Participant: Pam Krueger

Season 10
What You Don’t Know About Longevity Could Hurt Your Retirement

Show Episode Notes

You're probably familiar with financial literacy, which entails having the skills, knowledge and behaviors to make decisions about money. But how's your longevity literacy? Not sure what we're talking about? In this episode Pam, Terry and Richard break down longevity literacy, and explain the impact, especially when it comes to your retirement readiness. Guest expert, Surya Kolluri, who is the head of the TIAA Institute joins the Friends Talk Money crew to uncover the importance behind longevity literacy and why he believes more Americans should focus on improving theirs.

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Season 10
Dealing with Debt Later in Life

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Advice on lowering your debt load and credit card rates, plus pros and cons of filing bankruptcy. With Bruce McClary, Senior Vice President of Media Relations & Membership at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

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Season 9
What To Know Before Retiring Abroad

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Retiring abroad can be appealing, with lower costs and great weather. But here are some things you also need to consider before making a move.

Season 9
How You Can Financially Set Up Your Grandchildren For Success

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In this episode, the Friends Talk Money team discusses how you can help set up your grandchildren for financial success beyond the traditional 529 college saving plans. Tune in as Pam, Richard and Terry share helpful tips and savvy money strategies that they’ve learned from their own personal experiences.

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Season 9
What to Know About Required Minimum Distributions From Retirement Plans

Show Episode Notes

The rules for RMDs have changed and you will want to know how much you must take out of your retirement plans and when. We explain it all on this episode of Friends Talk Money, including year-end advice.

Required Minimum Distributions: 

  • Age 73: Must Take RMD before year-end from all plans except Roth
  • Pay Ordinary Income Taxes (consider withholding)
  • Based on Balance in All Accounts Year-end Previous Year
  • Calculate online at IRA custodian
  • Input age and last year-end account value, spouse age
  • Withdraw from one or several accounts
  • 40l(k) accounts require separate RMD
Season 9
Social Security Horror Stories!

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Social Security is clawing back $21 billion in mistaken overpayments — impacting retirees and the disabled. Terry Savage and Larry Kotlikoff have written a new book — Social Security Horror Stories — revealing the shocking abuse. Last weekend they were featured on CBS - Sixty Minutes speaking with Anderson Cooper about this issue. In this episode, Larry joins Terry, Pam and Richard to take a deeper dive into problem and what you should do to ensure you get what’s rightfully yours.

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Season 9
Open Enrollment for Medicare is Here! We have some advice and some warnings.

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What to know about Medicare Open Enrollment for 2024. What’s new and how to shop wisely for coverage.

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Season 9
Advice for glass half empty investors

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Not everyone looks at their personal financial future through rose colored glasses. In fact a recent Gallup poll shows Americans not yet retired are more worried than anytime in the past ten years. Discouraged savers who see the glass-half-empty may actually need different financial strategies just based on their outlook. We give you solid financial planning tips that can make your outlook.

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Season 9
Help with Student Loan Repayments

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Learn how to lower your repayments and cut years off your loan payments w attorney and expert Rae Kaplan.

Season 8
'Rock Your Retirement’ with Help From Roger Whitney

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Roger AKA, "The Retirement Answer Man” and author of “Rock Retirement: A Simple Guide to Help You Take Control and Be More Optimistic About the Future,". Roger has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional for more than 25 years. He’s sharing how he’s now helping people live well today in retirement without sacrificing tomorrow.

Season 8
How Grandparents Can Use 529 Plans to Save For Their Grandkids’ College Tuition

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In this Friends Talk Money episode, college financing expert Mark Kantrowitz talks with our hosts Terry Savage, Pam Krueger and Richard Eisenberg on how grandparents can use 529 plans to save for their grandchildren’s’ college tuition bills.

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Season 8
What to Know About Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

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A guide to who should consider buying a long-term care insurance policy, what these policies do and don't cover, what age to consider buying it and the newer versions known as hybrid policies and 10-Pay policies. Our guest: Brian Gordon, a long-term care insurance policy expert with Gordon Associates in Bannockburn, Ill.

For further research:

Season 8
Cannonballs and Curveballs in Retirement

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The Age Wave research and consulting firm and the Edward Jones financial services firm just published a survey of Americans’ views and actions regarding cannonballs and curveballs in retirement. In today’s episode we talk with Lena Haas of Edward Jones about the findings.

