s incredibly affordable. It’s very inexpensive.

And again, our focus at Wishlife isn’t making money. Our focus is helping families protect their legacy they want to leave to their family. As a company, I wouldn’t say, I’ve had four companies, I wouldn’t say that this one is the one that has anything to do. It happens to be a business now but it’s got a mission and the mission is protecting families. That’s our 100%. Every single employee, that’s our mantra and that’s what we do. And that’s why we align with great folks like you, Dean, because that’s your mission also. And that’s your focus. That’s your firm’s focus. I’ve read back and forth what you do going through the process. Preserving wealth is important, but what you’re doing is by bringing Wishlife.

[00:38:42] Ben Weisshaut: You’re already having a lot of these conversations with your clients, whether they’re first-gen or fourth-gen, whether they’re elders or grandchildren. You’re doing what we’re doing and that’s why we’re aligned on our culture.

[00:38:59] Dean Barber: Oh, no doubt. And the values, for sure.

[00:39:02] Ben Weisshaut: It’s all value-driven. We just feel blessed to have you as an ambassador to take this to your families. Because the more families that we get to, that’s our satisfaction. That’s our scorecard for success.

[00:39:20] Dean Barber: Well, and you know, our mission is to help as many people as possible. That’s the deal, right? Because what we do is very, very important and I think the addition of what we’re bringing here to our families with the Wishlife process is going to be an amazing boost to the legacy that our clients can leave. I want to tell you a quick story to kind of tie into why we think this is so critical.

So, remember, I tell you about the prioritization exercise that we take our prospective clients through and our clients through, and one of the cards says, “I want to spend more time with the people I care about,” and that one almost always goes to the top. All right. Who do you care about? Well, it’s my family. Tell me about your family. We got kids. I have grandkids and they’re living all over the place. And so, one of the things that I do is I say, “Well, what’s holding you back?” “Well, they’re busy.” I’m like, “Okay. Do you still take family vacations? Do you find a destination where everybody can take a week and go to this destination once a year?”

“Well, I don’t know if we could do that or not.” I’m like, “What if you paid for it? Do you think your kids would take off work and join you for a week if you paid for it?” “I don’t know if we could afford that.” And I said, “Well, let’s try putting that into your plan. Let’s see if it’s affordable. Let’s see if it’s doable. Do you think they’d do it if you could pay for it?” “Oh, I’m sure they would. Yeah, and they bring the grandkids too and it’d be awesome.”

And so, we start doing these things and I’ve got now so many families that their kids are grown. They’ve got families of their own, but they still have their family vacation budget as part of their retirement plan because I knew that one of the most important things that they wanted to do with their life was spend more time with the people that they care about. And so, we created this ability now for them to understand, “Ah, this is doable. I can do that.” And so, we’re creating that living legacy is what I’ve called it. You’re creating memories and you’re doing things as a family that otherwise you may not have done.

[00:41:21] Dean Barber: And I think that there are so many people that just don’t think about all the things that they can do. And part of our coaching and guiding process is to try to help people live their one best financial life and live your life for the reason that you want to live it. And don’t sit around and think, “Well if I spent $10 or $1,000 too much and that might do something over here,” most of the time that’s just an embedded fear that’s not real.

[00:41:51] Ben Weisshaut: Yeah, I mean, all of the things that you’re focusing on are completely align with the mission. So, again, nothing matters more than family. When you’re taking the family through the process of the cards, that it’s always, “I’d like to spend more time with my family. I like to be closer to the family.” And that’s digitally what we’re doing is we’re taking those conversations that you’re having and that they’re having with their family and we’re binding it digitally because everybody’s using digital devices now. Well, how do you store it? How do you save it? So, the mission that you’re on is the same mission that we’re on.

[00:42:39] Dean Barber: Which is why we’re so excited to partner up with you guys and the technology. Again, it’s all about family and people and how can we create better lives, better legacies for, to me, my clients are my extended family. They are people that I care about and I know them and I know them well and personally, and we build very deep bond relationships. I couldn’t go four generations deep in relationships with people if there wasn’t something more there than just a transactional, money-based relationship.

[00:43:20] Ben Weisshaut: Oh, yeah. Yeah. No doubt. And one of the things I wanted to just for a second to focus on for the folks that are listening, when they hear about this, it’s hard to visualize. So, the links are out there but one of the things I want to say is this platform, it’s fun and the process is fun. It’s an uplifting experience. And that’s the same thing, Dean, that you do is you take people and you uplift them in your process, in balancing that with the financial side, the process that we’re taking them through, and that they’re going through is down to a science.

So, the needs of a family that’s just starting out versus someone who has already made their wealth, both those processes will be a different process. There’s a lot of overlap. But I want to amplify and share that it is an uplifting exercise that we go through.

It’s something that and there’ll be examples on these links and videos. Some folks that we’ve actually done in Kansas City as well. So, it is an uplifting, transformative process. It’s not something that’s static and, “Oh, I got to go through this.” No. It’s something, it’s like writing your own book, telling your own story, and it’s so fulfilling from the beginning to the end. And then when you get the content like when you spoke about your grandfather right here on this podcast, I saw your eyes light up. He did something. He did something major in your life and was hugely impactful. So, along with what you’re doing and I don’t see you, Dean, as a financial advisor.

