Ep 22: Case Study- Implementing Roth Conversions

On This Episode

We spent last podcast talking about what exactly a Roth conversion is. Today we will examine a financial plan and see how implementing Roth conversions can potentially improve this situation.


Case Study Before Implementing Strategy:

Dual income Household: Ages 55 & 53 

  • Existing Accounts:
    • $500k Pre-Tax 401k Funds
    • $25k Roth IRA Funds
    • $50k Cash
    • Mortgage on the home – paying extra on mortgage ($250/m) (5% rate on 30 year loan, 10 years in)
  • Income:
    • Person 1: $110k
    • Person 2: $60k
  • Current Savings strategy:
    • Total Joint Savings 18% of income ($30.6k/yr.) – all into pre-tax
    • Each person has 3% company match for pre-tax ($5.1k/yr.)
    • Total being saved: $35,700
      • EE Contributions: $30,600
      • ER Contributions: $5,100


New Strategy:

    • Refinance Mortgage to a 15 year loan with significant reduction interest rate lowers total monthly payment, allows for $250/m extra payment recapture & additional $150/m savings
    • New Total being saved: $40,500
      • 401k EE Contributions: $21,400
        • Pre-Tax: $15,900
        • Roth: $5,500
      • 401k ER Contributions: $5,100
      • Roth IRA Contributions: $14,000
    • Person 1 strategy: EE Total: $23,600, ER Total $3,300
      • EE Pre-Tax 401k Contribution: $11,100 (10%)
      • EE Roth Contribution: $5,500 (5%)
      • ER Pre-Tax 401k Contribution: $3,300 (3%)
      • Max Roth IRA: $7,000
    • Person 2 strategy: EE Total: $11,800, ER Total $1,800
      • EE Pre-Tax 401k Contribution (No Roth Available): $4,800 (8%)
      • ER Pre-Tax 401k Contribution: $1,800 (3%)


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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:


Marc: Hey, gang. Welcome into another edition of The Retirement Planning Redefined Podcast with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth. Mark Kelly in here along for the ride as we talk investing, finance and retirement with the guys. And this week, actually, we got sort of a follow-up to our prior podcast. We’re going to talk about implementing … Really a case study about implementing Roth strategies into your plan, some things to think about there. Again, if Roth conversions are on your mind, this is a great podcast for you. And as always, if you’ve got questions or concerns, let the guys know. Reach out to them at PFGPrivateWealth.com. John, what’s going on this week, man? How are you?


John: I’m good. I’m good. Nick still hasn’t taken me up on that race offer, but I picked up some yoga in the meantime.


Marc: Oh, okay.


John: So, I’m doing well.


Marc: All right. So rowing and yoga. After a couple of weeks, you should be lean and mean and you should be ready to roll.


John: I’m trying. I’m trying to get in shape for when I go back out in public.


Marc: Did you get the quarantine 15?


John: Yeah. A lot of Oreos eating over here.


Marc: Oh, yeah. I hear you. Nick, how are you doing, bud?


Nick: Pretty good. Pretty good. Yeah, John’s definitely going to have to spend a little bit more time rowing before he can catch up. I’ve got a month head-start on him.


Marc: Oh, okay.


Nick: And luckily, the irony for me is because I’ve been forcing myself to get out I’ve actually been losing weight, which is kind of nice.


Marc: Oh, nice.


Nick: And going out to eat a little bit less. It’s funny when you see what kind of difference that makes, for sure.


Marc: Yeah. It really does. And everybody has their vice. Oreos, as John was mentioning. Everybody’s got their vice. Yeah, during the quarantine, in lockdown, I certainly was no stranger to my own vices as well. And I was like, “Yeah, this isn’t good. I’m getting fat.” Not happy about it so I’m right there with you, John. Wasn’t Oreos but just as bad.


Marc: Anyways, let’s jump into our topic this week and talk about this case study, really, and ways it helps you see implementing how a Roth conversion may or may not work. Nick, take it away. Give us a quick breakdown on what this is and just walk us through it.


Nick: Yeah. What we wanted to do with this session is kind of mix it up a bit where … One of the things that we found just communicating with people, especially in the classes that we typically do is when we walk through almost a little bit of a case study and give a sample example of a household, what they have in assets, what they have in income, how they’re currently saving and the things that we can do with pretty minor changes within the structure available to really try to improve their overall situation and planning.


Nick: The scenario that we had put together was a dual-income household, ages 55 and 53.


Marc: K.


Nick: And their existing accounts were pretty heavily dominant to the pre-tax side. Half a million dollars in pre-tax 401K funds. They had about $25,000 in Roth accounts, $50,000 in cash between checking and savings, 30-year mortgage … About 10 years in to a 30-year mortgage. And they were paying an extra $250 a month towards the mortgage to try to get it paid down.


Nick: One of the most common questions that people have when they come in to see us or come into a class is, “Hey, I’m saving. I’m doing a good job with saving. But am I saving in the right area? Should I be paying this extra money towards the mortgage, et cetera?” The breakdown in income was person one, $110,000, person two, $60,000 of income. So, total household income of about $170,000. And the reality is that both of them were getting a company match into their 401K and they were saving … Between the two of them, they’re saving essentially 18% of their income but they’re putting it all into pre-tax accounts. The Roth accounts that they have on their balance sheet are essentially accounts that they’ve had for a long time. They funded it early on and then at a certain point they got phased out because they made too much in income.


Nick: Their main question or, I should say, potentially goal when they came to us was, “Hey, again, we have a good income. We’re living comfortably. We live within our means. We save a good amount of money. But are we doing it the right way?” One of the first things that we did was evaluate the mortgage and, really, what we’ve seen in John’s work on these quite a bit with a few different clients is that mortgage rates have obviously dropped in the last …. These clients were 10 years in so mortgage rates have dropped. And they went ahead and spoke to their credit union and they were able to refinance. One of the things you always want to look into is try to keep down closing costs, et cetera. And they were able to reduce the payment.


Nick: And so, really, with rates where they are, they were able to go from having 20 years left on their mortgage to refinancing to a 15-year mortgage, which is something that they felt much more comfortable with. When we discuss mortgages, we always have the conversation of pure finance decisions versus a comfort level as well. They were able to reduce their monthly principle and interest payment by $150 a month over their 30-year. Essentially, what we’re able to do is we’re able to recapture the $250 a month that they were paying extra towards the mortgage to try to shorten it, take five years off the mortgage with the refinance and save an additional $150 a month. Really, we’ve got a $400 a month savings plus we shaved five years off the mortgage automatically. The goal being how do we redeploy that money?


Nick: John, any tips for people when they’re looking for refinancing on the mortgage and some things to look into?


John: Yeah. One thing, you just want to analyze what the rates are, what you’re currently at. I know a lot of people use the rule of thumb of basically if you can lower it by one percent it might be a good idea to at least look into it, and that’s where we start is look into it depending on what rates are and what your current rate is and then work with an advisor or some type of mortgage specialist to evaluate exactly, does this make sense for me? A decent website just to see where rates are at is BankRate.com. Just be wary putting your name into anything because we have had some people where they … “I put my name into this. I’m getting bombarded with phone calls from everybody.” BankRates is a good place to view but ultimately, you definitely want to work with someone and just figure out what’s best for your situation.


Nick: For sure. From there … Again, part of the emphasis for us, and I know that a lot of our listeners and our clients have heard us talk a lot about the importance of balancing … Trying to create some sort of balance or equity in portfolios from the standpoint of we want to diversify future taxation and current taxation. With this client, they were very heavy on the pre-tax. Half a million in pre-tax, only $25,000 in Roth dollars. Client one, essentially their plan at work allows for Roth 401K contributions where client two, their plan does not allow for Roth contributions. That’s one of these things where sometimes households we’ve seen when there’s a dual-income household they try to make everything even and it’s not always the best strategy when we look at it from a global standpoint.


Nick: The other thing that we’ve seen people not necessarily consider or quite realize or understand is that when their employer is making a match contribution for them, those match contributions are pre-tax contributions so there’s additional money going in. Previously, for the household, they were contributing on their own about $30,000 a year into retirement accounts and they were getting about $5,000 a year of company contributions. And now, after the refinance, what we’re actually able to do is increase the amount that they’re saving.


