Securing Your Retirement Assets

TFS 34 | Retirement Assets

 

Do you have a plan in place for retirement? Is your money going to last during your retirement? The rules during retirement are very different than the rules that you use to invest to create your nest egg. It’s like physics. That law of physics states that a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body at motion tends to stay in motion. Inertia takes over for people. “I’ve done this the way I’ve done it for all along. Maybe I’ll stay the course.” The big difference is that during retirement, when you need to be tapping into those retirement assets, if the market goes down and you’re withdrawing assets during those down periods, it has a real eroding effect on those retirement assets.

The market is becoming very volatile. Open up your eyes and don’t sit idle. Your retirement is critical. You only got one shot to do it. Everyone’s situation is unique, everyone’s circumstances are unique, but it’s all about education. Learn from the experts as they discuss how you can set up your retirement plan and make your retirement assets last because the more informed you are, the better decisions that you can make overall.

Listen to the podcast here:

Securing Your Retirement Assets

By popular request we’re going to start to engage the audience more for quick questions. No matter what topic of conversation we’re involved in, we’re going to try and field some questions and start to give some flavor. We’ll do that throughout the show, we’ve been doing it leading up to the show with our Facebook blast which we got a lot of activity from.

We’re looking forward to it, Joe. It will give a peek behind the scenes of what it’s like to come into our offices. People that come into our workshops or through our website, they have questions. Our goal is to give them every answer that we can and let them start making informed decisions on what their future retirement’s going to look like.

TFS 34 | Retirement Assets

Roadmap to Retirement: Navigating Your Way to Peace of Mind

The program or the mission of the Roadmap to Retirement is and will always be and continues to be to educate the listening audience. If you’re educated, if you’re in the know, if you are aware, you’re going to be in a better position, you’re certainly going to be in a better space when it comes to being able to make a decision. Roadmap to Retirement: Navigating Your Way to Peace of Mind is the title of the book. I’ll give you the opportunity to talk about it. We’re going to give it away to callers, but let me allow you the opportunity to set the stage on it.

Everything we do, we try to get the folks either listening to the show come into our workshops, visit our website. Information, we want to start those conversations. We want people to start thinking about, “Do I have my plan in place for retirement?” This week has been phenomenal. We’ve had so many people come into our different offices and the conversations are actually great and with a week like we’ve had in the markets, people are starting to understand that there’s this thing called volatility back in the ups and downs of the markets. What I try to convey and what Karen and Bret and myself, we all try to convey is that the rules during retirement are very different than the rules that you use to invest to create that nest egg.

I always tell people it’s like physics. That law of physics that a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body at motion tends to stay in motion. Inertia takes over for people. “I’ve done this the way I’ve done it for all along. Maybe I’ll stay the course.” The big difference is that during retirement, when you need to be tapping into those retirement assets, the market goes up and it goes down. If you’re withdrawing assets during those down periods, it has a real eroding effect on those retirement assets.

One of the biggest questions that we hear from people constantly is, “Is my money going to last during my retirement?” Those are some of the things that we’ll talk about. We’ve already gotten a couple text messages, we put that out on our website. Those are things that we cover in the books. I think it will be a great thing for people to call in and get a copy of our book to help them navigate that retirement.

There are so many different ways to navigate through the many questions that you’re aware of and in the many questions that pop up. In preparation for the show, I was talking to my old college roommate, he shot me a text. “I’m thinking about borrowing some money from my 401(k) to help offset some of my education expense. Is that a good idea?” It’s just an example of a question that pops up when we get to that point and we don’t know. There’s so much we don’t know.

It’s all about education. Whether it’s here us fielding calls through the radio show or people coming in as part of that Retirement Roadmap Review, it’s creating that environment that we love receiving those questions and love answering those questions because you started the show it’s all about education. The more informed you are the better decisions that you can make overall.

Everyone’s situation is unique, everyone’s circumstances are unique, but it’s breeding and creating that environment that people feel safe, we’re not trying to overwhelm them with big words, but it’s simply taken our time and going through that educational process. The more education we have, the better decisions we can make overall in the decisions that we make.

