Three Nationally Recognized Voices Talking About your life in retirement

Season 2

Boosting-your-income-in-retirement

Boosting your income in retirement

With interest rates at record lows and economic uncertainty expected to continue, you’re probably wondering, like millions of other Americans, whether you’ll have enough income to last 20 or more years of retirement. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take right now to improve your chances. First, try to avoid taking Social Security as long as possible, since each year you delay could increase your benefits by 8%. Second, use online tools like maxmyinterest.com to find online banks offering better interest rates on savings than you’re earning now. Third, consider reallocating some of your investments to increase income without taking on excessive risk; equity-income funds offer an attractive combination of dividend income and the potential for capital growth. Fourth, look for ways to reduce non-essential spending and investment expenses. If all of this seems too overwhelming to do on your own, considering working with a fee-only fiduciary financial planner who can analyze your entire financial life and recommend a plan to help you live the way you want to during retirement.

Season 2

A-better-way-to-manage-your-401k

A better way to manage your 401k

401(k) plans are by far the largest source of income and capital for most retirees. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re making the most of your plan’s potential by finding ways to reduce costs and make smarter investment choices. Edward Gottfried of Betterment suggests that the easiest way to lower costs is to move your money from mutual funds that charge you 1% or more in annual investment management fees into index funds with fees ranging from 0.05% to 0.25%. Online tools like Blooom can analyze all of your plan’s funds and suggest less-expensive alternatives. It’s also important to make sure that your asset allocation—your current mix of stock funds, bond funds and cash–reflects your investment goals, timeframe and risk tolerance. As you approach retirement, you may want to reduce your allocation to stocks to protect against potential losses in your portfolio should the market plummet when you need to start making withdrawals. However, it’s important to keep some exposure to stocks because they’re more likely to keep your portfolio growing faster during retirement than if you only invest in bonds and cash.

When you retire, or move to a different company, you need to decide what to do with the assets in your former employer’s 401(k) plan. If you’re switching jobs, it only makes sense to transfer assets from your old plan if your new company’s plan offers better investment options and lower costs. But for most people, moving 401(k) plan assets into a brokerage Rollover IRA makes the most sense. A Rollover IRA gives you access to thousands of different mutual funds and ETFs and most offer online retirement planning tools to help you determine an appropriate asset allocation model and select investment options. If you don’t want to make your own investment decisions, consider rolling over your 401(k) assets into an IRA professionally managed by a fee-only fiduciary investment adviser.

Season 2

Don't-Go-Broke-in-Retirement

Don’t Go Broke in Retirement

According to industry research, only half of retirees save enough money to maintain their current level of spending for more than five years. Trying to figure out if their income from Social Security and retirement savings will last potentially 30 years or more is one of the biggest sources of stress among those in their 60s and 70s. According to Steve Vernon, author of Don’t Go Broke at Retirement, retirees need to find a middle ground between carelessly spending away their nest eggs and allowing their fears about running out of money keep them from enjoying life. There are two strategies you can use to help ensure that you won’t spend your way into poverty. First, try to delay taking Social Security benefits until age 70 if possible, even if you need to take a part-time job to earn extra income. The longer you wait, the higher the monthly benefits you’ll receive. Second, look for ways to reduce your spending. While going out to eat less often and cutting your cable and cell phone bills can help, the most significant, long-lasting savings come from eliminating major expenses. Getting rid of a vehicle you no longer need or moving into a townhouse or to a state with a lower cost of living can significantly reduce the thousands of dollars per year you spend on repairs, loans, insurance and taxes. Since these decisions can be very complex, consider seeking the advice of an unbiased, fee-only financial planner who can recommend strategies to keep you financially and emotionally secure during your golden years.

