Ep 32: Are You Flirting WIth Financial Disaster?

On This Episode

Let’s talk about some of the areas of your financial life where you might be flirtin’ with disaster and don’t even know it.

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Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

Marc Killian: Hey everybody. Welcome into this week’s edition of Retirement Planning Redefined podcast. We appreciate your time, hanging out with John and Nick and myself as we’re talking, investing, finance and retirement. And of course you could check them out online if you’ve got some questions or need to follow up or have a chat about your own situation, get your retirement planning redefined at pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast while you’re there. A lot of good tools, tips and resources to be found.


Marc Killian: And on this go-around, we’re going to talk about flirting with disaster. As Floridians, there’s certainly always the case where we have some disastrous situations can come up from time to time, but we’re going to talk about these from a financial standpoint and some areas in our financial life where we could do this and not even realize it. First off, let’s say hey to the guys. What’s going on, Nick? How are you?


Nick McDevitt: Doing well. Doing well. How about yourself?


Marc Killian: Doing pretty good hanging in there. Looking forward to today’s topic. Got some good, easy fixes I think for a few of these things, as well as some that are maybe a little more complicated. We’ll dive into that. Let you guys share. But John, how are you?


John Teixeira: Doing good. Doing good. Nick and I are actually in the process of planning a golf tournament for a couple of charities here locally with… the group we’re in is, again, 13 Ugly Men Foundation. And we’re partnering up with Bern’s Steakhouse to do a golf event at TPC Tampa Bay. So, we’re excited about that coming up.


Marc Killian: Very Nice. Yeah. Keep us posted on that. We’ll definitely like to learn more as we get closer to there. Well, hopefully, you guys won’t have any disastrous situations come tourney time, but let’s talk about them today. I got about five here, guys, I want you to just break down for us. And, like I said, some of these are kind of easy fixes, so let’s start there. They can definitely cause a lot of havoc, but, again, they are easy fixes. So, out-of-date legal documents. Not the sexiest thing in the world, but a pretty easy thing to fix.


Nick McDevitt: This is something that is a common oversight, a common mistake that people make. Some of the instances that we see where the documents are out of date or just not going to accomplish the things that they’re hoping to accomplish. Our scenario’s somebody moved from out of state and the… many people don’t realize that from an estate planning standpoint, from a legal document standpoint, a lot of those documents are different from state to state. So, that’s an important thing to review if you are somebody that has recently moved. A few years back, there were updates in Florida to durable power of attorney rules. And so, that’s a reason to have a review.


Nick McDevitt: But just like anything else, it’s important to make sure that you have in inventory or you take an inventory of what you have. Something like this, people never… or oftentimes, people don’t realize how long it’s been since they have updated their documents. There could be children that are alive now that weren’t before, parents that were alive then that aren’t now, a previous marriage, et cetera, et cetera. So, making sure that those documents are updated and chatting with an attorney about that is a really important thing.


Marc Killian: Yeah. We tend to set it and forget it with a lot of those. What are some of the key ones we should think about, John?


John Teixeira: I would say one of the biggest ones is a second marriage. That’s where you really want to pay attention to who the beneficiaries are, who’s getting what. And there are certain rules in the state of Florida. And, of course, defer to the professionals and attorneys on that, where a spouse is entitled to a percentage of the assets. So, if you want to make sure that, if it’s a second marriage, you have kids in the first marriage and you don’t want to disinherit them, you want to make sure your documents are definitely up to date.


John Teixeira: Another one we’ve seen, and Nick mentioned it, people moving in from out of state. If you have assets in other states, it’s important to make sure that you kind of have some documents for that state where the other assets are. So, example, I’m from Massachusetts. My parents have a house up there, so they had to make sure that… they basically had a will for up there and down here.


Marc Killian: Yeah. I got you. Now, a lot of times, the misconceptions with wills are if you have a will, the saying goes, you will go through probate, whereas a trust allows you to maybe not do that. Is there some other main documents that we should have? I’m assuming the power of attorneys, correct?


Nick McDevitt: Yeah. Durable power of attorney, a will. Oftentimes, people will confuse a traditional will with a living will. And essentially end-of-life documents are important to have.


Marc Killian: Like a medical power of attorney obviously, right?


Nick McDevitt: Yep, exactly. So, there’s kind of that core package that most attorneys will review with you, help you recognize, “Hey, is this out of date? Is this still applicable?” And we always recommend, obviously with any sort of legal topic, that you’re communicating with either an attorney that you have and are familiar with or we obviously have a few attorneys that we work with that we send clients to that we know and trust and will help make sure that they get through the process.


Marc Killian: But it’s often not as costly as we think it’s going to be too, to get these things handled. And once you get them in place, again, out of date, if you’re just making some adjustments, usually can be done through a phone call. So, kind of an easy fix, right?


Nick McDevitt: Yeah. We’ve definitely seen, especially over the last year, many, many companies, including law offices, have put their tech into hyper drive to make [crosstalk 00:05:18] easier for clients. So, yes, sometimes mentally things will feel overwhelming and that will slow us down from doing it. And this is one of those things that doesn’t need to be super difficult and can be done pretty easily.


John Teixeira: Yeah. And we actually have something we give to clients, it’s kind of a wills point checklist. It’s like 24 questions to consider, almost like a prep before you go see an attorney so you feel like, “All right, I’m a little bit prepared for this.” So, if anyone does want that, they’re more than welcome to shoot us an email or call the office and just mention that and we can get it to them.


Marc Killian: Yeah. Again, folks, stop by the website, pfgprivatewealth.com. Drop them an email. John or Nick @pfgprivatewealth.com is where you can email them. Yeah. That’s a great point. So, thanks for bringing that up as well.


Marc Killian: And, John, you mentioned another marriage, for example. So, the BDs, the beneficiary designations, having those incorrect, another easy fix. And it’s not just… we tend to think of, I don’t know, one item or one type of account, but there’s multiple places where you’re going to have these beneficiary designations. And updating these is, again, a pretty easy thing to do.


Marc Killian: I had somebody teach me that there’s a couple of Ds to remember, to kind of trigger you to double-check these: if you get a divorce; if you have a death; or a disability; or at minimum, at least once a decade. That way, you get the four Ds, if you will, to maybe update these or take a look at them.


John Teixeira: Yeah. Those are all really good ones. Actually, kind of going back to the will stuff. So, if you do have beneficiaries on some of these accounts, it does bypass probate. So, if there’s a beneficiary on a life insurance or a retirement account, it doesn’t actually go through probate; it goes directly to that beneficiary. So, that’s always kind of good to know.


John Teixeira: But yeah, divorce, very important one to update. Can’t tell you how many times Nick and I have done some reviews with some clients that are new clients and it’s… we’ve seen on the 401(k)s especially because that’s kind of a set-it-forget-it type thing, where you have an ex-spouse on there. We’ve unfortunately seen some people with 401(k)s where they get auto-enrolled. They just never put a beneficiary on there just because [crosstalk 00:07:27] signed up, it’s auto-enrollment for the company. So, those are two important things to really take a look at.


John Teixeira: And we don’t see this too often, but we have seen some people just kind of just have a fallout with some beneficiaries, whether it’s a child, a niece, nephew, whatever it may be. And we’ve seen some changes from that where it’s, “Hey, to be frank, I just don’t like this person anymore.”


Marc Killian: I mean, it happens. It definitely happens. And so, we’re talking IRAs, life insurance policies, 401(k)s, things of that nature.


John Teixeira: Yep.


Marc Killian: Okay. All right. So, those are, again, pretty easy fixes for some of that stuff. And the havoc they can wreak… I imagine having somebody come in and the new spouse is saying, “Hey, I found out that the old spouse is still on this life insurance policy.” That’s not good. And that’s not an easy fix at that point, but it can be taken care of ahead of time pretty darn quickly.


Marc Killian: Let’s move to some more complicated one here, guys. You could be flirting with disaster, talking about the ticking tax time bomb. Obviously, that is going to continue to be a mainstay of conversation in retirement planning in general because it’s such an important part of it, how we’re being… if we’re being as tax-efficient as possible, I should say. But with the continued spending that we’re seeing as a nation, it seems like this is only going to become more and more of an issue.


Nick McDevitt: Yeah. So, one of the things that we try to… so, when we talk about a tax time bomb, what we’re typically referring to is when people only save into accounts that are tax-deferred, a.k.a. traditional 401(k), a.k.a. traditional IRA. And so, when they are in retirement, the thought process is like, “Hey, I’m going to have lower taxes. So, no matter what, this is going to be a better deal for me.”


Nick McDevitt: And the thing that we try to focus on with clients and with people in general is that there’s a lot of uncertainty on what we know is going to happen from a tax perspective. And so, our really emphasis is not necessarily to be right, as far as, “Hey, we know that X, Y and Z is going to happen”; it’s that you have options so that no matter what, you can adapt to what’s going on.


Nick McDevitt: And the tricky part about that is if you’re two to three years out from retirement, you’re at your highest earning income years, you don’t have any Roth money for example or any just regular investment account funds put away, we may continue to have you save into a pre-tax account. But then once you retire, we may look into trying to do some Roth conversions or make some adjustments or plan for kicking in a strategy when you do retire. So, it’s not like it’s necessarily the easiest thing to navigate. Your best bet is that, as soon as you can, start to save money into different places so that you not only are diversifying your investments, but you’re diversifying how you’re going to be taxed in retirement, is really a thing that we emphasize with clients.


Marc Killian: Yeah. And that’s a good point as well because this is not as easy as a fix, but it’s something you can get on pretty quickly simply by working with an advisor, having them review your scenario and your situation and saying, “Okay, how can we be more tax-efficient?” and looking for ways to do that. And I just saw the other day that they’re estimating about 40 trillion is what’s sitting out there in uncollected taxes on traditional IRAs or 401(k)s. The government’s kind of salivating over this estimated $40 trillion as people go through these retirement accounts and start to pull the money out or whatever the case is. So, certainly places where you could have those conversations and hopefully be more tax-efficient. So, again, if you need the help with that, make sure you’re talking to a qualified professional like John and Nick.


