Joe Krause:
And welcoming everyone to Roadmap to Retirement, the radio show. Thank you so much for being here along with David Bezar, Karen Bezar and Bret Elam. I’m Joe Krause. We join you for another week. One week away from the holiday weekend, and I know we have a lot of ground to cover and we’re going to bring you a lot of information today. I will tell you, I am very, very excited about the Thrive checklist. I think it is a great, great tool for all of us to be able to understand where we are. We’ll get into that a little bit later on in the program. Stay tuned for that. On that note, Karen I’ll come right to you to kick us off on this Saturday.

Karen Bezar:
Thank you. Here we are now. What week? What in quarantine. This is crazy, but the one thing that has not changed is people still need to plan for retirement. We’re going to get started with my section here. One of the things that we focus on is Social Security benefits. How are you going to take them? When should you take them? When you meet with us, we do a full Retirement Roadmap Review and Social Security is really… it’s just one component of retiring.

Karen Bezar:
What we find and what is statistically true is that most Americans take their Social Security benefits at face value and you could end up leaving tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table and again, one of the components we focus on is Social Security and we actually do a report and in this report, we take a look at what would happen if you start too early or when is the best time, and we will actually do all the calculations for you.

Karen Bezar:
We have met with people who are self-advised. They take care of their own finances, and they have tried to do this and like Bret said… what’s your comment Bret, about trying to figure out Social Security, throwing… that you’re going to throw the calculator out the window or something like that, because people sit there and they try to figure out when’s the best time or when’s the worst time to take it.

Bret Elam:
Yeah, that’s spreadsheet. The break-even analysis.

Karen Bezar:
The break-even analysis. Well, guess what? We will do that for you. I’m going to just give a quick example of somebody who, if they didn’t take the right strategy, we did this for a couple. They would have lost $119,227. They would be leaving that amount on the table. Now, Social Security has men living to age 82 and women living to age 85. If they live past that, then they would actually have been losing more money. Our report goes into such detail. I’m going to just give you a quick synopsis of what it says.

Karen Bezar:
This is a married couple, and it would say one spouse begins their benefit based on her earning record in the estimated amount of 1662 a month. It actually tells you what year you should start and she should start at 65 and three months and then her husband, it tells his estimated amount and when he should start is actually at age 70, and then it tells you the reason for the strategy and in the analysis, it would show that they would lose $119,227 on the table and that’s a lot of money. You work hard for your money. That’s a lot of money to save up, so why take the chance. Come on in, and we will be glad. Just give us a call and we will discuss this with you and we can actually do the analysis.

Karen Bezar:
Just a reminder, Social Security is such an important part of your retirement, because again, it’s indexed to inflation. It is guaranteed for as long as you live and it’s totally unrelated to the fate of the financial markets. It’s so important to understand that, and a lot of people are concerned. When’s the best time to take Social Security and some people don’t understand the ramifications of taking Social Security too early. I have a quick example here, but sometimes they say, “Oh, I’m just going to take it at this age.” Why are you just going to take it at this age? Here is a married couple and if their retirement benefit just for easy math was a $1000, the retirement benefit would be reduced by… reading my notes here. It would be reduced by 25%. That’s a big difference.

Karen Bezar:
The retirement benefit is reduced by 25% and then the spouse, if you take your Social Security benefit too early and your spouse is hoping to take her benefit early, there’s so many different ramifications, because if she’s hoping to get some of your benefit then her benefit is reduced as well. You also want to remember with Social Security, your Social Security check is actually federally taxed. Up to 85% of your Social Security check will be taxed. How do you prevent that? You do something else that we look at in our Retirement Roadmap Review, is we look at forward tax planning.

Karen Bezar:
There’s so many moving parts to Social Security that you don’t want to just take it lightly. Now, good news is out there if you have started it, but it’s been less than 12 months. If you want the analysis, we can still do an analysis. You could actually have a do over.