Season 2

Friends-talk-money

How to downsize your home and reduce financial stress

If you’re thinking about moving to a smaller home, you may want to begin this process by figuring out what you need to keep and what you can get rid of. In this episode, David Ekerdt, a sociology professor at Kansas University and author of Downsizing: Confronting our Possessions in Later Life, reveals that many older people find this process to be a major source of tension and emotional duress, especially if they have a short timeframe for getting rid of things. Often their children and grandchildren aren’t interested in taking their china, silverware or furniture. Or no wants to buy the collectibles and artwork they thought would bring in a small fortune. Or the charities they’d like to donate things to are overly picky. A process that they thought would be done quickly can sometimes takes months. To lessen this stress, parents should invite their children to either “claim” or take items they want long before they plan to move to a different location. The earlier they shed the things they no longer need, the less they’ll have to deal with later on.

Season 2

Identity-theft-looks-different-during-a-pandemic

Identity theft looks different during a pandemic

Scammers, identity thieves and false unemployment claim filers have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars this year, taking advantage of COVID-19 confusion to prey on vulnerable and scared people isolated in their homes. Some call pretending to be the Social Security Administration, demanding personal financial information to stop benefit cuts. Others pretend to be from the federal government, asking people to provide their Social Security numbers to authorize economic stimulus payments. Other scammers send solicitations from fake charities or GoFundMe campaigns claiming to be helping first responders and pandemic victims. If you receive unsolicited calls, texts or emails asking for your Social Security number or other financial information, ignore them. If you inadvertently fall for one of these scams, or you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, immediately contact the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion, and request a credit freeze, which will prevent thieves from opening more credit cards in your name. Also request a free credit report from each agency and look them over closely to identify any credit cards or loans you didn’t authorize. If you believe that someone is filing false unemployment claims under your name, contact your local state employment office or contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or www.tips.fbi.gov. Make sure you document your attempts to research this fraud.

Season 2

Friends-talk-money

Divorce after 50

Going through a divorce is tough at any age, but it can be particularly challenging when you separate over age 55, when your emotional and financial lives may have been intertwined for decades. In this episode, Pam, Richard and Terry discuss the three most expensive financial mistakes people going through a divorce often make. They also offer tips for reducing legal costs, outline the steps spouses need to take to understand the joint assets they’re entitled to and the debts they may be responsible for, and discuss ways to get through the rigors of divorce and emerge with a positive outlook and a strong sense of financial independence.

Season 2

Friends-talk-money

College Confusion in Covid Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has created dilemmas that college students and their parents have never had to face before. With many already financially struggling higher education institutions keeping campuses closed, cancelling athletic seasons and offering online courses only, students are being denied the full college experience. Are the 10%-15% tuition reductions some colleges and universities are offering adequate compensation? Pam, Richard and Terry discuss the pros and cons of various options, including: Negotiating tuition costs and financial aid packages; taking a gap year to earn money for the 2021-2022 school year; and deferring enrollment and earning a 1-2 years’ worth of transferable credits at a community college.

Season 1 : Podcasts

Season 1

Friends-talk-money

The Most Expensive Mistakes You Can Avoid in Retirement

Special Guests

Travis Iles, Texas Securities Commissioner

Jason Williams, CFP(R), Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney

Managing your finances during retirement is like trying to land a helicopter in the wind–it requires accuracy, monitoring and caution. Texas Securities Commissioner Travis Iles advises retirees to steel themselves against unscrupulous brokers and precious metals hawkers who try to appeal to retirees’ greed and fear of losses. Financial planner Jason Williams says that the key to managing your money during retirement is to know exactly how much money will be coming in versus going out and to make sure your retirement investments achieve an optimal balance of capital protection and future growth potential. And while you can use online retirement planning calculators to get a ballpark estimate of how long your nest egg will last, these tools’ well-documented inaccuracies strengthen the case for working with an experienced fiduciary financial planner to address these critical issues and gain greater peace of mind.