Marc Killian: What about flirting with disaster, guys, when it comes to just no plan at all for long-term care expenses? This one obviously is going to be even more complicated, but most people just ignore it. I know it’s a daunting subject sometimes for folks, but there’s things you can do.


John Teixeira: Yeah. So, you’re right on that. Most people do ignore it. And there are some options out there. They used to be much better. Unfortunately, they’ve kind of gotten just not as strong. 10 years ago, you could get a really good policy from a good provider. And nowadays, a lot of these providers have left the space in essence and they’re not offering it anymore.


John Teixeira: So, what we’ve kind of seen more is kind of, and Nick goes through this part in the class, some hybrid vehicles where it’s a life insurance and a long-term care policy kind of bundled up in one. We’ve had situations where, from a planning standpoint, maybe getting… it’s very hard to qualify for it so we’ve had to put in some buffers to self-insure. Again, not covering the whole cost of it, but just trying to help out in the event that something were to happen. It’s very important, just limited options out there currently, but it’s definitely worth exploring your situation to see what fits for you.


Marc Killian: Yeah. And I imagine you’re going to exacerbate that by not having the conversation. So, if the options are becoming a little bit more limited and you’re also not taking the time to discuss it, you could be putting yourself even further behind the proverbial eight ball. So, definitely have those conversations. Don’t just stick our head in the sand, especially when it comes to long-term care expenses, whether it’s the 2 out of every 3 people or 7 out of every 10. Whatever the case is, it’s happening more and more because we’re living longer. So, we therefore have to deal with those outcomes that come with it.


Marc Killian: One more here, guys, on some places we can flirt with disaster. And then we’ll probably wrap up with an email question that we got into the site as well. But that’s the classic 60/40 portfolio. First, just run it down for us, what that is for folks. And then why might you flirt with disaster on that?


Nick McDevitt: Sure. So, there’s a little bit of jargon in there, of course. We try to stay away from it as much as possible. But a 60/40 portfolio is what’s considered 60% stock, 40% fixed income or bonds. And it’s tricky because really, the way that people invested a short while ago was different than the way that people are investing now. And really, what also happens… so, for example, these last few years, as bond yields or returns from bonds have gone down, people have kind of flirted a little bit more with taking more risk on the stock side. And so, it’s really important to make sure that when you are evaluating your overall portfolio and looking at how much risk you’re willing to take, that you really understand how these different parts work and move together.


Nick McDevitt: So, really, what it boils down to is that it’s important for you to have a liquidation order. So, for example, what some people used to do is, “Hey, I’m going to have a 60/40 portfolio. I’m going to pull from my account every single month without any sort of strategic plan on how I’m going to pull that money out or where it’s pulling from.” And when we have corrections in the market or volatility in the market, where we’ll see people really suffer is let’s say they had a million-dollar portfolio. We get a big pullback. All of a sudden, your statement debt, two months ago said a million bucks, says 800,000 or 750,000 now. It can make you or prompt people to overreact to the market.


Nick McDevitt: And then once that overreaction happens, basically you’re locking up your losses. You’re selling at lows. Then you’re going to want to buy back at highs. And so, it’s really, really important to make sure that the portfolio and the allocation that you have lines up with truly how much risk you’re willing to take.


Marc Killian: Yeah. John, it seems as though the 40% in bonds… I mean, the bond market’s been just as volatile as of late for a while. So, that seems like maybe one of those rules of thumb that might be a bit antiquated, going with that standard 60/40. But again, everybody’s scenario is different, so, like a lot of things, I imagine that it might be fine for some and not for others.


John Teixeira: Yeah, of course. And, like we say, we really want to start with a plan for the client and dictate the investment options and strategy based on that plan. There are some other what we consider fixed income vehicles that can kind of substitute the bond market that we’ve been utilizing when necessary. And, again, works for some people; doesn’t work for others. But it’s good to know your options and how it works for you.


Marc Killian: Yeah. Versus trying to see-


Nick McDevitt: And just to your point there, Marc, too-


Marc Killian: Oh, go ahead.


Nick McDevitt: … as far as the bond side of things. In general, as interest rates go up, bond prices go down. And so, one of the ways that we have built around that, just for clients, for those people listening that are clients, are essentially creating bond ladders in their portfolios that aren’t as negatively impacted as rates do continue to go up. So, there are ways to work and to build around these things, but typically, especially people that are holding this money in their 401(k)s, those sorts of things, there may be significant limitations to how they can adjust to them there. And that’s where they can get in trouble.


Marc Killian: Yeah, no, great points. Exactly. I mean, that’s kind of the point of doing the podcast as well, is to share some of these things for not only existing clients, but obviously for potential clients that might be listening to the show and just hopefully offering some good nuggets of information along the way.


Marc Killian: And with that said, that’s going to kind of wrap up our flirting with disaster. Again, five areas where you can jump on these things and maybe get these corrected pretty easily. At least a couple of them, for sure. And the other ones, it’s worth having those conversations with an advisor, if you’re not working with one, on how to be as efficient as possible.


Marc Killian: With that said, let’s wrap up with an email question this week. Again, if you’d like to stop by the website, we certainly encourage you to do so at pfgprivatewealth.com. A lot of good tools, tips and resources there. While you’re there, you could subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify or whatever platform you use. You can also drop the guys a line as well at pfgprivatewealth.com.


Marc Killian: And here is an email from Andy who says, “How much of my portfolio, guys, is it okay to have invested in just one stock? I’m sitting on about 2 million, but almost half of it is with one company.”


Nick McDevitt: Well, that’s enough to have a panic attack. So, usually, if you’re asking if you have too much in one place, you do. But all kind of joking aside, where we typically see this sort of thing happen is in one of two situations.


Nick McDevitt: So, situation number one, was inherited from a parent. And maybe that parent worked for a company for many, many years or they invested in that company for a long period of time. And now, all of a sudden, that money has ballooned into a big amount. And due to a combination of tax rules and laws, plus sentimental value, all of a sudden, that holding makes up a significant portion of the underlying portfolio.


Nick McDevitt: And option number two is just somebody that has worked for a company for a long time, 30, 40 years. They’ve been buying the company stock for years and years and years. And maybe the stock has performed well and there’s this kind of emotional and financial attachment to it. And so, in this situation, oftentimes what we’ll do is we’ll show them a comparison of that stock to the S&P 500, for example. And oftentimes, the S&P 500 itself has performed similarly or even a little bit better. And we’ll show them like, “Hey, look at, you can have the same sort of upside potential or growth potential by holding an ETF or an index fund versus just holding that one stock and protect yourself a lot more.”


Nick McDevitt: And another question that we’ll pose to them sometimes that we’ve gotten good results from in the past was, “Okay. So, if I was going to hand you a $2 million lottery ticket and you were going to invest that money, would you spend half of it on one stock?” And the answer is usually a cross-eyed look like, “No, are you crazy?” And so, that’s exactly the same sort of thought process, where usually it’s just way more risk than somebody needs to take. There’s ways to still have similar performance and reduce the risk by quite a bit. And it’s just not really worth it at that point in time, is typically the case.


Marc Killian: All right. Great question, Andy. Thank you so much for submitting that into the show. I know it’s cliche, but as your grandmama might’ve said, “Don’t have all your eggs in one basket.” So, have those conversations. And certainly, you’re thinking about it, to Nick’s point, if you took the time to drop an email to the show here. You’re obviously probably already thinking that direction anyway. So, follow up. Have a conversation with some qualified professionals like John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth.


Marc Killian: And that’s going to do it this week for us on the podcast. Thanks for your time as always. We appreciate it. Always check out with a qualified professional, as I mentioned, before you take any action on anything you hear on this show or any other. And you can find it all at pfgprivatewealth.com. For John, for Nick, we’ll see you next time here on the show. Thanks for your time. We’ll talk to you later.

Ep 31: Where Crisis & Opportunity Meet

On This Episode

To write the Chinese word for “crisis,” you combine elements of two different Chinese characters. One character means “danger” while the other one means “opportunity.” Translated into English, it means “opportunity riding on a dangerous wind.” Let’s discuss how some of these crises might actually be opportunities, depending on your situation and perspective.

Subscribe On Your Favorite App

More Episodes

Check out all the episodes by clicking here.

 

Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

Marc: Time for another edition of the podcast. Thanks for hanging out with us as we talk investing finance and retirement here on Retirement Planning – Redefined with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth, and we’re going to talk about when crisis meets opportunity here on this episode of the podcast. But first I’ll say hi to the guys, and then we’ll dive into what that means. What’s going on, Nick? How are you?

 

Nick: Oh, doing well, doing well. It’s been a really busy start to the year. People are anxious to kind of check in and go over things and all that kind of stuff, so we’re enjoying catching up with everybody and just kind of walking them through where we are and how things are going.

 

Marc: Good. Yeah. As the first quarter winds down, I imagine that’s the case. John, what’s going on with you, my friend?

 

John: Oh, not too much. As Nick mentioned, just a very busy start to the year, so yeah, get in touch with everyone has been good. And I think the last time we said the weather’s starting to warm up around here, so we have two or three months of some really nice weather, then it’s going to get scorching hot. So just try and enjoy the nice 70s to 80s for the time being.

 

Marc: There you go. Exactly. Well, so what we’re talking about this week here on the podcast is some people view certain things that are going to happen to us in retirement, or that happen to us in general, when it comes to our financial lives as a crisis, and other look at it as an opportunity, right? So I’m going to give you guys a couple here. I’ll let you guys expound on those based on what you see or what you do, and we’ll just discuss some of these ways that these crises, if you will, might actually be an opportunity, a good way for you to look at it, maybe change your perspective just a bit.

