Retirement

Retiree Feature: Mike & Carol Heiting

By Chris Duderstadt

March 11, 2022

Retiree Feature: Mike & Carol Heiting


The relationships that we have with retirees and pre-retirees are very special to all of us at Barber Financial Group. Along with providing financial education and advice to retirees, we’ve decided to start sharing some of their personal stories about how financial planning has helped them live their one best financial lives. Please enjoy our first retiree feature with Mike and Carol Heiting. 


Happy 44th Anniversary, Mike and Carol!

Mike and Carol Heiting have a wealth of things that they’re thankful for as they celebrate 44 years of marriage this month. Mike worked for Butler Manufacturing™ for 40 of those years and was thankful to have Carol’s support throughout his career—especially since they had to relocate a few times.

Now that Mike and Carol are retired, they’ve felt even more blessed to enjoy more of each other’s company by doing some of their favorite things together and not having to worry about working. However, the Heitings and several other people who had retirement on their minds about a decade earlier had plenty to worry about due to The Great Recession.

“We just had our 401(k)s at work and figured that was all that we needed until the stock market crash in 2008,” Mike said. “We realized we needed some help because we suddenly weren’t doing well. I was provided a book that really highlighted three or four things to look for when planning your retirement. One of them related to me a lot because it was about wanting to retire, but not wanting to do all the homework to handle it all. If I wanted to spend all that time to do it myself, I would have. But I didn’t want to, so that’s why I sought the guidance of a financial advisor.”

Heitings Highlight the Benefits of Comprehensive Financial Planning

In retrospect, Mike and Carol are very glad that they made that decision to work with a comprehensive financial planner. They soon realized that even if they tried to plan for their respective retirements on their own that they didn’t have near the expertise that a financial planner has.

“It took a financial tragedy to make us realize that we needed help,” Mike said.

It didn’t take long for Mike and Carol to see value in professional advice. Carol was the first of the Heiting couple to retire following a career as an administrative assistant, budget analyst, and programmer. Forward-looking financial planning advice showed Carol that it was possible for her to retire at 60 rather than waiting until 62.

Putting Family First

While Carol and Mike are beyond thankful to have their three sons, three daughter-in-laws, and seven grandchildren all living close to them in the Kansas City area, purchasing a summer home in Wisconsin was important to them so they could also be close to their respective siblings.

“There was a lot of consulting that we did prior to purchasing our second home,” Mike said. “We had to think about whether there was a best way to finance it or if we could even afford to buy it. We were lucky to have guidance throughout that process.”

Spending Their Retirement Around the World

The Heitings have enjoyed their trips to Wisconsin and the wonderful times they’ve had with family in their summer home. Following Mike’s retirement in 2019, they intended to travel a lot more internationally, but had to postpone some of those plans due to the onset of COVID-19 shortly thereafter.

“My retirement cruise that we’d planned got canceled after we got to the site in Singapore,” Mike said. “So, we flew to Singapore, the cruise got canceled, and we had to fly all the way back.”

Worth the Wait

Mike and Carol are doing their best now to make up for that lost travel time due to the pandemic, though. Mike’s retirement cruise is now rebooked for 2023. In total, the Heitings had four cruises canceled due to COVID-19, but all of them have been rebooked. They just left on Friday for the first of those rebooked cruises. Mike and Carol are on a transatlantic cruise from Florida to London.

“We’re going to be seeing the Azores Islands, Madeira, and Lisbon in Portugal, Casablanca and Marrakesh in Morocco, and Seville in Spain,” Carol said. “Then, in the summer, we’re going on an Alaska cruise tour that’s four days on land and a week-long cruise. In December, we’re going to Fiji and the South Pacific. And then for Mike’s rescheduled retirement cruise, we’ll be going to five countries in Southeast Asia.”

The Heitings have also gone on a couple of all-inclusive resort vacations this past year, but they’re excited about doubling down in the upcoming year with all their rescheduled cruises. While they wish they could have gone on those cruises as scheduled, it’s been reassuring over the past two years to know that they’ve all still been budgeted for within their financial plan.

“If somebody had told us 15 years ago or even 30 years ago that we’d be able to do this kind of traveling and living like this, I would have been shocked,” Carol said. “We both came from very humble beginnings. We’ve worked hard to get what we have and appreciate how a financial planner has not only helped us keep what we’ve worked so hard for, but also help it grow. We had been worried about the three boys and getting them through college, so we had been living paycheck to paycheck for a while.”

A Financial Plan Can Help the Whole Family

Now that all their children are gainfully employed, married, and doing well, Mike and Carol are looking forward to spending more time with their grandchildren and contributing to their college funds. Financial planning also helped them through the process of downsizing (for the second time) last summer.

The Heitings will always be thankful for the assistance of financial planners with getting them to retirement and are beginning to understand the importance of their help with getting through retirement as well. They’ve seen this recently through the assistance they’ve received with their estate planning, making a trust, and Medicare planning. Mike and Carol also plan to utilize the firm’s tax services when their current tax advisor retires.

“The peace of mind that we get from reaching our goals because of the excellent financial advice we’ve received has been awesome,” Carol said. “We’re very confident because we know everything is being managed.”


Investment advisory services offered through Barber Financial Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Barber Financial Group an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Barber Financial Group does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.