Ep 49: What To Do As You Count Down The Days To Retirement

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We’ve assembled a list of priorities to keep in mind as you count down the days to retirement.

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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 to the podcast. It’s retirement planning, redefined with John and Nick and myself talking about the countdown to retirement. What to do on those days, as we’re getting closer, working our way towards it. We’ve assembled a list of priorities to keep in mind, as you are counting down those days to retirement. And we were getting ready to get this podcast started and we were kind of laughing at some of the things that we seem to run out of in this whole supply chain issue, had ourselves a good giggle along the way. So hopefully we’ll have a good podcast for you to tune into as we talk about these things, because there’s some good stuff on here. And guys at the time we’re dropping this, I think we’re going to drop this right after Memorial Day if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, it’s right around it.


Mark: And Memorial Day is kind of the unofficial kickoff to summer. It’s not technically summer yet, right? I think it’s what June 20th or something like that. But when we get to 50 and a lot of times, if you want to think about this countdown 50 plus, it’s kind of the unofficial kickoff to retirement. We’re not actually retired yet, but we start thinking about it, paying more attention to it. So on and so forth. So John, the first one on my list is getting healthy and staying healthy. Many of us develop chronic issues in our 50s. So it’s a good time to put some thought onto this so that you can actually enjoy those golden years.


John: Yeah, 100%. I would even because I’m sure, I don’t know in the previous podcast I talk about my health issues, but I think it’s important for everyone at any age, especially though I will say 50.


Mark: True.


John: Focusing on health and getting to the gym and just do whatever makes you feel good. But when you have an health issue and you can’t do the things you were doing, I’ll tell you it’s quite a, it’s a challenge. It’s quite upsetting. And I’ll say from the clients that we work with, we see a big difference in those that actively in retirement are working out, maybe seeing a trainer a couple of days a week to those that are not. And as you age, I think it’s more, it’s very important just to stay active because you’re not recovering like you were in your 20s.


Mark: No, I think that’s a great point. I like that too. Yeah, we should start sooner. Right. But if you kind of want to put a, some sort of a time table or something to it when we get, and it kind of works with our conversation for retirement, just get there, start making some of these changes. So you can really enjoy what we call the go go years. Right. So when we first get to that early days of retirement. And then this is a really big one, we could kind of merge two and three together, but we’ll do them a little bit separately, but two Nick, is the free time. Now there’s a lot of it. And maybe silver lining in the pandemic has been the fact that many couples got to realize life together, 24/7 working from home, being at home.


Mark: Because that’s what retirement is. That’s a big shift that we don’t often talk about. We put a lot of focus on saying, yeah, we want a big travel and we want to go out and play a ton of golf or whatever. But like there’s a lot of free time and you’re spending it with that significant other that maybe you guys didn’t see each other for eight, 10, 12 hours a day. Now you’re together all the time. I don’t know how many advisors I talk to where they’re like, they have funny stories about one spouse or the other saying get them out of my house. They’re driving me nuts.


Nick: Yeah. The time challenge can be significant. I can tell you two things that I would recommend against. And those things would be watching a lot more news and,


Mark: Right.


Nick: Deciding that social media is going to be your new hobby.


Mark: It’s not your friend. Right.


Nick: If anything, there’s a pretty good documentary on Netflix. I forget what it’s called, but it’s about social media and really kind of the big data side of things and how the algorithms work and really kind of feed into things. And in general, there’s been a lot to handle for people over the last few years with the pandemic and everything else going on. So can not underestimate the importance of having constructive hobbies, doing things that kind of keep you sharp or engaged. And even from the standpoint of being social, things that you can do both alone and with others. The relief that people get from a psychological standpoint of being engaged with others and doing different things, kind of being out and about is really, really important and it’s going to help keep you fresh. It’s going to help you be able to focus on the things that are important versus the things that aren’t, and that you don’t have control over. And so, making sure that you’re developing hobbies, and we would say that that’s even separate from things like travel and that type of thing where,


Mark: Right, right.


Nick: Being inquisitive, doing things that have your brain still working are really important.


Mark: That’s a great point. And John, I mentioned blending two and three together. So two was determining what you want to do with your free time. Three, we put post retirement career, maybe career is too heavy of a term, but a post retirement something. Right. Retire away, like if you hate your job, let’s just say you despise it and you can’t wait to retire and you’re leaving with nothing else to go to. Like, I get that frustration, but I think people tend to be happier if they’re retiring to something. And maybe that’s not necessarily another career, but something like, even if you took a year off and literally did nothing, I’m sure you guys have story upon story of retirees who first enjoy doing nothing. But as humans, I think we crave some sort of structure, something to help us kind of fill the time and fill the days.


