Financial Hardships And Women

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Statistically, women are more likely to handle financial resources than men. They make up a huge percentage of consumers in America today and are the most powerful contributors to the economy, making it a wonder why not so many talks are aimed at women creating financial decisions. This undeniably leaves them frozen and less confident to find someone to trust during certain circumstances. The Thrive experts talk about the financial hardships unique to women, specifically those that occur during retirement. They cover topics like decision-making to social security and more. They also provide insights onto the common retirement mistakes and how to avoid them.

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Financial Hardships And Women

Karen Bezar, what\’s on your agenda? What\’s on the hot seat for you?

We\’re going to talk about financial hardship unique to women.

Good topic, good audience. We will have Karen Bezar along to do that with us and enlightening us on that. David, let\’s start with you and our opening block, our opening segment of the show here. Your topic of conversation?

Joe, we\’ve got a couple of things. I\’m excited for Karen to be able to share the topic that she\’s going to go through a financial hardship that\’s unique to women. Women control a significant amount of the wealth in America and there are some unique situations that occurred during retirement. Karen\’s going to get an opportunity to share that. In the workshops that we do, what\’s awesome about them is that it is well-attended by women. We don\’t typically see men showing up as individuals, but we quite frequently see women showing up as individuals.

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Whether they\’re either divorced or widowed or their husband is disinterested or didn\’t want to come along for the ride to say. I think getting women empowered and educated and having Karen who\’s such a passionate advocate for that topic. We at Thrive are going to put on our docket and our agenda specific workshops for women and again, all these unique challenges. I think that\’s going to be a great topic for Karen to cover. We get tons of questions. We address a lot of these things in our book as well, Roadmap to Retirement.

It\’s a fantastic book, Roadmap to Retirement: Navigating Your Way to Peace of Mind. When it debuted, it hit the market quickly. It hit the charts fast and the reviews have been fantastic.

For people who come in for our Roadmap to Retirement Review, which is a complimentary consultation. Whether you\’re looking for a second opinion for the financial advisor you\’re currently working with, whether it\’s on taxes or Social Security or risk management or any other financial topic. People can come in and get a complimentary or view which we call our Roadmap to Retirement Review. When people come to our workshops and then ultimately come in for one of those consultations, we’re giving them a copy of the book. It\’s been absolutely awesome. We\’re looking to write our next one because it\’s a follow-on.

We want to make sure that we keep bringing out great content that helps our audience get educated about what they\’re doing. The topic I\’m going to talk about in the show is the ten biggest retirement mistakes that we see and how to go about avoiding them. You don\’t get a do-over in retirement. I\’ve said for 30 years in this business, we get a paycheck every single week. If you\’re a working person, you get a paycheck and one of the challenges with paychecks is they don’t come with instructions. People just go about doing what they\’re doing. For people who\’ve done it correctly, they build up a nice nest egg for retirement. Retirement doesn\’t come with an instruction manual either. We want to make sure not only did you get to retirement, but can you stay in retirement successfully. We\’re going to cover some of those topics as well.

We\’ve talked on this program at length about the longevity or the need for a longer retirement. We\’re by nature going to live longer perhaps than we expected or than we planned for. The necessity to make the right decisions is very important.

There are complexities to it and that\’s what we want to talk about. Are you making the right Social Security decisions? Are you understanding the impact of how Medicare surcharges could potentially start to erode some of that savings on a monthly basis? We\’ve got this interesting volatile market that\’s occurring. Fortunately, for our clientele, the phone doesn\’t ring off the hook with concerns. For people who attend our workshop, it\’s one of the biggest questions that we hear, \”What am I going to do about this market? Could my old 401(k) become a 201(k)?” like it did back in 2008 through 2009. These are the things that we address in that Roadmap to Retirement Review that we do, Joe.

[bctt tweet=\”False expectations and emotions appearing real prevent people from taking action.\” username=\”\”]

What are a couple or at least one or two of those bullet points that would fall under the biggest mistakes? Is there one that jumps out? Is there one that has a higher priority than others?

