Retirement According to…Stuart Zimmerman: Phase Four

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored five published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.  Alan’s latest book, Body Not Recovered, is a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and it has deep St. Louis roots.

By Alan Spector

Stuart Zimmerman is fully immersed in the time of life that he refers to as “Phase Four.”  Some might call it retirement, but not Stuart.  

What were his first three phases?  Phase 1—childhood and education.  Phase 2—a successful 28-year CPA career at RubinBrown.  Phase 3—a successful 21-year wealth management career at Buckingham Asset Management, which he cofounded in 1994.

Throughout his professional career, he guided others as they managed their finances to help them build the future they wanted to live.  Now Stuart is making his own transition into his future and building his Phase Four.  Based on the approach he is using, he is a role model for planning a life-after-career.  We would all do well to emulate how he is proceeding.

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For years, my friend, coauthor, and friend Keith Lawrence and I have been sharing a life-planning model in my retirement workshops.  I call it “Finding the Magic.”  Stuart is intuitively employing the model. 

He considered what he is passionate about and concluded it is helping others, being intellectually stimulated, and enhancing the wealth management industry.  He thought about what his strengths are and concluded that he is great at bringing people together in common cause, and that he has profound wealth management mastery. 

What was not as evident for him was where he could apply these passions and strengths.  Stuart reached out to his networks to identify where he might be needed, and in doing so, made contacts with those who could both help him identify the needs and put him a position to act on them.

Stuart is now an Executive-in-Residence at the Olin School of Business at Washington University.  He is working with the school’s administration and faculty to create the first-ever-in-the-country Master of Finance in Wealth and Asset Management program.   

His activities are aligned with his passions and strengths, and the excitement expressed by both the school and corporate sponsors indicate that the need is real.  Stuart has found the magic.  

By the way, if you get an opportunity to talk to Stuart about this work, you can see the sparkle in his eye and feel the enthusiasm he brings to the project.  It is similar to the enthusiasm he emanates when talking about supporting his son, Jake, in his candidacy for Missouri Attorney General.

And you can see this sparkle in and feel enthusiasm from any retiree who has found the magic.  What are your passions?  What are you great at?  What does the world need that you can help with?  Align these and you too can find the magic.