For further research:

 

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Season 8
How to Get the Pension You're Due

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Some retirees run into trouble receiving their promised pensions. Others aren't sure if they're eligible to receive pensions. Here's where to go to get help to ensure you get any pension you're due and to see whether there may be a pension waiting for you.

 For further research:

Season 8
New Lessons From an Old Fraud

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Netflix released a new docuseries that reveals how Madoff got away with stealing $36 Billion from wealthy investors and charities.

It’s been 15 years since the biggest criminal on Wall Street, Bernie Madoff pulled off the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Bernie Madoff may be dead, but there are still plenty of con artists and investment scams and new lessons to learn from this story.

 

Season 8
Tax Tips — Don’t Procrastinate!

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The clock is ticking towards Tax Day, April 18. Here are some timely tips for tax form procrastinators.

For further research:

Season 8
Annuities for Retirement Income

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Mention the word “annuity” and most investors recoil. There seem to be so many hidden secrets and costs.  And high pressure sales tactics along with "free dinners."

In today’s podcast we unravel those mysteries – with the one man who has consistently worked to educate the public to the ins and outs of annuities – as well as some of the better uses of these insurance company contracts.  Stan Haithcock’s website – www.StantheAnnuityMan.com -- is a great resource for free basic information and good advice on annuities.  And Stan is one of the most entertaining financial speakers you’ll ever meet.

So, sit back and enjoy our podcast.  We devote special attention to Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuities (MYGAs), now yielding over 5.5%.  They’re the insurance industry’s version of a bank CD, without the FDIC backing.  And they are a great way to improve yields either inside or outside your IRA.

To read more about MYGAs, here’s a link to Terry’s column on the subject:  https://www.terrysavage.com/an-annuity-that-works-for-you-myga

And if you’d like to listen to more of Stan’s terrific approach to financial markets, both Terry and Pam have recently joined him on HIS podcast.  You’ll find the links to these conversations here:

Terry Savage: The Savage Financial Truth in 2023
https://www.stantheannuityman.com/fwa-terry-savage-january-2023

Pam Krueger: Your Wealthramp to Fiduciary Advice
https://www.stantheannuityman.com/fwa-pam-krueger-february-2023

For further research:

 

Season 8
What to Know About Continuing Care Retirement Communities

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Have you given some thought to where and how you’d like to live in your retirement years?  Many insist on staying in the family home – without thinking about logistics of stairs and navigating the bathroom in later years.  Maybe you’ll just downsize to a smaller home.  Others decide to move into a senior community, making new friends in these settings with like-minded and active adults.  The latest enticing option is Continuing Care Retirement Communities, which offer initial living in townhomes or condos, while guaranteeing acceptance for one or both spouses into assisted living or even memory care as the need might arise.

This is a financial, as well as logistical and emotional decision, as many of these CCRCs require a large up-front deposit, typically funded by the sale of the family home.  Guarantees are involved, but you need to read the fine print.  You’ll find an explanation and details in Terry’s recent column.

On this podcast, we will speak with Dana Smith, Chief Marketing Officer for Lifespace Communities (https://www.lifespacecommunities.com/), a non-profit  company that has 18 communities in seven states, ranging from Florida to Texas, and Illinois to Kansas.  As you’ll hear in this podcast, Dana has the answers to so many questions, ranging from how to get that deposit back to what happens if you run out of money.   And she has tips on what to look for and what questions to ask if you are considering moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

For further research: Next Avenue, Key Facts About Life-Plan Communities

Season 8
How to Reboot Your Retirement

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Millions of Americans are feeling financially insecure about retirement, but "Retirement Reboot" author and journalist Mark Miller has some practical suggestions. In this "Friends Talk Money" episode, he shares insights and recommendations on: saving and investing for retirement, Social Security strategies, enrolling in Medicare and more.

Season 8
The Massive Retirement Bill: What's In It for You?

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Congress just passed a bill with the biggest changes for retirement in 15 years. The legislation, called Secure 2.0, has new ways to save for retirement and take money out of savings for emergencies, as well as new rules on how much you'll be required to take out of your retirement accounts and how the government will provide money to match retirement savings for some people. In this Friends Talk Money episode, we tell you what the new law means for you.