John: That’s 100%. It’s important to really start thinking about that. And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been in meetings and it’s when do you want to retire? And the response is, well, I don’t know if I’m ever going to retire, but I want to leave this job at this age.


Mark: Right. Right.


John: So it turns into what am I going to do next? And I think kind of what you said there. My mother watches my kids and that’s kind of a level of importance to her and she watches them two or three days a week, and there’s actually a study where grandparents that kind of are helping out their children, watch their grandchildren actually live a little bit longer. And I think it’s all about that level, feeling important.


Mark: Yeah.


John: So whether that’s watching grandkids, my clients had started to be a realtor and they actually end up making more money than they were at their previous job. So whatever it is, it’s just making some type of level of importance. Whether it’s making money, helping out family, volunteering is just feeling like you got to get up and do something in the morning.


Nick: And a good way to kind of sum that up as purpose.


Mark: Purpose. There you go.


Nick: Purpose. When people feel like they have a purpose for both themselves and those around them, they tend to do a lot better.


Mark: Yeah. No I’m with you there. And we used to retire at let’s say 65 and you probably were passing away at 67, right? So sitting on the porch for a year or two and doing nothing felt great because we were tired. We were worn out. The concept of retirement is a little less than a 100 years old. So a lot of stuff is actually changed quite a bit. So a post retirement, something or another post retirement purpose instead of career. I like that. Thanks, Nick. We’ll use that. And going forward is a great way to think about that on this countdown days to retirement list. Let’s go to number four, Nick. So why don’t you throw us some things to think about in the opportunity to save more. Again, I mentioned 50, right? So at 50 plus, some stuff starts to change and there’s actually some good time to catch up a little bit or just cycle a bit more away if you need to.


Nick: Yeah. Oftentimes whether it’s in their 50s or early 60s, people have, maybe they have children coming off the payroll and they don’t necessarily plan to figure out how are they going to be able to recapture some of those dollars that they’re used to spending on the kids and kind of help them really build up their retirement and maybe catch up from all those years of taking care of the kids. That can be something that’s a big deal. One thing that’s come up multiple times in the last, I’d say three to four weeks with what’s been going on in the market is, we have clients emailing or calling us asking, Hey, the market’s down, should we stop saving? And, the way that we try to kind of explain to people is that markets are cyclical.


Nick: We have had this period of time, 10, 12 years, where the markets have generally gone up and people’s conception of what, or I should say, perception of what, typically happens in normal cycles, one to three to four year cycles is a little bit thrown off, but an easy way to think about this is that this is why we have a plan in place. You want to continue to save. And if anything the thought process is that you’re buying at a discount from what things were previously. So in a lot of ways, the market’s on sale. And so continuing to average in and chipping away and taking advantage of the benefits of being able to save money pre-tax, or those sorts of things is an important thing.


Mark: Yeah. It can make a huge dent, right? We’re hopefully making the most money we’ve ever made and all that good kind of stuff. So 50 plus there’s should be some good opportunities to sock a bit more away. And that might help John with number five, which is reducing down the debt. So even if you’re not necessarily putting more away into a retirement account, because you’ve done a good job or whatever, maybe the focus is take some of that extra money with the kids being off the payroll and get rid of some of that, especially bad debt.


John: Yeah. 100%. I mean, with rates being as low as they have been, we have seen a lot of people go into retirement with mortgages, but you’re at 2.6%, that’s nothing crazy, but let’s take mortgage out of it. Other debt definitely recommend trying to get that down and off completely, but get it off your books because when you go to retire, it’s a big cash flow, where’s your income coming from? Social security, pension, investments. The last thing you want at that point where there’s no longer a paycheck coming in is debt. What that’s doing at that point, it’s really eating into kind of things you want to do, which we talked about for hobbies or enjoyment. And then on top of it, it actually adds some stress level to Hey, I need more income coming in to pay out all these bills and all this debt. So definitely before you hit retirement, it’s good to be debt free. It’s easier to pay off the debt in your working years than when you’re not working.


Mark: Yeah. And on the concept of the house, right, there’s always the arguments back and forth there, the different things. So certainly, that can also still be on the get debt free list if you’d like. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to necessarily get rid of it, but just make sure that you’re doing that smartly and not being house rich cash poor as the saying goes or whatever the case is. So just kind of bear that in mind.