I thought our last couple of conversations have been very specific and very meaningful to certain members of our audience. The conversation that we had about losing your job unexpectedly and what that means or the ramifications of what that means started to stimulate some thought in my mind. David was an example to me of when something occurs and stuff happens, stuff pops up out of the blue, that’s where the roadmap and that’s where the plan is so necessary.

As a matter of fact, it’s so ironic you bring that up. I’m looking at the newspaper here in the money section and the main article is midlife job loss, how to prepare and how to recover. We probably had three people come into our office late ‘50s, early ‘60s, where one of the spouses has recently been laid off. The instant emotion is panic and fear and anxiety and it’s a little bit of chaos because you have to do a lot of planning for it.

There are fees that are buried inside of employer-based plans. Click To Tweet

This article here is about this woman who was laid off from her job as CEO of the Girl Scouts Council. She actually went out and wrote a book called Only Pack What You Can Carry, which is interesting perspective and unfortunately I think the heartbeat of most corporations is lost, they don’t care. You’re an employee ID number and what you can do while you’re there is what counts and loyalty and all those types of things have gone out the window.

I think more and more Baby Boomers need to anticipate or potentially prepare for that. You never think about it. It’s like, “It’s not going to happen to me that happens to other people.” I think that’s where the anxiety comes in when it does end up happening. She talks about a couple of things in the article I think are actually very good. She talks about downsizing before you must. I said, “A body at rest tends to stay at rest.” As an example, she says here in the article, maybe you should reevaluate keeping that ten to fifteen-year old cellphone plan that you never went back in and got revamped for the newer pricing.

As matter of fact, we went out and bought some new iPads and we were in a Verizon store and I said, “I don’t know that we’ve ever recently tried to get them to compete for our business.” I said to the guy, “We’re thinking about going over to AT&T. Is there anything you could do for us?” The next thing I know, we’re spending $15 a month less just for asking. I know it seems trivial. I told a couple of guests, he was squawking a little bit about the Social Security recommendation we made. He said, “It’s only $34 a month more.” I was like, “That’s a buck a day.” “That’s a third of a Starbucks cup of coffee? How many of those do you get in a week?” We’re not that people are in desperate shape, but when you don’t have that job income coming in anymore, you got to be looking at your dollars.

All of you can certainly weigh in and this. I think more and more it’s time for people to huddle up and sit around and start to have conversation about retirement. I think more so now than ever before because we’re living longer, because of the uncertainty of our income, because of the challenges, because of the cost of education because our kids are going to come home from college when they’re done and live with us again. There’s so many different scenarios, you have to be able to talk about it.

It’s having a plan, you said it. People don’t have in their mind that they plan to fail, it’s they fail to plan at the end of the day. It’s being proactive, not being reactive. It’s what you see is people think that they’re going to be in that job for 30 to 40 years. How many people that we’ve just gotten in front of recently that are being downsized, severance, laid off? It’s being proactive and not trying to be emotional, trying to be as rational as possible. We talked about trying to prepare what happens when there’s a death of a spouse.

It’s all those things because again we’re humans, so when you’ve got to take the emotional side of it and trying to make the most rational decisions as possible, the more that we take that time to prepare up front. Whether it’s the death of a spouse losing her job or preparing for retirement. That’s what that Retirement Roadmap Review is about, is sitting down, having a cup of coffee, talking slow. It’s, “What’s the plan and how do we get there?” Then preparing for the unknown at the end of the day.

That’s a topic I think that a lot of people know the term, “I know what 401(k) is or at least I think it is, and now what?”

One thing that comes up constantly is, “Is a 401(k) loan a good idea and how do I do it? Should I do it? How does that impact my investments?”

That was the question that I had from a friend of mine who was considering a loan against a 401(k) to offset some college expense.

Yes, I know Bret, he likes taking that question. We’ll jump right into it. Bret, why don’t you answer that question?

Be self-aware and be smart enough to know what you don't know. Click To Tweet

Talking about 401(k) loans, there are typically some rules that we have to follow. Typically, the maximum amount that we can get out is $50,000 or up to 50% of whatever you have in your 401(k). What you need to be familiar with though is typically the longest period of time that you can pay that back is over a five-year time period. There are some circumstances sometimes if you’re using it for a purchase of a home, you can extend it out a little bit further, but for all intents and purposes you were talking about using it for credit card debt, college expenses, whatever that is.