David Bezar:
The big thing with Social Security is we know two things. Statistically, 50% of people out there that go and take their Social Security are doing it at the earliest possible age of 62. With the analysis, again, the potential of giving up over a $100,000 of benefit over a lifetime, that in itself is a big deal, right? You should get that checked out.

Joe Krause:
You know there’s a show that airs on 1210 on Sunday mornings called Good News in Real Estate, the host to that show, Mark Cumberland was listening to our program last week, where we were talking about Social Security. Here’s a man that knows so much about real estate. He’s so confused about how to understand Social Security. It’s so difficult for us. For us to understand, for us to know.

Bret Elam:
Yeah, and that’s why people just do it haphazardly, because it’s just like, I guess, and when it comes to your finances it’s like, you don’t want to guess. Just like your health, right? You don’t really want to guess. I’m not sure if this chest pain is a heart attack or a heartburn. I mean, holy smokes, if it hurts bad enough, go to the emergency room and stop guessing. Get it figured out, get an X-ray, get a blood test, get an EKG. I mean, that’s what this report basically does and again, people don’t put enough emphasis.

Bret Elam:
Like Karen said that Social Security is important and there are so many things that can affect. It can affect your retirement income strategy. It can affect your cashflow, your taxation. There’s a lot of different things that people should try to… Try to approach it less haphazardly and find out how it actually fits in.

Karen Bezar:
Right. When we are dealing with couples, what’s really important to remember is two things. One of those Social Security checks are going to go away and you want to plan for one of those Social Security checks to get the most amount of money, so the surviving spouse will continue to get the higher of the two Social Security checks. It’s just so, so important. Again, people don’t remember to look at the taxation effects as well. I would just say anybody out there, if you have worked hard all your life and you’ve made an average or above average income, traditional rules for you for filing for Social Security benefits might not apply. You might’ve been told, delaying your benefits are possible, but is it worth it?

Karen Bezar:
Again, the strategy could end up costing you tens of thousands, a hundred thousands of dollars. If you’re interested in checking out our Retirement Roadmap Review, and specifically getting a Social Security analysis, that’s something that we are happy to do and if you’re interested, give us a call at (215)-987-2430. Remember, it’s just part of the Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review. Our number again, (215)-987-2430. Give us a call.

Joe Krause:
All right, good stuff. Good way to start off. Roadmap to Retirement, the radio show. You heard Karen mention 85%. How can you reduce or eliminate paying taxes on as much of that 85% of your Social Security benefits. Guess who has the answer when we come back after the break?

Speaker 1:
You’ve saved and invested for retirement, but it’s what you do with your money that really matters. Welcome back to Roadmap to Retirement, the radio show.

Joe Krause:
And thank you so much for tuning in here on talk radio 1210 WPHT. We roll along here on a Saturday and move into our next segment. We continue to talk about Social Security benefits and what applies and does not apply to you. Bret, I come right to you for the answer or the reference that Karen had in the opening segment about 85% and David and I talked about it as well. It’s so hard for us to understand what we’re supposed to know.

Bret Elam:
That’s it Krause, and David and Karen just did a great job just talking about Social Security and again, we’re going to talk about taxes here in a moment, but the big thing that they just spoke about was doing things haphazardly, winging it and you know what you hear? What’s done is done. You just do it and I’ll just deal with the ramifications. It’s like, are you kidding me? This is your finances. After your health, your wealth is pretty important. It’s like we have people come in all the time. Contractors, engineers, doctors.

Bret Elam:
Could you just wing it? Should I just wing my health? Should I just wing the construction of my house. Should I just wing the IT on my computer? Heck no. It’d be a disaster and everything’s working inefficient and so how we’re going to conclude today’s show talking about the Thrive checklist challenge is it’s really going to be a challenge. Are you going to be able to answer yes to all the questions that we’re going to be able to throw at you and Karen kicked things off talking about Social Security and you know where I’m going, because I’m already talking fast and I love it. Tax, tax, tax, tax, tax.

