Good Counsel Helps Couple Recover from “Bad Financial Advice” to Achieve Retirement Dream

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On a street lined with palm trees in Venice, Fla., Connie and Dave Ragusa are living their retirement dream: sunshine, mahjong, pickleball, and most of all, time to be with and help their family. It’s a dream, Dave doubted, would ever come true.

“You’re married, you got a couple of kids, and you’re banging away your whole life and it’s supposed to work,” Dave recalled. “And it wasn’t.”

The Ragusas say “bad financial advice” they received several years ago cost them almost all their hard-earned savings. Connie was still working but Dave was thinking about retiring after almost three decades in education. “Looking down the road, it just looked bleak and there were things I wanted to have happen for us and I just didn’t see it going on,” Dave lamented, “it was a nasty feeling.”

In 2010, the Ragusas sold their home in Pittsford where they raised their two children and began spending part of their time in Sarasota to care for Connie’s mother. Canandaigua National Bank had just opened its Wealth and Trust office there and a local attorney suggested the Ragusas speak with one of the investment advisors. The Ragusas knew the bank. They were customers and the referral, Connie says, changed their life.

“They could tell we needed help, and they could tell we wanted somebody we could trust, and we trusted them implicitly. It’s all worked out really, really well. We love them.”

Dave admits he was harder to sell on a new financial advisor after receiving what he calls poor advice previously but says the team at Canandaigua National Trust Company of Florida (CNTF) answered all their questions and concerns. “We needed positive advice and counseling. That word counsel is one I can’t overstate enough. We got really good counsel—good advice from good people.”

Maria Caton, Senior Vice President, Manager of Financial Planning Services, has been advising the Ragusas since they joined CNTF. She said she worked to gain their trust by first getting to know them: their interests, their family, and their retirement goals.

“Through these conversations it became clear that there were shortfalls in their financial plan, and it wasn’t going to be solved by investments alone,” Caton said. “Their engagement in financial planning was transformative; it allowed them to see how the various pieces of what they wanted to see happen could be solved. It totally changed the conversation.”

Dave and Connie Ragusa have worked with Maria Caton, Senior Vice President, Manager of Financial Planning Services, to help make their retirement dream of moving to Florida a reality. The Ragusas rely on Canandaigua National Trust of Florida, located in Sarasota, to continue on the right financial path.

The CNTF office was originally opened to serve Rochester area “snowbirds” in the Gulf Coast Region. Now, 15 years later, the Wealth and Trust office has grown substantially with 60% of the customers from Florida and an investment portfolio over $500 million dollars.

“It’s a wonderful, evolving synergy between our Rochester and Florida offices, said Sam Guerrieri, Executive Vice President Wealth Brands, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and President of Canandaigua National Trust Company of Florida. “When people meet with an investment advisor in Sarasota, they have full access to our more than 70 experts in wealth, estate, and trust planning in the Greater Rochester Region, in addition to a full-service FDIC-insured bank known for exceptional customer service.”

The Ragusas are no longer snowbirds from Rochester. They are firmly planted in Florida—living the dream they say was made possible by “good counsel from good people” at Canandaigua National Trust Company. Sitting next to Connie on the sofa of their Venice home, Dave proudly says, “This place here where we live now is just a huge part of our plan, and what’s happened with our kids and our ability to be part of that all took place, and Canandaigua has been involved in at least a part of the planning for a long time. They helped get us to here.”

Posted by Kelly Sheridan at 04/19/2024 04:35:31 PM