The Purpose Project™ A Path to Meaningful Retirement

Vista Capital Partners CEO Doug Johanson

Brand Story – When it comes to post-career fulfillment, Vista Capital Partners knows a financial plan is only part of the story.

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Most professionals and their financial advisors have one finish line in mind: retirement. Society regards it as the end of a chapter, when the reality is it also marks the exhilarating start of a new one.

Over the years, Vista Capital Partners has learned that helping clients shape meaningful retirements goes beyond finances to one irreplaceable ingredient: purpose.

As a wealth management firm building happier and more prosperous lives for its clients, Vista Capital Partners noticed a gap in the support offered to individuals navigating retirement, one of life’s toughest transitions.

“Time and again, we realized that we were coaching clients through decisions on when to retire and what to do with their newfound freedom,” says Doug Johanson, CEO and partner of Vista Capital Partners.

It became clear that, while Vista’s clients were well prepared for retirement on the portfolio side, they weren’t always sure what they wanted to do in retirement—or how to go about filling their post-career days. So, Vista began researching purpose in retirement, and The Purpose Project was born.  

“Our research showed that if you’re intentional, if you take time to reflect and write your goals down, your odds of happiness and fulfillment increase exponentially,” says Johanson. “We create a written financial plan to increase our clients’ odds of success, so why wouldn’t we do the same to help them succeed in retirement?”

JEK 7032Vista Capital Partners helps its clients plan for well-rounded golden years.

Spearheaded by the firm’s dedicated financial planner, Anika Hedstrom, The Purpose Project — a path to a happier, more meaningful retirement — guides clients through the process of constructing fulfilling post-career lives.

After 30+ years of building careers and supporting their families, shifting to a new mindset and purpose takes effort. The key can be as straightforward as identifying and giving yourself permission to pursue a passion.

“Commonly, clients have forgotten what they’re passionate about because they’ve given so much of themselves to build a career and/or raise a family,” Hedstrom says. “They have been so focused on that, when they achieve financial independence they don’t always know what to do with it.”

Too often, successful professionals crash land into retirement without asking themselves even the simplest questions, such as those highlighted by The Purpose Project: What unique gifts do you have that you can actualize at this stage in your life? When do you feel most connected to family, friends, acquaintances and groups? What do you do that makes you feel alive?

Through the program’s workbook, each participant formulates a purpose statement to guide him or her through retirement. These actionable, simple declarations reflect what matters to the individual, e.g. “I want to create opportunities for youth in my hometown,” or “I want to help young professionals excel in my field.”   

Clients either complete the program on their own or as part of a biannual workshop, a unique opportunity to tackle big questions alongside their peers.

Within the research-based framework of The Purpose Project, which launched in June, a well-lived retirement considers five pillars: giving, working, learning, leisure and connecting.

This is not the first time Vista Capital Partners has organically developed new services in response to evolving client needs. Others span estate planning services, simplified financial planning tools, and a client education series, which brings in experts on relevant topics like cybersecurity or long-term elderly care.

The company’s new Social Series came about the same way and invites expert panels to familiarize clients with different community causes, making it easier for them to stay informed, get involved and give back. (The first installment sheds light on Oregon’s foster care system.)

One of the first firms in Oregon to embrace the use of index funds, Vista led the way when the advisory world expanded its focus from investment management to include financial planning. Today, it pioneers the next leap forward into life planning, an even more holistic approach.

JEK 6895Anika Hedstrom, right, with client

“Most investment firms are focused on their clients’ portfolio and helping them achieve financial independence from a net worth standpoint but spend very little time helping clients figure out their purpose,” Johanson says. “How crazy is it that we put all this time into helping clients build up their portfolio but offer no advice on how to spend it? This is a natural extension of our job.”

Over the past 18 years, as the team’s employee and client turnover rate remained extraordinarily low, Vista has achieved more than 20% annualized growth thanks to its innovative approach and investment philosophy.

“We don’t believe in market timing or stock picking. Instead, we favor index funds to access the world’s markets in a low-cost, tax-efficient manner. This reduces risk for clients and puts returns into their pockets instead of out the door in fees and taxes. It also allows us to extend the benefits of our work beyond the success of a portfolio—to the financial and life plan of those we serve,” says Johanson.

And why should that life planning stop where the golden years start? For Vista Capital Partners and its clients, retirement is not about reaching an end goal; it is about making the most of a new beginning.

Learn more about The Purpose Project:


Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues.  The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.