Bret Elam:
I wanted to kind of talk about it before and an after picture, somebody we had met waiting at the fourth quarter, 2019. Just as this thing called the SECURE Act was being passed. Remember, the SECURE Act was the game changer, took our rules on required minimum distributions from age 70 and a half to 72 but it also squeezed when people now pass away of how to take distributions from your IRAs 401(k). The SECURE Act for our listening audience, we talk about this a lot. The SECURE Act created three problems and three problems for our clients every year.

Bret Elam:
All of a sudden, inheritances are going down. Taxes are going up and less control of those assets. Going back into the fourth quarter, not sure if our listening audience may have remembered this couple, but we had a married couple. They’d saved about $1.6 million in 401(k) IRA assets. They were getting ready to retire late in their 60s. We sat down as part of that Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review and I’m just going to really talk about the tax side of things. Now, what we had shared with them was they had approximately again about $1.6 million in 401(k)s and IRA. Sounds like a great problem. Okay. But we start talking about the importance of this thing called a Roth conversion and hey, you’re going to lose control at your age 72. This was before COVID remember, okay.

Bret Elam:
We believe the climate in this country is Social Security, Medicare taxes, we believe are going to go up, but these are all the reasons why we want to be creative and be proactive, not again, here’s our term. It’s why we want to be a tax planner, not a tax procrastinator. Now let’s fast forward. We’re now in June. Seven months later formally you met them and let’s talk about life. They had just retired and since then Mr. has passed away. The couple that I had met with now, Mrs. is the only one left, and actually David, Karen and I, the team here at Thrive, we see it all the time.

Bret Elam:
Mrs. is the one who’s remaining. She’s not an active participant as part of the planning process and all of a sudden you get the blank stare, “Oh my gosh, he’s not here anymore.” Now, thankfully, we were able to meet together and we started having the right foundation, the right steps, getting things prepared for we didn’t know it was going to happen, but God forbid it happened. Now all of a sudden what was the problem that just was created? Well now all of a sudden he passed away. What’s the opportunity this year. This is the last year they’re going to be filing a joint tax return. I want my listening audience to hear about this.

Bret Elam:
If I have a married filing jointly couple, you can earn up to $350,000 and you do not leave the 24% tax bracket. That is cut in half when you’re now found as a single tax payer to about $163,000. If you’re a regular listener, you’re like, ah, I’m never going to hit those numbers. Why are we even talking about 24%, because that’s today’s tax climate. Because I said, let’s fast forward to today. He passed away. What else has happened in between. This thing called COVID, the printing of money. We’re seeing trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars going to consumers and businesses, trying to keep this economy of afloat.

Bret Elam:
Well, now all of a sudden Republicans and Democrats are finally agreeing on something. It’s a wrong darn thing to agree on. Increase in taxation into the future. When they’re now both talking about that, Houston, we have a problem. It’s coming. Again, do we want to be a planner? Do we want to be a procrastinator? Now here’s the icing on the cake, Krause. Her father unfortunately passed away of COVID during the past six months and left her, not only did she lose her husband now [inaudible 00:15:23]. This is last year as a joint taxpayer, going to become a single tax payer but what just happened. Dad left her a one and a half million dollar IRA. Go cry on your cheerios.

Bret Elam:
We have a problem because when we ask people every day, loved ones, charity, government. When you pass away, where do you want your money to go? I don’t even let people answer because we already know who number three is. It’s the government, 100% of the time, but when there’s no planning that goes on in situations like this, and what I just described happens every day. Only two certainties in life, death and taxes. Now all of a sudden, because of the SECURE Act, she can’t stretch that one and a half million dollars out over her lifetime. It’s now compressed into a 10 year time period.

Bret Elam:
Houston, we have a problem, because not only is she now going to be found as a single tax payer for the rest of her life, after 2020 we have to now figure out when the heck are we going to take this one and a half million dollars of distributions over the next 10 years and what’s staring at her straight in the face, increased taxation because of everything that’s happened and day in and day out and that economy, the government keeping treasuries afloat, corporate bonds afloat, someone’s got to pay for it at some point in time.