PowerPoint Notes

Season 8
How to Make Your Money Last in Retirement

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Many people worry about running out of money in retirement. But Jim Mahaney, a retirement advisor in New Jersey, says you can lessen that worry by creating what he calls a "resilient retirement income plan." He just wrote a whole book about it — "How to Craft a Resilient Retirement Income Plan" and in this episode, Friends Talk Money podcast co-hosts Richard Eisenberg, Pam Krueger and Terry Savage talk about how, and why, to do just that.

Season 8
Best Holiday Gifts that Teach Kids about Money

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The holiday shopping season is officially underway, and like many grandparents and parents, you’re probablysearching for gifts that will make a lasting impression on young people–rather than being quicklyoutgrownor broken. So we have gathered some of our best holiday money gifts for kids of all ages—gifts that will keep on giving for years to come.

Season 8
2022 Year-End Tax Planning Tips

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Delaying billing 2022 side-gig income until 2023, maximizing end-of-year pre-tax retirement plan contributions, and selling stocks at a loss to offset capital gains are just a few of many steps you can take right now to reduce your 2022 taxable income. Terry, Pam and Richard discuss these and other strategies and IRS changes that may lower tax bills for many Americans in 2023.  

For further research:

 

Season 8
What You Need to Know About Claiming Social Security

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Two thirds of retirees get more than half of their income from Social Security. That’s why it’s critical to make the right claiming decision. In this episode, the three friends are joined by Social Security expert and bestselling author Lawrence Kotlikoff, who discusses scenarios where you might want to start taking Social Security earlier or delay starting until your full retirement age or later.

For further research:

Season 7
Best Advice for The Wild Housing Market

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The housing market is a perilous place right now, especially for people over 50. Prices in certain areas are out of reach for many seniors who want to relocate, yet rising mortgage rates are making it difficult for many homeowners to sell at their asking prices. In this episode, Terry, Pam and Richard weigh the pros and cons of selling or staying put, various mortgage options, moving into a retirement community, and renting.

For further research:

Season 7
The Future of Work for People Over 50

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What does the employment outlook look like for older Americans who will be looking for new jobs or want to hold on to the jobs they have? Will there still be remote or hybrid opportunities for those who don’t want to be in the office full time? And when today’s hot job market begins to cool, will there be a place for older employees in corporate America? To answer these and other questions, the three friends bring in two experts to discuss the future of the workplace and what those who want to participate in it may need to do to adapt. 

For further research: 

Season 7
What People Want From Financial Advisors But Aren't Getting

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Many financial advisors are not doing much to help their clients prepare for retirement other than managing their investments. In this episode, the three friends discuss the many other ways a truly independent, fiduciary financial planner can holistically come up with a comprehensive plan to help retirees answer their many questions, from deciding when to start Social Security and choosing Medicare coverage to figuring out where and how they may want to live and determining an appropriate estate planning strategy.

Season 7
Why Women are Leading Sustainable Investing

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In this episode, Pam, Terry and Richard discuss the pros and cons of socially responsible investing, whose increasing popularity is being driven mainly by women. In particular, they examine whether women sacrifice returns by investing in stocks or ESG funds that align with their personal values. The answer may surprise you.

For further research:

Janine Firpo, Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World
Socially responsible investing made easy:   https://newdayimpact.com/

Season 7
5 Tips for 401(k) Rollovers

Show Episode Notes

Directly rolling over a 401(k) plan to an IRA with a custodian like Fidelity, Schwab or Vanguard is something most people should do as soon as possible after they retire. Why? Because most 401(k) plan investment options are designed for people saving for retirement, rather than for those who need their nest egg to generate income to help pay for everyday expenses. Rollover IRAs offer access to a wider variety of investment options, many of which may have lower expenses than the funds in your 401(k) account. But since you may need money in your IRA to last 20 years or more, you may not feel confident making your own investment decisions. A low-cost robo-advisor can automatically invest your rollover IRA money but won’t be able to answer your questions or address your concerns. That’s why it may be worth paying more for the services of a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor. They not only can manage your investments but can come up with a comprehensive plan to address the financial opportunities and challenges you may face during retirement. 