I think they\’re equally important each one of them, but to give you a couple of ideas. Succumbing to post-retirement spending spikes. I tell people in my workshops, \”While you\’re a working person, what day of the week do you tend to spend the most money?\” The response we typically get is either Friday night or Saturday night. It\’s downtime and you go out to dinner, go to the movies, see a play or whatever it may be. That\’s where people tend to spend the most money during the week. What I remind people is that in retirement, every day is Saturday or Friday. We see a lot of times when people enter in retirement and they\’ve got this free time to fill we see spending tend to increase and if that\’s not planned for correctly, it could certainly have an impact on the longevity of retirement.

Planned for and prepared for because of the uncertainty of what\’s going to occur would be one reason or one example why the prep is so important.

That\’s everything that we do here is about getting the information out, educating about that information, trying to look at it from all different angles and getting our listening audience to understand it. Most importantly, take action and that\’s one of the biggest things. Procrastination is the biggest nation out there. People tend to hear things, people tend to even breathe and get up-to-date on it, but you got to take that first step, that\’s where we see people\’s indecision kick in. We want to make sure people don\’t miss out on things that they should be taken action on.

David, we spent time bringing people inside, giving them a little bit of a look or a little bit of a snapshot of what these workshops are. They are filled, chockfull of good information.

I was actually glad that we did because our attendance at the workshop went through the roof. I think a lot of times we talked about that word FEAR, False Expectations Appearing Real or False Emotions Appearing Real, whichever way you want to look at it and a lot of times again, prevents people from taking action. We pulled back the curtain. We went over a lot of actual items that we covered within the workshop and we ended up saving people, which again that\’s our mission. We talk about this tribe that we\’re trying to build and that tribe is about empowered retirees who are cruising along, having a great time in retirement because they got themselves educated. They took action and they secured it.

David referenced it. A lot of women do attend the workshops. This segment is going to specifically talk to women and its part of this additional initiative that Thrive Financial Services is creating and expanding on to make sure the information gets to everyone who wants it.

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Bret, David and I worked together and I lend a woman\’s touch to our firm. It\’s near and dear to my heart. I\’m a woman. My mother has suffered some of the information I\’m going to go over. She has tended to fall into some of these categories and we find and it\’s true that women in retirement definitely face unique challenges compared to men.

Also, as I\’m talking about how we face retirement challenges, I want to touch on the fact that women are powerful contributors to our economy and they do make money and they get to a point where they\’re almost frozen and they don\’t know who to trust or who to talk to because of certain circumstances. Here\’s a couple statistics which I found interesting based by Baby Boomer women and women in general, but some crazy statistics.

93% of food purchases are made by women. 85% of consumer purchases are made by women. 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions are made by women, and 65% of new car purchases are made by women. Then we get down to a number of stocks that are owned by women and it\’s 40%. We start out with the real high and then as we start going down to more financial or investing, get lower and lower. They say every woman\’s challenge is different. Every woman faces a different situation. I\’ve seen it myself, Bret has, David has when single women come into our firm. There are many factors that tend to make retirement planning different for each woman, especially for women versus men. Statistically, women tend to be less confident and involved in financial decisions.

As you\’re talking, I\’m thinking, I know my mother-in-law relied so heavily on her husband. When my father-in-law passed away and my mother-in-law then was brought into the front where she was forced to all of a sudden manage all of the financials, deal with all of them, deal with the rental property, trying to figure out her retirement and all of that. Where prior to that, either by choice or by nature or for whatever reason, she didn\’t pay as much attention to that.

I met with a gentleman of a couple, his wife didn\’t want to come in and I said, “Please, I\’ll call her.\” We met with them the first time they came to a workshop. We did our complimentary consultation and then they were coming back for a second time. I said, \”Please bring her. Tell her it will be comfortable.\” I\’m not sure what women are thinking. I\’ll know if they\’re afraid that we\’re going to bombard them with so much information, they\’re not going to understand it, but we definitely make it understandable so that they can understand where we\’re coming from and how important it is. It\’s important to be part of the decision-making process.

I think when you peel the onion back and you pull it back from the surface, I think women have more control of the decision than perhaps they know or they realized. I think we lean that way. I lean on my wife to make the decision in the end, \”What do you think? Let\’s do that.\”

Unfortunately, a married couple or a couple that\’s together, if they let the spouse start making the decisions, if you\’re not in on them, you don\’t know if he\’s making the right decisions or the wrong decisions. What we do is when we work with couples, we take into effect that there could be an income gap. Most likely statistically speaking, women outlive men, so we take all that into account. Things that happen as far as filling the income gap so to speak, your spouse might pick the wrong pension benefit elective. Which means they\’re going to get a pension if they choose the wrong a benefit, you could be out of their pension when they pre-decease you.

