Ep 48: Secret To Retirement Success: Get Out Of Your Own Way

On This Episode

There are plenty of external factors that often negatively influence our chances of having a successful retirement. But often, failure comes from within. On this episode, we’ll talk about some of the common ways people get in their own way when it comes to financial planning.

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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:


Mark: Hey, everybody. Welcome into another edition of the podcast. It’s Retirement Planning Redefined with John, and Nick, and myself. And we’re going to talk about the secret to retirement success. Here, it is. Get out of your own way. Typically, we are the success or the reason for failure, one of the two, because we tend to muck up the works ourselves by often injecting our emotions and thoughts into these things. And rightfully so, because that’s part of it, which I think, again, we’re going to talk about the value of working with a team and some professionals like John and Nick, because we tend to get in our own way. And I think we all realize that we do that in many aspects of life, and certainly money is one of those. What’s going on, guys? How you doing this week, Nick? What’s up buddy?


Nick: Everything’s great. Perfect.


Mark: Yeah. Rock and rolling?


Nick: Yep.


Mark: Feeling good?


Nick: Yep. It’s great.


Mark: That’s fantastic. John, how you feeling my friend?


John: Doing all right. A little upset over the weekend. The Celtics lost game three to the Miami Heat, but there’s another game tonight. So-


Mark: Another chance.


John: Hoping that they could tie up the series.


Mark: There you go. Fantastic. Well…


Nick: Yeah. I’ll throw in a good gold [inaudible 00:01:01] lightning, our own fire.


Mark: Okay.


Nick: Free nothing as we record this.


Mark: Nice. Very nice. So what do you think about my statement there, getting out of our own way? There’s lots of external factors obviously, that negatively influenced stuff in our retirement world. Right? We can’t control the markets, but we can control how we react to them. Do you feel like that’s a fairly accurate assessment of finding some keys to success sometimes is, getting out of your own head?


John: Yeah. Yeah. I would 100% agree with that. And we’re seeing that right now where the market is, it’s down year to date. There’s a lot of negative news out there and, there’s always negative news out there. But there’s a lot of things happening in the world and it’s creating a lot of fear. And what that does is it really eats into people’s perceptions of what’s going on with their portfolios. So naturally what’s happening is, hey, when is the bleeding going to stop? Do I need to pull out of the market? Do I need to get more conservative? What should I do? So this is really a period of time where, important to get out of your own way and just stay the course.


Mark: Yeah.


John: And we harp on it quite a bit in all of our podcasts, but this is where the plan is essential, because we’ve had some reviews and people are nervous and rightfully so. But when they see the plan, it’s like, how does this 10% pull back, whatever it is at the time, affect your overall plan? And they look at it and they say, oh, it doesn’t really affect that much, just yet.


Mark: Right.


John: And when they see that, it’s like, oh, okay, that makes you feel a little bit better. See where I’m at. So yeah, 100%, stay the course and definitely get out of your own way so you make good decisions.


Mark: And I think if we’re talking with the market being the first one on the list, fear and greed, that’s the normal stuff, jumping in and jumping out. And we tend to feel like it’s the only thing we can do are these two things anyway. A lot of people, we’re going to touch on that in a minute as well, but often it’s well, all I can do is the market are cash and the market’s scaring, the pa jeepers out of me so let me just jump out, and that’s typically when we’re making the wrong decision, especially if you don’t have a plan. So having a strategy in there, because yes, it stinks when we’re losing, we talked a little bit about on the last episode. Everybody’s fine with risk when the markets have been on fire for 12 and a half years or whatever, but when they get real shaky for a few months, that’s when people tend to get in their own way and allow that fear or greed to jump in there.


Mark: So since we covered that one on your initial part there, John, I’m going to jump to number two. No, go ahead. If you’ve got something else.


John: Yeah, yeah. One, actually you mentioned greed there and actually, it plays into the fear thing as well-


Mark: Okay.


John: Because, we’ve talked about the markets running up and when that’s happening it’s, I only got X percent this year. If I was more aggressive, I would’ve got a little bit more. So we have had those conversations where it’s like, hey, should I get more aggressive? And the answer is no. Go to the plan, look at your risk tolerance, stay the course because when you try to get greedy and then all of a sudden, let’s say you do go to a more aggressive portfolio.


Mark: Right.


John: And we have a big pullback in the S&P and in equities and all of a sudden, you’re more nervous than you should be because you’re taking more risk. And now you start to jump out and you get to that fear stage and you just make bad decisions.


Mark: Yeah. Great point. Great point. Well, Nick, talk to me a little bit about getting in our own way, when it comes to picking an investment or doing something solely because we think it’s a tax help, right. It’s not part of the plan, it doesn’t make sense in other arenas. The idea is, no I’m doing this simply for the tax advantage. Is that a bad move?