For further research: 

Season 7
Gray Marriage: How to Avoid Expensive Mistakes

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Since the 1990s an increasing number of people are getting remarried at a later age. Couples who are entering second marriages at this point in life need to fully understand the financial implications. How much wealth and debt will they bring to the union? Whose home will the newlywed couple live in? How do you make compromises on everyday spending and bill payments? And what should each person do to safeguard their own financial interests and those of their own children while still being fair to their new spouse and their children? Since money-related issues are one of the chief causes of marital friction and divorce, it’s important to have these discussions before the marriage takes place, even if the outcome involves establishing prenuptial agreements to protect both spouses. 

For further research:  

Season 7
Gen X is Getting Ready to Retire. How’s That Going?

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Recent research from the Employee Benefits Research Institute reveals that those most worried about financial security during retirement are Gen-Xers between the ages of 42 and 57 years old. With the market experiencing its worst start of the year since World War II, many are wondering whether the two-decade bull market is coming to an end. Others are worried that they’ll have to work longer than they planned. Or that the Social Security fund will be bankrupt when it’s time for them to start collecting. While there are actions Gen X-ers can take now to bolster their retirement nest egg, like maximizing contributions to 401(k) plans and IRAs and resisting the urge to reduce exposure to the stock market, many can achieve greater peace of mind by working with a fee-only financial advisor. These professionals can analyze Gen-Xers’ entire financial picture and recommend a plan to increase their chances of living the way they want to during retirement.

For further research: 

Season 7
Working in Retirement

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If you want to work part-time in retirement, it's never been easier to find the kind of job you want. And it’s not just lower-paying, physically demanding jobs at retail stores and restaurants. With employers desperate to find workers, many are putting aside their biases against experienced and technically savvy older workers and allowing many to work at home or on their own schedules.  And if you’re still working full-time but would like to ease your workload, your company may offer a phased retirement program that lets you gradually reduce your work hours over time while still retaining your benefits. Even if you officially leave your full-time employer, you may have the opportunity to work for them part part-time or as a consultant. However, the key to remaining a coveted part-time worker is to keep up with the skills that employers find valuable, whether it’s learning new technologies and staying current with the business trends in your industry. 

For further research: 

Season 7
Should You Put Crypto in Your Retirement Account?

Show Episode Notes

Ric Edelman, author of the new book “The Truth About Crypto” thinks everyone should have 1% of their investments in cryptocurrencies, including retirement investors. But the U.S. Department of Labor has concerns about allowing crypto in 401(k) retirement plans, just as Fidelity says it plans to let employers allow employees to put up to 20% of their 401(k)s in Bitcoin. The “Friends Talk Money” hosts talk to Edelman about all this and weigh in with their thoughts on putting retirement money into crypto.

Season 6
Appointing a Trusted Contact

Show Episode Notes

Securities regulators estimate that at least 5 million elderly Americans become victims of financial fraud and other scams each year. With this kind of abuse only expected to increase, these regulators are strongly recommending that seniors formally appoint one or more children, relatives or friends as “trusted contacts” with their bank, brokerage company, financial advisor and other financial institutions. These trusted contacts can’t make transactions or even view their friends’ or parents’ accounts. They’re simply additional people the institution or advisor can reach out to if they’re unable to reach the account owners to inform them about suspicious activities or other account-related red flags.

For further research:

Season 6
Keep Calm and Invest: Three Industry Experts Discuss How To Manage Market Volatility

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The S&P has been very volatile since January, after reaching many record highs over the past seven years. It’s hard for any investor not to feel overwhelmed and worried during these turbulent times. Watch nationally known financial commentators and co-hosts of the award-winning podcast Friends Talk Money, Terry Savage, Richard Eisenberg and Pam Krueger discuss how to stay focused during this market storm of inflation, the prospect for higher interest rates and global political and economic uncertainty in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

Video link: https://vimeo.com/684698371

Season 6
5 Tips for a Successful Unretirement

Show Episode Notes

Mental health studies have shown that those who do nothing after retirement increase their chances of suffering from clinical depression by 40%. That’s why many retirees are choosing to “unretire.” This doesn’t necessarily mean going back to work full-time. Instead, it’s about filling your day with activities that bring you satisfaction.  But to unretire successfully, you need to plan ahead, perhaps even before you retire. Here are five tips to get you started. 