Nick: One of the first things that we’ll look at for clients is the income test on whether or not they have the ability to contribute to an individual Roth IRA account. This household came in underneath the limits, which means … And they’re over the age of 50, which means that all of them are able to contribute $7,000 a year into a Roth IRA account. The benefit, obviously, of having an individual IRA account is that they’re going to have some more flexibility on the investment options that they have and if they want to work with us and have us invest the money for them, they have that option. Whereas when they’re dealing with accounts that are strictly held at their employer they’re required to use the funds that are inside of there.


Nick: Previously, again … And I know it gets a little confusing in this sort of format, but essentially they were saving $30,000 a year pre-tax. Their employers were putting about $5,000 a year pre-tax. So, about $35,000 a year pre-tax into accounts and then another $3,000 a year into their mortgage, extra. Now what we’ve done is we’ve said, “Okay, we’re able to recapture those dollars from the mortgage and the total amount that’s going to be saved has increased up to $40,000 a year, which is a nice jump.” That breakdown is going to be $14,000 between the two of them into Roth accounts, $7,000 each. The employer contributions are staying the same, so that’s still a little over the $5,000. But client one, because they have access to both pre-tax and Roth options in their 401K, they’re going to put a little less than $16,000 a year into the pre-tax and about $5,500 into the Roth per year.


Nick: What we’ve done, in this case, is where previously they weren’t putting any money into Roth accounts, they’re not approaching $20,000 a year of Roth contributions that they weren’t completely aware of how to be able to take advantage of that. And again, we think that that’s a super important step to be able to build in diversification to not necessarily … If a conversion down the road makes sense for them, they can do a conversion. But if we can do it up front, take advantage of the low tax rates that we are currently in in this current environment and not have to worry about future brackets from the standpoint of dealing with conversions, this is something that really allows them to start to build up their Roth funds.


Nick: John, do you want to talk a little bit about … From the standpoint of how we might adjust their actual holdings and risk allocation in a Roth versus the traditional funds?


John: Yeah. One thing that you want to look at when you’re looking at allocation, overall funds, it’s typically … And I say typically because everyone’s situation is different. You want to be more aggressive or take a little more risk in the Roth IRA or Roth 401K accounts because that has more potential for growth so that gives you a little bit more, again, potential to have more money down the road in a Roth bucket, tax free.


Nick: Yeah. We like to try to capture that upside, especially because when you look at it from the standpoint of the total amount of funds when you look at the overall nest egg, the money that’s in the Roth is a lot less money so we feel a little more comfortable taking a little bit more risk with those dollars because it’s a much smaller chunk of the pie. And then we dial back the risk on the pre-tax dollars because that’s a bigger piece of the pie and try to create some balance. And for anybody that may have gotten tripped up with some of the details, because we know there are a lot of moving parts in this, we will have the breakdown in the show notes to be able to walk you through to check that sort of situation out; to see if something like that might make sense for you.


Marc: Okay. All right. Absolutely. Definitely a little bit different this week on the podcast, but it’s certainly and interesting way to take a look and see about how different strategies can be implemented into unique scenarios and help things along. As Nick pointed out, follow along with the show notes. They’ll have a break down in there for you, as well, on that. And anything else we need to wrap up with this week on implementing this case study that we were talking about?


Nick: I would say that the biggest thing is just for people to make sure that … Again, where people will often times analyze the decisions that they’re making from an investment standpoint is with the sorts of holdings they have and not necessarily with the types of accounts that they have. Just making sure that the methodology that you’re using and how to save and put money into accounts is something that you’re looking at and looking into, whether it’s with your employer, asking, “Hey, do we have a Roth 401K option in our plan?” And if not, getting a few people together to try to push for something like that can really open up options for you. That sort of process is always important.


Marc: All right. There you go. All right, folks. Great episode here this week on Retirement Planning Redefined. Hopefully you enjoyed this case study; a bit of a break down and look into implementing Roth strategies. Again, follow along with the show notes on the website. Go to PFGPrivateWealth.com, click on the podcast page. That’s PFGPrivateWealth.com and then you’ll see the podcast page. Click on that and you can follow along in the episodes. And, of course, subscribe to us if you have not yet done so on Apple, Google, Spotify; whatever platform you like to use for your podcast needs. And if you do have questions, if you do want to talk about a conversion or implementing a strategy, reach out to John and Nick. Let them know you want to chat by calling 813-286-7776. That’s 813-286-7776, serving the Tampa Bay area. Get on the calendar, have a chat with them.


Marc: Please, before you take any action you should always check with a qualified professional like John and Nick at PFG Private Wealth. And with that, guys, we’ll say goodbye this week. Hope you guys have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane and all that good stuff. For John, Nick, I’m Mark. We’ll talk to you next time here on the show and we’ll see you later on Retirement Planning Redefined. 

Ep 21 : Roth Conversions

On This Episode

With our tax brackets being at historically low rates, many people are looking at implementing Roth conversions in their plan. John and Nick will explain what exactly this concept is and how this may be able to save you some dollars on taxes in the future.


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More Episodes

Check out all the episodes by clicking here.



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: Hey everybody. Welcome in to this edition of “Retirement Planning – Redefined” with the team from PFG, private wealth serving you in the Tampa Bay area. John and Nick once again with me on the show, as we talk investing, finance, and retirement. Nick, buddy, how’s it going? How you doing, man?


Nick: Pretty well. Pretty well. Just still kind of moving through this pretty crazy time, but no complaints. Pretty fortunate overall.


Speaker 1: Good. Good, good, good. John, how you doing, my friend?


John: Doing good. Doing good. Recently purchased a rower. Nick sold me on it. He got one about a month ago, and he’s been ranting and raving about it. And I joined the club. So, done a couple of sessions and excited to do a little more.


Speaker 1: A rower. So it’s like an exercise machine, like one of those rowing, or actually going out and rowing in a boat?


John: No, no. Rowing in my garage, an exercise machine.


Speaker 1: Gotcha.


John: Once I get good, I might link up to Nick and we’ll race down some fake river on a video screen.


Speaker 1: There you go. We’ll have to set that up. We’ll have to shoot that on Zoom or something. That’d be good.


Nick: Yeah, ranting and raving may be a little bit of an overstatement, but.


Speaker 1: Just a little?


Nick: As to be expected these days.


Speaker 1: Gotcha. Well, there you go. Well, hey, at least you’re exercising, doing things to stay fit. It’s good for stress and all that kind of stuff as well. So, always good.


Speaker 1: Well, listen. Today on the topic, basically we’re going to talk about Roth conversions. If you determined a Roth was right for you, are you interested in converting if we’re going from a traditional to a Roth? Things of that nature. So, we’ll just jump in and start talking about it here today on the podcast. John, let’s kick it off with tax liability. If you’ve determined that a Roth is right for you and you are interested, let’s talk about some of the key components to maybe consider in tax liability would certainly be one of those.


John: Yeah. Yeah. Just understanding how a Roth conversion works. When you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you pay income taxes at your current tax rate, and in return for that, you’re getting tax-free withdrawals during retirement. And we’ll talk about different strategies with that as we go on on this. But just to give an example, let’s say someone’s taxable income is $100,000, and they meet with their advisor and decided it’s a good idea to do some type of conversion. They say, hey, let’s go ahead and convert $50,000 of your traditional IRA to a Roth. Your new taxable income for that given year is $150,000. So that’s how it would work from a tax liability standpoint. Whatever amount you’re converting ends up being added to your taxable income for that given year.


Nick: Yeah. And the biggest thing we like to just remind people when they do a conversion is they want to make sure they have the money off on the sidelines to pay that tax. They don’t want to do it with the converted money, especially if they’re under 59 and a half.


Speaker 1: Okay. All right. So, with some of the monies and stuff like that, you want to, again, make sure you’re having those conversations, to the guys’s point. So what kind of strategies should we employ to kind of work our way through this? Kind of like the lump sum approach, we do it over time? There’s lots of conversations out there about ways to go about a conversion.


John: Yeah. So one of the things that we do, we focus quite a bit on retirement planning. And when we do that, we’re able to actually model out and estimate what someone’s going to pay in taxes throughout their retirement. And we have certain scenarios where someone might go ahead and retire early. And let’s say, they retire at 62, and they don’t really have much income coming in other than maybe lowered social security amount or they have some non-qualified, basically non retirement assets that they don’t have to pay income taxes on. And we would look at that. There could be a period from 62 to 72 where they’re not paying much in taxes.


