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Patricia J. Hinds: Spreading Retirement Smarts

Firm: Granite Financial (Securities America)

City: Saint Cloud, Minn.

AGE: 60

Years as advisor: licensed since 1991, started as insurance agent 1989

Years with current firm: 21

AUM: $73.7 million

12-mo. Production: $681,000

Product Mix: Stocks and bonds 1%, insurance 8%, managed accounts 59%; annuities, 32%

Specialty: retirement, income distribution and estate planning.

Designations, licenses: CFP, insurance, Series 6, 7, 24, 63, 65

Patricia J. Hinds is passionate about financial education. It is a passion she developed through personal experience. In 1984, her husband had an accident that injured his back so severely he was unable to return to work. Though she and her husband had been relatively confident that their family of four was financially secure, they were not prepared for such a disaster. Suddenly, Hinds had to scramble to figure out a way to re-enter the work force and support the family. It was a wake-up call.

Her first stop on this new career path was the reception desk at a dental office. Five years later, she began to work as an agent in an insurance office, and then in 1991, she launched Granite Financial “out of the trunk of her car,” she says. Thus began her career as a financial advisor.

Hinds also saw her father make an unfortunate decision about his own retirement due to lack of financial knowledge. In 1991, he retired from his job at a paper mill, and, without understanding what he was doing or consulting his daughter, chose the life-only option for his pension plan. When he passed away from leukemia in 2004, his pension went with him. Hinds' mother ended up with less than a third of their combined income — she took his Social Security and had to give up her own.

“So many times, people make irrevocable decisions, and they don't have the knowledge to make a good decision,” says Hinds. “Even for myself, when the kids were younger and we had this episode with my husband, we didn't know better and cashed out his 401(k). We didn't know we would be paying income tax, let alone an IRS penalty.”

It wasn't until 2010 that Hinds took her personal passion and turned it into a philanthropic project: the Retirement Resource Center. Through the center she serves families with average income of $75,000, who don't know where else to turn for advice. Last year, she held multiple meetings with each of around 45 families, and her goal is to educate 500 families over the next 10 years. One widow with six kids whom she recently helped broke down in tears of relief during their second meeting together.

Hinds' desire to give back to her community extends beyond the Retirement Resource Center. She and her partners and assistants as well as some of her clients participate in an annual food drive. They collect the food and then haul it off to a Catholic Charities center. They also spend a half day every year bagging meals in assembly line fashion for Feed My Starving Children, which donates the meals for individual communities in Third World countries. In addition, she provides scholarships to the local high school and donates to Cancer Care and Great Theater.

“We just kind of give the time when the need arises,” she says.

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