Pasadena Duo Teaches Retirement Challenges, Joys

Mitchell Kauffman and Joanne Moran
Mitchell Kauffman and Joanne Moran

Life after retirement may seem a distant future filled with leisurely walks, sunsets and golf rounds, but the realization of the golden years also can be a rocky path of uncertain economic stability and feelings of futility, say those who have forged the path previously.
What should be years of joy and tranquility — oftentimes for married couples, in particular — also can morph into depression that comes with loss of purpose, changing roles and fear of change.
Those fears are what brought financial planner Mitchell Kauffman and his wife and partner, Joanne Moran, a clinical psychologist, to work together, creating workshops to help others manage the financial and emotional challenges for a successful retirement.
Called “I’m Home … for Good” is the next presentation to be held by the couple on June 24 through Pasadena City College Extended Learning program.
Listening to their clients’ fears separately at work is what gave the happily married couple the idea to work together for the seminars.
“It just kind of happened, that Mitch and I would be talking about work, and he would say, ‘My clients are so stressed about what to do after retirement,’ and I would say, ‘So are mine!’” Moran said. “We realized that our clients have a lot in common when it comes to retirement, but from different perspectives.”
So they joined forces. Together, the dynamic duo addresses some basic retirement concerns such as managing money, fear to spend one’s hard-earned life’s savings correctly, caring for a legacy or inheritance, and more elusive questions such as how to achieve happiness and stay relevant in the years away from work.
“We want to empower people,” Moran said. “All of this is within your control — you’re in charge of your future. It’s just about knowing the options and making choices.”
Many clients are simply concerned with how much is enough to retire. That magic number is about as elusive as life itself, said Kauffman, managing director and owner of Kauffman Wealth Management.
“I ask people, ‘Tell me how long you’re going to live?’ and we can have a better idea,” he said, chuckling. “But it’s a process, you have to know what you want your retirement to look like before we can determine how much it is going to cost.”
With more than 35 years working as an independent wealth manager, Kauffman manages some $200 million in funds for about 110 families. He also is an Instructor of Financial Planning and Investment Management at the UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. Moran, meanwhile, maintains a private therapy practice and has more than 40 years of experience counseling individuals and couples.
The pair’s most recent seminars are focused on couples achieving mutual goals together in retirement, which they also call transitioning or passaging.
“Most married couples actually spend most of their younger lives apart, spending their hours separately to work and raise children … suddenly they are thrown together full-time in retirement, and that can be a real adjustment,” she noted.
Ron and Susan Dresher attended one of the seminars a few years ago as they were heading into retirement. The couple knew they were very excited to leave the workforce behind, but unsure of the details surrounding “managing the money and managing our personalities,” noted Susan.
They said Kauffman’s class opened up many topics for discussion between the couple, including hobbies, wishes, social circles and volunteer work, as well as the financial basics and investment ideas.
“For me, I appreciated the view of how to approach ‘togetherness’ after so many years of living together, but working apart,” Ron Dresher said. “A lot goes into that, like how to form new relationships and social circles because those also change. Balancing your life is the key thing in how to have satisfaction, purpose and pleasure.”
The Dreshers have been on track to that end, they note, chuckling over their busy schedules during a conference phone call recently. The couple travel extensively, spend time with grandchildren, hold steady volunteer jobs and enjoy exercise.
Kauffman and Moran helped them hit all those points, they said.
For more information on the June 24 class, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., visit or call (866) 467-8981.

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