According to Leon LaBrecque, founder and managing partner of LJPR, LLC, a firm handling more than $300 million in assets, “Engineers who are frozen regarding their finances need to know that the financial planning process, at its core, is identical to the five steps they use for their Engineering Design Process. Once they understand this, they are on their way to building their ideal retirement plan.”

LaBrecque is very closely involved with the automotive industry, specializing in working as a financial planner for the big three automakers. In fact, his white paper, “Engineering Retirement: Application of the Engineering Design Process to Retirement Planning,” was distributed at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2009 World Congress.

“Creating and implementing a personal financial plan is an important aspect of an individual’s life, and the huge changes in the automotive industry have caused many engineers to lose focus of their overall financial plan,” says LaBrecque. “I am committed to showing these engineers how to apply the same five design principles they use daily in their jobs to their own financial situation. This will then provide them with a satisfying, safe retirement plan.”

Identify and Define the Problem. When given a project, LaBrecque notes that the first step an engineer must take is to pinpoint the problem. “Similarly, financial planners start by determining a client’s goals and objectives,” he says. “Sitting down with a financial planner and defining these parameters will be the start to achieving one’s end result.”

Research and Define Resources. The next step, he says, is for an engineer to research and define the resources available in order to complete the project. “Likewise, the second step in a financial planner’s design process is to research and define the current resources available to the client for retirement,” he says. “The resources available generally consist of two basic components: net assets available for retirement, and income available for retirement savings.”

Generating Multiple Solutions. Once an engineer defines their resources, they end up with multiple solutions to the problem presented, points out LaBrecque: “A good financial planner will also outline several solutions to the financial problem at hand and present the engineer with the wide range of solutions.”

Analyze and Select a Solution. Something engineers do incredibly well, says LaBrecque, is analyzing and selecting an optimal solution to the problem they’ve been given. “This is truly their sweet spot,” he adds. “They will then appreciate going through the same analytical process with their financial planner—together sifting through the solutions and, ultimately, deciding on the best overall plan.”

Implement a Solution. LaBrecque concludes that executing a solution gratifies everyone involved in the design process, especially the engineer. “Equally, implementing a financial solution in the midst of the chaos surrounding the world these days will gratify everyone involved, especially the engineer.”

For a copy of LaBrecque’s white paper, which provides examples, scenarios and technical data, contact Stephanie Riccobono at

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