Nick: Yeah. A really good example of this would be towards the end of last year, early this year, we made a pretty big cycle in client’s portfolios from the growth side of the market to the value side of the market. And so that did cause some capital gains and probably a bigger capital gain shift than we typically have for clients that are in taxable portfolios. But again, the premise was that we felt strongly that moving forward, it was going to be something that benefited them from a performance standpoint, which is the number one priority. And that’s really turned out to be the case where really the value markets are down closer to 3% or 4%. The growth markets are down close to 30%. So that’s kind of a perfect real world, real life example of, yes, nobody likes taxes, but sometimes taking some gains and recycling the portfolio and shifting to where we think things are going to look better moving forward, is something that makes sense.


Mark: Yeah.


Nick: Taxes are again, something that people don’t like and when we want to, we avoid it, but it should rarely ever be the number one priority in any sort of financial decision making.


Mark: Yeah. Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog, as the saying goes, don’t do something solely for the tax advantage, especially if it doesn’t fit well into the overall strategy. And I’m glad that you brought up that point there where, looking at that and saying, hey, we do things, they all work together. There’s a lot of these puzzle pieces that ebb and flow and move in and out together. So sometimes you do one thing and it has a ripple effect to another. And that’s a great point. So I’m glad you brought that up.


Mark: John, another one on here is the cash conversation. I mentioned a minute ago, people tend to think there’s only two options, the market or cash. And when it gets choppy, we go heck with this, I’m getting out and going to cash. And then we can even, maybe even just right now, we might even find this need to justify it by going, well, the Fed’s ticking the rates up so I’ll get a little bit more in cash, right. Even though it’s nothing compared to inflation, but anyway, that can be a bad decision. You’re getting in your own way. And then you might wind up just sitting there too long. And I mean, what if you jumped out in April of 20, when the pandemic was happening, we’re down 30%, you jump out, you sell, you get your losses locked in and you stayed in cash the rest of 20. Well, you missed a heck of a second half.


John: Yeah. That that’s accurate. And that’s why it’s always important to stay the course, because timing to get back in is almost impossible. Because the rallies up happen really within, if look at historically, it’s always a couple of days or a week or two.


Mark: Right.


John: And if you miss it, you miss a majority of it. So important to stay the course. Be in the right risk tolerance so you don’t go to cash or something like that. And then we have seen this quite a bit as well with cash in the sideline. And it can happen in an upmarket where we’re hitting all time highs constantly, because it’s like, hey, I don’t want to put this money in because we keep hitting highs, it’s going to come down at some point. And then now where it’s the reverse, where we’re having a pull back and it’s like, well I don’t want to put the money in because it’s currently going down. So strategy against that would be dollar cost averaging into the market. Just piecemealing it and that typically will help some people get back into it with less risk.


Mark: Yeah.


John: And there are other strategies involved, but definitely you got to put your money to work [inaudible 00:08:15] pace inflation and especially nowadays.


Mark: That’s a great point for sure. All right. So Nick helped me out here, buddy. I don’t want to fall to fear. I don’t want to necessarily fall to greed. I don’t want to make bad choices from a tax standpoint. I don’t want to go to cash and do nothing. Well now I don’t know what to do, I’m just stuck. That’s number four on my list. We overthink it to the point where we just freeze and we do nothing. And as the song says from the great Canadian rock band Rush, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. So doing nothing is just as bad sometimes as doing something in the wrong way.


Nick: Yes. The overthinking side of things is definitely something I have empathy for people with. It takes me about a month to book a trip and probably sitting down five different times with 20 tabs open each time. So I get the process issue.


Mark: Well, humans procrastinate. Doesn’t make you bad, it just-


Nick: Yes. Yeah.


Mark: We all do it. Yeah.


Nick: For sure. But what this does and people hear this a lot from us because we talk about it a lot is, it’s the importance of the plan. So a lot of times what ends up happening is, the reason that people are frozen with indecision is because they’re worried about their process. They’re worried about the outcome and usually the fear of the unknown is more fragile and worse than actually knowing, having some certainty on what things look like, even if they’re not ideal. So when we have people that are overthinking things or are really fretting about a certain decision, usually what we try to do is go back to the plan. So hey, let’s re-review the plan. Let’s look and see what things look like. And one of the things that we emphasize with clients that work with us from a planning perspective, is trying to help them start to make decisions differently.




Nick: And so the way that we do planning, the way that we’re able to model out different situations and scenarios, we’ll joke with people, let us tell you no. Because a lot of times what happens is people are limiting themselves out of concern of the unknown. And so, let us be your guardrails a little bit, let us be the bumpers in the lane to use an analogy and we’ll help you work through these decisions, but instead of worrying about what the outcomes are. It’s almost impossible for people to figure out all the outcomes on their own.


Mark: Yeah.


Nick: And so let us help you figure out, let’s see the potential outcomes, let’s see what we can do to mitigate some of the risks associated with it. And we can really narrow down. And so having that open door policy with clients and having them work with us, to work through these sorts of decisions where, we’re a team member versus them trying to figure it out on their own is really important.


Mark: Nah, I like that. And I’m a heck of a bowler with the bumpers up. I’m just saying, so.


Nick: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. It definitely increases the average.