Choosing that or making that mistake, there\’s no recourse. It\’s a mistake that can be made without even realizing you made a mistake.

Sometimes they say, \”I\’m going to take that higher number.\” Not realizing, not thinking, not taking into account, not being educated, whatever that might be. Something else that happens is upon the passing of the first, the Social Security income checks that you were both getting, the lower one goes away. You still have the higher one but you still have to take into account, \”I\’m going to lose that income as well.\” These are all things that we planned for and we know it\’s going to happen. Come in and listen to what we have to say. If you have some questions and you\’re like, \”This sounds pretty interesting or maybe I should get some advice.\” Please give us a call. Another thing is protecting your assets for the surviving spouse has to last longer.

[bctt tweet=\”If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.\” username=\”\”]

I\’m using my mother-in-law and my father-in-law who are now both deceased, but my mother-in-law lived with us and moved in with us when my father-in-law died. I know that they made a few mistakes in preparation for their retirement. They were preparing for their entire life, but I know that they made a few mistakes when it came to planning and some of the things, estate planning and some of those other things that are necessary and that are important and they made them because they didn\’t know.

They didn\’t talk to the right person to help them out.

That\’s the truth behind it. They just didn\’t get to the right person to learn the information.

As we say, there are many moving puzzle pieces to retirement. We focus on income retirement planning and it\’s more than, \”Do I have enough money?\” That\’s great if you have enough money, but you have to understand how am I going to spend that money? People have to pay income tax still on that money that you have saved. Lots of moving parts out there. It\’s near and dear to my heart because I have met with women and there are not embarrassed, but they have less confidence and when you have less confidence, it leads to guesswork. What it\’s going to hurt to come in and talk to somebody. We\’re not high pressure. We\’re not going to try to sell you anything. We just want to talk to you and you might end up learning a lot from meeting with us.

Karen, you\’re the real deal. I would encourage you if you\’re talking to the women audience. Certainly, my endorsement on suggesting that they speak with you makes a lot of sense because of one-on-one in a quiet room or in a setting where you can be able to answer intimate questions and things that aren\’t necessarily on top of the surface. Underneath you\’ll be able to answer those questions based on the individual because we\’re all different. Each individual is different.

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Every woman\’s situation is different in retirement. Statistically speaking, some of the reasons it\’s different and that we have to look at it a different way is definitely women tend to outlive men. Another sobering and sad statistic is approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Women tend to be more self-sacrificing and oftentimes stayed home to raise their children or be caregivers to parents and family members. Their Social Security income check isn\’t going to be enough to sustain them during retirement.

Bret, we\’ve got a good show so far filled with information. Karen’s segment was spot on in terms of being able to reach into the female community. Being able to say, \”We\’re here. We get it. We understand it.\” I think women are more involved than they think they are or perhaps we want them to be more.

I think I held myself back from talking a couple of times while Karen was doing a great job talking about the challenges that women face. I bet you that number, we chat about it all the time. I bet you it\’s probably ten for one, is that we always find a widow instead of a widower more willing to talk to us. I don\’t know if men feel like they can self-manage, they have it under control and we know obviously in this market that we\’ve experienced over the past decade, things just go up, but remember, things do come down sometimes too. It\’s great when we throw out there the education and the advocacy of what we pride ourselves on and in getting in front of so many, whether it\’s divorcees or other statistics.

We always say we’ve got a couple age, 65, the chance of at least one spouse making the age 95 is 50%. When we dial back and understand upon the passing of a husband, a wife will typically outlive a husband on average by six years. Krause, I thought I\’d change up because I\’ve taken people deep going through Social Security and taxes over the past couple of weeks. I\’d love to piggyback on Karen\’s conversation and talking about a client that came in here over the past week. We covered a little bit about what Karen went through. Let\’s call her Jane.