  1. Know what you will retire to. Create a vision of what you want your life to be like and what will bring you joy and fulfillment. 
  2. If you want or need to work part-time, don’t be afraid to say "no" to opportunities. If you don’t want to work for someone else, consider freelancing or starting your own business.   
  3. Maintain an ongoing schedule filled with appointments and activities over the next two to four weeks to encourage you to keep busy. But don’t overfill it.   
  4. Find ways to “declutter” your life by trying to spend as much time as you can doing the things you love.  
  5. Fully understand your financial picture. Knowing how much income you’ll receive from Social Security, pensions and retirement accounts and what your living expenses will be will help you determine whether you’ll be able to live the way you want to during retirement.  If you're not sure, consider meeting with a fee-only financial advisor.
Season 6
Medicare and COVID

Show Episode Notes

When it comes to COVID tests, vaccines and medical treatments, the way traditional Medicare Parts A and B pay for these expenses is not always clear cut. For example, right now Medicare only pays for four at-home COVID test kits that you order directly through covidtest.org. However, the Biden administration recently announced that in early spring Medicare will cover the costs of eight free test kits per month, the same number covered by private health insurers. Medicare covers the full costs of vaccines and boosters and the costs of having a healthcare professional administer the vaccine in your home. And if you get infected and need medical treatment in a hospital, Medicare Part A will cover hospital-related costs but you’ll still be responsible for any deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance. In some situations, Medicare might cover some home care costs related to COVID-19 but the rules are complicated. And traditional Medicare offers limited coverage for telehealth services. That’s why if you’re not sure of what is and isn’t covered contact the Medicare administration or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

For further research: 

  • Covidtests.gov: Order your four free at-home COVID test kits here.  
  • Medicare.gov: The official Medicare web site.
  • Shiphelp.org: Use this site to find contact information for State Health Insurance Assistance Program consultants in your location.
Season 6
Lessons From a Wild Stock Market Week

Show Episode Notes

If you think that the stock market has been going through extreme positive and negative price swings over the past few weeks, you’re not imagining things.  When volatility occurs, however, it’s important to resist the urge and flee to safety. Remember that, over the long term,  stocks have delivered better long-term returns than bonds and cash. The question is: What percentage of your portfolio should be invested in stocks when you’re still saving for retirement or after you’ve retired? If you don’t feel that you have the knowledge or confidence to make these decisions on your own, consider seeking guidance from a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor.  .

Season 6
Welcome to The Super Age

Show Episode Notes

Fifty-four million Americans are over the age of 65. And extended life expectancies, coupled with low birth rates, are moving us toward a “super age” where more Americans will be over the age 65 than under age 18. With higher percentages of people likely to live well into their 90s, your retirement nest egg may need to last 30 years or more. Depending on how much you’ve saved and how you plan to live during retirement, you may need to make some adjustments, like leaving your full-time job at age 70 rather than 65 or working part time during retirement. In this super age, employers in particular will have to adjust to an environment where younger workers will be in short supply. Many will have  to end ageist workplace policies and do what they can to retain experienced older workers or create attractive part-time opportunities for those who still have a lot to contribute professionally in their 70s and beyond. 

For further research: 

Season 6
Preparing for 2021 Taxes
Season 6
Our favorite money books 2022

Show Episode Notes

Go to any library or your local bookstore and you’ll see shelf after shelf of books offering practical education on various financial planning and investing. Sorting through these choices can be overwhelming, so Pam, Richard and Terry are here to help by sharing recommendations for money-themed books they have learned the most from. These books will help you fortify your personal knowledge of how to save manage and invest your money. While most of these books have been published within the past few years, several are classics that have been updated over the years.

Richard’s picks:  

Terry’s picks:  

Season 6
Charity tips for 2021

Show Episode Notes

From donating appreciated stock to establishing a donor-advised fund to contributing part or all of your Required Minimum Distribution from an IRA directly to a charity, there are many ways you can support the nonprofit organizations and causes you care about while also receiving significant tax benefits. However, before you give to any charity, it’s important to conduct background research to make sure the organization is legitimate and that they’re using most of their donations to fulfill their mission.