Bret Elam:
Now, what I’d love and it’s understanding those tax situations. Again, don’t be a procrastinator. We got to understand the SECURE Act. Life is going to happen. You have to have a plan and it’s why we do this 36 step checklist. Can you answer yes to every single one of these questions? Because it’s important. They’re all puzzle pieces. Again. I feel like I have my assets under control and I’m just winging everything else. Well, what the heck is that. All you did was isolate yourself and concentrate on your education about how many assets I have. For me, I care about what I keep net. Not what I have gross. Net is after taxes. Gross is before you do anything. That’s a gigantic variable and I can tell you for a lot of our Thrive army and a lot of our Thrive clients. Can I tell you the number one expense people have in retirement, taxes, taxes, and taxes, and this is all about be a tax planner, not a tax procrastinator.

Bret Elam:
Now what I love, our team here at Thrive. We created this chart. It’s called, should I consider doing a Roth conversion. Krause, I’m holding up the schematic here and I love it. It’s just got a bunch of yes, no questions. We’ll play it real quick. Ready? Krause, will you need distributions from your retirement account? Just yes or no.

Joe Krause:
Yes.

Bret Elam:
Yes. Okay. Next question. Do you expect… now you’re listener of the show, I expect you to answer this the right way.

Karen Bezar:
That’s fun.

Bret Elam:
Do you expect to be subject to lower income tax rates during your retirement due to income levels or future tax reform?

Joe Krause:
No.

Bret Elam:
Alright, thank you. We know taxes are going up, so no. Here’s the next question. Do you have cash outside of your retirement accounts to pay for income taxes due for conversions?

Joe Krause:
What does that mean?

Bret Elam:
It means a lot of people we listen to have all their money in IRAs. They don’t have any money. They have no diversification. They’ll have checking savings CDs, so the taxes… you can answer that yes or no.

Joe Krause:
Yes.

Bret Elam:
Yes. For example. The answer, no. A lot of people is, hey, I have all my money sitting in IRAs. I have no other choice. You said yes, so here it is. It gets to the conclusion. Consider doing a Roth conversion. The Roth IRA will not be subject to RMDs and it can be allowed to grow tax free. Now that’s the most basic line that you just gave, but in this chart, there’s boxes that are going to read. Are you worried about Medicare or a healthcare subsidy, with Obamacare and all that if I’m retiring before the age of 65?

Bret Elam:
It’s really getting into, hey, you have low asset valuations. Consider a Roth conversion, understanding carry forward credits, additional incentives. It’s a schematic that has one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Seven yes, no questions, and it gets you to a conclusion very logically each and every time, and this is what we work with. Our team up here at Thrive with our advisors are just educating and advocating people. Does it make sense for me?

Joe Krause:
I mean, the one example that you use for one of the Thrive clients who ended up inheriting that money when her father passed… I know I got to get to it quick. The initial thought is, “Oh my God, I just inherited 1.5 million.” That’s not the truth. Without a plan that’s not the reality.

Bret Elam:
Well, you know who’s very excited now? Uncle Sam.

Joe Krause:
Uncle Sam, yeah.

Bret Elam:
Uncle Sam. I hear it all the time, and if I asked you Krause, how much money have you saved for retirement? You’d probably take two seconds. You’d be able to give me that number, right? But if I ask you, how much are you going to pay in taxes when you retire? Most people have no clue and that’s downright scary, because how much you’ve saved in retirement’s meaningless unless you know how much you’re going to be taxed on that money and that’s why we share with people these Roth conversions, these defensive tax planning strategies that can help you reduce these taxes, which is why we offer that retirement tax analysis.

Bret Elam:
The analysis will show you these defensive tax planning strategies, could help you save tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars with the IRA, 401(k), Social Security, again, all our assets. Now, many people in our world Krause, especially here in the Delaware Valley, they’re charging thousands of dollars for that analysis, but today we’re going to give that report away. We’re going to underwrite 100% of those costs for our listeners who are going to call us. These strategies, Krause, are best served for people that have saved at least $500,000, but if you’ve saved even more higher into six, seven figures, the savings can be even more.