Mark: It did a little, just a little bit. So to check this out, John, let’s do one more here on this conversation about getting in our own way. So a friend of mine, super nice guy, we’re chatting the other day and this is what he says to me. Tell me what your reaction to this. So he says, Hey, my neighbor and I, we’re good buddies. We’re the same age. And our house costs the same amount of money, roughly that, where we live here. He’s going to cash. And he’s like, and I know you talk about stuff on podcast and stuff all the time. He’s going to cash and he’s advising me to do the same thing. I think it’s a good move. And I said, why? Because you’re the same age and your house costs roughly the same? Don’t you think there’s like about a million more things you could base this on?


Mark: So my point being is, is getting advice from people who really don’t need to give you advice. I’m sure his friend and his neighbor didn’t have any ill intention, but that just seemed like a goofy scenario to me. It’s water cooler talk, so many of us do that.


John: Yeah. Yeah. We see that quite a bit where people are, my friend’s doing this or like you said, my neighbor’s doing this, but we have to constantly remind [inaudible 00:12:20] everyone that every situation’s completely different. Something that might be good for someone else isn’t good for you. And that’s the importance of really getting the plan and making sure all your decisions are based on your plan.


Mark: Yeah.


John: And not your neighbor, not your cousin, not whoever-


Mark: Cousin Eddie. Yeah. Right.


John: Yeah. What we typically find with this is everyone always tells you about their good decisions. Like, oh yeah. I went for cash and this is what happened. They don’t tell you when they didn’t make a good decision.


Mark: Yeah.


John: It’s not exciting to talk about when you lost money or lost an opportunity. So definitely want to leave it to the professionals and not a neighbor, a buddy that really doesn’t have much experience in navigating these environments.


Mark: Yeah.


Nick: Yeah. It’s the whole wins in Vegas scenario.


Mark: Exactly. Exactly.


Nick: People always talk about the wins and I just want to jump in on this one-


Mark: Sure. Go for it.


Nick: Because one of the things that I’ve been trying to emphasize with clients as well, especially those that are new to maybe, having an advisor or a planning relationship is that the advice that we’re giving for them is the advice that we’re giving at that set place and time. And so meaning, people tend to feel more comfortable when there are like general rules of thumb or those sorts of things. And so maybe it’s a question like, a basic one that happens all the time is extra payments towards the mortgage or not. And so one of the things we’ve been trying to really get through people’s heads is that, hey, we may be telling you to not do that right now, but it’s because we have goals over the next one to three years that we’re trying to hit because of X, Y, Z factors. And that might be something that we target three years down the road, but right now, it’s more important for you to do these other things, to put yourselves in a better position to be able to do that.


Nick: And so what having that kind of conversation with people have seen the light click on quite a bit, because giving them the situation where, Hey, let’s take you and your friend, and let’s say that nine out of ten factors are the same, but that one factor can dramatically change-


Mark: Yeah.


Nick: The advice. And so even though you might feel like you have a twin in so many different ways, that one factor can be a huge differentiator on the sort of advice or the sort of strategy that you should have in place from a financial perspective. And really, you hear people talk about, each situation’s unique, but really being more specific in helping them realize that has been something that has been helpful for some people lately, especially with the choppy waters that we’ve been in the last four or five months.


Mark: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you listen to this podcast and there’s three guys on here having a conversation, but the three of us need different things for the time of life that we’re in and whatever’s going on. You two might be similar in age for example, but one’s got kids, one doesn’t.


Nick: Exactly.


Mark: I’m older than exactly you guys. So there’s a million variations could go into what you need individually. So again, I don’t think that the neighbors or coworkers or cousin Eddie or whatever it might be mean any ill will, but it’s just not the best advice. So again, getting in our own way sometimes is listening to those people who really we shouldn’t be listening to. So that’s going to wrap it up this week for the podcast. So the secret to retirement success is you and how willing you are to not get in your own way, to make sure that you realize the things that you know, and the things that you can do, and then turning to those people to help you in those shortcoming areas.


Mark: I don’t pretend to try to rebuild my car from the ground up, because I have no idea how to do that. Sure, I can change some spark plugs and change the oil, but that’s the limit of my knowledge. So I’m not going to tear the whole thing apart and start from the ground up. Same kind of idea. So that’s the conversation, make sure that you reach out to John and Nick. If you’ve got some questions, if you’re worried about sabotaging yourself, doing some things you shouldn’t be, especially in these choppy waters, as Nick mentioned, it’s easy to do. It’s easy to let that little fear monster jump up and nibble in our ear. So reach out, have a conversation with the team at PFG Private Wealth, before you take any action, especially if you feel like you need to make a change.


Mark: I think that’s a fundamental thing that we do as humans as well. Sometimes we feel like if we’re not doing something, we’re doing something wrong and often not doing anything could be a good move for your situation, but you need to find out through the process of getting a plan put together or just reexamining the plan that you may already have in place. So pfgprivatewealth.com is how you make it happen. That’s where you can find John and Nick and the team at PFG Private Wealth. Again, pfgprivatewealth.com. Pretty easy to remember and reach out to him if you got some questions or concerns, get on the calendar, hit the subscribe button for whatever platform you like to use. Athol, Google, Spotify, so on and so forth. For John and Nick. I’m your host Mark. We’ll see you next time here on Retirement Planning Redefined.