If I pull out a $50,000 loan, it’s almost like taking out a $50,000 car loan. That payment’s going to be pretty steep. You could be looking at $800, $900, $1,000 a month that’s going to be coming out of that account, but a lot of times it’s better than the alternative. I may have an IRA if I pulled that money out to be a 10% IRS penalty plus taxation.

What’s great about having the ability to take a loan from a 401(k), you received that money. Nothing shows up on that tax return, so right away you’re saving money. That coupled with the interest that you’re paying on that 401(k) loan, you’re paying back to yourself. That’s a big deal. It’s a lot of times we don’t like to do that, but again, it’s understanding given the circumstances that you might be facing is identifying your financial inventory and figuring out what those circumstances are and where’s the best plan of attack of where I should get that money.

TFS 34 | Retirement Assets

Retirement Assets: What’s great about having the ability to take a loan from a 401(k) is you received that money but nothing shows up on the tax return, so right away you’re saving money.

 

One of the other big questions is what am I invested in? How can I change it around? When people come into the office constantly, they bring in their brokerage statements or 401(k) statements and I’ll ask them. I’ll say, “Why did you make these choices as your investments?” They say, “Those are the only ones I had available to me.” One of the things that we recommend in retirement is when people finally leave that employer is to roll that 401(k) out into a self-directed IRA account. That way a couple of good things happen. One of the good things that happens is that the world of investments opens up to you. You just have many different choices. The other thing that happens is people don’t understand this because they don’t necessarily see it, but there are fees that are buried inside of employer-based plans.

I tell people a lot of times that you can actually increase performance by subtraction. Meaning if we could lower the expenses that are being charged, whether directly or indirectly to you, we end up getting the same performance you’re going to do better. What we see is it’s very common that a lot of employee-sponsored plans already have what you can invest in and that’s basically it.

Sometimes they’re age-related mutual funds and not a real big global world of choices. That limitation may not fit your particular risk profile. We try to help people while they’re still working to allocate if the choices are there, but as soon as they retire and have the availability to roll that money, we give them that direction and then help them pick many different options.

Karen, what do you think it is? People sign up for the 401(k) because the thought is that we’re supposed to, but we don’t pay too much attention to the details. That’s what it sounds like.

I will say from meeting with people that it’s not that they’re not paying attention, they don’t have direction. I don’t like this answer, but one answer when I asked people, when David ask people “Why did you pick that investment?” They’re saying, “I don’t know. That’s what my friend picked.” They listened to their friends and they don’t have always the correct advice. The other thing when David works with them is they don’t realize what the charges are. When we ask people, “What are the fees that you’re paying?” They don’t have any idea. “Why is that? I don’t understand that.”

Everybody's different. It's only appropriate if it's appropriate. That's what it is. Click To Tweet

I want the audience to know that it’s okay to be self-aware. It’s okay to be smart enough to know what you don’t know. It’s okay to engage the experts. It’s okay to engage Thrive Financial Services getting educated. I’m learning that on a weekly basis. It’s so important when you’re on this roadmap because decisions you make are going to affect you as you get down that road.

Number one, we love what we do. Number two, we feel very obligated to what we do in the sense that we want to get this education out there, we want to advocate. People initially are very blown away by that. There’s actually a little bit of a mistrust. They come in a little guarded, but within fifteen, twenty minutes of conversation they see it’s all authentic and very genuine. I was sitting with somebody and instantaneously told me, “I have two financial advisers and I’m not interested.” I said, “I appreciate that. I get it. We didn’t say you have to become our client. Let’s go through the work together and see how things come out.”

In about twenty minutes just reviewing on this topic of 401(k)s and their investment choices, we were able to educate them up to a point that it actually created a level of anxiety. I’ll be honest with you, it did because for the first time their eyes were opened to the misalignment, the incorrect calculations, not the proper asset allocation. This is a person that through our Riskalyze software where we can analyze somebody’s risk tolerance and then analyze the profile of their investments, they came in rated at a 30 on a scale of one to 99, 99 being the most speculative one, meaning that is buried in the backyard in a cookie jar. A 30 to 35 is an appropriate number for risk tolerance for somebody who’s right there at retirement, more focused on a conservative, “I want to make sure my money’s there for me, not trying to knock the cover off the ball and returns.”

When I did their portfolio analysis, two things came in and became very apparent to them. Their rating on their portfolio was a 72. On that same scale of one to 99, 99 being the most speculative, their portfolio is very aggressive. It’s almost twice as aggressive as it should have been for their profile, that worried them. I said, “Why did this happen?” “We don’t know. That’s the investment they put us in.” “The investments you didn’t choose?” “No, the investments they put us in.” Then as I started to peel back the onion and look at each of the investments, we saw some of the investments because of the type of investments they chose, which are just basic mutual funds, have what are called expense fees of almost 2%.

If your return is 6%, the expense fee is 2% and then your adviser’s charging you 1%, it’s not hard to figure out the math that it isn’t going to work long-term for you. Those are the types of things that when people come in and visit us for the Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review, maybe a little bit uncomfortable. Here’s the great part about it. There’s a solution to that.

No obligation. Come have the conversation. Start with the conversation. If you want to get a copy of Roadmap to Retirement: Navigating Your Way to Peace of Mind and you’re comfortable, we’ll take a call from you.

One of the questions that he asks it all these workshops is how many of you believe that we’re going to see a market correction between now and the day you pass away? Always every hand in the room goes up, but exactly what David said in this follow up question to that is how many people do we think actually do something about it? To David’s point, it’s routine, when we sit down with people and go through this Riskalyze analysis is everyone’s portfolio is aggressive, but yet they believe we’re going to see that correction. That’s when do we do something about it.

That’s what that Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review is all about, we sit down and one of the other tools we use is something called Moneytree software. It’s an overall tool that we use as well and a lot of times it’s sharing with people what resonates with you more. If you could ride off into the sunset and be satisfied earning, say 4% to 7% rate of return, having peace of mind versus trying to shoot for the stars, trying to get 8% to 12%, but having the potential for 40% corrections, which one resonates with you?

When you start phrasing questions like that, you start to see people’s mind starting to, “There’s nothing wrong with 4% to 7% and riding off into the sunset.” As we enter retirement, we’re not back-filling anymore. We’re not putting more money in. Time is now not on our side. We need that money in retirement. These are items and there’s so much that we go through for that Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review. Taking our time, that’s slow education us being an advocate out there. That’s what we pride ourselves on.

TFS 34 | Retirement Assets

Retirement Assets: As we enter retirement, we’re not back-filling anymore. We’re not putting more money in. We need that money in retirement.

 

Karen, let me ask you about what, how couples approach that because if I’m a couple and I’m sitting with you or I’m sitting with David or Bret at the office and I come in with all of the information. I’ve got two different people jointly married but maybe not on the same page because they have a different thought.

Funny that you should say that because sometimes when we meet with couples and we start asking them questions, they do have different perceptions and different thoughts. I usually joke and say we don’t do marriage counseling. Yes, they definitely have that. David brought up the Riskalyze software we use, we send an email and they take the questionnaire that way. Sometimes we’ll do a separate one for the husband, one for the wife and it will come back, they think they’re different, but in the end their numbers sometimes match. We work it out.

We’ve got another question, “I am getting ready to enter retirement. I do not have a pension. What is the best way to figure out guaranteed income for the rest of my life?” We get that a lot.

Pensions are not out there the way they used to be and I think a lot of people are in that scenario.

Let me ask you a question. When we talk about pensions or we talk about social security, every time we get a paycheck, there’s this item that they take out of our paycheck. It’s about 6.2% that comes out of every paycheck, but our employer also pays 6.2%. That’s something called Social Security Tax. That bucket of money is going to the government’s hand and again, it’s questionable how good they are managing money.

People get statistics all the time, if there’s no changes to the social security administration in terms of how they’re managing that money, benefits are going to drop at some point in time. We meet people to have pensions, please understand that. People that do get pensions, it’s the same thing that happens. We see a lot of teachers, union markers, whatever that case may be, and typically you have 7.5% of their paycheck being withheld. What’s that doing? Going into the pension plan. Their employers are funding it. They’re funding it, sometimes the state or the district is it.

Just so I’m clear, if you have a pension, you still get Social Security. For the most part, if you don’t have a pension and take that out of the equation, which is the question, what do I do?

Some people don't know that they're entitled to certain benefits. Click To Tweet

People in their mind, it’s okay because they’re paying a little bit out of each paycheck to get to that pension at the end of the day, but now let’s say I’m 55, 59 years old. I’m going to retire in the next two, three, five, whatever years that may be. Your other solution out there, that’s guarantees income for the rest of your life, isn’t an annuity.

The problem with an annuity is that, again, in our mind it’s okay if I’m paying little by little to get to that end goal social security or pension because it takes a lump sum to go create that same benefit. In our mind it’s conventional wisdom. I love a pension. I love a social security. We can go create one for you, but now of a sudden, you’ve got to take money from my bucket to go create that guaranteed stream. 

We got to remember we talk about statistics. We have a couple aged, 65, 50% chance that one of the two spouses makes it to the age of 95. People are living longer and longer and the importance of having this guaranteed income for life. When you mentioned that word annuity you’re starting to create dental pain, people are like, “What did you say?” I say it all the time.

It’s like when I asked people when they come into the office, “How did you get here?” They say, “My car.” “What car is it? What color is? It? Does have a cassette tape? Does it have a CD player? Is it power steering?” There’s so many different variables that are out there. The word annuity is like saying the word cars. You’ve got to peel back the onion and find out what’s at the core of that at the end of day.

The point of Bret’s explanation there, it’s going to be different for each and it’s going to be different, each individual is going to have a different set of circumstances. We’ve talked about that many times. The many decisions that you have to make are fueled by your scenario or fueled by your example of what’s going on in your world that’s different from somebody else.

There are a million flavors out there, that’s the way it is. That’s what a lot of times people don’t realize. Karen mentioned earlier now a lot of people get their advice from their friends and your friend’s situation may not be like your situation. We had two people come into one of our workshops. We did a workshop down in Ludington Library, which is in Bryn Mawr. These people live very close to each other, knew each other, and we sat down with one of them. They had $1 million in retirement savings and there are circumstances one way. Then the other person that came in happened to be a doctor, has done very well, and had $13 million. They talked to each other and I would say they even took advice from each other.

TFS 34 | Retirement Assets

Retirement Assets: A lot of people get their advice from their friends and your friend’s situation may not be like your situation.

 

When I looked at things, the person that had $1 million had a whole different set of circumstance than the person at $13 million. Interestingly enough, the person who had $13 million was more worried about their retirement than the person had $1 million. It’s such an interesting experience for us. We get this wonderful opportunity to do this 20 to 25 times a week where we meet with new couples or new individuals and each one of them brings a new experience to us.

Two things happen, one is it’s fun. Number two, is it gives us a lot of experience to be able to answer questions for people because we see it all. I’d say that’s unique in our industry because a lot of times, most financial advisers may see one or two new people on a weekly basis and to them that’s growth. For us because we’re on this mission, we’re building this tribe. We want to get this message of empowerment out to Baby Boomers. We get up early to do this show because we want to get the message out there.

When you’re absorbing 25 to 30 different scenarios on a weekly basis, some of it may be repetitive to you, but that puts you in a position to be able to understand or deal with whatever the example is.

The thing that’s funny is Bret was saying, people you say the word annuity, some people go, “It scares me.” I met with a couple and the gentleman’s like, “I love it. Why can’t I put all my money in there?” I was like, “Relax. There’s some things we have to go through.” When we work with you, our method for investing and for planning your retirement is this SWAN method, which is Sleep Well At Night. He liked that because he said, “I’m happy.” He did not have a pension. They’re looking at retirement and actually his wife was recently was right sized. It’s not laid off anymore. They’re right sized. It is a tough spot. He’s like, “This is great. I love this. Why wouldn’t I do this?” Everybody’s different.

It’s only appropriate if it’s appropriate. That’s what it is. A lot of times people will discount. We use annuities in our practice. We use them for specific reasons. There are two main reasons that somebody would basically want to use an annuity if it worked for them. That’s one of the big challenges. People hear the word and instantly discount and say, “I don’t like annuities.” Until you ask them the question, “Why don’t you like annuities?” They’ll cite things like, “I give up control of my money.” I will say, “What if you didn’t have to?” “I have to pay these big surrender charges.” “What if you didn’t have to?” “The fees and annuities are way too high.” “What if they’re not?”

They look at you and then I say, “What if you could find an investment that was principally protected, extraordinarily low in fees, and had liquidity to it that you can get out of it much, much sooner than you think? Would you at least want to hear about it?” The tone completely changes. They say, “It sounds too good to be true.” “What if it isn’t? What if it’s a contractual obligation of a state-approved insurance carrier that’s been checked out completely?”

They go, “Okay,” then I talk to them about the two potential uses. One is what Bret talked about, creating a guaranteed income stream because social security is one. If you’re lucky and have a pension, there’s the other, and I want to talk about that in a second, Joe. Then in a lot of times people are looking for that third guaranteed type payment that you know it’s going to be there every single month for the rest of both of your lives.

We use annuities, the appropriate amount. You’ll never hear the words from us, “All of your money should go into it.” Never as fiduciaries, but an appropriate amount can be utilized to create another pension check. If somebody’s got an income gap, either between their expenses and the income or after the first spouse passes away and they lose a portion of their pension and they lose a social security check, we could use an annuity to recreate that income. The second reason, and this has been endorsed by an economist and right here in the great city of Philadelphia, the Wharton School of Business Economics department did a report on real world returns of indexed annuities and said they were fantastic.

Roger Ibbotson, who’s a world economist, who’s responsible for creating amazing financial models said Baby Boomers and retirees should utilize indexed annuities as an alternative to longer term bonds. The bond market is not going to do well going forward with interest rates rising. I’m trying to sound a little emphatic for a second because it gets a hair up on my neck sometimes when people poo-poo because they don’t know, the reality is they have a fit for certain circumstances and people should at least explore.

We’ve got some questions. People are asking about the stock market with all this volatility. What do we think’s going to happen? I’ll cover that in a little bit. I wanted Bret to cover because we were talking a little bit. Philadelphia’s a big union town and pensions are a big topic for people. They’re vanishing, but those who have it, nice fortunate situation. Bret and I were looking at the USTreasury.gov website because we’re very familiar with pensions and when we see people who have pensions, we want to talk to them about and get them educated up about it. Bret’s got a good topic to talk about.

When we talk about Social Security and pensions we think they’re iron clad, they’re guaranteed. We love that idea of guaranteed income for life. One of the topics that David goes through during our workshop, it’s something that’s called The Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. When you get something that’s along like that, what the heck is that all about? Another one of these things that they pass in the middle of the night. Essentially what that means is that if your pension becomes underfunded, is that the government has now allowed for corporations, municipalities, etc. to come in, eliminate or reduce pension payments.

If your pension is underfunded, the government has allowed for corporations and municipalities to eliminate or reduce pension payments. Click To Tweet

Let that sink in. We feel great about our pension, we have money coming out of our paycheck for our whole life to go fund something that’s going to pay us for the rest of our life, but now they can reduce or take those benefits away. On the Treasury website, the Alaskan iron workers pension plan. Here’s one example. I can go through high-end sketch, I can go through the city of Cleveland. I can go through many municipalities. I can go through Lukens Steel out in Coatesville, Pennsylvania in our audience of so many different examples of this happening, of people having their benefits reduced, if not eliminated it. Realize this, we’re on a nine-and-a-half-year bull market. The market is at its height.

What’s going to happen to all these plans when we see our next bear market, the market collapses. It’s going to be a big catastrophe. We talk about Social Security, people not having comfort that they’re going to reduce my benefits. Pensions have the ability to reduce my benefits, but yet when we talk about that word annuity again, realize the strength and the stability of an insurance company versus these companies and the government managing money.

When we talk about guarantee in life, that’s what it’s all about and here’s a stat for you. A recent insured retirement institute in Jackson National, largest insurance companies in the nation, the study found that only 46% of investors realized that annuities provide a guaranteed income for life. That’s why Retirement Roadmap Review is to talk about all these items and to educate people as to putting all the puzzle pieces together.

Everything that is said on this show leads me to know and to encourage our listening audience to have dialogue with you, to have conversation, there is so much to know we’ll never know. We’ll never know how much we need to know, David.

