THE MONEY MINUTE: How your retirement account can feed hungry kids in Maine and provide scholarships to trade school students

by Jac M. Arbour CFP®, ChFC®
President, J.M. Arbour Wealth Management

At this time of year four years ago, I gave a talk to 800 people at a Lewiston, Maine, elementary school. In it, I shared some ideas about how the students could create an amazing upcoming summer vacation for themselves. I had an absolute blast at the event, and the reaction from the kids and teachers assured me that my talk was well received.

After my talk, a teacher who was thanking me for my message shared a surprising perspective: she said that, for many of the students I had just met, leaving school on Friday is one of the largest stressors in their lives. When I asked why, I learned that many of these kids leave school at the end of each week knowing they won’t eat again until they return on Monday morning and are fed by the breakfast program. Then I learned a staggering statistic: in Lewiston, 100 percent of public school students receive free or reduced-price lunch, and this is true in many other cities and towns in Maine. This was news to me, as it may be to you. My heart sank into my stomach, and I tucked this piece of information into a file I knew I would someday reopen. This is that day.

At J.M. Arbour, we are changing what we do with company profits and redirecting our focus to Maine’s future, which lies in today’s youth, tomorrow’s leaders. So, here is what we are planning to do.

We will be donating a large percentage of our net profits from the management of employer sponsored plans — anywhere from 51 percent to 100 percent (as I write this, we are waiting to hear back from the tax pros about our corporate structure and ability to do so)—to two causes. The first cause we will support is a weekend backpack program that sends kids home every Friday with six meals so they can eat over the weekend. The second is a program that provides scholarships to Maine students who want to enter the trade industries. Plumbers, heating technicians, electricians, welders, crane operators, builders, diesel mechanics—all these professions are essential and always in high demand.

When I graduated from Bowdoin College, I remember people talking about the “need” to leave Maine in order to find “real economic opportunity.” I believe Maine has an abundance of opportunity, but to bring it to fruition we must align those who can mentor and provide opportunities with those who want to learn and are willing to do the work—access and connections can be simplified and strengthened.

That is why the next part of our plan is to encourage the owners, executives, and leaders of the companies that hire us to manage their company retirement plans to join a network we are building to provide support in the form of books and speeches (and overall mentorship) to kids who want to build fulfilling lives here in Maine.

I will sign off from this month’s column by saying that our goal is to feed kids for a lifetime. We want to feed them food as well as positivity, ideas, and hope, which they also need to thrive. We want to facilitate access to education, mentorships, and career opportunities to give Maine students the ability to build rich and rewarding lives and retire on purpose, right here in Maine. We have titled this effort “The Purpose Project.”
Please call our office for more details; I am always thrilled to speak with people about this project and honestly, we need more teammates; we need your help to spread the word. Together, we can end weekend hunger and provide life opportunities for Maine’s young people.

Here is what I promise: If we focus on what we are doing today, we can aim for a better tomorrow.

See you all next month.

Jac Arbour CFP®, ChFC®

Jac Arbour is the President of J.M. Arbour Wealth Management. He can be reached at 207-248-6767.
Investment advisory services are offered through Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser.

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