John: So what we’ll do is we’ll develop a strategy over that five to 10-year period where we’re actually converting the traditional IRA in increments throughout that period of time to really take advantage of that period of time where they’re in a lower tax bracket.


John: Well, if you look at that through the life of someone’s 20, 30-year time horizon, that can make a big difference in their overall tax liability throughout their plan. So it’s a nice thing to be able to look at and say, hey, what am I going to pay in taxes? And how can I take advantage of paying less ultimately overall? I know I’ve been talking a lot here. I’ll let Nick jump in on kind of the flexibility of having different buckets of money, whether it’s pretax and after tax, going into retirement.


Nick: Yeah, really, both fortunately and unfortunately, one of the things that we tell people that they can count on while they’re working and then in retirement is that there will be changes. And usually the area that there’s most often changes are in tax law. And we’ve seen that over the last couple of years. And so, sometimes people get a little bit caught up on the thought process of which is better, pretax or Roth money. And in our minds, and when we say it a lot, but we try to continuously emphasize it, is that it’s important to have options. And so, to have options, you need to adjust how you contribute or take advantage of Roth contributions and that sort of thing, so that not only are you diversifying from an actual investment standpoint, but from an account type standpoint, which means giving yourself flexibility from a tax standpoint as you take out withdrawals. We find that really, really important.


John: Yeah. And where that comes into real life is, let’s say someone wants to buy a car in a given year. They don’t want to take out a loan. You don’t want to take out 40 grand out of a taxable account. That’s really going to increase your tax liability, where if you had some Roth money, you might say, hey, I don’t want to pay any more taxes. I’ll just pull it from that. Or it could be some type of health emergency where it’s unexpected and you’re pulling 40 to 50 grand out in one pop for whatever reason. So, it’s nice to have that option to avoid paying unnecessary taxes.


Speaker 1: Okay. So, when we’re talking about doing these conversions, obviously clearly taxes right now are lower. And so, that’s something that is appealing to people, but we also have been dealing with this down market. Is that another component that should be obviously considered? And what’s your thoughts from a conversion standpoint with that in play?


John: Yeah. And everyone’s situation is different, and this is something that, this recent downmarket, some people took advantage of, where basically, the market dropped almost 30%, 40% from the high. And they went ahead and said, let me go ahead and convert my IRA and this lower balance, pay tax on the lower amount, so when it recovers, basically everything’s tax-free moving forward. So, just a quick example of that is, say you had an account that was a $100,000 before the market dropped. Assuming 15% tax liability on that money, and it’s a $15,000 tax hit if you were to pull it out. After a 40% drop, the account balance is 60 grand, and a 50% tax on that is $9,000. So you’re looking at about a $6,000 tax difference at that point in time. But the reason you would do it is obviously after market downturns, just typically recoveries and all that growth that you get is now tax-free moving forward. So, that’s a nice little benefit.


Speaker 1: Well, and again, any time you’re thinking about that conversion, always check with your advisor, always talk with an advisor. If you’re not working with one, reach out to John and Nick and have a conversation with them about it. But it’s certainly, even before the whole COVID thing in 2020, it’s just been a very popular conversation point, due to the fact that the tax rates that we’re in have been so low. So again, if you do have questions around, is it a good time to convert, should I convert, things of that nature, make sure you’re running your specific scenario past a qualified professional financial advisor like John and Nick. And of course, you can always reach out to them at (813) 286-7776. That’s (813) 286-7776. Or go to pfgprivatewealth.com.


Speaker 1: Okay, guys, another place to consider would be the legacy portion. Is that something we should throw into that mix for converting?


John: Yeah. So a Roth IRA is actually a great vehicle to pass on to beneficiaries because they receive it tax-free. So, some strategies that Nick and I have implemented with clients in the past is basically converting it so their heirs can get it tax-free, and kind of this scenario where someone doesn’t necessarily need the IRA money for income today. It’s more of a kind of a cushion for them. And the goal is to pass it on to kids, grandkids, whatever it might be. So, to just kind of give a situation here, client’s 68. Don’t need the money for current income. Tax bracket’s 12%, one of the lower ones. And kid’s, daughter’s, in a 35% tax bracket. So, the strategy that this person is doing is, over a 10 to 15-year period, again, going back to estimating the taxes, they’re converting pieces of the IRA to a Roth. Okay?


John: Now you’ve got to remember that retirement really is a 20 to 30 -ear period. So you could do this over 10, 15, 20 years. Okay? So during that 10 to 15 years, they’re basically just making all that IRA money. They’re paying taxes in a lower bracket. It’s becoming tax free. So when they do pass away, their daughter in this situation inherits it tax-free. In this current situation, the daughter is actually in a 35% tax bracket. So you could see it as a big tax savings there, because once the daughter inherits it, it’s all tax-free, versus her paying it at 35%. So, kind of just summary, the client pays the taxes at a 12% tax bracket, daughter inherits it in a 35% tax bracket, but it’s tax-free because of the conversions happening.


Speaker 1: Okay. And with the stretch going away, does that make that strategy more appealing at this point? Nick, what do you think?


Nick: Yeah, I would say, so previously what would happen if we had these kinds of conversations, in a good scenario, or I would say maybe a pretty typical scenario with what John just outlined is, maybe it’s a widow. And between Social Security and pension houses paid off, etc., so they have good income. They don’t really need to take much from their retirement account. They have a daughter that’s a physician, making a really good income. And the strategy is to pass the money down. Well, previously, they might have said, hey, if we pass traditional IRA money to the daughter, it’s not as big of a deal. Ideally, a Roth would be better, but with the way that stretch IRAs work, she would only have to typically take a small amount each year out, but do it over her lifetime. Now that that money needs to be taken out in a 10-year period versus over the daughter’s lifetime, the tax impact is much more pronounced and harder to navigate.


Nick: And so, we’re pretty confident that these sorts of conversations with those changes are going to happen much more consistently over the next couple of years. So, that’s just kind of a good example of why and how some of the recent changes make it important to be able to adapt and be flexible.


Speaker 1: No, I definitely agree with you. And obviously, there has been a lot of changes. There were changes to start the year. And then, of course, the COVID changes also altered some things. So, if you’re thinking about or have questions about, again, going over a Roth conversion, if it’s right for you, how you want to implement that into your overall plan, or maybe you don’t have a plan and you need to do all of those kind of pieces, well, reach out to John and Nick at PFG Private Wealth and let them know you want to talk about it. It’s certainly a huge topic point, and it can be a very beneficial component or tool to your retirement planning tool belt, if you will. So, definitely have that chat with them. (813) 286-7776. That’s (813) 286-7776. And don’t forget to subscribe to the show, “Retirement Planning – Redefined” on Apple, Google, Spotify, or whatever platform you like to use for your podcasts.


Speaker 1: We’ve made it available for you to find at the website pfgprivatewealth.com. That is pfgprivatewealth.com. A lot of good tools, tips, and resources to be found there as well. And of course, you can always just search it out by typing “retirement planning redefined” on whatever platforming app you choose.


Speaker 1: All right, guys, is there anything else we need to address with the Roth conversions this week before we go?


John: No, I think we’re good. Appreciate your time.


Speaker 1: Yeah. As always, we appreciate you guys stopping in, chatting with us for a few minutes. If you’ve got questions about those Roth conversions, again, reach out to them, folks, here on “Retirement Planning – Redefined.” John, Nick, you guys enjoy the rowing machines, and I’ll be looking forward to that competition coming up soon. And we’ll catch you next time here on “Retirement Planning -Redefined” with John and Nick, financial advisors at PFG Private Wealth.

Ep 20: Peeling Back The Curtain

On This Episode

On this week’s episode, we check in with John and Nick on how things are going personally with their families, communities and clients.


Subscribe On Your Favorite App

More Episodes

Check out all the episodes by clicking here.



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: Hey, everybody. Welcome into this edition of Retirement Planning Redefined with the team from PFG Private Wealth. Got John and Nick here with me as always, financial advisors. Guys, what’s going on? Nick, how are you, my friend?


Nick: Oh, doing pretty good. Just been just like everybody else, working remote, working from home, kind of biding my time through this process.


Speaker 1: Yeah. Yep. John, yourself?


John: Yeah, pretty much the same. Like Nick, working from home and just keeping myself occupied with some things to do around the house.