Resources

  • Establish an online Social Security account to estimate your monthly income: Link
  • Texas Tech Study on the inaccuracy of online retirement planning tools: Link

NextAvenue articles on retirement planning

  • Retiring on a shoestring: Link
  • What retirees should do–and not do–If the stock market crashes: Link

Season 1

Friends-talk-money

Generating Income After You Stop Working

Special Guest: Steve Vernon, Research Scholar, Stanford Center on Longevity: Link

Guest speaker Steve Vernon suggests that pre-retirees worried about their financial security adopt two mindsets: One, that it’s okay to start spending the money you’ve saved for retirement, and two, you may need to change your retirement investing objective from maximizing savings to generatng income. He also recommends that people delay applying for Social Security benefits as long as possible, since annual benefits are 8% higher for every year you delay taking benefits after you reach your full retirement age up to age 70. Pam, Richard and Terry also remind people that, outside of when they start taking Social Security benefits, nearly every decision they make about their financial life during retirement, from taking on a part-time job to generate extra income to revising their investment strategy, is reversible.

Resources

  • Retirement Game-Changers: Strategies for a Healthy, Financially Secure, and Fulfilling Long Life, by Steve Vernon: Link
  • Create your personal my Social Security account to receive estimates of your monthly benefits based on your earnings history: Link

Next Avenue articles on retirement income planning

  • Social Security: Secrets, Myths and Misconceptions: Link
  • How to Turn Your passions into Retirement Income: Link

Season 1

Older Americans and Debt

Older Americans and Debt

In this episode of the Friends Talk Money podcast, the topic is debt and retirement. Co-host Richard Eisenberg — the managing editor of Next Avenue, the public media website for people 50+ — leads the discussion on the rising amount of debt held by retirees compared to the past and which types of debt cause the most stress for retirees.

Eisenberg interviews two experts:

One is Chris Farrell, a journalist and author (Purpose and a Paycheck) who focuses on personal finance and work topics for people 50+ in media outlets including Next Avenue and public radio’s Marketplace. He has recently been studying data about retirees and debt.

The other is Ohio State University professor Stephanie Moulton, co-author of a recent study on the relationship between debt and financial stress for older Americans: Debt Stress and Mortgage Borrowing in Older Age: Implications for Economic Security in Retirement.(https://mrdrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/conference/pdf/2019RDRC%20P5%20Moulton.pdf)

The Next Avenue article, “The Hidden Retirement Crisis: Older Americans’ Debt,” https://www.nextavenue.org/retirement-older-americans-debt/) describes some of Farrell’s and Moulton’s insights.

Key statistics:

  • The median total consumer debt of households headed by someone 65 or older in 2016 ($31,300) was 2 ½ times what it was in 2001 and nearly 4 ½ times the level in 1989.
  • Some 60% of 65+ households carried debt in 2016, up markedly from about 42% in 1992.
  • Stress resulting from a $1 increase in credit card debt, is the equivalent of stress due to a $14 to $20 increase in mortgage debt.

Season 1

Friends-talk-money

Why Do People Hate Annuities?

Special Guests:

  • Stan Haithcock, aka “Stan the Annuity Man”
  • Eric Lai, President, Archvest Wealth Advisors

The reputation of annuities as “guaranteed” income-generators for retirees has been shredded by countless horror stories of hidden fees, sky-high commissions and dishonest sales practices. We hear one such story from Lucian, a 37-year old investor who fell for a salesperson’s promises of “lifetime payments” and “money-doubling potential” and sank $400,000 of his life savings into a high-cost, low-return equity-indexed annuity. Fee-only fiduciary advisor Eric Lau, who is trying to help Lucian cancel his contract, advises that anyone considering purchasing any annuity should have an attorney review any contract and/or consult with an objective investment professional to discuss other retirement-income options.