For further research:

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and Vanguard Charitable: Two relatively lower-cost donor-advised fund options

Season 6
How to invest with rising inflation

Show Episode Notes

Whether it’s higher prices at the gas pump or at the supermarket, we’re all feeling the impact of inflation in different ways. Most economists predict that inflation will continue into next year, which could create extreme hardships for seniors living on a fixed income or for those who have had to use more of their retirement assets than they planned for. With the high likelihood of the Fed raising interest rates next year to tamp down inflation, these actions could put a damper on the surging stock market. That’s why now may be a good time to look over your portfolio to see if minor adjustments might be needed to reduce inflation risk in your investment accounts. For example, on the bond side you may want to invest in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) or I-Bonds, whose interest rates rise or fall with inflation. Or you may want to add a small allocation to gold or gold ETFs, since this precious metal historically has served as a hedge against inflation and volatile stock prices. If you’re very speculative, you might even want to consider making a very small investment in cryptocurrencies. However, If you feel that your portfolio is allocated in a way that combines decent income generation from bonds and capital appreciation from stocks, and you have an adequate reserve of cash for emergency purposes, you may not need to make radical changes to protect against inflation, especially since no one really knows how long it will last. If you’re not sure what steps to take, a qualified fee-only fiduciary financial advisor can offer common-sense advice to help you better “inflation proof” your retirement nest egg without sacrificing its long-term growth potential.

For further research: 

Season 6
How Retirees Get Taxed

Show Episode Notes

While those approaching retirement often calculate the total income they may receive from Social Security, pensions, 401(k) plans and taxable investments, many fail to consider the impact of federal and state taxes. For example, if you and your spouse file jointly and your combined income is more than $32,000, up to 85% of your Social Security benefits could be taxable. If you have a pension, you’ll have to pay taxes when it’s paid out to you. When you start taking mandatory or elective taxable distributions from your Traditional and Rollover IRA and 401(k) accounts, it’s important to know ahead of time whether these withdrawals will significantly increase your tax bill. If you take distributions from an annuity, any interest or earnings will be distributed first as taxable income before non-taxable principal. If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may have to pay capital gain taxes if the profit from your sale exceeds $500,000. And, of course, you may always have to pay taxes on income and capital gains you earn in your taxable accounts. Considering how all of these taxes could really add up, it’s important to start thinking about how to potentially reduce your future tax burden long before you leave the workforce. For example, if you plan to use your retirement money to pay off your mortgage sooner, instead of making one large one withdrawal, consider making a series of smaller annual withdrawals to keep you from moving into a higher tax bracket. Or, if you’re thinking about converting your Traditional or Rollover IRA to a tax-free Roth IRA, you may want to do this after you stop working but before you start taking Social Security benefits, when your annual income may be less. And you may want to change the way your money is invested in your retirement and taxable accounts to achieve an optimal balance of investment returns and tax management. Given the complexity of these decisions, working with an accountant and a qualified fee-only, fiduciary financial planner can help ensure that these challenges won’t significantly tax your patience—or your nest egg.

For further research: 

Season 6
Holiday Gifts for Kids

Show Episode Notes

From specialized piggy banks for younger children to establishing custodial brokerage accounts or Minor Roth IRAs for teenagers, there are a variety of ways you can give your kids a head start on understanding the importance of saving, investing and appreciating money this holiday season. And don’t forget the most important gift of all—a college education, which you can make more affordable by establishing a 529 College Savings Plan for each child. Earnings are never taxed and can be withdrawn tax free if they’re used to pay for qualified educational expenses. Each parent can contribute up to $15,000 per year per child with no gift tax implications and each grandparent can make one-time, gift-tax free contributions of up to $75,000.

For further research:

  • Next Avenue, The Best Financial Gifts for Kids and Grandkids
  • Terrysavage.com. Money Gifts for Children
  • Moneysavvy.com: Give younger children a hands-on lesson in personal finance by purchasing a piggy bank with four chambers representing saving, investing, donating and spending.
  • Fitzsimonscu.com: A credit union offering a wealth of finance-related educational resources for younger children.
  • Iallowance.com: Use this app to manage your child’s finances, set up chores lists and pay them when they’ve completed them.
  • Acorns.com: This banking and investment app lets your kids automatically “round up” credit card purchases and invest the “change” into a retirement account.
  • Stockpile.com: Open a stock investment account for a child for as little as $5 and buy gift cards that let them purchase fractional shares of companies they like.
  • Savingforcollege.com: Learn more about 529 College Savings Plans and compare different state options.
  • Kiplinger.com: Give your teenager or college student a digital subscription to this highly respected source of information and guidance on saving, investing and personal finance.
  • Venmo: This app makes it easy to electronically send money to your kids.
  • Beth Kobliner, Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties

 

Season 6
Buy Now Pay Later

Show Episode Notes

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 42% of consumers have increased the amount they owe for mortgages, student loans and car loans. The one bright spot is that the average amount of credit card debt has fallen during this time period. However, 54% of consumers with credit cards don’t pay in full each month and 18% owe more than $20,000. And the growing popularity of online “Buy Now, Pay Later" (BNPL) programs offered on many online retail websites such as Amazon and Walmart may end up increasing the mountain of debt many Americans are struggling to escape. According to research from Credit Karma, 40% of American consumers have used on these programs, and it's easy to see their attraction. BNPL allows consumers to make purchases now and receive the items right away, while paying them off in four payments. For people who are good at managing and paying off debts, these programs enable them to spread out the costs of purchases without taking on additional credit card debt. However, missing any of these payments can result in stiff late fees and interest charges. Credit Karma's research reveals that 34% of BNPL users have fallen behind on payments and 55% of younger consumers have missed one or two payments. Those who consistently miss payments for BNPL or credit card purchases may also be reported to credit agencies, which could seriously damage their credit score, making it even more difficult to be approved for future loans or credit cards. That’s why it’s critically important to safeguard your credit reputation. If you can, try to pay for online purchases with a debit card. If you use a credit hard, commit to paying off the balances in full each month. If you have outstanding credit card debt, try to reduce it as fast as possible, even if this means forgoing other purchases. And if you want to use BNPL this holiday season, make sure you make each payment on time.

For further research:

Season 6
Medicare Open Enrollment

Show Episode Notes

During the annual Medicare open enrollment period, from October 15 through December 7, you can make many changes in your Medicare coverage. But it’s important to understand the potential impact of making changes—or making no changes at all. First, if you’re in a Traditional Medicare program, you should sign up for a Medicare Part D prescription drug program within six months of enrolling in Medicare to avoid paying a late-enrollment penalty even if you’re not on any prescriptions right now. If you have Part D coverage already, it’s important to review your plan every year during this time to find out how much the annual premiums are rising or whether the prescription drugs you use now are still covered by the plan at the same costs. If your current plan no longer meets your needs and budget, consider switching to another plan that does. During the open enrollment period you can also switch from Traditional Medicare to an all-inclusive Medicare Advantage plan. While Medicare Advantage plans have lower premiums than Traditional Medicare, they’ll generally only cover physicians in their network and all requests for non-emergency care must be approved before they’ll cover the expenses. And if you have a catastrophic illness, you may end up having to pay up to $7,500 per year in out-of-pocket expenses billed by in-network healthcare providers—and up to $11,000 for out-of-network providers. That’s why it’s critically important to read the fine print and understand what is and isn’t covered by any Medicare Advantage plan and compare it to the costs of your current Traditional Medicare coverage. Fortunately, there are many resources you can turn for help in this complicated decision-making process. If it still seems overwhelming, considering working with a qualified fee-only fiduciary financial planner who can help you understand your various options.

Clarification: In the discussion of the maximum out of pocket costs for Medicare Advantage plans, listeners may have had the impression that Traditional Medicare plans don't have deductibles or co-pays. In fact, Medicare Parts A, B and D do have either deductibles, copays, or both. Unless you add supplemental Medicap coverage to cover these costs, you could end up paying significantly more out-of-pocket each year for critical medical care than with a Medicare Advantage plan, since Traditional Medicare has no annual cost caps.

For further research: 

  • Terrysavage.com, Medicare Open Enrollment 
  • Medicare.gov: Visit the official Medicare website to learn more about Medicare and compare Medicare healthcare and Part D drug programs available in 2022.
  • ehealthmedicare.com: Another resources for comparison Medicare options.
  • shiphelp.org: A resource for finding unbiased, free one-on-one Medicare counseling and assistance from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in your state.
  • 65incorporated.com: A team of independent consultants providing unbiased Medicare guidance.