 

Marc: Now, John, I know we’re in totally different spaces when it comes to this, you and I, but I am an empty nester. I’ve been one now for, well, actually about two and a half years going on three years. But for some parents the idea of empty nest is a very joyous one. My wife and I were pretty surprised at ourselves. We were like, “Sweet. We love her, but bye, do your thing, have a good time.” And for others, obviously, there’s a very sad attachment and sometimes they have trouble with it. But from a financial standpoint, what’s some things to think about here?

 

John: Some of the things you can think about is definitely your cash flow. I would assume for the most part is now you have a little extra cash flow. So from a financial standpoint, I think, in the last session we talked about in the 50s having a little bit extra money to save.

 

Marc: Right.

 

John: We see that quite a bit when kids are out of college. You’re no longer paying for college bills. Your electricity, water bills, maybe gone down a little bit.

 

Marc: Cell phone.

 

John: And the big one is groceries.

 

Marc: Groceries.

 

John: That really shot down for certain people here, and it really gives you an opportunity to either save some more for retirement or go on some more vacations and travel, you know?

 

Marc: That’s a good point. Nick, I wasn’t trying to leave you out there, but I know that you don’t have any little ones yet, so I just was getting John’s take on that. What do you see though, from a planning aspect?

 

Nick: Yeah, it’s interesting because we almost see this happen in kind of like two phases. So, for a lot of our clients, the first phase is when the kids go away to school. It’s kind of like … Or even from the standpoint of when the last kid goes away to school, so there’s that period of time where they’re away at school, but they’ll come home on breaks, and maybe during the summer they stay at home, and so there’s a little bit of adjustment. But while they may not be at home, they may still be on the payroll per se?

 

Marc: Right.

 

Nick: And then there’s that kind of full shift into, all right, they’re gone, they’re off the payroll and what now sort of thing. And for some, depending upon the age that they are, that’s where grandkids may come into play. And so there’s a little bit of a transition where maybe you’re watching the grandkids a couple of days a week, and people tend to kind of like having some sort of interim between they’re being a crazy household versus an empty household.

 

Nick: But really that recapture of money that was being spent, saving it, putting it away, so that’s one of the most effective tools I would say that we have to kind of help people with this process is if we’re able to show people. Maybe they’re somewhere from five to eight years out from retirement and it’s like, “All right, our expenses have dropped by a thousand dollars a month with the kids kind of shifting out of the house. We had originally planned to retire at 65, but if we save this thousand dollars a month, is there a chance that we could retire at 62, 63, 64?”

 

Nick: And so, kind of going through a planning process and showing them like, “Hey, yeah, in some cases, if we can recapture those dollars, if we can put that money away, we can get you into that next phase of life a little bit quicker.” There’s a huge relief for many people that comes with that where there’s less … Even if they are going to continue to work, knowing that they may not necessarily have to work, there’s a huge kind of mental relief that we see in people. And so I’ve seen that really alleviate some of that mindset change quite a bit.

 

Marc: Gotcha. Yeah. And so whether you view the empty-nest syndrome as a crisis because you’re like, “What are we going to do? We’re all by ourselves.” And maybe it’s a standpoint of you got to spend more time with your spouse. It’s just the two of you. Who knows what your viewpoint is? But at the same time, you could look at it as an opportunity to maybe put away more for retirement, whether it’s they’re half off the payroll, completely off the payroll, to both of the guys’ points here. So try to find the opportunity in that versus necessarily the crisis.

 

Marc: All right, so let’s move to the next one, guys, and that is market downturns or market crashes. You know, obviously they’re going to be stressful no matter what happens. I mean, just what we saw a year ago now last March with the downturn due to the pandemic. And so I get where the crisis can come into play, so what some things to think about in the event that we want to try to turn that mindset into more of an opportunity?

 

John: Yeah, so when we have downturns in the market, a good opportunity is really buying into it. It’s like you have a store that’s going out of business and they have their going out of business sale and you kind of jump in there and see what they have that you can get at a very discounted price. Same thing with stocks.

 

John: I mean, just to give an example of one, and I kind of use this in the class, because I feel like I’m always there, is Disney. Their stock dropped quite a bit last March when we started to shut down, and that was a great buying opportunity if you had some cash on the sideline to take advantage of it, because it’s really skyrocketed since then. And I’m just using Disney as an example. There’s a lot of other ones as well that we can discuss, but you know, if you’re … position yourself to really take advantage of a market crash, you can really put yourself ahead and when the things rebound. So, there’s definitely some opportunity in market crashes.

 

Marc: I think people sometimes immediately latch on to the paranoia side of it. But if you had a good plan in place, it might not feel as much of a crisis, I guess.

 

Nick: You know, one of the conversations that we’ll have with clients as they do shift into retirement, for those that may be a little bit skittish about the market in general, or if we have concerns that some market volatility will kind of derail them from their plan, just maybe overall that the market stresses them out a little bit, what we’ll do is kind of figure out. Like, “Hey, how many months of expenses will make … If we hold X amount of months in cash to cover expenses, will that put you in a place where you’ll feel comfortable?” Because with a crash there’s two parts. Number one is to not bail and to cash out at a loss. Number two is if you have cash handy to put that cash, like John said, and enter it into the market and take advantage of the upside. It can be significant.

 

Nick: So for clients that are fully retired, being able to have some of that cash set aside to be able to take advantage of opportunities, and also prevent them from acting in a way that is not good for them longterm can be important. And for those clients that are actually still working and still actively saving into accounts, saving on a monthly basis or on a consistent bi-weekly basis helps, whether it be [inaudible 00:08:23] cost averaging is what a lot of people know it as, helps you buy in at times when the market’s low or at a discount, once it bounces back, you can really bounce back in a significant way, and make a difference.

 

John: Yeah, So another opportunity you can do in a market crash is really do some Roth conversions on IRA assets.

 

Marc: Good point.

 

John: So what you would do is … And I think we’ve discussed this in kind of one of our last sessions. But now that this has come back up, it’s probably a good time to bring it up again, is if your IRA balance drops, that could be a good opportunity to convert it and pay less taxes on a lower balance at that point in time.

 

Marc: Okay. All right. Certainly some good points to think of, and again, we’re trying to show some areas, silver linings, if you will, where something might feel like a crisis or seem like a crisis, but maybe there’s an opportunity there to be had. And of course, a lot of that comes down to, as I mentioned, just having a good plan in place that’ll help you alleviate some of those feelings because you’ll know what to expect as you’re walking into some of these scenarios.

 

Marc: Number three, guys, maybe a little bit tougher, obviously, to plan for, but still something that has to happen. And this is one that I think just gets avoided mostly because people are afraid to talk about it, but it’s long-term care, and maybe that’s the crisis is the continual rate hikes or something like that.

 

Nick: Yeah. With clients that have long-term care policies, we try to make sure that we explain, and when we do our classes, we walk through this section. We try to make sure that we explain so that they fully understand that premiums for traditional long-term care policies can go up, and anybody that’s really purchased a policy in the last decade is really starting to see that now. And so, those policies do have what are called non-forfeiture options, so they have the ability to either keep their premium the same and reduce benefits, or pay more and keep their benefits the same. And we really try to take it on a case-by-case basis, but it’s important to take it into consideration and understand because it is absolutely a factor that can impact the overall planning, and is just really another reason that when you’re planning for expenses for clients, building in buffers on expenses and making sure that the plan works well, this is an important space to make sure that you cover.

 

Marc: Yeah, certainly some good points. And sometimes maybe it’s just a good reminder, a kick in the tush that we sometimes need, to just look at some of the things we’re a little bit afraid of addressing. And nobody likes thinking about it, but it is part of life, so it’s certainly worth having a conversation.

 

Marc: One more here guys, and that is the crisis, and we saw this obviously a lot in the last 18 months or so of downturns, getting laid off, in this case, whole industries really suffering due to the pandemic. It’s certainly going to be tougher to look for opportunities there, but from a retirement standpoint, and we’re not necessarily talking about people that are in their 20s or 30s or 40s, but from a retirement standpoint, any things we can try to find here to turn that into an opportunity? Maybe getting laid off early, the first thing that would pop into my mind is that if you had a good plan in place, you’d be able to know if that’s necessarily a bad thing or a good thing. It might just be saying, “Okay, well, it’s time for me to go ahead and retire and I know I’m going to be okay.”

 

John: We’ve seen that situation’s come up recently where we’ve had clients laid off and it’s like, “Hey, Nick, John, let’s get together to do a meeting.” And in the meeting, it’s, “All right, let’s look at how the plan looks without you working currently,” and we find out it doesn’t look as bad as they thought, and it kind of makes them feel a bit better about their current situation.

 

John: We’ve also had some other scenarios where maybe it doesn’t look great, but it’s, “Hey, you don’t need to go work full time anywhere. You can go find something that you enjoy to do and maybe work part time and the plan still looks solid.” So, that’s something to just keep an eye on is if you are laid off, you don’t necessarily need to get back to the income that you were making before. Maybe you can now go do something else that maybe you enjoy more or a second career, and maybe at part time, your plan still works. And that’s where it’s important to plan ahead and make sure that you have the ability to make decisions and be able to monitor those.

 

Nick: Yeah, I would add, in reality for somebody that’s within a couple of years of retirement, the money that they are going to save in those years, if they’ve done pretty well up until that point … So, let’s say for example, somebody is planning on retiring at 65 and they get laid off at 63. Well, the money that they were going to save between 63 and 65 wasn’t going to have a huge, huge impact on their overall plan and make it rapidly improve. However, not having to dip into the money that they’ve saved in those couple of years will be important. So kind of along the lines of what John said, it’s like, “Hey, if we can …” We’ll go through the plan and say, “Maybe you’re used to making a hundred grand a year, but if you can find something making 40 or 50 that can help you avoid having to dip into your accounts, let your accounts to continue to grow, and even if you can’t save for these next couple of years, it lets you hold the line, that can be really a win-win and make an impact.”