We’ve prided ourselves that when we built our financial company, we wanted to become that central repository of all this information. Baby Boomers need a trusted resource to be able to walk in if they know the questions, have answers, and if they don’t know the questions, get the questions and the answers. Bret used to use the term and we stopped using it. Sometimes it’s a little like dental pain.

We got to work a little bit, maybe make you a little uncomfortable, but would you rather be uncomfortable while you’re either not yet retired or early in your retirement versus being uncomfortable because you’ve run out of money before you’ve run out. It’s worth going through that. We want to answer, so the questions we’re getting are oriented around guaranteed income pension, social security. That’s what we specialize in. Karen got a question related to Social Security and some people don’t know that they’re entitled to certain benefits.

We met with a couple as well, but we did get a question about Social Security. The question basically is, “I’m thinking of retiring early. Is it okay to take my benefit at age 62?” Krause, have you gotten a social security statement lately?

I will tell you, I have not, but I will tell you what I’ve done prompted by this show. I’ve gone on to the SocialSecurity.gov website and I’ve registered. I opened an account and I’ve registered so I could start to get educated about it, so I can start to ask questions about it and understand more about what you’re saying. Some of them, when you start digging in, you get sidetracked immediately. You don’t know what to do because that question comes up 62 to 67, 70, what do you do? I said to my wife, when I was doing it, “On the show we talk about 550 or 560, whatever the number is, choices or questions that can come up. They’re all there for sure.”

The answer is you can take Social Security starting at 62, but there are many different combinations, many different nuances. One thing that comes up a lot of times people don’t realize is you can take it at 62, but they don’t realize the growth and the penalty that are taking. Basically, they take a 25% decrease in your overall payment.

 Another area that people don’t understand or they’re surprised to understand is if you’re married and your spouse didn’t work to get those 35 credits in the 35 years of working, you are entitled to a spousal benefit, which is approximately 50% of what your husband or a wife, whoever the spouse is, they get 50% of their social security benefit, which people sometimes aren’t even aware of when they come in and meet with us. Come on in or at least give us a call and Social Security maximization report.

TFS 34 | Retirement Assets

Retirement Assets: You can take social security starting at 62, but there’s many different combinations, many different nuances.

 

Another one through Karen on that topic is talking about widow benefits. We had a client in. They became a client. Everyone was healthy months ago, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and unfortunately passed away. She went down to the Social Security Administration Office. She was almost 62 years old and they recommended, “You have the ability to take your widow benefit of $1,800 a month.” She came in, had already applied for that benefit and we said, “Time out. We need to go through this analysis.”

What we came back and said was, “We’re going to delay your Social Security until age 62. We’re going to take that benefit of $750 a month instead of at $1,800.” At your age, 66, you’re now able to take your spouse’s benefit, that widow benefit at $2,600, which is going to last your whole lifetime. They have some assets to fill that gap. $700 versus $1,800, but again, that’s all part of that Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review is we get all the information and then we can make the most educated decisions that’s what’s in your best interest.

First of all, I want to thank our audience for the questions because we want to answer the questions that people have. We’ll definitely get the copy of the book out to them. If people still have questions and they want to either text us or they want to visit our website at ThriveFinancialServices.com, they can inquire about anything that they want to inquire about. Best of all, come on in, we’ll give you that complimentary Thrive Retirement Roadmap Review. It’s a wonderful experience. It opens people’s eyes up. We love doing it, we love having the conversations. Our radio commercial says we’ve got great cookies at the office, homemade. Come on in, we’ll be happy to work with you.

The website looks great by the way. It’s easy to navigate as you navigate on your road to retirement.

Joe, I’d rather end on a good note, but I want to open up people’s eyes. The last thing I’d like to tell people is don’t sit idle. The market is becoming very volatile. Your retirement is critical. You only got one shot to do it. I’m sitting here where I’ve got three headlines. One says we’re seeing the greatest asset inflation bubble in twenty years. That’s what fund managers are warning, 30 years of stock market crashes and the signs that they are coming leave clues.

Trillion dollars of assets wiped out, world stocks, worse first half since 2010. A list of all the stock market crashes and bear markets over the past hundred years it’s voluminous. Warren Buffett is making a rare move and it’s a sign it might be time to take some money off the table by selling a healthy stock. Come, get aware of what’s going on. Don’t be idle, take action.

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