Season 5
What do the Happiest Retirees Know That We Don't?

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What makes people happy during retirement? Research shows that while financial security isn’t the most important thing, it’s near the top of most retirees’ lists. But it’s also important to think about what your life after full-time work will be like. Do you have social connections with whom you can share good stories and reach out to in times of need? Do you have enough outside interests, from hobbies to volunteering to keep you occupied? Do you have a plan B, such as thinking about part-time jobs that might interest you if you miss working? It’s important to think these things through because research also shows that unhappy retirees often feel that they no longer have a purpose in life or haven’t given enough thought about what they’re retiring into, rather than what they’re retiring from. In terms of financial security, happier retirees know how much they need to save to live relatively comfortably. They’ve paid off their mortgage or are close to doing so. And, they have several sources of income to rely on. A fee-only, fiduciary financial planner can help you figure out the financial aspects of retirement, but you may also want to seek out the services of other professionals who can help you anticipate the emotional aspects of retirement.

For further research: 

Season 5
How to Choose Where to Live

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The best time to start thinking about where you may want to live during retirement is long before you retire. While many people spend a lot of time pondering the kind of home they want to live in, they often don’t spend enough time researching the state, town or neighborhood where it may be located. But location may be the most important factor that determines how happy and healthy you’ll be in your new part-time or full-time residence. That’s why you’ll want to thoroughly research any locale you’re considering. How accessible stores and services are. The quality of local hospitals and healthcare professionals. Weather conditions. Whether your potential neighbors are the kinds of people you can make friends with and who can be counted on to help you in an emergency. How easy it is for your children and friends to travel there to visit you. Whether income, sales and estate taxes are lower than where you’re living now. How much of a mortgage you’ll need to take out if you plan to buy a new home. How quickly your home could be sold if and when you pass on or you need to move into an assisted living facility. Once your online research helps you narrow your choices down, plan on taking a trip to visit the top towns or neighborhoods on your wish list. If you find one you really like consider giving it a test drive by renting for a few months to get a real feel of what living there while could be like you’re still able to drive, shop, walk and go out at night. You might need to spend a year or more conducting all of this research, so it’s important to give yourself a head start before you actually plan to make your move.

For further research 

Season 5
Roth IRAs and How They May Change

Show Episode Notes

Even though tax-deferred Traditional IRAs have been around since 1974 and tax-free Roth IRAs since 1997, you don’t hear a lot about them these days. Yet, for many people, especially those who are self-employed or don’t have retirement plans at work, IRAs still represent one of the best tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. As long as you have earned income and your total annual income isn’t too high, you can contribute to an IRA every year. While both IRAs allow for tax-deferred growth, only the Roth IRA allows you to withdraw earnings and contributions totally tax-free at age 59½ or older. However, you make after-tax contributions to a Roth. While contributions to a Traditional IRA can be tax-deductible, you will have to pay taxes when you make qualified withdrawals after age 59½. And with a Traditional IRA, you have to start taking annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) at age 72, whereas you never have to take RMDs from a Roth IRA. But you don’t have to choose one or the other. As long as you have earned income and your Modified Adjusted Gross Income isn’t too high, you can open both a Traditional and Roth IRA. However, you can only make a total combined contribution of $6,000 each year ($7,000 if you’re over 50) to your IRAs. And if you already have a Traditional IRA or a Rollover IRA (funded with pre-tax assets you roll over from one or more company retirement plans) you’re not stuck with it. You can use a Roth conversion to move some or all of your Traditional or Rollover IRA assets into a Roth IRA. However, you will have to pay taxes on the converted amount, so it’s important to make sure the conversion doesn’t push you into a higher tax bracket. If you’re not in a hurry, you might want to wait to do it until the next market correction, when the value of your account will have fallen from its peak. And while there’s lots of talk about how tax proposals in Washington could potentially impact the tax benefits of IRAs, these changes will most likely only the wealthiest Americans. If you’re not sure which kind of IRA to invest in or how to complete a Roth IRA conversion in a tax-efficient manner, consider hiring a qualified fee-only financial planner. The fee you pay them for their guidance may pay for itself in the taxes you’ll save both today and down the road.

For further research: 

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