Speaker 1: Yeah. I saw somebody, a lot of times people say, well, we’re all on the same boat together. And I thought, I don’t think that’s quite accurate. And so, I saw something that was cool. It said, we’re all in the same thunderstorm together, but we might be rowing different boats. And I thought, that’s probably a little more accurate. We’re all in the same massive storm here and everybody’s got different little nuances. The different states are doing different things, different people are dealing with economic issues, issues different than others, health issues, personal issues, stress issues, whatever. So it all falls into a same storm category. I thought that was kind of a cool way of putting that.


Nick: Yeah, I think the personal experience that people are having, like what you said, is pretty drastically different from not only region to region and state to state, but family to family.


Speaker 1: Yeah, true.


Nick: Dependent upon what occupations are and/or just … there’s so many different factors that it’s going to be interesting to see what movies come out down the road and the different forms of media and when we can actually look back and just kind of-


Speaker 1: Oh, yeah. That’ll be really interesting. Yeah, for sure. Well, we’re going to go easy today, actually. We’re just going to keep it in this vein. We’ve been spending so much time talking, doing multiple series parts on different things. We thought we would just scale it back a little bit this week and just have a conversation about just life and just peel the layers back, if you will. So we kicked it off a little bit with personally you guys are doing okay. How’s the families? Everybody okay there?


John: My end, yeah, everyone’s good. We got to just remind some people listening, I got a one year old named Aria and a four year old named Olivia and my wife Jenny. So yeah, we’ve just been quarantining here and trying to keep them busy, and they’re definitely keeping us busy. Nick knows, I threw out my back a couple of weeks ago. I think I was just chasing around the kids and then doing way too many home projects now that I’m stuck at the house half the time, so.


Nick: I definitely, I haven’t thrown out my back and I also have not had to chase around a one year old and a four year old. But I’ve been able to, a couple times, spend some time with immediate family, parents, brother, sister-in-law, nieces. And my brother and sister-in-law, they’re still working. My sister-in-law is a nurse and my brother has a business that’s considered essential. And so, my nieces are nine and 10. And so, my parents, they haven’t been working because of everything. And so, they’ve been able to take care of the nieces that’s extra time with them. I got to see the experience of what it’s like for them to attend school remotely and some things like that. So it’s been a little bit different perspective.


Speaker 1: Are you zooming in and being a guest teacher for a day? Uncle Nick going to teach them about whatever?


Nick: No, definitely not. I quiz them on some things here and there, but some of this common core stuff and some other things, it’s pretty, pretty wild. So I’m there for moral support.


Speaker 1: John, you got to give us the skinny. Can he substitute teach?


John: Definitely not.


Nick: Only due to patience.


Speaker 1: You got the math down, right, but the patience level maybe is a little different?


Nick: I could present and not allow any questions.


Speaker 1: There you go. There you go. Community-wise, how’s things in your specific area? We pulled the curtain back before here on the show. Clearly, you obviously were social distancing. We’re all remote in our houses doing the podcast, but even prior to that, we were already doing that because I’m actually in another state when we do these shows. Of course, you guys are there together at the office or whatever the case might be. But how’s the community near you? How’s things going there?


John: Yeah, so pretty good. Nick and I are both involved with a nonprofit group called the 13 Ugly Men. And one thing that we did as our membership here, we did Feeding Tampa Bay. So we donated a hundred thousand meals to those in need during this time that you need to eat and don’t have the funds to go ahead and do that. So that was pretty cool, because we did a match donation and then we coupled it with a Facebook Live event where we had a DJ playing and then people were tuning in. Maybe they were bored at home and needed something to do during happy hour and they locked in and have a little bit of music to listen to. So it was interesting to see, using the Facebook platform to engage in our guests that usually attend our events and using that platform also to raise dollars. And again, Nick and I are both in that group together. And then, Nick’s also involved with Casa so he can jump on that because I know they did some type of thing, Nick, so.


Nick: Yeah, so Casa’s a domestic violence organization in Pinellas County in St. Pete and I’ve been on the board there for, it’s got to be over, around close to 10 years now at this point. And may have mentioned it in a previous podcast, but when this whole thing was starting, I had been following the news in pretty significant detail and my main venue to gather news is Twitter. And on Twitter, I had seen a post by the founder of the company Slack, which is a tech-based company that’s actually stood out over this period of time. I know they’ve gotten a bigger footprint during this period of time, but…


Nick: So the founder of Slack, they had gone public last year, and he and his fiancé had created a foundation and they had decided to donate a million dollars total to four different sectors of nonprofits. And I had come across it and they did a matching program. It was a five-to-one matching program. So essentially, if a local organization that fit into their four tiers, and one of the tiers was domestic violence, if that organization was able to essentially secure donations and then forward the proof of donation to their foundation, they were going to match at five to one. And, pretty amazingly, we were able to rally both the board and local donors to raise, we raised $25,000 locally and the founder of Slack matched it with $125,000. And so, we were able to raise $150,000 in less than 24 hours.


Speaker 1: Wow.


Nick: Which was pretty awesome.


Speaker 1: Yeah.


Nick: So, it was pretty cool.


Speaker 1: No, both of those are amazing. That’s awesome, guys. Kudos for that. That’s really, that’s great. And I imagine that, obviously, those things are very well received. We’re seeing a lot of that stuff happening all over the place, but that’s really awesome. You guys are continuing to do that right there in the backyard, so to speak. And with your own clients, obviously, right there in your backyard, again so to speak kind of thing, how’s things going with that? We briefly talked about some of that a couple of weeks ago. Still going okay with the working remote? Are people adjusting to that a little bit better? How’s that going?


John: So yeah, I think people are. Nick and I have actually been doing, before all this happened, we started doing more remote meetings. And I think clients are finding that it’s actually a pretty efficient way to meet and it actually maybe helps us meet with them more often, where they’re not having to drive and coordinate schedules and it’s just a little bit easier. So I think one of the things we’ll see coming out of this is that we’ll probably, even when this is over, probably start doing more remote meetings with the screen shares. And then once we get back into the office, we’ll probably do more video stuff. But I think things are going to change and go more in that direction based on people just becoming familiar with the platforms and being comfortable with it.


Speaker 1: Yeah, it’s one of the things that we’ve seen a lot as well. I interview a lot of people all across the country and some, especially for the client base being retirees, pre-retirees, a lot more folks have embraced it I think than initially thought, which I kind of thought that’d be the case. I mean, just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re not tech savvy. But I know that there’s points where some folks feel a little uncomfortable still and it is different, I suppose, being on a platform like Twitter or Facebook, for example, versus being on a Zoom call with a camera coming in and catching you in the living room. But again, you’re scheduling these things and you’ve got time. There’s secure ways to do document portals for transferring delicate information. And that stuff’s been out there, in the cloud anyway, for a while. So I am generally seeing across the country that more folks are embracing it than I think maybe some skeptics originally feared.


Nick: Yeah, I would definitely agree with that. It’s pretty typical. Oftentimes, whether it’s new technology or adaptation to what’s going on is oftentimes spurred by what’s happening around us. And so, the platforms have been around for a while and the reality is that they’re pretty easy to use once you get through it for the first time or so. And really, the communication with clients initially was getting everybody to hold the line. And one of the things that we’ve been seeing maybe for the past week, week and a half, maybe two weeks, and we had a conversation with a client today, is the disconnect between the market and what’s happening around us still being in … Florida is just opening up now, but a lot of other states are still locked down and things like that, is that the market’s responded and pulled back from its lows for the last month plus now.


Nick: And people, from what we’ve seen, they haven’t really caught on yet that the market has responded pretty positively and we’ve bounced off the lows pretty significantly. So, that’s one of the things that we’re going to be working on from a messaging standpoint moving forward is, obviously, we don’t know what’s going to happen over the next six to 12 months.


Speaker 1: Right, right.


Nick: From the standpoint of finances and the market and where things are, it’s not nearly, I think what a lot of people … the feedback that we’ve gotten from people is, when we’ve explained how much they’re down from the beginning of the year, has been like, “Oh, that’s it?” Which is always good to hear. But it’s been an interesting thing, because John and I are so knee deep in it day to day that it’s just a good example of the importance of communication, helping people realize where we really stand from the standpoint of how the market works and their overall plan.


Speaker 1: No, that’s a good point because a lot of people initially, obviously, do the ostrich thing, right? It’s going down as bad as it was in March. And you don’t want to open your statements, you don’t want to look. My brother, he’s 62, he was in that. I kept talking to him through things. And finally, matter of fact to that point, Nick, that you just made about a week ago, he finally looked and he goes, “Yeah, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.” And I said, “Well, April,” I said, “Technically April, it kind of got lost on the shuffle of all this, but April was one of the best Aprils the market’s ever had. It’s 28%.” Now granted, from the bottom, not from the top.