Resources

  • Objective, factual insights on annuities from “Stan the Annuity Man” Haithcock Link
  • The Society for Annuity Facts & Education, Inc Link
  • Annuity Consumer Alert from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Link

NextAvenue articles on annuities (and other retirement income options)

  • Cautions about Buying Annuities for Retirement (Episode recap) Link
  • What Could Help Americans Manage Their Retirement Money Link

Season 1

Friends-talk-money

Are Reverse Mortgages a Smart Option?

Special guests

  • Lori Trawinski, Director of Banking and Finance at the AARP Public Policy Institute
  • Peter Bell, CEO of the National Reverse Lender Association

Pam and Richard remember the days when reverse mortgages were hawked like Ab Crunchers on late-night infomercials. But tighter regulations have now made them a legitimate source of supplemental tax-free income for seniors who wish to remain in their homes until their deaths. In fact, Terry helped her father get a reverse mortgage in that enabled him to live in his retirement condominium until he passed away at age 96. But it’s not a decision to be taken lightly, and the federal government has established safeguards to ensure that potential applicants and their families fully understand both the benefits and risks of this often misunderstood option.

Resources

  • Reverse mortgage resources at the AARP Public Policy Institute: Link
  • National Reverse Mortgage Association guides and tools: Link
  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgage information at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Link

NextAvenue articles on Reverse Mortgages

  • Should You Get One of the New Reverse Mortgages? Link
  • Using Your Home Equity for Aging in Place: Link

Season 1

Friends-talk-money

Who’s Watching Your Aging Parents Money?

Resources

  • Hazel Heckers, Colorado Bureau of Investigation: Link
  • AARP Foundation ElderWatch (to help recognize, prevent and report elder fraud): Link Phone: 800-222-4444, option 2

Next Avenue articles on Elder Fraud and Imposter Scams:

  • “What to Do If Your Parent Gets Scammed”: Link
  • “Danger: Don’t Fall for the Phony ‘AppleCare’ Scam”: Link
  • “How I Fell for a Computer Virus Scam”: Link
  • “Curbing Elder Abuse: What’s Been Helping, What’s Needed”: Link
  • “Elder Financial Abuse: Why Banks and Advisers Are Stepping Up”: Link
  • “Flood of Romance Scams Defrauds Older Victims”: Link

Season 1

Don’t Tell Me How to Retire

Don’t Tell Me How to Retire!

Meet one feisty 75-year old woman who is redefining retirement. Her empowering message may change people’s lives and how they think about retirement. Pam interviewed retirement research expert, Warren Cormier explains the different phases of retirement. Working past 70 is now the ‘new normal’.

Richard raised the issue of age discrimination at work for older people looking for jobs.

Resources

Resources: Warren Cormier study: Link


Age discrimination in the workforce: Link

Season 1

Do-I-Need-Long-Term-Care-Insurance

Do I Need Long Term Care Insurance?

Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services, whether it’s in-home care or in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Guest Phyllis Shelton, President of Got LTCi, reveals that home health care can cost as much as $5,000 a month, and average nursing home care costs are $7,500 a month.

Richard warns that if you’re thinking about buying long-term care insurance you should do it while you’re still healthy. Many insurers won’t underwrite policies for people with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and dementia.

Pam warns that when shopping for policies it’s important to research the financial stability of the insurance companies, since many companies that used to provide long-term care insurance either left the business or refused to pay benefits because they underestimated the health care costs and longevity of policyholders. People should work with unbiased, fiduciary experts who do not sell insurance in order to evaluate the need.

Resources

  • Got LTCi : Link
  • LongTermCare.gov: Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Link
  • The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance Link

Season 1

Women,-Money-and-Retirement

Women, Money and Retirement

Special Guest Expert:

Cindy Hounsell, president of WISER (Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement)
WISER website: https://www.wiserwomen.org

Resources:

  • Nextavenue.org site (for articles about retirement planning, saving and investing) Link
  • WISER’s Your Future Paycheck Calculator Link
  • Choosetosave.org site’s Ballpark E$timate Calculator Link
  • Livingto100.com site (to estimate how long you will live) Link
  • y Savage’s new book: The Savage Truth on MoneyLink

Season 1

Friends-talk-money

Who’s giving you financial advice?