 

Nick: So between that and kind of sticking with the fundamentals of trying to make sure that you have six plus months of expenses in cash and really kind of the tried-and-true things from a planning standpoint, can help people get through that. And we’ve also seen people kind of have a sense of relief where they were getting burned out at work. They weren’t really happy there anymore. They didn’t realize how much it was taking out of them and just literally a month or two to regroup kind of refreshes them, and they end up in an opportunity that’s a lot better than the one that they were in anyways.

 

Marc: Yeah. Some great points for sure. I mean, try to find that opportunity in it. Maybe if you’re lucky enough to have a position where a pension was involved, maybe they’ve offered you a lump sum buyout, whatever the case is, or the monthly. So, it’s worth having those conversations to find out where you stand, because it may not be that crisis that you initially thought it was.

 

Marc: But it’s the gut punch when you first find that out, sure. But if you’ve got a plan in place or you go and you find out and you have those numbers run, you may certainly find, to the guys’s point, that you could be in better shape than you realized. And it’s interesting that the way you guys phrase that, because my brother’s actually right there now. He’s 63 and he’s going to be … They’re going to be closing up the business here that he works for in the next couple of months. And so he’s at that cusp as well, and he’s like, “Well, I’m going to take a look at my numbers again.” And so he sat down and talked with his advisor, and he’s like, “I think I can just go to part time,” to John’s point, “and just do some things that I want to do now.” There’s a couple of little hobby ideas he’s been thinking about doing.

 

Marc: So you never know, right? You got to look for the opportunity where you can. And it’s hard to sometimes not focus on the crisis, but with a good strong plan in place, that’ll certainly help you do that. And that’s kind of the whole point. That’s one of the reasons we do the podcast is to shine some light on some areas to think about that.

 

Marc: And you’ve been listening to Retirement Planning – Redefined. Stop by the website at PFGprivatewealth.com. Check out the guys there. A lot of good tools, tips, and resources. You can contact them to come in for a consultation or review or talk about your situation. You can find the podcast there, subscribe to it that way, or drop us an email here as well on the program. And we’ve got one this week we’re going to wrap up with. Jane has a question for you guys. She says, “It’s about 401k funds. If I don’t use the target date retirement fund, is there a certain number of funds that I should allocate within my 401k? I don’t want to under or over diversify. Is there a right number of funds or does it really just depend?”

 

John: Our answer to almost everything is, “It always just depends.” It sounds like Jane, she’s not doing the prebuilt kind of option, which is the target date, and is looking just to really build her own portfolio, which is fine. But it’s really more important as far as how many funds you have to get into the right asset classes. So, 401ks do a really good job of making sure that you have a lot of different asset classes to choose from. And when I say asset classes, large cap, small cap, bond funds, international, that’s the way you want to diversify within a portfolio.

 

John: It really comes down to your risk tolerance, which again, with the 401k platforms, they typically have a questionnaire for you when you sign up or on the website. And then once you determine that, I’m just throwing it out there, if you’re moderate, then you’re going to want a certain mix of those asset classes to make sure you have a good portfolio for you. Easier said than done, so it’s really important to work with a financial professional to make sure that you have the right number of funds and you’re diversified in the right asset classes for your situation.

 

Marc: All right, there you go. Thank you so much for the question. We certainly appreciate it. And you know, every situation’s a bit different. There’s universal truths to apply to all of us, and that’s one of the reasons, again, we do the podcast to share some of those things, but every situation can be uniquely different when it comes to retirement planning. So, reach out to the team and give them a call if you have some questions at (813) 286-7776.

 

Marc: Don’t forget to subscribe to us at Retirement Planning – Redefined on Apple, Google, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher, so on and so forth. You can find all the information at PFGprivatewealth.com. Guys, thanks for your time this week. I appreciate it as always. John, have yourself a great week. Nick, you as well, my friend.

 

Nick: Thanks, Marc. Thanks.

 

John: Have a good one. Thanks.

 

Marc: We’ll talk to you a little bit later here on the program. This is Retirement Planning – Redefined.

Ep 30: This Is Why You Never Assume

On This Episode

We often see people making certain assumptions about retirement that just aren’t correct. Let’s explore some of those on today’s show.

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Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

Marc: Hey, everybody. Welcome into Retirement Planning Redefined. Thanks for hanging out in the podcast with us as we talk investing finance and retirement with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth. On this episode of the podcast, we’re going to talk about not making assumptions reasons, why to never assume. We all do it as humans, but when it certainly comes to retirement, there’s some ways and pretty easy ways to just not make these assumptions, but yet it does happen. So we’re going to talk through that a little bit, got a couple of bullet points we’re going to go over, but first let me say, hey to the guys. What’s going on John and Nick? How are you doing John?

 

John: I’m doing good. I’m doing good. I don’t know if I mentioned it on the past podcast, but we moved to a new house and it’s been a couple of months and just settling in. So getting some new furniture, which if anyone’s ordered furniture recently, everything’s back ordered by about two months. So we finally have some of that trickling in and so it’s nice to settle into a new place and then getting ready to enjoy it with the weather turning around here.

 

Marc: Very nice. Yeah. If you bought or tried to buy a lumber as well, holy moly. Lumbers through the roof if you’ve gone even to just a Lowe’s or something to get some plywood. It’s pretty crazy. But Nick, what’s going on with you? How are you?

 

Nick: Just staying busy. No complaints. I have a friend coming down to visit. He was one of the early people to get vaccinated, so he’s coming down to visit in another week or two. So that’d be kind of cool we’ll do everything outside and all that kind of stuff, but to have some sort of activity and a friend in town will be a good time.

 

Marc: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, good. Well, I’m glad you guys are doing well. So let’s jump in and talk about this week’s topic, making assumptions. As I mentioned before, I mean, it’s common right? We’re humans. We do it in all sorts of areas and ways in life, but when we’re talking about retirement, there’s a few of these that maybe just don’t hold water anymore. So let’s start with a classic one here guys. I’ll spend less when I retire. I mean, we’ve heard that for a number of years and I get it, but at the same time, I just think with the cost of everything going up, the way it is, and my dad used to tell me when you get to retirement and he got there, he’s like, “Every day is a Saturday,” and he’s like, “I always spend the most money on a Saturday.” And I thought that was a good way of looking at it because you’re inclined to just do more, at least you want to anyway. That’s the goal of retirement right, is to get out there and do those things you’ve wanted to.

Nick:

Yeah. Well, one of the things that we oftentimes talk about with people is really the whole goal of this planning process and the work that we put in over the years that are leading up to retirement is to allow you to not have to spend less, to want to spend the same. Maybe you’ll pay a little bit less on certain things here and there. Maybe you got the house paid off, but really from a lifestyle standpoint and your analogy that your father used of every day’s a Saturday is correct in a lot of ways. And so a lot of times people, depending upon the conversation, people will focus on needs versus wants, but very rarely do people live a lifestyle of needs only. And so, the beauty of planning is we can try to kind of build some of those scenarios in, but ultimately, and we’ll kind of say it to people up front is like, “Don’t you want to live the same sort of lifestyle, so why don’t we budget and plan for that?”

 

John: Yeah. And we see a lot of people when they go to retire, a lot of those kind of bucket list of vacations happen, and I’ll tell you those aren’t cheap. So it’s kind of it’s… we call them what? The go-go years, where it’s time to really start doing things and if you plan correctly, you do want to spend the same amount of money if not more, to really start enjoying your Saturdays every day.

 

Marc: Yeah. And if you think about the go-go years John, in that respect, you’re doing more in the first couple of years of retirement, but you’re starting… Yeah, maybe there’s some trade offs like I think there’s some statistics, like people go out to eat more in their thirties, forties and fifties. As you get over 60, you start going out a little bit less and less. And we’ll just take COVID out of the equation for right now. And even with that’s the case, you’re going to start trading that off for other things. So yeah, you might spend less than this category, but you may spend more in another category. So just the general assumption that you’re going to spend less in retirement is typically a false one, especially if you are having some dreams and some lofty things that you want to do again, COVID aside or not right? So that’s one classic one to ponder. Another one that goes right along with it guys is the taxes will be lower. Typically, we think our tax rate will be lower in retirement and maybe that used to be the norm when the tax rates, there was a wider range in them. I mean, I’m talking 20 or 30 years ago, but I don’t know that that’s the case anymore. What do you guys see?

 

John: When we do planning for the most part, I’ll say we see taxes drop a little bit, but Nick and I really try to kind of build a worst case scenario and we’re historically in very low tax brackets. So when we’re doing planning for our clients, we make sure that even if the plan showing lower taxes, that we adjust their plan to taxes do go up. At some point they’re going to go up, I’m assuming with all the spending the government is doing, that they can adjust to that. So although we have seen that, we definitely do not make plans based on that and when we run some numbers, we kind of stress test to say, “Hey, what if taxes do go up into retirement?” So one of the big things that we’ll see when people retire is they do have a little bit more deduction. You have that deduction of, once you hit 65 on your taxes, and then also you’re not paying social security tax anymore because there’s no more earned income. So that tax does get lowered, but from an income tax standpoint, maybe a little bit, but again, not enough to really say, “Hey, I’m going to be spending a lot more because my taxes are lower.”

 

Nick: It can also very much be a production of how you have saved over the years. So for example, if maybe you’re eligible for a pension and you have a pension which is going to be fully taxable when you receive it plus the money that you saved has gone all to pre-tax accounts, to pre-tax 401k, pre-tax IRA and you don’t happen to have any Roth accounts or any accounts that are what we would refer to as non-retirement non-qualified accounts, that can have a significant impact as well. So it’s not as simple as a total income number. It can also be, “Where is the income coming from and how does that impact the overall situation?” And just like John said, the probability of taxes going up in the future is fairly high with the debt levels and those sorts of things.