To describe her scenario a little bit. Her husband died almost twenty years ago. She was getting ready to retire. She\’s going to be retiring and she went to work with the government. She\’s going to be getting a pension. What they call is FERS. She started with the government a little bit later, so she was getting a FERS pension. The first thing when she came in and sat with us, she had information from when she went to the Social Security Department and she came in here with the plan that she was going to start her benefit at retirement.

I said, \”Where did you get this information from?\” She said, \”When I went down and sat with Social Security they said they looked at my former spouse\’s benefit, and they looked at my benefit and because my benefit was greater, they gave me that benefit.\” That\’s where I put the brakes on. I think we got five minutes into the conversation Krause and I was like, \”There\’s something wrong.\” Because we\’ve talked about all the changes that happened to Social Security back in 2015. Again, when we went real deep talking about Social Security and talking about how those loopholes did not change for widow and widowers.

[bctt tweet=\”The only stupid question is the one you never asked.\” username=\”\”]

Just to remind our audience, we\’re going to go through that and to remind the example that you\’re using, her husband died twenty years ago.

Typically, and when we find widow and widowers, one of the encouragements that we always ask them to go get from Social Security is I call it like an almost like an amortization schedule. Something that we\’re typically comfortable with or something that we align with a mortgage payment, but you go down to Social Security, they show you on a chart how much your Social Security amount is going to be on two pages. On the on the side by side, they are showing what the spouse\’s benefit is as well. What she did not realize when we had the information when she was going to be retiring at 62 years old was, and we often have talked about the Social Security maximization report and how people have gotten them in the past, but no one knows how to interpret them.

What we figured out was that she was able to take the surviving the widow benefit from her spouse that passed away twenty years ago and let her benefit continue to grow by guaranteed 8% all the way until age 70. We talk about so many times people get on Social Security Office they\’re not supposed to give advice. It\’s right there in the manual. You can say it. We talk about that during our workshops as well. Show us where in the documentation where they\’re not supposed to be giving advice. They went down there. You think the advice that you\’re not supposed to be getting that you’ve got was supposed to be the correct advice where what you see is, and this is what it translated into, she could have gotten in $1,900 payment, her spousal benefit or she could take her own benefit which was approximately around $2,100. She got $200 more she took her benefit. Make sense so far, Krause?

I\’m listening with great intent because I want to take it all in. It\’s a great example. 

Instead, she\’s going to take the spousal benefit at $1,900 at age 62 again when she retires. She was making too much money to be able to collect at the same time. At retirement, she\’s able to take that $1,900 and then eight years later at age 70 turn on a Social Security benefit of almost $3,100. That\’s a big difference. That\’s the encouragement. I say it almost puts the clarity and putting that puzzle piece together. It’s getting that social security maximization report.

That\’s one of the reports that was almost a foundational piece of what Thrive was built on is helping people through navigating the pieces of Social Security and that\’s my encouragement is find out, take to put the certainty and the uncertainty, if you will. We\’re going to continue going through Jane\’s scenario as well, but that\’s just the tip of the iceberg as is starting with that foundational piece of Social Security. Typically, everyone has a social security payment.

You\’ve heard me say many times. If you\’re the smartest person in the room, you\’re in the wrong room. Karen, this is an incredible example of real life. As I consume that information from Bret, I can see how easily it would have been to make the wrong decision.

Just think if she didn\’t come in? What if she started that benefit at 62, a year later too late to change anything.

The thought is, \”I\’m not making the mistake, the Social Security Office, maybe not intentionally, it\’s never intentional. Social Security Office is just basically providing details. They\’re just providing information.

Sometimes they do give great information, but sometimes they don\’t. Again, putting the certainty and uncertainty or getting the certainty and uncertainty, if you will. Karen described it of the gentleman who came in without his spouse because sometimes they feel intimidated. That\’s our encouragement people come down and sit with us for the first time after meeting us at a workshop. It\’s like, \”They\’re the same. They were during the workshop here in the office where it\’s just low-key. How can we help and just putting the puzzle pieces together?\” We talked about the Social Security Maximization Report being the foundational piece in what we do it.

The second piece, and tell me if you or your wife might have this concern as well. I have all this money I save and Jane had this scenario as well. When I pass away, it\’s going to go to my children and Karen just talked about the statistics. 50% of people now end up in not widowed but divorced. My husband left me this life insurance money. I\’ve saved all this money in my retirement. I pass away, it\’s going to go to my kids. What happens if my kids get divorced? That\’s the other thought process. Like you love your children and I don\’t think has anyone ever met a spouse of the children that\’s ever good enough, especially when talking to women out there.

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My mother-in-law must be singing in heaven because I\’m referencing her a lot in this. That was one of my mother-in-law\’s concerns because her one son of four she had some marital concerns at the point and she was very concerned and very worried about that. It was part of what her thought process was. We experienced it because she moved in with us my wife and I constantly had lots of different conversations with her about it. That\’s real. These are real examples of thought processes that people go through.

I\’d love to tell you that\’s the first time we\’ve ever heard that, but I tell you we hear that concern weekly. Our belief is the only stupid question is the one that you never asked and we feel that we create an environment that\’s open for everyone to feel like, \”I don\’t know if I should be asking this, but I have some concerns. My son\’s marriage is a little bit rocky. God forbid, I pass away tomorrow. You\’re telling me half of my money is going to end up going to my daughter-in-law that is going to be divorced? It gives people a little bit of agita. It’s looking at things like Social Security, looking at, “I\’m concerned of where that money\’s going to go.”

For Jane, she was all about purchasing a beach house and retirement. She lost her husband so she wanted to spend as much time with the kids and grandkids down the shore as much as possible. When she came in, what we realized as well was how much risk was involved in the portfolio. It would have taken one correction like we saw in 2007, 2008 and 2009, which should have eroded everything that she had built up. Remember, once we retire we\’re working on a finite bucket of money. You’re no longer contributing, you’re now living on those assets out there. We put together that Social Security Report.

That\’s where we identified that risk in Riskalyze. We\’ve talked about that and David does a great job of going through the importance of the Riskalyze Report. What we realized is that she was a 35 out of 100 rest and our portfolio was a 70. Where she had built up almost $800,000 of assets. When we illustrated it to her, she saw a correction similar to what we saw back in 2008. That $800,000 would have become like $450,000 like that. That\’s a big deal. That\’s the Riskalyze Report, Krause.

We talked about the ten biggest retirement mistakes that can be made. With Karen and Bret had some good examples of how mistakes can cost you that roadmap. How they can cost you once you make it.

I think Bret’s segment and Karen’s segment were absolutely spectacular. A quick comment on what you said is just having the opportunity to get validation that you\’re on track. A lot of times we have people that come in and sit with us where we ended up giving them two thumbs up and saying, \”You\’ve done fantastic planning.\” Whether it\’s on your own or with the advisor you\’re working and things look very good. If we do a stress test analysis that comes through and 100% probability that retirement\’s going to work out for you. We\’re going to pat you on the back of your congratulations. It\’s not always a fear situation, but if there are issues why wouldn\’t you want to know about that?

That\’s one of the reasons also that we wrote the book that we wrote. We wanted to put out there as a source to start because sometimes people don\’t know what they don\’t know. You\’ve said that a number of times and you sit in a chair of the consumer here I think our conversation is a real conversation because of that. Sometimes you\’re hearing things for the first time or you\’re getting information that you thought was correct and now you understand it wasn\’t. It\’s a great litmus test for our audience having you here.

We put that book out there so that people could read not just from us but other financial professionals, state planning, CPAs, reverse mortgage people, so on and so forth about what client experiences do those folks have and what mistakes or what good practices. What ends up happening, what we see is the folks that get our book typically end up calling us to continue the conversation. \”Tell me a little bit more about that Social Security Maximization Report. Tell me a little bit more about how to be more tax efficient.\” With all the Trump tax changes that are occurring, we want to get people empowered to understand what the impact of retirement is going to be. I encourage our audience to get out.

[bctt tweet=\”Take a lesson from those that have either made the mistakes or potentially could have made them.\” username=\”\”]

Take a lesson from those that have aired. Take a lesson from those that have either made the mistakes or potentially could have made the mistakes in this scenario that Bret used in that last segment. There was a mistake about to be made that would have had years of ramifications and the individual would have never known.

It wasn\’t a mistake, it was no information, no idea to even ask the right question. We\’re going to cover what we think are some of the biggest retirement mistakes and basically how to avoid it. I\’ve been a financial adviser now for 30 years and if I ever went to a party and people would ask you what you do, \”I\’d say a financial advisor.\” In conversation, it always comes up and says, \”Are you prepared for retirement?\” That was like asking the question of death because people would just turn and run. People don\’t want to address that question.

They don\’t know, \”I don\’t know if I\’m completely prepared.\” I want to give a few statistics before I go into these ten facts. Here are some things to consider. Only 15% of employees are actually entitled to a pension compared to almost 40% back in 1980. A pension is a huge lift in retirement. This is the type of numbers we typically see people who come out of every hundred or might be fifteen to twenty of them that have pensions and that\’s a big help, but if you don\’t have a pension you got to try to fill the gap somewhere.

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I had somebody tell me, we were talking about pensions. I think it was on the Union Show we were talking about it. The statement that guy made was \”Pensions are a thing of the past. There are no more pensions.\”

We talked about this Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2015 which was enacted and if people do have a pension, they should go online and Google Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Act and find out what the government did that could have an impact on your pension. If you don\’t understand what you read, we are pension experts. The other thing that we see is that people are going to rely on a combination of their Social Security and savings.

We\’re starting to see a volatile market, but we\’ve seen a couple of good since Trump has been in some dramatic increases and what people tend to forget is, now doesn\’t mean what it\’s going to be in the future. If you look at the S&P 500 over the ten years, it\’s only averaged a 4% rate of return. Jack Bogle from Vanguard put out a statement that he sees that going forward in the future, the next ten years that the average rates of return in the markets will only be about 4%.

You might have been knocking the cover off the ball recently, but in retirement especially when you\’re going to have to start withdrawing that money if you\’re only getting that 4%, it may not let you live the type of lifestyle that you want. People have to remember that. Here are some of the mistakes. Mistake number one, Joe succumbing to the post-retirement spending spike. I talked a little bit about that when we got on the show earlier. That people forget that it\’s Saturday night every night. People get in that mode of, \”Finally in retirement and enjoy myself.\” All of a sudden in the expenses go from $5,000, $6,000, $7,000 a month to $8,000, $9,000 or $10,000.

[bctt tweet=\”March is the springboard to look forward, too.\” username=\”\”]

If you\’ve got a plan that\’s designed to distribute at five and you start distributing at eight, only one or two things is going to happen. You\’re either not going to be able to sustain the lifestyle or you\’re going to run out of money too soon and that\’s not what we want to have happened for people. Run a budget I know people hate that word, but that\’s one of the first things that we do with people and we talk about expenses let\’s take and try to figure out that budget. A lot of times the things that people forget about to put in the budget are things like travel and gifts and things of that sort and then all of a sudden you\’ve got these unseen, \”What do I do about it?\” One of our encouragements. Number two is keeping too many cars. Most people don\’t think about that. Karen and I work together and there are days that we wake up and go.

We take on one car or two cars. I could imagine further in the future, what do you need? I’m a car freak. I\’m going to have my cars because I want to drive them. You have to try to consider, is that something that you definitely need? Number three is moving at the wrong time. Trying to downsize too quickly and not understand where you\’re going. That\’s another one. You got to research that a little bit. Number four, underestimating medical expenses. That\’s a big one. Number five, getting sold or scammed on services you don\’t need. Especially retirees, absolute targets. Number six is downsizing to not only where do I go, but downsizing too soon. Number seven is retiring too soon. Really not stress testing that retirement to the point that we can give you a guarantee that it\’s going to last.

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Number eight is not having a plan. If you\’re traveling cross-country without a map or without a GPS, you\’re probably not going to end up where you want to end up. Having a plan that gives you confidence. That\’s why we call our plan the Retirement Roadmap. Come in and get a review for that. Number nine is underestimating your future cost of living. There\’s a crazy little thing that\’s starting to creep up called inflation. You\’ve got to factor that in. Number ten is putting savings in the wrong places. You’ve got to make sure that things are allocated the right way. We can go into much greater depth on our next show on each of these topics, but these are the things that we cover at our workshops.

On behalf of all our audience who has joined us, we thank you very much for being here. I\’m Joe Krause. We’ll see you next time.

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