Speaker 1: But still, you got to find those silver linings, you’ve got to find those little victories where we can get them. And like you said, there could still be plenty of volatility ahead. Who knows? But doing the ostrich thing usually doesn’t do you any good either. Because I kept telling him, he’s like, “Well, I don’t want to look. I can’t handle it.” And I said, “Well, okay, but let’s go on the bad foot. If it was bad news, the sooner you find out, the sooner you can start to address it. If you just keep ignoring it, it’s like a cavity. It’s going to get worse.” I was like, “And then you end up being pleasantly surprised anyway.” So you have to look at it through the right perspective, the right lens.


Nick: For sure.


Speaker 1: Yeah.


John: For sure.


Speaker 1: Well, you mentioned Florida reopening. So how’s that going with the phase one thing? You guys have been on that this week, at the time we’re taping this?


John: So, yeah, yeah. It’s been this week. So far for me, I haven’t done anything different. I’m still in quarantine mode.


Speaker 1: Right.


John: So, I think one of the biggest differences is certain stores I’ve been to are now requiring face masks. So now when I go in there, you just see everyone with a mask on, where maybe two or three weeks ago that wasn’t the case. I don’t know what Nick’s been doing different, but I think we’re in the same boat.


Nick: Yeah. Not too much different on my side. I will say, because I do live in downtown, in downtown St. Pete here, it’s been interesting to … Each day I’ve either been going for a bike ride or a walk or something to get outside. And they started putting tables out. There’s a lot of sidewalk dining here, so they started putting the tables out because the restaurant capacity is 25% inside, and then they have outside seating.


John: Oh, interesting.


Nick: So starting to see some people sitting at tables and more people walking around. The beaches opened up on Monday. And the park that I go through, it’s called Vinoy Park here, the last month or so, every single day at the park has been, people did a pretty good job of distancing, but pretty packed. You could just tell people needing to be outside. And starting Monday, the park was empty, which is kind of shocking. So I don’t know if everybody that was going to the park automatically went to the beach. So it’s going to be interesting to see how things continue to progress.


Speaker 1: Yeah. Interesting in the state difference too. Obviously, you guys are in Florida, I’m in North Carolina. Your restaurants are doing outside dining and limited seating. We are in our phase one, but that’s not allowed. There’s still absolutely nothing inside restaurants at all. It’s still take out only. Which, it’s a strange point, we went to pick up some stuff for Taco Tuesday and my wife wanted, she said, “Let’s do Taco Tuesday.” And there was 25 people standing outside waiting to get their order. It’s like, you might as well just let them in or let a portion of them in, because there’s still that many people, there were in a pretty small window in a strip center trying to wait by this one door. So yeah, it’s interesting how the different areas are doing all the different things.


Speaker 1: So we’ll hope for continued improvement and all those good components that come with it. And I think what we’re going to do, we’ll wrap this up. I just wanted to touch base with you guys and just see how things are going. So I’m glad we just had a little bit of an informal chat, not necessarily the X’s and O’s this week. But I was going to ask you a question, just a fun little hypothetical I’ve been asking all this week. What’s something you’re looking forward to? If things get back to normal, what’s something you would enjoy seeing or doing once again? John?


John: So I’m looking forward to not doing swim lessons in my pool and bringing them back to a school, because I’ve been YouTubing how to teach a one year old and a four year old how to swim and I’m not a very good teacher. So that’s something that I look forward to.


Speaker 1: Okay. Nick, what about you? What’s something you look forward to?


Nick: For me, I just really look forward to sitting with some friends, watching sports, and perhaps eating something that tastes very good and drinking something that tastes very good.


Speaker 1: There you go.


Nick: Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking about.


Speaker 1: All right. There you go. I imagine neither one of you are in a boat alone for that one. There’s probably a fair number of those. Real quick, I was going to ask one more thing before we go. How’s your school systems looking? Ours have said that schools, as of now, plan to reopen in mid-August, which would be obviously for the next school year. I imagined since you guys sound like you’re ahead of us, they’re probably having those chats too?


John: I think the school, the current year is definitely not going to be … Nick, if you know, just jump in. I believe the current year is not going to be going at all.


Speaker 1: Right.


John: The plan is to start back up, which is mid to late August down here.


Speaker 1: Sounds like the same thing. Yeah. Okay.


Nick: Yeah, yeah. I think around the same idea.


Speaker 1: All right, well there you go. So-


John: And I’m sure all the parents are looking forward to that happening.


Speaker 1: I think that was one interesting side effect to all this. People are like, wow, the whole teaching home thing, it’s a lot harder than people think it is, so.


Nick: Yeah, I’m thinking that the teacher unions are getting their talking points ready to roll for a few months from now and working on a bump in pay, for sure.


Speaker 1: Exactly, exactly. Well, all right guys. Well, thanks for your time this week. I appreciate it, as always. I hope you guys continue to stay safe and stay sane. And folks, if you need some help, you’ve got some questions. Well, first thing, definitely subscribe to the show. We’d certainly appreciate it. And you can do so by going to Retirement Planning Redefined, you just search that out. Retirement Planning Redefined on Apple, Google, Spotify in the little search box for podcast. Wherever you get your podcasting apps, just type that in and you can find it and subscribe to it that way. Or you could go to their website, which is PFG Private Wealth.com that’s PFG Private Wealth.com.


Speaker 1: If you’re already subscribed or a client, then that’s great. We certainly appreciate you tuning into these. And if not, give them a call if you’ve got some questions or concerns, (813) 286-7776. That’s (813) 286-7776. But definitely hit that subscribe button and we’ll see you next time here on Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick, financial advisors at PFG Private Wealth.

Ep 19: Market Downturns And Recoveries

On This Episode

Today our discussion revolves around bull and bear markets. We will break down the basics of what each of these types of markets mean and take a look at some historic trends that are relevant to this topic.


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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:


Marc: Hey, everybody. Welcome into this edition of retirement planning redefined. Mark here once again with the guys from PFG private wealth, John and Nick joining me as we talk about investing, finance, and retirement from the confines of our own happy homes as we’re still on lockdown doing this thing here. Everybody doing okay? Doing safe, John, how are you bud?


John: I’m doing good. I’m doing good. How are you?


Marc: Not too stir crazy?


John: No, no. I get out a lot, do a lot of walking, some biking, and I got some kids to entertain me, so that might make me a little stir crazy, but not sitting in the house.


Marc: Yes. I see a lot of people doing the homeschool thing and they’re like, “Mommy needs a teacher work day bad.” All the moms that are doing homeschooling and whatnot. Mine’s grown, so that would be frustrating and kudos to those folks that are doing that. Nick, what about you? But how are you?


Nick: Pretty good. The area that I live in downtown in St Pete, the waterfront’s pretty close by, so I have been at least every other day either taking a jog or taking a walk over there. The water tends to put your mind at ease with it.


Marc: Isn’t it interesting how like … I mean, could you find the time to do that before? It’s almost like we do get this interesting time to reset and appreciate some of the little things that we just seemed to gloss right over before.


Nick: Yes. Living in the area, I’ve tried to make sure that I take advantage of it, but even with that I still hadn’t always. It’s interesting, you do see from the standpoint of … St Pete, it’s pretty well known. There’s a lot of waterfront parks, so they’ve done a good job protecting the waterfront and there’s definitely a lot more people. You can tell because I would try to snack a run during the day and that sort of thing previous times, there’s definitely more people out than was typical. People are doing a pretty good job of distancing themselves, but there’s definitely flocking to that sort of environment.


Marc: Yes, you’ve got to be careful, if you get too many in there, they’ll wind up shutting it down. They’ll lock it.


Nick: Yes.


Marc: I know, I saw that with a lot of places like here where I’m at, we’d go out to the lake or whatnot and you were allowed to go use the … the parks are closed, but you could go to the state parks, but you could go to the lake. You go get on the lake, you get on the boat, and then people were hanging out putting their boats together, chit chatting, and drinking beer or whatever the case might be. It’s like, no. Sure enough, they closed the lake. You’ve got a whole lake stay, stay apart from one another a little bit. Just right around your boat, do some fishing, whatever.


Marc: Don’t make a party out of it, but they did, so they closed the lake. Well, it is what it is. It’s part of this paradigm we’re living in. Hopefully, we’re getting closer. Every week is bringing us obviously bad news, but there’s some positives, there’s some things that are starting. We’re starting to see numbers decrease in places here and there, so hopefully that will continue on. We’re going to continue on with our ongoing series that we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks about just in general things to think about during this downturn. Guys, we’re going to pick it up this week with market downturns and recoveries. John, why don’t you kick us off with our friend, the bear, since we were in the long bull forever in a day it seemed like? Now, we’re hearing about the bear so much. Just give us an overview here.


John: Yes, so just want to define kind of what is a bear market and basically a bear market is when there’s a 20 percent drop from the recent peak. Let’s just say like a 52 week high, so when it drops 20 percent from that standpoint, we’re now considered in a bear market. Just a little bit of history. Since 1926, there’s roughly been about 16 of them and they happen on average about every six years or so. Just some tidbits. When you’re dealing with this type of bear market, and we’re probably repeating ourselves from our last sessions, but you never want to be selling off of your portfolio, especially at the bottom. It’s really important during this time frame just to remain focused and just remember it’s a longterm strategy. Just stick to your overall plan.


Marc: Okay. Those are some things to kind of keep in mind with the bear marker.


Nick: I would say too real quick, just one last thing on the bear market because we have gotten a few questions on it. Some people had asked about once they finally checked in on their 401K and they’re making their regular contributions, should they stop making those contributions, and will that help them? I’m quoting a few people here, but, “What’s the point of putting in the money if I’m just going to lose value on it in a week? Those sorts of things. That just has to do with averaging into the market, again buying on a discount. Even though it’s going down, the next contribution that you make will be able to buy in at a lower price. When things bounce back, buying in at those lower values are what help people bounce back faster.


Marc: Yes. It’s all part of the strategy, right? With every situation, you want to make sure that before you take any action of any kind that you’re checking with your advisor and how your plan is situated and set up or if you don’t have one, get one because that’s going to help you answer some of those questions as to how you may or may not want to look at different vehicles, different investment ideas, strategies, so on and so forth during anytime, but obviously during a downtime as well. Since we covered the bears, let’s talk about the bull. Actually, I think at the time we’re taping this, I saw that Germany posted and said one of their indexes pulled out of the bear. That might be encouraging news, but what’s a bull market, Nick?


Nick: Really, the bull is just kind of the opposite where we’re talking about a 20 percent increase in stock prices. Historically, there’s been around 14, about 14 bull markets. Really, these going to last for quite a bit of time. I mean, the reality is that post great recession of ’08, ’09, for all intents and purposes, we’ve been in a bull market situation for … a previous too, this coronavirus induced issue over a decade. The tricky thing with bull markets when they, especially one that lasted as long as the most recent one did, is people can become a little bit complacent. They can forget what feeling any sort of loss feels like or looks like. Again, redundancy can sometimes be annoying, but it does help to kind of get it to stick in people’s head. It goes back to the importance of the plan, sticking to the plan so that again we’re taking that into consideration and helping us make our decisions.


Marc: Well, if we’re going to talk about the history of a little bit, and John, you started to touch on in some of that, let’s jump in, kind of kick off, and discuss a few of the things because we called this market downturns and recoveries, so let’s look at a few of those, some of those I guess peak moments and how they looked on the down as well as on the upside.


John: One of the more famous ones is black Monday, October 19th, 1987. I was a little boy then, so I wasn’t really paying attention much to what was going on. For some of our listeners, they might remember. It was basically triggered by a computer as tradings and basically the fair evaluation of the dollar against Germany’s currency.


John: That kind of caused it and it was actually pretty quick compared to some other ones. It lasted about three months. In total, the S and P pulled back about 33 percent. In turn, we’ve talked about what follows the bear is typically the bull. Recovery took roughly 18 months and then as Nick mentioned, basically in the initial phase is when you see a lot of your gains, so in the first 12 months after that, the S and P gains were about 21 percent. That’s why it’s important to just stay the course and always stay invested because you don’t want to miss that initial upfront of the basically rally up.


Marc: Got you. We’ve heard a lot of comparisons to this one, the drop of 87 and the speed of it to what we saw obviously with the beginning of the coronavirus as well. We probably saw a lot of that on the news from time to time.


Nick: For sure. We just want to emphasize that this is not to be confused with the Showtime show, Black Monday, although for those that haven’t seen it, it is pretty funny. It is a very adult to show. In these times, if somebody is looking for a little bit of dark humor and levity, the TV show on Showtime’s really funny.


Marc: I’ll have to check that out. Let’s go to the big big boy here because that’s probably the one that’s most … obviously, besides this, fresh in our mind is ’08.


John: In ’08, the main trigger there that caused it was really the housing market in the US basically collapsed. That lasted really from late 2007 to 2009, roughly 17 to 18 months. The dip for the S and P from the peak was about roughly 57 percent down from the highs. The recovery took roughly three years or so, but the 12 months following the pullback, the S and P gained about 68 percent so again, important to stay invested because you just don’t know when that rally is going to happen.


Marc: Yes. The recession, that one … I think that’s where people also … guys, I’ll let you continue on with this analogy in a second, but I think that’s where people are really also just taken aback about how to handle this one because there were economic indicators with the other one. There really wasn’t with this, this is a completely different animal so it’s really hard to say how … we’ve heard them say it’s going to bounce back in a V. Some say it’s going to come back into U. As far as it’s going to come down, go flat for a while, then come back up sharply or whatever. It’s so hard to predict because this is a medical health thing. We really haven’t seen this before.


Nick: Yes, it’s definitely a different sort of situation. Probably a month back, we had sent out an email blast that talked a little bit about some of the previous pullbacks with health related or virus related things. Those were definitely different because we never had this sort of social distancing or…


Marc: Mass closing of businesses.


Nick: Yes. Mass closing and those sorts of things. It will be interesting to see the impact over the next 12 to 18 months. The market’s definitely been dialed in or trying to dial in to what sort of timeframe we’re looking at where people can start to kind of get back to work. There’s definitely much less intermediate term fall out in this so far than we had in the recession.


Marc: Well, some people would say that this was egged on, some of this has been made worse by the Trade Wars and all those kinds of things that we were working our way through that as you know at the end of middle of ’19, end of ’19. Going into ’20, I think we were supposed to start the phase one and all these different kinds of things, so there’s a little bit of data there too.


John: Yes. There was a pullback with the Trade Wars, trade war with China and stuff like that. That was also a pretty quick one where basically the downturn was about three months, S and P went down about 20 percent from the high, recovery was four months. Again, it just bounced back fast and basically almost 38 percent in the next 12 months following that.


Nick: Just for clarity on the time period, this was the fourth quarter of 2018 where the year had started off pretty good. Then, we had that quick drop in the last quarter-


Marc: After Christmas there, yes.


Nick: Their year end statement at the end of 2018. Then, 2019 was such a good year. Part of the reason it was such good year was because of that drop. It’s interesting because people remember how great 2019 was, but they tend to forget what happened at the end of 2018, which is like when your friends go to Vegas and they brag about what they won, but now what they lost. That sort of thing.


Marc: You’ve been talking to my wife again it sounds like because I haven’t been to Vegas in a long time with everything that’s going on. In general, a lot of the information if you’re going to take from this, that’s actually a good point about Q4. I mean, it dropped so fast around Christmas of ’18 and it was bouncing back pretty darn fast. You can miss those days. A lot of the data in there that John shared, it seems like within that first year, there was really potential for missing out on some of those best days. That’s where your timing in the market becomes such an issue. You’re not going to know that.


Nick: Yes. It’s really difficult in … even just the last few weeks have shown the importance of missing some days. There has been some studies and data where one example that we found was if somebody started with a hypothetical investment of $100,000 in 2000 and if they stayed invested in their same allocation the whole period of time, their balance would be at the end of that period, so it would have been at the beginning of this year, they would have been at about 324,000. In the study, the randomized data showed if they missed 10 days of upmarket performance and it was kind of spread out or the time, so it’s not a consecutive day thing. The balance instead of the 324K, had been closer to 162K. If they missed 25 days of the biggest, upswings, they actually would have lost money and ended up at about 82,000. The emphasis on that is really not necessarily the specific days and that sort of thing, but it’s really staying invested, not trying to time too much because somebody that just stayed the course and made good decisions throughout that time, they ended up benefiting the mos. Really, that has played out again over the last few weeks where we’re about 20 percent off the bottom as we speak right now. A lot of that’s come really between three or four days. Missing those days is not ideal.


Marc: Well, what’s the overall conclusion, the kind of lesson if you will, to take from some of this? John, any thoughts as we wrap up this week?


John: Yes. The overall conclusion of I think everything we’ve been talking about is really just staying invested and staying in your initial course of your overall plan, that cost financial plan. Then, that backs into your investment strategy. You really want to just stick to it as hard as it might be. You want to block out any noise that you’re seeing in the media, just focus on your overall goal, just stick to your, stick to your plan, and just really just try to stay invested as best you can. This is where it’s very important for people that are currently retired, that you’ve set up, I think Nick mentioned in one of our last sessions, a liquidation strategy where basically you have buckets to pull from during this volatile period so you don’t have to sell out on your stocks. You really just want to have everything coordinated correctly and again just stay the course.


Marc: Yes, I think that’s where a lot of people too get confused, right? I mean, when things like this happen, we see the market’s dropping or whatever, we start to panic, and we think what’s it doing to our retirement or our potential retirement. Again, depending on how your strategy was set up and how your plan … hopefully, you had one was in place. It may not have affected you as much as it maybe affected your neighbor who didn’t have one or so on and so forth. It really all comes down to working with an advisor, having a plan and a strategy in place that hopefully, again you had in place prior to this, but if you didn’t, don’t feel like you need to sit on your hands and wait until this is all done and over with.


Marc: I’ve seen email questions come in, in different places, different things. Should I not invest? I think Nick, you brought it up I think even last week on our last time on our podcast that, should you still be putting money into your 401k during this time period? All those kinds of things, get those questions answered for you specifically by working with and talking with an advisor. If you’re already working with John and Nick and you’re listening to the podcast because you’re learning more information, great. Then, you’re already on that right path. If you’re not, or you know someone who’s not working with an advisor, let them know, tune into the podcast, check it out, have them give them a call, and have a virtual meeting. Go through the process and see if there’s things that need to be tweaked or adjusted because we’re still going to want to retire.


Marc: I’m 50 and while I still got several years to go before I get to retirement, I still want to make sure that I’m planning for that. I want to get to that point and so I can’t let this thing just derail me entirely. Work with an advisor, have those conversations. (813) 286-7776 is how you can call and talk with John and Nick. They’ll get you set up for a Zoom meeting, go to meeting, or whatever kind of virtual conversation to get the ball rolling, but you can have a talk about your situation with the guys at PFG private wealth, (813) 286-7776 is how you call them.


Marc: Subscribe to the podcast. Go check them out at the website by going to PFGprivatewealth.com. That’s PFGprivatewealth.com. While you’re there, subscribe to us again on Apple, Google, or Spotify. Share it with someone who might benefit from the message, all that good stuff, and we’d certainly appreciate it. Guys, we’re going to get out of here this week. Thanks so much for your time. We went a little bit longer than usual, but that’s okay. Good information here this week on the show. John, appreciate you. Stay safe and stay well. Nick, you too, my friend. Enjoy those walks and we’ll see you soon.


Nick: Take care.


Marc: All right guys, take care. We’ll see you next time here on retirement planning redefined with John and Nick.







Ep 18: Investing In Down Markets

On This Episode

It can be tough to see the silver lining in times of volatility, but when the market is down oftentimes there are some great investing opportunities. John and Nick give us some key tips on how to take advantage of a down market.

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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:

Hey, everybody. Welcome in to this week’s podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in to Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick from PFG Private Wealth Financial Advisors. Going to talk with me again about investing finance and retirement. Hopefully you’ve been listening to our series we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks on, well, really just what’s going on in the world in general. And we’re going to continue on with that theme by talking about investing in down markets this go around. First off, let me say welcome in guys. Nick, how you doing, bud?

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

All right. Hanging in there considering all things. Hopefully everybody’s safe and staying home and staying with the shelter-in-place and all that good stuff and not going too stir crazy. John, how you doing, buddy?

John Teixeira:
I’m good. I’m good. It’s funny, as I’m quarantined here I’m taking a lot of walks so I’m actually meeting more of my neighbors now that I’m supposed to be stuck at home.

Isn’t that interesting? All the different things … So many conversations had about how our life is so different. If you want to look silver lining, there’s a lot of silver linings we can find in this. I know it’s tough when people are getting sick and passing away and all, but there’s so many things that we’re slowing down and maybe realizing stuff that we didn’t need or we didn’t have to use or we didn’t rely on.

I was talking to somebody yesterday and they were … This sounds like I’m joking, but they’re like, “My Starbucks budget. I didn’t realize how out of control it was.” I know that’s a minor thing but coming out of this, I want to think about how to be better about not drinking so much coffee, or at least drinking so much overpriced coffee.

John Teixeira:
You can ask Nick how he’s doing with that. His Starbucks budget’s pretty high.

Was it? How you doing, bud?

Nick McDevitt:
It used to be until I bought myself an espresso machine …


Nick McDevitt:
… About a year and a half ago.


Nick McDevitt:
Yeah. I took care of that expense issue a little while back.

But you can relate, then, to what they were saying, right? They were like, “It was out of control!”

Nick McDevitt:
Oh, for sure. Yeah. Especially because I typically drink lattes instead of just regular coffee.


Nick McDevitt:
Those are a little bit harder to make at home.

Six bucks a pop. Seven bucks a pop. Whatever it might be.

Nick McDevitt:
Yeah. Yeah. So, I brought that cost in-house and good machine pays for itself pretty quickly.

Yeah. There you go. See, look, there’s an investing tip right away!

Nick McDevitt:
There you go.

Right off the bat. Boom! A bonus thing you didn’t know. All right. Let’s talk about investing in down markets, guys. John, talk to me about proper asset allocation. Let’s just jump in and spend some time on some of these pieces, okay?

John Teixeira:
Yeah, yeah. I think we want to recap from our session the last time where we really talked about planning. We go from the standpoint of the plan really dictates your investment strategy. Once you have your plan in place, it tells you, “Hey, this is how you should be invested, whether it’s conservative, moderate, aggressive growth for income.” But once you determine that, you really need to develop the right allocation of investments within your portfolio. And once you determine that, hey, I’m going to be … I’m just throwing this out there … 60% equities and 40% bonds, you really want to stick to that strategy. And when you’re building that portfolio you want to put into things like diversification as far as not having all your eggs in one basket and really develop a zig and a zag in your portfolio.

John Teixeira:
In reality … It sounds kind of weird to say, but you always want something going down while the market’s going up, per se, because what will happen is when the market’s going down hopefully that asset class with be going up. And that’s one that we do in our portfolios. We’re really trying to make everything work together as a unit. And part of that is … I’m going to throw out a term people probably haven’t heard … Is correlation of assets. And that’s how we can determine exactly how are these assets correlated so when one goes up, is one going down? If one goes up, is the other one not doing anything at all? And when you structure and put that all together you can really build a good portfolio for someone to weather the storm a little bit in this type of volatile market.

Nick McDevitt:
Yeah. And zig and zag also happens to be John’s favorite dance move as well. He really tries to tie into that as much as he can.

Do the zig, do the zag. All right. There you go. I can see you.

John Teixeira:
Nick’s just a little jealous. He has no zig and zag.


Nick McDevitt:
Yep. It’s true.

I would have pegged you as a stanky leg kind of guy, myself.

John Teixeira:
You got me right.

All right. Nick, what’s your thoughts here?

Nick McDevitt:
Really, from the asset allocation standpoint, really what you need to take into consideration to determine that the plan helps create the parameters and what makes sense from a planning standpoint. But then there’s also the emotional aspect of it and people’s previous and historical experiences with the market can play in. Any client that we bring in, we go through a risk tolerance process where essentially they’re answering questions that have to do with risk. Typically, it’s probably the process that people like the least …


Nick McDevitt:
… Because often times, they want us to tell them. “Hey, this is what you guys are here for, right? Is to help guide us through this.” And they answer to that and the feedback on that is, yeah, we’re going to tell you if you’re not necessarily taking enough risk for the plan or if the answers you’re providing are outside what your plan is telling us makes sense. But at the same time we want to make sure that the amount of risk that they are going to take is something that’s comfortable to them, even during uncomfortable times, which, obviously we’re in right now.

Nick McDevitt:
That work up front. One of the things that we really do emphasize with people that we work with is we do a significant amount of work up front. Our process is probably a little bit more in depth and tedious than a lot of other advisors out there that tend to focus on, “Hey, let’s get the money in and then we’ll dial in after that.” Where we say, “Let’s get the plan done. Let’s do the work up front to make sure that we don’t have to overreact or make emotional decisions at the time where we are the most emotional.” We can kind of revert back and say, “Hey, remember, this is why we did what we did. Here’s the process that we went through. We spent a lot of time doing this. This is why it makes sense.”

Nick McDevitt:
Making sure that as we approach retirement we have a plan for adjusting the risk and early into retirement. But also, making sure that we’re not getting out of all market risk. Not being in the market has a cost, an opportunity cost, and that’s its own risk. That work that we do up front in determining that asset allocation and the risk really helps us weather through the tough times.

That’s really great points, here, as we’re talking about investing in down markets. Again, proper asset allocation, risk … Obviously, those are all key factors in there. What about just the value that an advisor brings? I’ve been saying for … I do tons of shows and podcasts all across the country and I’ve been saying for a while now that as we’re moving through this Coronavirus epidemic, never been a better time to have an advisor and, really, in so many ways you should have one anyway. But going through this, people aren’t sure where they stand or they aren’t sure how things are going to look on the other side. And I just think that the value of an advisor is immeasurable right now.

Nick McDevitt:
Yeah. We obviously have a little bit of built-in bias that we do feel that we add value and we are important, but the reality is that there’s been studies that have been done and Vanguard has done a pretty good study and we’ll talk about that a little bit, but the reality is that during times like this having someone to share concerns with, to be able to talk to … One of the things that we really emphasize early on and when we work with people is the importance of communication, where we want to be heavy on technology, heavy on communication. We want to make sure that people are comfortable having difficult discussions and conversations with us because that allows us to really do our job.

Nick McDevitt:
We’re really hamstrung when we don’t have the information that we need. So, when we can be a sounding board for clients … Even though I know all of these things, I will say I was still a little bit surprised how far a five or 10 minute conversation with clients over the last month went where, really, they just needed some affirmation, a reminder of what’s going on, a reminder of what we’re going through, and that although it’s looked different we’ve been here before. And the feedback that we’ve gotten from people has been very positive and that’s where some of these studies … And John can talk about it a little bit more in detail, the Vanguard study, where the studies have shown that the performance that people who work with an advisor have versus people that don’t work with an advisor … There’s a pretty drastic difference. And part of that is because of the work that goes up front. It’s not just, “Hey, somebody picked better investments at different points of time.” Really, it has to do with the plan and the overall strategy and having a game plan and implementing those sorts of things.

John Teixeira:
Yeah. And that study, Vanguard did it. It’s called Advisors Alpha. And basically, the study came out to showing that having an advisor brings about an average of three percent increase in the portfolio over the years. And really, that’s in a segmented time period where the market’s doing really well or the market’s doing really bad; where advisors help clients take emotion out of it. And if you here a dog barking, that’s my dog. We really help take emotions out of it. And one of the things that I’d say … When things are going really good, I’d say we have some people that … “Hey, maybe I should get more aggressive.” And one of our jobs is to make sure that they stay the course in what we initially set up out front.

John Teixeira:
And the same thing when the market’s been volatile as last month, it’s, “Hey, let me sell out. Let me get more conservative.” And it’s like, “No, let’s go back to our initial plan, our initial strategy. Let’s stay the course.” And I think that’s one of the biggest values that … One of the values that we bring to our clients is really just helping them take emotion out and realize it’s never as good as it seems, it’s never as bad as it seems. And let’s just stick to the plan and the strategy.

Nick McDevitt:
Yeah, and part of that, too, is depending upon how closely they follow things like the news or what’s going on, the market tends to be a leading indicator in things. And so, this last month and a half has been a good example of … Before people were seeing the negative impact in their communities of the virus and the things that were happening and as they were still going to work and, really, their day-to-day life hadn’t started to change yet, the market was racing down. Now, we’re pretty much 20% off of the bottom and from a societal standpoint and from a lifestyle standpoint, people’s biggest impact is currently happening. They’re currently living that. And yet, they’re seeing that this market bounces back and that’s really a good example of what happens. And when you let the emotions or even sometimes … It sounds weird to say it, but sometimes logic, get in the way you can really have a negative impact on your overall investment strategy.

No, and I get what you’re saying about the logic portion of it as well because we … If anything, logic seems to be going out the window anyway, right now, for a lot of things. All this new paradigm that we find ourselves in, it’s very difficult sometimes to figure out which way is up and which way is down. And you’re talking about the markets and, obviously, we’ve seen huge, massive swings. At the time we’re taping this particular podcast, we’ve had a couple of decent days in the room. But that, John, does create buying opportunities or at least the conversation to have with your advisor. “Hey, is this a good time to buy? Is it a good time to look into this, that or the other as part of the overall strategy?”

John Teixeira:
Yeah. And one thing we like to look at, before we jump into that, is really, what’s your time horizon with the money? Is this money that you’re going to need within the next year? You may want to not consider buying in in a volatile market. But if you’re looking at a five plus year time horizon, I would say this is an excellent time to really consider buying some equities. Looking back at 2008, and I’ll preface it by saying past performance is not indicative of future performance, but there were a lot of stocks that, I’m sure, if you look back and said, “Oh, man, I wish I’d bought it at that price,” just what they’ve recovered over two or three years after the 2008 recession.

John Teixeira:
We have had some people calling in saying, “Hey, this is a great time to buy. What do you think? I’d like to put some money to work for me and take advantage of some of these stocks that are on sale.” And when you say it that way, it makes a little bit more sense because if you go to the store and it’s like, would you rather buy stuff at full price or when they’re on sale? That just brings it full circle to help people understand that a little bit more.

Nick McDevitt:
Yeah. I would just say that there’s always a silver lining to any sort of situation and what John emphasized about the buying opportunities and that although things are going to continue to be difficult in the “real world”, at least we’ve got a little bit of stability and a reminder for people of how these sorts of things play out in the marketplace; how they happen quickly. And really, the importance of having an advisor that can help guide you through it so that you don’t make decisions that you’re really going to regret in the long-term.

And as we’re finishing up with the podcast this week, guys, that’s the message I’ve been trying to convey over the last couple ones. I think we’re going to continue to push that message, as well, is that while so many things are out of our control when it comes to the virus and when we’re off of lockdown or whatever the case might be and we feel like we’re sitting on our hands, there’s still a lot of things we can be proactive about. And thinking about our financial future, our retirement future on the other side of this is one of those things we can certainly do. We’ve got more time on our hands, so put some thought into this. Have some conversations. Talk with your advisor. Work with an advisor. Find an advisor.

Whatever the case might be, there’s a lot that can be done virtually in this time frame. And people will be saying, “Well, I can’t go drive around and see people.” No, you can’t. But you can listen to podcasts like this one. You can listen to John and Nick, things that we’re talking about. You can reach out to them and let them know you want to talk. They can set you up with a virtual Zoom Meeting like the whole world’s doing. We’re doing one right now. We’re doing the podcast through Zoom Meeting.

Reach out and let them know that you want to have a conversation about some of the things we’ve discussed here today on the show when it comes to investing in down markets. And give them a call at 813-286-7776. Again, 813-286-7776. That’s the number you call. Let them know that you’d like to chat and they’ll get you set up and taken care of for a time that works well for everybody. You can also go to their website PFGPrivateWealth.com. That’s the name of the company. PFGPrivateWealth.com. You can subscribe to the podcast while you’re there on Apple or Google or Spotify. Share it with those who might benefit from the message. And also, of course, check out and learn more about the team; about John and Nick, at PFG Private Wealth.

Guys, thanks so much for your time. I appreciate you, as always. Hope you’re staying safe and sane and not too stir crazy.

Nick McDevitt:
Thanks, Mark.

John Teixeira:
Thanks, you, too.

All right, guys. Take care and I’m going to need to see some dance moves on the next episode. Just saying. I’ve heard about it.

Nick McDevitt:
We’ll take that under consideration.

We’ll go video next time and we’ll see some dance moves. All right, folks. Take care of yourself. Have a great week. Have a safe week, and we’ll talk to you soon here on Retirement Planning Redefined with John and Nick, financial advisors at PFG Private Wealth.