 

Marc: Yeah. I mean, just some quick numbers. Right now, I think it’s around 75% or so the federal budget is allocated towards entitlement programs. I mean, think about that. So what’s it going to be 10 years from now? And that’s not factoring into your guys’ point, some of the stimulus stuff. So it’s going to continue to be a situation where I think everybody’s in the same agreement that it’s going up. It’s just a matter of when, when they’re going to do it or whatever the case is. So being prepared and not just making that assumption again, that you’ll be in a lower tax bracket. That’s the goal if you’re working with a good team and working with guys like yourself to get to plan, to keep your taxes as low as possible. That’s always the goal, but just don’t assume it’s going to happen.

 

Marc: Let’s talk about the college conversation, guys. We’ll try to stay away from those, “Should it be paid off or should it not be by the government,” well, if we can. But just in general, the thought from a retiree standpoint, especially for people who’ve had kids later in life and they really want to help them with retirement… or excuse me with college, that’s great. We all love our kids. We all want to do things, but at some point, do you guys see a situation where people can put themselves behind the eight ball for their own retirement and now they’re becoming a burden on their kids later in life because you’ve sacrificed your own retirement to help them get started? That’s a slippery slope.

 

John: Yeah. So actually oddly enough, I just had this conversation today where a client had some money that was freed up and their kids are young and they’re in daycare. So there’s some extra money now that they’re going to school. I mean, the question is, “Hey, what should I do with that?” And part of the conversation was, let’s start looking at your overall retirement plan to see what that looks like before you start socking away all this money into a 529 plan or any other college savings plan because there are loans for college. There’s no loans for retirement.

 

Marc: Right. Maybe a reverse mortgage will be about the only thing way you could finance a retirement. Maybe right? But that’s totally another conversation for another day.

 

John: Yeah. And when the kids get to that point of school, depending on how you structure your retirement assets, there are some ways that you can access those retirement funds to help them pay for school. And kind of the way I view it is that you can tap those funds to pay for school and still kind of maintain your retirement. So it’s always something you really want to take a look at and just plan for and be prepared.

 

Nick: Yeah. I would say that our default is, typically save first for yourself and for your retirement and then we can build in strategies and structures for saving for college expenses for the kids. We really don’t know what that space is going to look like 10 or 15 or even 20 years from now, whether college will be fully required for everything or what sort of programs will be put in place, even the ways that students will be able to qualify for things like financial aid and those sorts of things. And so, anytime a plan is too heavily focused in one area, we oftentimes see mistakes. And so it’s difficult with this conversation because it can be a very personal conversation. Oftentimes, it’s based upon the client’s experience when they were children, whether or not they had to go through it themselves.

 

Nick: And that can go both ways like, “Hey, I don’t want this burden to be on them,” or, “Hey, I learned a lot by having to do that and I’d like my kids to do the same sort of thing.” And so just like so many other topics, we really try to talk about the financial side of things and help them understand the impacts in that space and then get their feedback on their personal feelings about it, and then try to find a way to kind of mold those two together to make it make sense from both a preferential and personal standpoint as well as a financial standpoint.

 

Marc: That’s a great point. Yeah, exactly. Because it can be, and everybody [inaudible 00:10:29]. it’s almost like the same conversation around legacy planning right? Some folks say, “I don’t want to leave anything to the kids because they’re doing just fine,” and others say, “I want to leave as much as I can.” So yeah, it becomes a very personal conversation, but just be careful because what we’ve seen over the last couple of years is people sacrificing a little too much. And then again, like I said, it comes back around and you wind up being a burden. You’re in your seventies and you need help with retirement and now you’re trying to lean on your adult kids who are maybe just starting their own families. And so it’s just a slippery slope. So just be careful.

 

Nick: Yeah. And one other thing on that. You pointed out the legacy planning and that’s kind of a good point because, and we consider that factoring in the overall throughout the whole planning. But a lot of times what we will see are, “Hey, we paid for school so we are going to spend our money in retirement and use our money in retirement,” or the vice versa where it’s like, “Hey, we didn’t help out with school so we’d like to make sure that we leave some money.” So again, it’s a multi-tiered sort of conversation. And ultimately, we always try to focus on control. Be in control of your own money, be able to have as much of an impact as you can on your own personal decisions. And so, sometimes knowing like, “Well, hey. If I can help them out down the line afterwards, that may be a way to “make up” for not having put away as much money for their education or whatever.”

 

Marc: That’s a good way of looking at it. And again, it’s all very personal things. So just, again, the topic this week on the podcast, it’s just not making the assumption that you have to help your kids through college before you worry about retirement savings because they can get you into a bit of a pickle. One more here, guys, on the main topic this week, and that’s the classic “I’ll never be able to retire” kind of assumption. And I think what we find, and you guys tell me what you see in your practice is many people just assume that and they never take the time to sit down and go through a planning process and find out if they’re right or wrong because they are just terrified and they’re assuming they’re going to be wrong. And more times than not, they’re actually not. People find that they’re in better shape than they thought they were when they go through the process typically.

 

John: Yeah, I would agree with that. Nick and I do the classes and a lot of those people are kind of in that position, it’s time to start looking at it. And we’ve had a lot of scenarios where people feel that they haven’t done enough. And when we do the plan, it’s, “Hey, you’re on track and it looks really good,” and it produces a nice kind of sense of relief for some of those individuals. I definitely will say, never assume that and it’s better to take a look at it sooner rather than later because if it’s vice versa where you need to start saving more, we do find that people in their fifties, kids have moved out. They’re kind of off the payroll. And now if there’s a time to really catch up, it’s going to be in your fifties to sixties. So it’s really important to build that plan, see where you’re at and if you’re on track, great. Let’s enhance that to give you more flexibility down the road and if you’re not on track, now is the time to really… it’s better to start planning sooner rather than later versus, “Hey, once you hit 60 and it’s like, your working years-“

 

Marc: It’s going to be harder right?

 

Nick: Yeah. And just like so many things in life, we’ve had conversations with people like this. And the reality is, is that we can’t change the past. So we really try to emphasize the present and the future and decisions that can be made moving forward. It can be difficult for us as advisors sometimes because ultimately, we tell clients, “We can’t care more about your money in your retirement than you do.” So the number one factor in this whole thing is that it has to be an important thing for you and you have to be motivated to make changes if you are behind the ball and we’ll absolutely help you get there, but I would say one of the biggest mistakes that we’ll see is that people get paralyzed by the concern about mistakes that they’ve made in the past, and then all of a sudden, it’s five years, 10 years later and they’ve just really doubled up on the mistakes. And so the sooner you can make changes the better and less focused on the past and more focused on the present and the future.

 

Marc: Absolutely. So some good points to ponder there as we’re talking about not making assumptions for retirement. And of course, if you’ve got questions or some concerns, you need a little bit of help, you want to get a second opinion on a plan you might have, or even the first opinion if you’ve never taken the time to do so, reach out to the team, go to the website, pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com. You can click on the podcast link right there at the top of the page. There’s a blog. And there’s a contact section where you can send us an email to the show if you’d like to do that as well. You can find all those goodies at pfgprivatewealth.com. And like I said, if you want to send an email question, feel free to do so. And we’ve got one this week, we’re going to toss out to you guys. Bo sent one and he said, “Fellas, I need about $5,000 to live on each month in retirement and my social security and pension is looking about to be $5,300 a month. You think that means I can leave my 401k behind to my son? What do you guys think?”

Nick:

So there’s a couple of things with this question. Ultimately backing up a little bit, we’re always concerned when people provide flat numbers like this. I think I’ve been doing this since ’07 and John you’ve probably been doing it at least as long, I think an an extra year. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anybody come in with $5,000 a month flat on expenses. It’s an awfully convenient number. And so first thing-

 

Marc: Well, he does say, “I need a [inaudible 00:15:58],” I guess, so we’ll give him the benefit, but yeah.

 

Nick: The first thing that we like to do is kind of peel back those numbers and make sure one of the things that we’ve learned kind of throughout these years of doing this are that sometimes when people post questions like this, some people think pre-tax and some people think net of taxes. And so first backing up to see in reality, depending upon how they’re calculating the numbers, that $5,000 expense number might actually be closer to 6,000 or 6,500. And then the social security and the pension numbers may be net versus gross. So the first things that we’ll make sure that they understand will be, from a cost of living standpoint and projecting out the numbers for the social security, are they using a cost of living and which number are they using it? And then for the pension also, the same thing. I would say at this point, depending upon where the pension’s coming from, if it’s coming from a private company, typically we don’t see cost of living’s built in. If it’s coming from some sort of like state or a municipality employee, then there will be some cost of living’s built into that.

 

Nick: So making sure that they calculate inflation on both income and expenses is going to be a huge deal. So as far as being able to leave the money, the first conversation that we’re going to have with them about specifically, “Hey, am I going to be able to leave my 401k money behind?” We’ll be making sure that they understand how required minimum distributions work and what that looks like. So as an example, making sure that they understand that starting at age 72, they’re going to have to start pulling money out of their account so that the government can tax that from an income standpoint. And that doesn’t mean that the client has to spend that money. It means that they will pull it out so that they can pay the taxes and then either they can save it or they could spend it.

 

Nick: So just like so many other things, it’s a pretty nuanced… it’s a question that on the surface seems super simple like, “Hey, I did the math. My income is 5,300. My expenses are 5k. I look great. Let’s just plug along. And my goal is going to be to leave my money behind for my son.” So kind of diving into making sure that they first understand how those factors are going to work from a planning standpoint with things like inflation, how they understand that the required minimum distributions are going to work, pulling that money out and then really focusing and drilling down on if it’s very important for them to leave money, for Bo to leave money to his son.

