Confessions of a future retiree: Get started with retirement planning


Does retirement feel out of reach? It did for one Vanderbilt employee until she met one on one with a Fidelity guidance consultant. The employee, who asked to remain anonymous, shared how the session helped her better understand her retirement goals and inspired her to start saving so she could achieve them.

Just two months ago, I was unfamiliar with Fidelity’s one-on-one consultations. I was contributing the minimum amount to my retirement account and thought I didn’t earn enough to make a difference. I felt overwhelmed by the idea of saving for retirement and was intimidated by investing and the stock market. I had been putting retirement planning on the back burner. Then I heard a co-worker talking about meeting with a Fidelity guidance consultant.

My co-worker, who is about to retire and take a trip, said the Fidelity one-on-one consultation really helped her and suggested I schedule a meeting. At first I was skeptical—I don’t have lots of extra money lying around—but then I started thinking about what I’d like to do when I retire. I felt even better when she told me the sessions are free—no strings attached.

I logged on to Fidelity’s online scheduling system and easily signed up to meet with Brock Goodwin, one of Vanderbilt’s two dedicated consultants, in one of Sarratt’s conference rooms. I told Brock I didn’t think I had enough income or time to save for retirement, but he immediately put my mind at ease. He explained the purpose of the session was to help me understand my retirement goals and how to reach them.

After looking at my retirement account and asking a few questions, Brock plugged some numbers into Fidelity’s NetBenefits website. When we looked at my financial picture, I was able to see how I actually would be able to save more money for retirement by making a few tweaks to my account. For example, Brock noticed I was only making the mandatory 3 percent contributions to my account and showed me what would happen if I started contributing just 2 percent voluntarily (an additional 4 percent with the Vanderbilt match!). This move will earn me more than $100,000 over a 20-year period.

I updated my voluntary contribution rate to 2 percent during the meeting, but Brock showed me how to make changes to my account any time using NetBenefits. Even though the session was just 45 minutes, I felt like we got a lot done and left feeling much better.

I still have a long way to go, but I’m so glad I took the first step. I’d definitely recommend the sessions to my co-workers—if I can do it, anyone can!

Note: If you have met with Fidelity consultants Brock Goodwin or Brandon Hall and would like to share your story, email