Who’s Giving You Financial Advice:

  • Most people start thinking about hiring a financial professional when they’re approaching retirement. But the lack of a uniform code of conduct among financial professionals allows many glorified salespeople to legally pose as trusted advisors. This episode explains how different kinds of financial advisors work and earn their living–and why these differences matter.
  • Guest pre-retiree Patty starts with the story of a personal finance class she attended with her husband at her local college. The “instructor” was an insurance salesperson who used the class to try to sell them annuities as the solution to their retirement income challenges.
  • Guest Lynne Egan, the Deputy Securities Commissioner for the state of Montana, attended a similar class and confirms that these “trolling sessions” are both common and legal. It’s the job of investors to understand the differences between a glorified investment salesperson and a fiduciary financial advisors who is committed to acting in your best interests.
  • Guest Phyllis Borzi, former assistant secretary of the Department of Labor during the Obama administration, worked tirelessly to introduce legislation that would have required all advisors to act as fiduciaries. Her efforts were legally thwarted by industry opposition. As a result there are no uniform standards of care among financial advisors.
  • Registered representatives, or brokers, earn commissions selling products, and only need to meet the “suitability standard,” which means that as long as a product they recommend generally aligns with an investor’s risk tolerance and investment objective, the broker can recommend the product that pays them the highest commission. Investors who want to work with an advisor who puts their needs first need to to ask many qualifying questions, starting with, “Are you a fiduciary?”
  • Legally, investment advisers are required to service as fiduciaries, which they fulfill, in part, by being paid directly by clients and receiving no commissions for managing their investments. But may investment advisers are also brokers, and can still receive commissions for selling certain products, such as insurance. Investors who want to hire “100% fiduciaries” should limit their choices to independent fee-only investment advisers who are not also brokers. Investors should also require the advisor to sign an industry standard fiduciary oath.
  • Wealthramp.com helps individuals locate fully vetted, fiduciary fee-only financial advisors

Resources and Research:

  • The latest developments in legal attempts to require all advisors to serve as fiduciaries: Link
  • View the most widely recognized fiduciary oath and find firms that are committed to abiding by its principles: Link
  • Research the background of any financial advisors to find out if they’re a broker, investment adviser or both and if they’ve ever violated securities regulations. Link

Podcast Host

pam-team-image (1)

Pam krueger

Terry-Savange

Terry Savange

Richard-Eisenberg (1)

Richard Eisenberg

About Friends Talk Money

Whatever life after 50 looks like to you, thinking about money in retirement shouldn’t keep you up at night. We’re all dealing with the big questions about money and aging: How much you can really spend, how to invest your life savings without risking it all in the stock market, and should you sell your home and downsize? Then there’s the biggest unknown: how much health care you’ll need, and whether your savings and insurance is enough to cover the costs. This is personal. These topics may not be easy to talk about with your own family. That’s why nationally known personal finance experts Terry Savage, Richard Eisenberg, and Pam Krueger and are here to open up the dialogue so you can learn how to define your retirement and deal with your money on your own terms. 

These three friends think, write, and speak about these issues. And now they’re joining forces to give you the benefit of their experience, wisdom and advice in their new podcast, Friends Talk Money.  

Each week Richard, Pam and Terry will discuss a different piece of the retirement pie. Everything from Social Security and Medicare to investing and cash flow management is on the table, with practical, common-sense advice on how to deal with these and other challenges.

But don’t expect cut-and-dried answers. These friends have strong opinions, and aren’t afraid to debate the pros and cons of their friends’ recommendations. But what you will walk away after each episode is a greater awareness of the retirement planning issues you’ll need to address with the help of your family, friends and financial advisor.

Friends Talk Money is proud to be sponsored by the North American Securities Administrators Association

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