 

Nick: Let’s figure out what might be… is that the best way to leave the money or are there other things that we could do to leave that money? Like for example, does it make sense for him to start doing conversions to convert his traditional money to a Roth account, which can be a much more effective tool to be able to leave? What sort of income bracket is his son in? If he leaves pre-tax money, is that going to be a tax bomb for him? Those sorts of things. So on the surface, it looks like a very kind of basic question, but in reality, we’re going to have to peel back and look at kind of the other factors and then really strategize to figure out ultimately what’s the goal and can we find more efficient ways to accomplish that goal?

 

Marc: Yeah, exactly. I think the first thing that I thought when I read that was 5,000 now, what is it going to be in 10 years? So with inflation, I mean that 5,000 might be 10, so who knows? So some good thoughts there for Bo to consider. Thanks so much for the question. We certainly appreciate it. Nick, thanks for handling that one. And that’s going to do it this week here on the podcast. Again, if you’ve got questions or concerns before you take any action, you should always check with a qualified professional like John and Nick at PFG Private Wealth. Give them a call at (813) 286-7776 or stop by the website, pfgprivatewealth.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast, Retirement Planning Redefined. You can find all that information at the website. Of course, you can also just search it out on Apple, Google, Spotify, or whatever platform you like to use. And for John, Nick, I’m your host Mark. We’ll see you next time here on the show. And this has been Retirement Planning Redefined.

Ep 29: Understanding Annuities – Fixed Index

On This Episode

This is the final installment for our annuity mini-series. We will wrap things up by diving into fixed-index annuities. We get more into the finer details of some properties of annuities and also take a look at how these contracts are typically structured.

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More Episodes

Check out all the episodes by clicking here.

 

Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

Speaker 1: Back here for another episode of the podcast. Thanks so much for listening to Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth. They are financial advisors serving you here in the Tampa Bay area. 813 286-7776 is how you get ahold of them if you’ve got some questions or concerns about anything you hear on our show, or really any others when it comes to your retirement plans.

 


Speaker 1: And this week on the podcast, we’re going to continue on with our annuity session. This is part three, and we’re going to talk a little bit about indexed crediting strategies as well as indexing methods. And that sounds fancy, so we’ll let the guys break it down. But first, we’ll say what’s going on. John, how are you, my friend?

 


John: I’m good. I’m good. I was, this morning, just getting some quotes on artificial grass. It was-

 


Speaker 1: Oh, that sounds fun.

 


John: … very interesting to look at the different samples of them.

 


Speaker 1: The different samples of artificial grass. All right. Who would’ve thought, right?

 


John: Not me.

 


Speaker 1: It’s a strange thing you can do. That’s for sure. Nick, how are you doing, buddy?

 


Nick: Definitely not looking at artificial grass, but doing pretty well. Staying busy.

 


Speaker 1: Good. At the time we’re taping this podcast, your Bills won a playoff game, yeah.

 


Nick: Yeah. Yeah. First time in quite a while. And they continue to take years off of my life, but at least it’s a lot more enjoyable to watch now.

 


Speaker 1: I totally forgot to ask you, because as a Bills fan, you finally get rid of Brady in your division, but he moved to the town you’re in.

 


Nick: Yeah, it’s pretty interesting. I mean, I’ve been in Tampa Bay since ’03. I moved down the July after they won the Super Bowl, so they were pretty popular. And then Florida is such a different town from a sports perspective, and Tampa Bay, specifically is obviously all I have experience with. But there’s so many people from other areas that it’s just different. Whereas, the Bills, in Western New York, are kind of like a way of life. It’s been an interesting… The Bucs have a chance, we’ll see, to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, which would be kind of interesting. And then if it ended up being against the Bills, that would be double interesting.

 


Speaker 1: Yeah. Some of those ghosts could be haunting them, so they’re probably hoping to not see him once again. But, anyway.

 


Nick: Yes. Yes.

 


Speaker 1: We’ll get into financial topics and we’ll talk sports another time, but I just wanted to ask you about that. So good stuff, indeed. So guys, what am I talking about or what are we talking about here today on this annuity session? What are some of the features and some of the things we need to be thinking about?

 


Nick: Yeah, this will be the last in the series of the annuities that we talk about. And just like anything else, we view ourselves as informational and educational. And because annuities are such a topic that there’s so much information out there about, there’s plenty of positives and plenty of negatives, that we want to make sure that we go through these different things.

 


Nick: And so this session is going to be focused on what are called fixed index annuities, which can be confusing, just like anything else. There are some more moving parts, but we have found over the years that for those people that are pretty conservative and risk averse in looking for opportunities to have some sort of upside from the market, but are not comfortable having much downside, that these are something that can make sense for them. So we’re going to spend the session kind of going through and talking about them.

 


John: To compare these to the last session we talked about, you can expect a higher interest rate than a fixed annuity, over a long-term period. And comparing it to the variable annuity, it doesn’t have the same potential because you’re tied to a specific index and there’s some restrictions to it, which we’ll go through.

 


John: So this is really a good hybrid in between, if you’re looking for, like Nick mentioned, you want some principal protection. But the negative to a fixed annuity is, hey, I’m locked into this rate, I can’t really get much more. How can I get more? And then this fixed index would actually accomplish that because if the market does go up, there’s potential to actually go up with the market to a point.

 


John: Something to understand with these, again, important in all annuities, understand the fees that you’re in. And while typically… Again, I hate using the word, but we have to. Older contracts, we haven’t seen fees in these, but there are some newer ones where they are having some fees within the contract. And the way that they explain that is, hey, if we put this fee in here, well actually, there’s more growth potential on your crediting methods.

 


John: So just understand if you’re looking at any of these, like anything, you want to look at the surrender period, you want to look at the surrender charge, you want to look at the fees. I mean, those are three important things to look at in any annuity contract, and especially with these.

 


Nick: So in general, the term index annuity really comes from the structure of how they credit growth inside of these contracts. One of the most popular indexes that are used in these sorts of contracts is the S&P 500. And the way that the contracts essentially work is they will offer different indexes that they will provide crediting towards, and use that index as the barometer for how it works.

 


Nick: So just to super simplify it, what’ll happen is they’ll say, okay, there are different rates and John’s going to different sorts of structures and John’s going to kind of get into that. But they’ll say, okay, between the time that you open this contract and a year from that period of time, we’re going to track the index. In this case, we can call it the S&P 500. We’re going to track the performance of that index over time and then we’re going to give you a percentage of the performance of that index. And that percentage can change for year to year, and they declare it on each anniversary.

 


Nick: And so that’s what provides you with the upside within that contract. However, and this is the reason that many people will use this sort of contract is, if the S&P 500, in this example, let’s say it drops 10 or 15% between now and 12 months from now, you’re not going to participate in that down portion, that downside, you’re just not going to get credited anything. So essentially what ends up happening is that you’re flat for the year.

 


Nick: So when these things talk about not having the downside or protecting your principal, that’s what they’re referring to. So if the S&P 500 is up 10%, you’ll get a percentage of that growth and John, we’ll talk a little bit about how they may credit that. However, if it’s down 10%, you’re just going to not lose any money that year. It’s going to be flat.

 


Nick: So that’s the general principle of how it works and which index is used, how much they credit, that’s all the due diligence that happens when people choose which contract to go with, but in a very basic sense, that’s how it works.

 


John: Yeah. And to really explain it, I think, let’s give an example of that. So if you’re in a participation rate, and let’s say you start with $100,000, and like Nick said, the most popular one is the S&P 500. And by participation rate, let’s say it’s 50%. So what that means is you’re going to get 50% of the S&P 500 on the upside. So if you’re in contract January 1, 2021, they’ll look at the S&P 500 on January 1, 2022. If the S&P 500 has gone up let’s say, 20%, your contract is going to credited 10%. Again, that’s 50% of the 20% gain. So if you start out with 100,000, your account is now at 110, okay?

 


John: A benefit to this is that actually your 110 now is your new floor. So when you get credited, that’s actually your floor moving forward. So, example, let’s say year two, you’re still in a 50% participation in the S&P, S&P goes down negative 10. You’re year two, basically what’s going to happen now is the 110 is now your floor, you stay at 110. Now you move on to year three to see what the S&P 500 does.

 


John: So that’s one crediting method, participation rate. They also have a cap rate. So, that’s kind of like a ceiling. So, you could have an S&P 500, again, index that you’re monitoring or are kind of shadowing. And your cap is 6%. So what that means is, you’re going to get up to 6% of the S&P 500 growth. So same example, 100,000, let’s say you have a 6% cap. The S&P goes up 20%, in this scenario, you only get 6% because that’s your ceiling, okay? So basically 6% your cap, that’s all you’re going to get that a hundred thousand now, after the one year, it’s going to be at 106, because you got 6%. Year two, again, S&P drops, you stay at your 106.

 


John: So, just important to understand the different crediting methods. There’s one more called a spread. This is kind of like a fee, but it’s only taken off if there’s gain. So a spread could be like 1.5%. And again, let’s use the S&P 500. If it goes up by 7%, they take 1.5% off of that gain. In the same idea. You get the credit for that year, it locks in your balance at that point in time, and that’s kind of your new floor.

 


John: So important just to understand you have participation rate, cap rate, and a spread. Those are the most popular, they’re not the only ones. There’s actually a lot more, but those are the three that we typically see. We don’t have enough time today to really go through each one, but those are the most common. And I’d say kind of when we’re using these strategies, those are typically the ones that we use, because they’re just simple to understand.

 


Nick: Yeah. And some of the other things to look out for, if let’s say you already have an existing contract and because these insurance companies, they can change those rates that John walked you through from year to year, maybe one year your cap was 6%, but they drop it to 3% on the S&P 500, it may make sense to look at another index. So most contracts have a menu of indexes that you can choose from, from year to year, and they allow you to change your choice on an annual basis.

 


Nick: So what we’ve seen is people may get complacent and they’ve had the same index for a couple of years and because they know that there’s not really market risk per se, they just leave it. And they haven’t realized that those rates have changed and what they’ve been in, their potential is much lower. And, usually what ends up happening is that they may lower some, but they may increase others or there may be other opportunities and other portions.

