NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— When Ken Mahoney’s father retired, he had a pension, an annuity and Social Security, earning more in retirement than he did as a union worker.
But, that was a long time ago. Today, very few retire with any kind of support, said Mahoney, 51, a North Salem resident and financial planner - who, in his spare time is a Broadway producer and Make-A-Wish Foundation board member.
“You’re down to municipalities, government agencies, railroad companies – Metro-North workers still have pensions-but for most worker bees they don’t have that,” he said.
Mahoney, a father of two boys, said he has many clients struggling with this problem.
“I recognize, speaking to so many people, that a lot of this financial stuff is gobbledygook,” he said. “And I think from an early age I realized how to simplify the financial world so it’s not so hard to understand.”
As a financial planner, as well as a radio talk show host and commentator for cable news shows-CNBC and Fox Business to name a few-he uses GPS as an analogy.
“I’m a big GPS user, because I’m really directionally impaired, as my wife will continue to tell me,” he quipped. “And one day I said ‘wait a second, this route is like financial planning.’ You put in a destination. ‘Hey I’m 65. I want $10,000 a month let’s say. And there’s rerouting, there’s recalculations, there’s different ways of going around it.”
Running with the idea, he trademarked the concept, “GPS for your time,” and has written eight books, which build on that idea. He even had his website designed to incorporate a “GPS Tour,” mimicking the layout of the GPS you use to navigate a trip.
Mahoney’s seventh book, “Not Your Father’s Retirement,” was dedicated to his father, Robert, who retired in his mid 50s and passed away at age 78. The route Mahoney advises for those with no pension is to work toward creating your own pension by investing in your 401 K plan, especially if your company matches.
“Create a pension of your own down the road by accumulating over time,” he said.
His latest book, “Life on Your Terms: A GPS Guide To Your Retirement,” tries to answer the question Mahoney said he’s been asked every day for the last 28 years - “Can I afford to retire?” Much like his GPS-tailored website, he tries to help you pick the right path to retirement, and focuses on lifestyle in this book.
“I try to break down more than just numbers, we try to look at the situation holistically,” he said of his financial planning business, Mahoney Asset Management. “We recognize that time is more than just numbers, it’s a lot about lifestyle and choosing how to use their time.”
While about 90-percent of Mahoney’s time, professionally, is devoted to his financial management company, he has earned a spot as a regular contributor to CNBC and Fox Business-at home, his time is spent coaching little league baseball and cheering on his Division-1 college bound son, Connor, at North Salem High School baseball games.
He has been on the radio since 1990 and currently hosts a radio talk show on WHUD Sundays at 6 a.m. called GPS For Your Finances. He also does the market report every morning at 8:25 a.m. and 5:25 p.m.
“Name the network, I’ve been on it,” he said.
While he calls his appearance on The Today Show for a “Thirsty Thursday” segment a highlight, Mahoney said the proudest moment of his professional career came in 2007. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, honored him for his work to help grow it’s Hudson Valley chapter. He has served on that board since 2001. That work includes starting the 37-year-old, 62-chapter organization’s first alumni board, and the chapter’s first gala fundraiser.
“Last April, we did a concert for Make-A-Wish with Broadway stars called “Frank and Friends,” he said. “We just had some great talent. I think about 650-700 people showed up.
He plans to bring back the star-studded event for a second year at Tarrytown Music Hall on April 7 to, again, raise money and awareness for Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley.
“Ken is bringing his contacts and his expertise together to help Make-A-Wish and that’s really selfless,” said Thomas Conklin, president and CEO for Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Hudson Valley chapter. “It’s not about Ken; it’s about making wishes come true and that’s where Ken’s focus and heart is.”
Mahoney was able to draw this top-tier talent thanks to his involvement on Broadway as a producer, which started on a North Salem baseball field.
“In North Salem I’ve coached the baseball team, from T-Ball all the way up,” said Mahoney, whose older son, Brendan, 19, attends the University of Delaware. “Early on my son was in first grade or so and we had this guy who kept on showing up with this Mets hat on. And being a Yankees fan I couldn’t help but get into a conversation with him.”
As it turns out, that Mets fan was Frank Wildhorn, a famous composer who wrote songs for Whitney Houston, including “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” He’s also the only American to have three Broadway shows running simultaneously, including Jeckyll and Hyde. He asked Mahoney to help with the finances and marketing of his shows.
“The rest is history, because once we got involved in a couple of shows with him I met other producers, other people and then we had other opportunities and I was fortunate enough to win two Tony Awards,” said Mahoney, whose wife, Trish, is also a Broadway producer.
He won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical as producer of Pippin and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
“When he first started backing some Broadway shows, next thing you know he’s at the Tony Awards and winning,” said Mike Bennett, who reads commercials on Mahoney’s WHUD talk show and is co-host of Mike and Kacey in the Morning, also on WHUD. “So, he really, everything he touches turns to gold.”
Always looking for what’s next, Mahoney said he hopes he has a New York Times best-seller in him. But, for now he is eagerly awaiting the North Salem Tigers baseball schedule.
“I go to pretty much every single game,” he said, proud to brag about Connor, the winning pitcher in the 2016 state championship game that saw North Salem High School win its first state title. “I take my busy, crazy schedule and, first thing I do when I get the baseball schedule, I superimpose it on my calendar.”