Bret Elam:
To get that free analysis, call us at (215)-987-2430. Again, if you’re seriously interested, seriously, in how much you could save in taxes, call us now because we only have a handful of slots for these appointments every week and these calendars fill up instantly right after the show. Again, learn how much you could save in taxes with that free retirement tax analysis. Call us now (215)-987-2430.

Joe Krause:
Well done. Well said. We’ll get to over the show, Roadmap to Retirement. We’ll roll along here on talk radio 1210 WPHT after the commercial break.

Speaker 1:
Taxes, income, Social Security, IRAs, and 401(k)s. David, Karen, and Bret tackle the most difficult subjects and make them simple and easy to understand. You’re listening to Roadmap to Retirement, the radio show from Thrive Financial Services.

Joe Krause:
And back here on a Saturday, we thank you so much for tuning in to talk radio 1210 WPHT, good opening half hour of the program with Karen and Bret. David, we come to you, this subject or this conversation about Social Security and then taxes and the inevitable reality that we all face. Man, it can be so hard and this checklist and Bret’s conversation and Karen’s [inaudible 00:22:53], it’s so easy from your side, not easy but you understand it. We don’t. We don’t understand it.

David Bezar:
Well, I mean, collectively sitting here you’ve got over 75 years of experience… 80 years of experience.

Joe Krause:
Careful there David.

David Bezar:
Yeah. 80 years, not individually. Cumulatively. Yeah. We’ve been doing it a really long time. It is second nature for us. Something that dawned on me, I’m going to talk a little bit about what’s called risk rebalancing but as I was listening to Bret and he always delivers it very passionately. Bret was looking at a cheat sheet that we created, right? We created it for our advisors and we started to give it away to our clients because when we do these consultations and now thank God. I mean, it’s starting to happen here in the office again, as well as virtually, you do see that kind of clouding over.

David Bezar:
You could see there’s a degree of being overwhelmed and again, what’s second nature for us is definitely not for people who’ve heard it for the first time. Where Bret said, if you want that retirement tax analysis, be one of the first… Now, it’s usually one of the first 20 callers because that’s all the time slots we typically end up having. I’d really encourage you to call right now. You don’t have to listen to me necessarily. Just get on the phone. We will include the flow chart. It’s awesome. It’s a picture graph and it’s a yes or no and if you answer, yes, you go down one path. If you answer, no, you go down another and it ultimately comes to a conclusion whether or not a Roth conversion is a proper financial action for you to take.

David Bezar:
If you do call that number, (215)-987-2430 and you schedule that discovery call where you can talk with one of us or one of our advisor for 15 minutes, no obligation and you say, “Hey, I want to get that analysis.” Now, obviously we need some information to be able to produce that analysis, but while you’re waiting for that analysis to be completed, a week to 10 days later, we’ll ship that out electronically to you, so you can go have kind of a picture in front of you. Hey, this really does make sense. I think it takes away that confusion and that feeling of overwhelmness.

David Bezar:
I’m going to jump into my topic and I’m going to talk about this concept that gets overlooked. Overlooked just like Social Security. Overlooked just like taxes and retirement. People manage their portfolios or have an advisor who manages the portfolios and as you get closer to retirement, one of the things that people know to do but don’t do is start reallocating your investments to have less risk. I’ll get to it, right? I want to get to it. The market’s doing pretty good right now, so I don’t want to adjust any allocations at this particular point. Yeah, but you’re only one or two years away from retirement. What if?

David Bezar:
What if we see another March of ’20, right? A March 2020. What if that happens in November? What happens if in March of ’21? Are you going to kick yourself and go, geez, I should have done that. I’ll give you a real life example. We had a person come in on, as a matter of fact, on Friday and lovely couple. Husband and wife, being married a long time, getting ready to retire and they had $961,000 in their retirement account. Set some cash outside of about 50,000 in cash. They owned their home, had no debt, good expenses around $4,000 a month.

David Bezar:
On the surface everything looks great. When we stress test the portfolio the way they had their investments, what ended up happening is that their retirement accounts, not their cashflow, but their retirement accounts were going to be depleted in 14 years and that was never even on their radar. I mean, it wasn’t even a possibility, but we showed them factual information as fiduciaries. This is what could happen. We run an analysis called Riskalyze and Riskalyze will look at your current portfolio and then it will look at a better balanced from a risk perspective portfolio that you should consider. I’m going to tell you. The first thing that we do is we do a risk tolerance questionnaire.

David Bezar:
We ask you a number of questions electronically that you answer and based on your answer, you get a numeric value attached to your risk and that’s on a scale of one to 100. One, the money’s buried in the backyard in a cookie jar because that’s how concerned and safe you are. 100, you’re at the casinos three nights a week. A lot of people entering retirement know they should be less risky but just like this couple, they came in on that scale, Joe, of a 74.

David Bezar:
Now, the S&P 500 just as a benchmark is risk-weighted at a 77. This portfolio is almost equally as risky as if all you did was put your money into the S&P 500. Okay, and here’s what they had in their holdings, and these were all name brand companies. They had Vanguard Total Stock Market return. They had Vanguard Total Bond Market return. They had Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth. The husband had a 401(k) completely invested in American funds. One holding. It was a 2025 target date fund because that’s what we’ve been sold. That’s a good situation.

David Bezar:
They had a variable annuity with Jackson National, and then they had an account at Harleysville Bank where they owned Emerson Electric. They owned investment grade corporate bonds. They owned some preferred stock and they owned some muni bonds. $961,000 and the risk on that was a 74. That’s kind of what we knew about their current portfolio. We designed a portfolio for them that they ultimately decided to move forward with. Now, the other thing that I just want to share with you quickly is, there’s a thing called a dividend, right? Portfolios should, if you’re investing, should spit off some dividends. Their dividend was about 1.36% annually, and then the expense charges of their portfolio, not what they were paying their advisor, but the investments they had, the expenses against those which a lot of people don’t know that exists. That was 0.27% on an annual basis.

David Bezar:
We built them a portfolio, Joe, just kind of apples to apples comparison where we were able to reduce the risk down to a level 44 as compared to a 74. We increased the dividend to 1.61% as compared to 1.36% and we reduced the expenses from 0.27 down to 0.09. If you could have less risk, better dividend, and lower expenses, would that be good? Most people say…

Male:
Absolutely.

David Bezar:
No doubt, right? Now, you would think though, if I’m having that much less risk-

Male:
I got to lose return, right?

David Bezar:
… I can’t get the same annual rate of return. Their current portfolio projects an annual rate of return of 6.1%. Pretty good. Okay. Balanced, pretty good. Less risk, bigger dividend, lower expenses. The portfolio we proposed gives a return of 5.9%. If you only had to give up a tiny bit-

Male:
That was 0.2, right?

David Bezar:
Right. 0.2% annualized return for almost half the risk, better dividend, and much lower expenses, would you call that a no brainer?

Joe Krause:
I would think on the surface, yes.

David Bezar:
Yeah. Now the investments inside that, everything like you heard. We use Vanguard. We use Fidelity, we use BlackRock. We use State Street. We use Invesco. Five of the biggest name brand asset management companies out there, but it’s kind of which of the investments that they offer. If you’ve got a fine-tuned eye and you don’t do things randomly where you’re focused on return, focused on dividend, focused on expense, but most importantly, entering retirement, really focused on risk reduction you could pick out a portfolio which I just described that is no more complex, easy to manage, almost equal return, better dividend, lower expenses for about half the risk.

Joe Krause:
And does that extend, David, the original part of the conversation where they were going to run out of money in 14 years?

David Bezar:
That’s a great question. Right? The simple answer is absolutely, because that’s what we designed it to do. We have less risk in the market. We have some hedge in the market so that if we do see these types of corrections, you still may lose some principal, but you will lose a lot less principal with this design type of portfolio versus the one that they walked through the door with, and that’s all I’m really trying to convey to the listening audience is, if you have an advisor who’s basically telling you just stay the course. You’ve heard it before, that you should be shifting your risk tolerance as you get closer and closer.

David Bezar:
I would tell you Joe, 80% of the people that we meet with have enough money to retire exactly the way that they want, but they stay gambling and that’s because they don’t know what the alternative is and I tell people a lot of times who have 961,000, 1,500,000, $3 million clients that have $11 million, risk is for people who don’t have what you have. Your job from this point forward is just not to lose. It’s really that simple. If you are interested in trying to figure it… this thing is called the Thrive retirement radio show. That’s because we run this thing called the Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review.

David Bezar:
Social Security is a part of it, taxes are a part of it and what I just shared with you, risk analysis is part of it. To schedule a 15 minute discovery call to see if it makes any sense for us to get together ultimately to run this report for you. It’s complimentary, it’s comprehensive, it’s customized. Call us at (215)-987-2430. Again, that’s (215)-987-2430.

Joe Krause:
Really, really great education today on Roadmap to Retirement, the radio show from David Bezar, Karen Bezar and Bret Elam. We’ll get to a commercial break on the other side, the Thrive checklist challenge. Back in a moment.

Speaker 1:
This is where you can count on straightforward and objective advice about how to make your money go a lot further in retirement. Welcome back to Roadmap to Retirement, the radio show.

Joe Krause:
And thank you so much for listening. We jump right into our final segment with David, Karen and Bret. Karen, we’ll start with you. The Thrive checklist challenge. I love it.

Karen Bezar:
Thanks Joe. The reason we developed this checklist challenge is when we meet with people for the first time, they have a lot of questions on their mind when they’re thinking about retiring. Some of the questions they ask is, do I have enough saved? What will happen if there’s another stock market downturn? How are politics going to affect my retirement assets and me and retirement? And how will increased tax rates, especially now, it’s on a lot of people’s minds. Is it going to take a toll on my income and retirement? And what if I need to go into a nursing home or need some kind of extra healthcare.

Karen Bezar:
These are all the questions on the minds of people heading into retirement, and of course it’s a big concern. I spoke with somebody the other day and she said it was a big change from going from having a job income to living off of their assets and no longer having that official income. It’s a scary time. We’ve developed this checklist and it’s fantastic. It’s on our website and we’ll get into the detail more later, but Bret, wouldn’t you say that those are the most normal questions that we get when people are going into retirement?

Bret Elam:
Yeah, and that’s the high overview ones, but why I love the checklist. So many times we have people that come in as part of that Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review, and we ask them questions. They keep on contradicting themselves with their answers. It’s like, you don’t have a plan. It’s in your head. You got to get it on paper. What the checklist did, it’s 36 boxes and we say, can you check all 36 boxes with confidence? If not, that’s what we’re here for. We came up with Thrive. The acronym Thrive, T, hey, we got to start with the T. Tax efficient strategies. Again, you want to make sure you can check off a box every time what’s each of these topics.

Bret Elam:
First one here, hey, I have a CPA. Hey, my financial advisor coordinates with my CPA to proactively optimize my taxes. My estate plan helps to minimize taxes. My loved ones will pay on inherited assets. That’s an example of some of the tax efficient strategies. There’s a couple more, six different questions there. The H in Thrive is healthcare and medical. We got a ton of people from the Thrive army and unfortunately all the people being laid off with COVID and might not possibly go to work, is a big one. If retiring, you’ve been voluntold. Prior to age 65, do you have a plan for major medical insurance prior to Medicare. Are you maximizing your HSA? I know how I will cover long-term care.