 


Nick: So it’s important to look at it on an annual basis, take a look and see what changes they’ve made to the contract and if it makes any sense to make a change. And some of the options aren’t just a one-year option, they may offer a two year option. That could have much better rates and that could be an opportunity as well.

 


Nick: So even though it’s a vehicle, a tool that can be used, sometimes there’s complacency that kicks in because there isn’t perceived risk and just like anything else, doing your due diligence each year and adapting to what’s happening within the contract can really, really pay off for people and they can try to maximize or take advantage of the opportunities that are within the contract.

 


Speaker 1: It sounds like any financial product where sometimes people just want to set it and forget it. And that’s not always the best strategy having. And that’s where you can do with reviews and things of that nature, but just kind of checking on these things is certainly a good idea is what I’m hearing.

 


Nick: 100%. 100%. And I will say too, that in our last session on variable annuities, we talked a little bit about some of the riders that are available that can provide people with guaranteed income. And many times there are those writers available on these fixed index annuity contracts as well. So they can be a tool that provides future guaranteed income, but maybe provides options with less fees than a variable contract or higher guarantees than a variable contract, which is something that can be used from a comparison perspective.

 


John: Yeah. And to jump into what Nick was saying about the indexing methods changing, it’s important when you’re looking at some of these companies that you go with a quality carrier and look at their track record. Because the last thing you want to do, and we’ve seen this where, one company might be offering a very competitive cap rate, let’s say 8% or something like that. And then once you’re in the contract with them, they all of a sudden lower their cap rate to four. And it’s like, Whoa, now I’m with this company for the next seven years, because that’s my surrender period and they’ve just lowered their rates on me, you know?

 


John: So that’s where doing your due diligence on what company am I going with, what’s their ratings, what’s their track record? Are they a good company I want to be with for the next five, seven years? And that’s where it’s important, if you’re working with an advisor that they’re doing their due diligence, and you’re doing your own to make sure that if you’re going to be with this company that they’re going to do right by you, if you’re going to be with them for that period of time.

 


John: It may sound like we harp on it quite a bit, but the pitfalls are important to understand. Make sure that the company that you’re looking at is a reputable company and has strong financial ratings. Pay attention to the surrender charge period with these contracts, where people have that and tripped up is we’ve seen people locked into contracts that are 15 years long, 18 years long, which really can be pretty tricky. So making sure that you understand how that’s structured. And then, like John said, getting some historical background on how often they change their indexing rates. And if they’re really just kind of using teaser rates to get people locked in.

 


John: So just like anything else, it can be a piece of the pie. And oftentimes where it’s most appropriate would be for people that are pretty conservative investors looking for a little bit more potential, especially in this current environment where rates for CDs and money market accounts and that sort of thing are so low.

 


Speaker 1: Yeah. Again, when we talk about these things, it’s always important to remember and realize that like anything in life, you should always do your own due diligence, as well as when you’re working with an advisor, or when you’re looking for an advisor to work with. Make sure that you’re going through the proper steps, do some of the homework, and then take the time to find out is this product right for you? Don’t just jump into anything because it’s something you hear on any particular show or a talking head or whatever the case is without seeing how it might relate to your specific situation.

 


Speaker 1: And if you need help with that, whatever type of annuity it might be, or any other financial product, because annuities can be a bit polarizing, have those conversations reach out to John and Nick, they’re here to help in the Tampa Bay area 813 286-7776. If you’ve gotten this email through a newsletter or a blast or something like that, or whatever the case might be, and you haven’t yet subscribed to the podcast, feel free to do so, certainly would be appreciated. If you’d like to get more content as they come out, you can simply go to pfgprivate wealth.com. You can find the podcast page there, pfgprivate wealth.com.

 


Speaker 1: You can also find a lot of good tools, tips, and resources, and reach out to John and Nick. You can also subscribe through your favorite app or whatever that might be. Just search out retirement planning, redefined, and hit the subscribe button. A lot of times it’s a heart or a thumbs up or something like that, search the type retirement planning redefined in the search box, or just call 813 286-7776.

 


Speaker 1: John, Nick, thanks guys for your time in this series on annuities, a lot of good information. They do get a little complicated sometimes, so again, it’s really important for people to understand and have a good working knowledge of this, especially if they’re considering it. So I appreciate you guys sharing some of your knowledge.

 


John: Cool. Thanks Marc, have a good one.

 


Speaker 1: John, appreciate it, bud. Take care of yourself and we will talk next time here on Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick from PFG private wealth.

Ep 28: Understanding Annuities – Variable and Fixed

On This Episode

This is part 2 of our annuity mini-series. We focus on two types of annuities on this episode which are the variable and fixed deferred. John and Nick explain what are significant about each of these and how they may fit into a retirement plan.

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More Episodes

Check out all the episodes by clicking here.

 

Disclaimer:

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. The topics and information discussed during this podcast are not intended to provide tax or legal advice. Investments involve risk, and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed on this podcast. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

Marc Killian: Hey everybody. Welcome into the podcast. Thanks so much for hanging out with us today as we talk investing, finance, and retirement with John and Nick, once again, here on the airwaves with me on Retired Planning Redefined.

 

Marc Killian: We’re going to pick up with our conversation on annuities. We are doing this series, or this session, on annuities and we’re going to talk about fixed deferred annuities, as well as variable annuities today on the show. But before we get into all of that, let’s say hey to the guys. Nick, what’s going on, buddy? How you doing?

 

Nick McDevitt: Good. Good. Just we’re in the new year now and things are off to the races for sure. It’s been a hectic start to the year.

 

Marc Killian: What races? We don’t know, right?

 

Nick McDevitt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s true. Been a hectic start to the year, but looking forward to the new year.

 

Marc Killian: John, how about yourself? You’re doing all right?

 

John Teixeira: Yeah. Doing good, just busy. And like Nick said, it’s been an interesting three weeks to start out the year to say the least.

 

Marc Killian: I don’t know if you guys saw that meme that says, “I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I tried the seven day free trial and I’m not happy with it.”

 

John Teixeira: Yeah.

 

Nick McDevitt: Yeah. I’ve seen ones too where it’s like, “This is week 54 of 2020.

 

Marc Killian: Something like that, yeah. Pretty interesting times that we’re continuing to live in.

 

John Teixeira: Actually, my wife, I got the vaccine, first one, yesterday.

 

Marc Killian: Oh, did she?

 

John Teixeira: She’s a nurse, so she was nervous a little bit, but also excited that she could just not have to think about it once she gets the shot. I think it’s six months to a year, roughly, that they say the immunity from it… To be determined, but I think six months at least [crosstalk 00:01:36].

 

Marc Killian: I hear depending on which company you get it from, it’s a series of shots and they say maybe you might feel bad for a day or two after it. How’d she do?

 

John Teixeira: Not too bad, although last night we were putting one of the kids to bed and she comes in and she’s like, “Hey, where’s your EpiPen?” I’m like, “EpiPen? What do you need that for?” Her throat started feel like it was tightening up, but it went away within 30/40 minutes, so that was it. Honestly, shes doing well and-

 

Marc Killian: Good.

 

John Teixeira: She’s doing good.

 

Marc Killian: Good. Good to hear. Certainly interesting. Obviously, the virus itself affects so many people different ways and then apparently the vaccine does the same. My business partner, his wife’s a nurse and same thing with her. She got the shot a couple of weeks ago and had a really bad headache was her side effect from it, but I think that was about it. So, you just never know how it’s going to affect everybody, so I’m glad to hear she’s doing well and be curious to keep an eye on that, as we move along, how the vaccines and all that stuff’s going.

 

Marc Killian: But for now, like I said, let’s talk about annuities. Let’s get into part two of this. I mentioned at the top of the podcast kickoff, we’re going to talk about two types today: fixed deferred and variable. So let’s start with fixed deferred, guys.

 

John Teixeira: Yeah. So, fixed deferred annuities, recapping what we went through last time, anytime you get into an annuity, you really got to look at the company you’re going with because the guarantees are based on the issuing company and how strong they are. But just go over a fixed deferred annuity.

 

John Teixeira: It’s very simple, similar to a CD issued by a bank, just issued by an insurance company. You have a guaranteed rate. There are some that just give you a minimum interest guarantee where they’ll say your minimum interest is 1%, but it can fluctuate based on some factors. The most popular ones that we typically use are where there’s a multi-year guarantee where it will say, “Over five year period, you’re getting 2.5% or 3% over that five-year period.”

 

John Teixeira: Typically,… I say typically because there’s always some outliers… typically, no fees, again just comparing it to a CD, no fees on it. You’re just getting your 2.5% for that five year period or three year period, whatever you pick. We typically find that these rates are normally a little bit higher than CD rates, so it’s very competitive in that space. “Just looking for something just very simple. Let me just get a fixed rate. I don’t want to worry about any of these other moving parts. I just want a fixed interest rate with no risk.”

 

Nick McDevitt: Yeah. And I would add to that from the perspective of… from a functionality standpoint, as far as how the rates are fixed, there are some similarities with CDs. But it is important to understand that CDs typically have FDIC coverage or insurance because they are issued from a bank up to the limits that the FDIC provides, whereas the guarantees and the CD are going to be from the insurance company.

 

Nick McDevitt: So, we know that that’s a concern that people have when they bring it up or talk about it, so we always like to point that out. And then, on top of that, from the perspective of keeping in mind that annuities, by rule, by default, they have limited access to money until 59-and-a-half or after. So, if it’s money that somebody is using that is a non-retirement account and they’re younger than 59-and-a-half, it’s important to make sure that they remember that rule, that 59-and-a-half rule.

 

Nick McDevitt: But the positive is that it does provide tax deferred growth. In other words, you don’t get a 1099 from the bank or from the insurance company every year on your interest like you would in a non-retirement account if it was in a CD. So, the rates, the taxation, and the protection side of things are some differences between those.

