Sharing her time and expertise to help Special Operations Forces couples plan for retirement is
one way Alex Valdes gives back to the military community. “Everybody has their different specialities. I speak the financial language, so that’s what I can share. They’re keeping our nation safe, and I’m helping them plan for their retirement,” says Valdes, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management in Tampa, Florida.
Alex learned about OHF through a client in July of 2019. Soon after, she began working with OHF Executive Director Jeff Hudson to develop financial planning services for couples involved with the organization, free of charge.
Over the course of several meetings, Alex helps couples assess their current financial situation and build a plan for the future. “We start with a wealth outlook worksheet, which helps me begin to put together a retirement plan for the couples,” she says. “We look at where they are today, and what they’re planning on spending in retirement,
to begin the process.”
Working with each couple individually allows Alex to get to know them and hear their unique stories, she says.
“I always start out our first meeting by asking to hear about their story. It’s not just about giving them a
financial plan; it’s about building more of a connection. I want to hear what the military meant to them.”
So far, Alex has worked with over a dozen couples with the assistance of her Merrill Lynch colleagues. Witnessing the relief that couples experience after completing the process is extremely rewarding, she says. “When I present the plan, I can feel the relief they feel. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel, because they feel that they can not only take care of themselves, but the next generation.
”It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’m proud to work with this organization. I don’t plan on quitting any time soon.”