Bret Elam:
These are all things that we need to think about. Not convoluted in our head, but need to have a plan. R, David just talked about it. It was risk management. Some of the big things on risk management. Here’s a big one. If there are changes to politics and policy. Houston, that’s 2020. We may have a problem. I know my retirement will still be okay. That’s why we offer that risk analysis side of it as well and David will talk about the other half of the Thrive acronym and what that leads to.

David Bezar:
Joe, this checklist challenge, right? That’s what it’s called, the checklist challenge, is really for the people who have not yet or still kind of sitting on the fence of whether they should come in and have a consultation, a complimentary consultation with us. We went through all of the topics that we tend to discuss in that first hour complimentary consultation we do. Tax efficient strategies, healthcare and medical risk management. If you’re hearing us, what I would recommend is, can I check off that box? Meaning yes, I have taken care of that situation. There’s 36 boxes to check off. There are 36 critical components that need to be checked off.

David Bezar:
Continuing with the acronym. The I stands for income. I’ve got a written budget for all necessary and discretionary spending. Based on the budget I have an estimate or the income. I know the income sources I will have in retirement. I know how each of the income sources will be taxed and that checklist goes on. The V talks about volatility and downturns. My financial advisor has a written retirement plan for me that will protect my assets even in volatile market conditions. Can you check off that and say, yes, and then estate planning is the last. That’s the E, with the SECURE Act having really decimated the stretch IRA provision and now causing future taxation for the next generation of beneficiaries. I have a full understanding of my management fees. I have a full understanding of fees within my portfolio.

David Bezar:
My financial advisor regularly reviews my accounts with me. I have a will. I have a trust. My estate plan is reviewed and updated by my estate attorney at least every three years. Can you check off yes to that? What we ask you is, well, how did you score? Are you really ready for retirement or do you still have some work to do? Meaning, if you can’t check off all 36 boxes, what we’re recommending here at Thrive is don’t go it alone. The easiest is just get a complimentary consultation, right?

David Bezar:
Spend 15 minutes on a discovery call. Let’s get to know each other. If you feel comfortable with us and we feel comfortable with you, then let’s schedule a virtual meeting or in person meeting. We’ll spend one hour. We’ll review all of the topics, those 36 questions basically cover and we may end up giving you two thumbs up, giving you the green light and saying, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, you have done a superb job. You have answered all the questions correctly. It looks like retirement’s going to be spectacular for you, or maybe we missed 10 of the questions. We’ve got a yellow light, a little cautionary light so we got to make some minor adjustments.

David Bezar:
Now here’s the thing, Joe. There’s no obligation to make those adjustments with us. I know people don’t believe that, but we could certainly share with you. A lot of people come in taking advantage of this complimentary consultation and ended up. We parted ways. Shook hands and wished each other well. Now, interestingly enough, a huge percentage of those people have come back to us-

Joe Krause:
Come back around.

David Bezar:
Come back around. This crazy market, taxes going up. They go, these are the guys who really understand it, not myself or my investment manager. Here’s what I want to make sure. I’m going to take my time on this, Joe. I only have another minute or two, but the first step, give us a call. Get a discovery call 15 minutes. If you want to bypass that because you’re just not ready to talk to us yet, go to our website, thrivefinancialservices.com/checklist. thrivefinancialservices.com back… what do they call it?

Karen Bezar:
Backslash.

David Bezar:
/.

Karen Bezar:
You’re having a flashback.

David Bezar:
Checklist. Right on our website, it’ll be a test and it says, get started now. You click that button and it will start the checklist. At the end of the checklist, if you have not scored the 36 for 36, and you want to schedule that 15 minute complimentary discovery call after the checklist, you can do that right on our website. It’s that simple, convenient, comfortable, no pressure. Definitely check out the checklist. It’ll give you some guidance. How do I feel about my retirement? Did I score well enough or I probably shouldn’t go it alone.

Joe Krause:
A really incredible tool, the Thrive checklist challenge. As we say goodbye on this Saturday here on talk radio 1210 WPHT, I only scored four out of the first 14 boxes.

Bret Elam:
I guess we’ll be seeing you soon, Krause.

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