 

John Teixeira: Yeah. And also, and just going back to what we talked about in the first annuity session, there are surrender periods on this. There are surrender charges, which will make them different than CDs. So just, if you need a recap of that, just go to our last podcast and we went through the basics of annuities, which is going to apply really to the fixed, the variable, and the index, which we’ll be going through.

 

Marc Killian: All right. A lot of times when people think about different financial products, we often hear about the three qualities of money where you’re looking for growth, safety, or liquidity. And every different kind of vehicle provides different things. Often, when we think of annuities, we think of maybe the growth and the safety aspect, but without some of that liquidity you guys were talking about.

 

Marc Killian: But again, since there’s different kinds of annuities, you want to check and see really what the pros and cons are going to be for your specific situation. So, a fixed deferred might be something that worked really well for you and your situation, but again, you want to go through that with an advisor. And then, the variable, this tends to get more of the bad rep, I suppose, so break down some of it on the variable annuities for us, guys.

 

Nick McDevitt: Sure. Essentially, what a variable annuity is and what it does is it combines the structure of being able to invest in mutual fund-like investments, where in a variable annuity they’re called sub-accounts. So it combines that with the chassis of an annuity, which provides tax deferred growth on the growth of the account.

 

Nick McDevitt: So, these became a little bit more popular back in the 80s where you would have high-income people that were looking to save additional money; maybe they were maxing out their 401k plans, or their retirement plans at work. They are in a high income, maybe a high income state or just, in general, high federal tax bracket, and so they were looking for additional ways to invest their money and they would use the variable annuity contracts to provide them with that tax deferred growth on the dollars and not get a 1099 each year on their investments. And so, over time, as tax rates changed and really became a little bit more favorable over the last 20 or 30 years, the popularity of the contracts became less than less.

 

Nick McDevitt: And then, what the insurance companies did was they started to add different riders and different guarantees onto these contracts, almost like an additional layer that comes over the top, that provided some additional guarantees to really just incentivize people to use them. And so, John, if you want to talk a little bit about some of those guarantees, and really the reason why many people that really have owned them over the last 10 or 15 years own them?

 

John Teixeira: Yeah. I’ll start with some of the less common ones and we’ll end with probably the most common, and Nick does a good job expanding the income ones. But they have somewhere, basically, your principal’s guaranteed and not so popular anymore, but I’ve seen some contracts where you might get in today and they’ll guarantee your principle payment over a 10 year period.

 

John Teixeira: So example, you put in 100,000, they guarantee you over the next 10 years if the market goes down, you’ll at least walk away with your $100,000, so you get a principal guarantee and they’ll have a term period where they’ll put that guarantee. So example, year nine, your account’s at 80 grand; you put in 100. Once you’re at the 10 year anniversary, they just give you your 100,000 back.

 

John Teixeira: There are some death benefit guarantees to it where we’ve seen some contracts where, again, your principal payment has a death benefit, so if the market drops, you at least get what your principal payment was. And then, there’s actually some riders where the death benefit will increase automatically irregardless of what the market is doing. What’s very popular maybe about 10 years ago was long-term care riders on this where they’d put, if you qualify for long-term care insurance… so, lose two of your six ADL’s… the annuity would kick in some type of income for long-term care expenses. Those have really dwindled down over the last few years because of just the cost for facilities.

 

John Teixeira: Nick, I’m not sure if you see too many of that nowadays. I know I haven’t seen any good ones, but I’ll let you talk on if you’ve seen any good long-term care riders on these contracts.

 

Nick McDevitt: No, I haven’t seen that that much and really the main rider that we see on the different contracts are what are called guaranteed withdrawal benefits or guaranteed income benefits, sometimes referred to as GMIB or GMWB. When we do our classes, we really try to harp on these from the perspective of just explaining how they work. And really, in this sort of venue, this sort of avenue, what we would just recommend to people is that if it sounds familiar that you have a variable annuity, and/or a variable annuity with some sort of income rider that you know guarantees you some income, it’s good to have somebody help you review that contract and make sure that you understand how it works.

 

Nick McDevitt: So essentially, there’s just like anything, there’s both sides, and then the truth is in the middle somewhere. These sorts of contracts, they can be good and, just like anything else, some are better than others. There are some contracts that have really held up over the last decade, 12/15 years, that have been beneficial, even to the extent where insurance companies will offer incentives to the contract owners to essentially try to buy them out because the guarantees are good.

 

Nick McDevitt: So essentially, what happens and just to use an example, let’s say that you have a deposit of $200,000 into the contract and the insurance company is going to go ahead and offer a rider that has a guaranteed appreciation on that initial deposit. Usually, it’s either a simple interest or a compound interest, so that’s important to know. Because some companies might say, “Hey, we offer 7% growth on the rider,” but it’s simple and over time a 5% compound could beat that. So, it’s important to understand how that works.

 

Nick McDevitt: And then, at a certain point in time, they offer a guaranteed withdrawal amount off of that guaranteed appreciation amount. So just to use basic numbers and try to help people understand how it works, let’s say you deposit that 200,000 and over a 10-year period, which is usually the maximum growth period of those riders, that goes ahead and it doubles over the 10 years. So the guaranteed appreciating amount on the rider goes to 400,000 and then maybe they guarantee you a 4% withdrawal rate on that. So, it’s the 4% on the 400,000, so that’d be about 16,000 a year.

 

Nick McDevitt: Normally, the way that those will work is that that 16,000 a year is guaranteed for your lifetime; so even if the underlying account balance goes to zero, the income is guaranteed for your lifetime. Some of them also will offer a guaranteed income for both lives, so if you are a married person, for you and your spouse.

 

Nick McDevitt: So, where people will get a little bit confused is that they may assume that that 400,000 number is their money, is like the real money, and if they wanted to cash out in year 10 or 11, that they can actually cash out that 400,000 number, and that’s usually not the case. Usually, it’s the underlying value, which inevitably because of expenses and things like that is going to be lower. So in this situation, it could be something like 300,000, which is the actual… what we’ll often call real money. So, just like anything else it’s really important to… We really just emphasize and harp on the fact that it’s important to know what you have; it’s important to understand how it works; it’s essential to know how it impacts your overall plan.

 

Nick McDevitt: So with these contracts, we do think that they can be a fit in many people’s plans, especially if maybe there’s not a pension or something like that. So it’s important to understand how they work; make sure that the guarantees that you thought are built into it; and make sure you understand how it factors into your plan. I would say, from the standpoint of pitfalls to avoid where we’ve seen people really get into trouble are if they put too much of their nest egg into it. We typically recommend a maximum of 20 to 25% of investible assets into something like this. If you’re going to do it because of some of the negatives. John, if you want to jump in on just some of the negatives overall, so that people understand the things to look for?

 

John Teixeira: Yeah. Devils are in the details on these things. You just need to understand your limitation to your money in some of this, where some negatives we’ve seen is where someone’s doing their withdrawal benefit and they try to take extra money out, more than what the guaranteed amount that’s on the contract, or what they’re supposed to. It could really mess with how long the money’s going to last at that point, or what your minimum pension benefit’s going to be: your income withdrawal. So that’s something to really understand. That’s why Nick was saying, “You don’t want to put too much into this because if you need access to money, this is not where you want to go.” You almost want to set it up and if you’re going to do the income withdrawal, just forget about it from a accessing standpoint, more than what your income withdrawal is. So, that’s something to be aware of these.

 

John Teixeira: Why these typically get a bad rap and Mark, I know you mentioned at the beginning, it’s really the fees. When you put a income benefit on this, you can look at anywhere from 3 to 4% overall in fees. So there’s a mortality expense fee, [Jim’s 00:15:22] throwing out some averages, could be 0.95%. There’s an admin fee, could be 0.2. The investment you’re going into could range anywhere from 0.3 to 1%, and then the rider itself, which is that guarantee, can range from 0.5 to 1.4.

 

John Teixeira: So you could see that when you start adding all that up, it really makes a big difference, or really adds up a big amount in the fees. Not saying that’s necessarily bad; it’s just important to understand what you’re in and how it works for you.

 

Nick McDevitt: Just to follow up on that, the fees are usually coming out of the performance, not out of the riders, so that’s important to understand. And again, just like anything else, it’s important to understand how things work and how it fits into your overall plan, and just get an analysis on it, and making sure that it’s working how you expect it to.

 

Marc Killian: Yeah, exactly. At the end of the day, we’re doing a little session here on annuities, a couple of episodes on this, but like any financial vehicle, you want to make sure it’s the right fit for you by working with an advisor. You can learn some information and certainly get a good working knowledge. Many folks do not want to understand the complete nuts and bolts, and that’s why they turn to an advisor. But finding the right one for you and the right product for you is paramount really in anything that you do.

 

Marc Killian: So, as always, before you take any action, you should check with a qualified professional like John and Nick at PFG Private Wealth. You can call them at (813) 286-7776; that’s (813) 286-7776; before you take any action. If you’ve got some questions, you can also go to the website: pfgprivatewealth.com. Shoot them an email that way; contact them that way at pfgprivatewealth.com.

 

Marc Killian: Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. We’ll be doing another episode on annuities here, coming out very soon. So, subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, whatever platform you’d like and that way you get new episodes as they come out, as well as can check up on some past episodes. It’s Retirement Planning Redefined. Search that in any of the boxes or any of the apps… excuse me… as you’d like to, whether it’s Apple, which is probably on your phone already. Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, already pre-installed on your phone most of the time. Just open up those apps, type in Retirement Planning Redefined. You should be able to find it that way, and that’s another way you can subscribe.

 

Marc Killian: And that’s going to do it for us this week here on the podcast around annuities. Again, we were talking about fixed as well as variable. If you’ve got questions, reach out to John and Nick: (813) 286-7776 for John, for Nick. I’m Mark. We’ll see you next time here on the podcast.