[00:45:23] Ben Weisshaut: I don’t see you as a financial advisor. I’m sure that’s your sweet spot but I see you as a life manager and helping educate people on how to have happier lives and more fulfilling lives. That’s the way that I see your practice and your mission, and that’s what you’re good at.

[00:45:52] Dean Barber: Well, that’s why we call it financial life reimagined, right, because a lot of times people’s money is separated from their life and what’s important. And our process is designed to bring your money and your life together so that you get that clarity and confidence and control so that you can really do the things that are truly important to you.

[00:46:14] Ben Weisshaut: And by you helping people slow down and start to think about some of these things and have a process, right? None of us are experts in what you do, but you enabling people to slow down and you’ve been doing this long enough where you have a model. You have a model now, a proven model that actually brings people to a more fulfilling, a more fruitful, and a happier life with their families.

[00:46:42] Dean Barber: Yeah. I could tell so many stories. It’s one of these things where it’s really quickly I’ll tell one more story and then we’ll kind of wrap this thing up. I think people get what we’re doing here. So, I worked with this couple for probably a dozen years to get them to the date when they could retire, and they retired a couple of years ago. And we did everything. I mean, we planned how many vacations we’re going to take?

Where are we going to go? What do we want to see? What do we want to do? How much is this going to cost? We calculated inflation into it and all these things. This couple retired and they started traveling, they started doing their things, and I would get pictures from the locations where they’re going, and, hey, here we are. This is awesome. And thanks for helping us put all this together and then COVID hit and all their plans for 2020 kind of just went out the window.

And so, they called me up and they said, “Hey, Dean, what would happen if we bought a second home in Wisconsin where some of our kids and grandkids are living and that it gives us a chance to get out and do some things and be close to the kids. We can spend more time with them there. We’re not obviously going to be able to do some of this traveling this year. Maybe we keep the place for three, five, seven years.

We’re not sure. But what’s that do to our plan?” And so, the cool thing was that, with everything already in place, it took me literally 20 minutes to figure out if they were to buy a place in Wisconsin, how much could they afford? And then that way that allowed them to go out and say, “All right, here’s what we can afford. Let’s go look for something in this price range.” Lo and behold, they wound up buying a place. And so, I know they love to drink wine. So, I send them a wine decanter and a couple of glasses to celebrate their new home. And the most rewarding thing for me, the whole process was the thank you note that I got from them of thanks for making this a reality and it’s incredible.

[00:48:42] Dean Barber: And so, you’re right. It is financial life reimagined and adding the aspect of what you’ve done with Wishlife, to me, I think is just going to be something that’s even going to be that much more powerful for our clients not just to understand that they can live their one best financial life but they can transfer how they do that and what they did down to the next generation and instill those values for generations to come.

[00:49:07] Ben Weisshaut: That’s right. And the balance of that whole legacy that’s what it’s all about, receiving that thank you note and then feeling fulfilled. And for you being able to guide them instantly on one of their needs, right, being closer to the grandchildren. So, for us, being able to take all of these things in amazing lives that these families have had or if they’re just starting out, for us to be able to have that opportunity alongside of you, Dean. We feel grateful, we feel blessed, and we’re looking forward to helping the families in, as you’ve said, as the extension of your family.

And I know that you hold everyone there. So, we just feel very fortunate and happy that anytime if any of the families have any questions regarding more detail because we did go pretty quickly. There’s going to be the links and we’ve made this again affordable for every socioeconomic status. So, I feel really grateful for you having us today.

[00:50:30] Dean Barber: Absolutely. Well, I’m glad you’re here. And so, I think it’s no coincidence that we call this The Guided Retirement Show. I call this the guided legacy, right? So, we’re going to help you get to that. Make sure to check the show notes for links to demos of the Wishlife system. And even if you’re not a client of ours, we can still help you go through this Wishlife process.

It’s not an exclusive thing that’s only available for clients. If you want to say, hey, this sounds interesting to me, then I don’t care what part of the country you live in because I know this podcast gets played in pretty much all 50 states right now. So, it’s getting more popular as we go along here. And, Ben, guests like you make that possible. So, thanks for taking the time. I know you’re busy. And I appreciate you telling your story. It’s powerful. Again, get out there, check the show notes, get to the links. And if you want to set up a conversation, there’ll be a place there to do that as well. Ben, thanks for being here.

[00:51:33] Ben Weisshaut: Yep. Thanks so much again, everybody, and, everyone, stay healthy out there.

[00:51:38] Dean Barber: Absolutely.


[00:51:39] Dean Barber: I got to tell you, that was one of the most fun interviews that I’ve ever done. I don’t know if you could tell but I got a little teared up there a couple of times. And you know, you’re talking about emotional things. You’re talking about family and the things that are most important. Please share this episode with your friends. Subscribe on your podcast. We appreciate you joining us on The Guided Retirement Show. And we hope that you share this with your friends and continue to listen and we have continued great guests coming up.


Investment advisory service is offered through Modern Wealth Management, an SEC-registered investment advisor.

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Investment advisory services offered through Modern Wealth Management, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.