Mark: But yeah eliminating, if bought an RV or the big plans where the RV in retirement, maybe getting that paid down, if you bought it a little early or whatever, or boat, or I don’t know, muscle car, whatever it might be. Right. Just get rid of the stuff that you’ve got some debt on. And then Nick, the final one here, number six on the list on just counting down stuff is the risk conversation. So if we’re reducing our debt, maybe we ought to also think about reducing our risk. Now last year, people would’ve said, I’m not reducing my risk, the market’s on fire, but right now they’re like, okay, well let’s maybe reduce the risk. Point being at 58 should we be investing like we’re 38?


Nick: Yeah. So risk is an interesting word. And we wanted to take a little bit of time to kind of chat about this because there are different types of risk, and depending upon who you talk to, how they rank the different types of risk via priority is different. So for example, inflationary risk, which is something that we’re dealing with right now, that’s a risk. So in other words, losing the spending power of our money via inflation is something that we need to keep and take into consideration. However, we’re in this kind of perfect storm where taking too much risk, if you’re shifting money out of cash per se and moving substantial amounts of money into the market, you’re dealing with a significant amount of market risk. And then we have interest rate risk from the perspective of, as they’ve increased interest rates, that’s really pushed down the prices of bonds and bond funds.


Nick: And one conversation that we’ve been having with people is them not necessarily realizing that the bond market and even if you look at the most general bond index is down almost 10% year to date. And so we’ve been trying to take a lot of time in one-on-one meetings with people to try to explain how this has an impact and really this is a, with what we’re dealing with right now is probably the best case in the last 15 years or so to show people why it’s important to be diversified and understand that trying to fully time the market, whether it’s from the stock side to the bond side, to the cash side, real estate, et cetera, it can be really tricky. And when things are going great, it’s hard to remember that, but right now it’s showing us that it’s really important to make sure that when we think about our risk, that we’re taking into consideration poor times, not just great times and understanding that just because maybe throughout the majority of your investing career, taking less risk has meant, Hey, let’s reduce our stock exposure and increase our bond exposure.


Nick: It doesn’t mean that that’s always going to stay flat or go up, there’s risks along with that too. So, diversification, understanding that sometimes we do run across periods of time where we just kind of have to take our medicine where all markets have been up for the most part over the last 12 years. There’s going to be times where we run into corrections, which is kind of what we’re dealing with now. And we have to be patient and try not to go overboard with overreacting to the short period of time. Sometimes looking at the lens through the last, even one year, two year, three year period of time and realizing that in the scheme of things we need to just kind of stay steady.


Nick: But yeah, in general, I would say that making sure that you kind of do an update on what you feel comfortable with from a risk parameter. Now is a good time to reevaluate that. Because what we have seen is that people have been comfortable with a certain amount of risk over the last 10 years, because things have just been going up. And so now that things aren’t just going up, what they thought of risk and how they feel comfortable managing it is substantially different than it has been.


Mark: Yeah. Oh definitely. Our risk tolerance level’s been like, yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine with the risk. I’m fine. Whoa, wait a minute. I’m not so fine now, right?


Nick: Yeah. The risk over the last 10 years has been okay. I’m okay getting 8% instead of 15%,


Mark: Right.


Nick: Not oh, I’m okay being down negative 11 versus negative 20.


Mark: Yeah. Yeah.


Nick: Everything’s been more on the positive side of things and even with COVID, we had the fastest bear market in history where it boomeranged right back up. And so even though that only happened a couple years ago, people have already forgotten about that.


Mark: Oh yeah. Yeah.


Nick: So, yeah. And I can’t emphasize enough the importance that this sheds on having a plan and thinking longer term.


Mark: Well, there you go. So that’s some countdown items to think about for the days towards retirement, sixth list, list of six things there, excuse me, that you can think about and address towards your retirement strategy. And those are the things that you’ll go through when you have a plan put in place when you’re working with a team like the team at PFG Private Wealth. So if you’re not, then reach out to them and have a conversation, set up some time to get that started, pfgprivatewealth.com, that’s pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s got all the tools, tips, and resources there. You can schedule some time. You can reach out to John and Nick and the team and get started that way. Of course, you can also find the podcast, subscribe to us on whatever platform you like to use there. So you can catch future episodes as well as check out past episodes. Again, pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s going to do it this week for the podcast for John and Nick. I’m your host Mark. We’ll see you next time on Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth.