Looking Back at a Rocky First Half of 2022

Financial markets remained unsettled and volatile during the second quarter. The stock market’s trend changed multiple times as investors continued to search for direction amid a sea of changing conditions. The S&P 500 finished the second quarter with its worst three-month period since the first quarter of 2020 and worst first half of a calendar year since 1970. This quarter’s letter recaps the first half of 2022 and discusses the top investment themes heading into the second half of 2022.

2nd Quarter Sees a Mixture of Old & New Themes

Investors navigated a combination of old and new investment themes during the second quarter. Inflation pressures remained top of mind as the headline CPI accelerated at a more than +8% year-over-year pace during both April and May. In response to persistent inflation, the Federal Reserve continued to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates at each of the April, May, and June meetings. Like the first quarter, stocks traded lower as the interest rate increases caused investors to dial back their risk taking.

Multiple new themes also emerged during the second quarter. Several retailers, including Walmart and Target, reported substantial inventory buildups as inflation pressured consumer spending on discretionary items. The retailers warned their profit margins could decline in the coming quarters as they may need to mark down items to clear the excess inventories. From a monetary policy perspective, the Fed supplemented its interest rate increases by starting to shrink its balance sheet. The Fed is opting not to reinvest the proceeds of up to $30 billion of maturing Treasury securities and up to $17.5 billion of maturing mortgage-backed securities per month. The decision is another way for the Fed to decrease the amount of money supply and liquidity.

Federal Reserve Gets Aggressive at June Meeting

The Federal Reserve adopted a more aggressive tightening stance at its mid-June meeting. The central bank raised the federal funds rate +0.75% and unveiled a ‘strong commitment’ to bring inflation back down to 2%. For historical context, June was the first +0.75% increase since 1994. The Fed’s latest moves are another indication of how 40-year high inflation readings are driving the Fed’s monetary policy decisions.

How does the current cycle compare to prior cycles? Figure 1 compares the current cycle’s federal funds rate path against the last five cycles. Factoring in the +0.75% increase at the June meeting, the Fed has raised interest rates +1.50% since the first increase in March. Investors expect the Fed to maintain its +0.75% pace at the late-July meeting, which would make 2022 the fastest +2.25% increase compared to the last five cycles. Market consensus calls for the Fed to keep raising interest rates at its meetings later this year, although the number and size of the increases remain open questions.

The June meeting represents a potential turning point. Why? Throughout the first half of 2022, investors were concerned the Fed was not being aggressive enough to combat persistent inflation pressures. The thinking was inflation could become entrenched if the Fed raised rates too slow, which could force the Fed to raise interest rates for a longer period and to a higher endpoint. The June meeting marks a clear change in the Fed’s thinking and indicates the central bank will front-load interest rate hikes if necessary to ease inflation pressures.

Investors initially reacted positively to the Fed’s updated guidance. The S&P 500 was down -19.1% from the start of the second quarter through the Fed’s meeting on June 16th. From June 16th through June 24th, the S&P 500 gained almost 6.7%, and Treasury yields declined. Why does this matter? The equity rally and declining Treasury yields suggest investors became slightly more confident the Fed’s aggressive tightening upfront could get inflation under control sooner. The quicker inflation is under control, the sooner the Fed may be able to slow its interest rate hikes and evaluate policy more rationally.

To be fair, there is a potential downside to the Fed’s new tightening approach, and the market appears to be focused on the risk as the second quarter ends. There isn’t a clear understanding of how fast or how much the Fed’s actions will impact the economy. There is a risk the impact from the Fed’s actions is delayed and the Fed keeps raising interest rates, potentially overtightening and slowing economic activity more than expected over the next 12-18 months. It’s a delicate balancing act for the Fed to pull off.

Economic Data Continues to Point to Softer Growth

The latest economic data indicates investors are justified in worrying about the Fed overtightening and tipping the U.S. economy into a recession. The stacked charts in Figure 2 track a range of economic indicators across housing, consumer confidence, the labor market, and consumer spending. The data remains strong relative to historical standards, but it does indicate the U.S. economy is starting to soften.

The top chart tracks the annualized pace of housing starts and building permits. Housing demand soared during the pandemic, but both starts and permits have declined more than -10% on an annualized basis since the end of 2021. The housing market slowdown coincides with a more than +2.50% increase in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate since the end of 2021, suggesting rising mortgage rates are already pressuring housing demand.

The second chart tracks month-over-month retail sales growth across multiple categories during May. It shows consumers spent more at gas stations and grocery stores as gasoline and food prices rose and less on discretionary-related goods, such as autos and auto parts, electronics and appliances, and home furnishings. The data offers a near-term look at how high inflation is impacting and shifting consumer spending.

The third chart tracks the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. The index made a new record low of 50 during June as consumer sentiment continued to deteriorate. Weaker consumer confidence coincides with high inflation and points to a worried U.S. consumer, which is concerning because the consumer accounts for nearly 70% of U.S. economic activity.

Source: MarketDesk, National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau, University of Michigan, Department of Labor.


The fourth chart tracks weekly initial jobless claims. While initial jobless claims remain low by historical standard, the trend has reversed from 2021’s steady decline as jobless claims drift higher during 2022. Separate data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. continues to add new jobs each month, but the pace of those job gains has slowed significantly compared to 2021. The +390,000 jobs added during May 2022 were the slowest pace since April 2021. The two measures indicate labor demand is softening, a notable change from the last 12 months when businesses struggled to fill open jobs.

Equity Market Recap – Another Difficult Quarter

The second quarter was another difficult environment for equities. The S&P 500 Index lost -16.1%, only slightly outperforming the Russell 2000 Index’s -17.3% return. It was an especially difficult quarter for Growth stocks as rising interest rates continued to pressure valuations. The Russell 1000 Growth Index traded down -21.1% and underperformed the Russell 1000 Value Index’s -12.3% return. The Nasdaq 100 Index, which investors view as a concentrated Growth index due to its Tech overweight, traded down -22.5% during the second quarter.

U.S. sector returns offer another look at second quarter performance trends. Energy and defensive sectors, including Consumer Staples, Utilities, and Health Care, outperformed as investors rotated to commodities and risk off assets. Growth-style sectors, which include Consumer Discretionary, Communication Services, and Technology, underperformed the broad market as rising interest rates pressured Growth stocks. In the middle, cyclical sectors, including Materials, Industrials, and Financials, performed in line with the S&P 500.

International markets’ lower exposure to expensive Growth stocks allowed them to outperform U.S. markets during the second quarter. The MSCI EAFE Index of developed market stocks returned -13.1% during the quarter, while the MSCI EM Index of emerging market stocks returned -10.4%. Despite international stocks’ outperformance during the second quarter, questions remain about the impact of rising energy prices in Europe and tighter financial conditions in emerging markets (i.e., higher interest rates & lower liquidity).

Bond Market Recap – Rising Treasury Yields Lead to Additional Losses

Bonds traded lower during the second quarter as Treasury yields continued to rise in anticipation of tighter Fed policy. Corporate investment grade bonds produced a -8.4% total return, slightly outperforming the -9.4% total return generated by corporate high yield bonds. While investment grade bonds outperformed in aggregate during the second quarter, the group’s outperformance versus high yield bonds primarily occurred during the second half of June after the Fed’s new aggressive tightening stance caused investors to grow concerned about slower economic activity.

Figure 3 tracks the interest rate spread between corporate high yield bonds and Treasury bonds. The spread is a measure of credit risk, more specifically how much more yield investors demand in order to loan to riskier companies. The chart shows the spread widened significantly from 3.40% at the start of the second quarter to 5.26% on June 28th. The wider spread indicates investors are concerned about borrowers’ ability to make principal and interest payments as financial conditions tighten. Looking back at the past five years, the 5.26% spread is near levels last seen during late 2020, the months following the Covid outbreak, and late 2018, the last time the Fed raised interest rates.

Second Half 2022 Outlook – Unanswered Questions

The outlook is indecisive as financial markets close out a volatile first half of the year. Some investors believe the Fed’s actions will dramatically slow economic growth and push the U.S. economy into a recession. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some investors believe the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand the Fed’s actions and view the stock market as oversold.
The back and forth is likely to continue until some of the market’s most pressing questions are answered. Key questions include the direction of Federal Reserve policy, inflation’s stickiness, the trajectory of corporate earnings growth and forward earnings estimates, and the path of economic growth. Our team will be monitoring the answers to these questions in coming months to help guide investment portfolio positioning.

The current investing environment requires a long-term outlook. Trend changes are frequent, fast, and driven by fluctuating market headlines, and keeping up with the day-to-day whims of the market can be emotionally taxing. Developing a financial plan and sticking to it are important steps to achieving your financial goals.

Important Notices & Disclaimer

The information and opinions expressed herein are solely those of PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC (PFG), are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended as recommendations to buy or sell a security, nor as an offer to buy or sell a security. Recipients of the information provided herein should consult with their financial advisor before purchasing or selling a security.

The information and opinions provided herein are provided as general market commentary only, and do not consider the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any one client. The information in this report is not intended to be used as the primary basis of investment decisions, and because of individual client objectives, should not be construed as advice designed to meet the particular investment needs of any investor.

The comments may not be relied upon as recommendations, investment advice or an indication of trading intent. PFG is not soliciting any action based on this document. Investors should consult with their financial adviser before making any investment decisions. There is no guarantee that any future event discussed herein will come to pass. The data used in this publication may have been obtained from a variety of sources including U.S. Federal Reserve, FactSet, Bloomberg, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, iShares, Vanguard and State Street, which we believe to be reliable, but PFG cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of data used herein. Any use of graphs, text or other material from this report by the recipient must acknowledge MarketDesk Research as the source. Past performance does not guarantee or indicate future results. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal and fluctuation of value. PFG disclaims responsibility for updating information. In addition, PFG disclaims responsibility for third-party content, including information accessed through hyperlinks.

No mention of a particular security, index, derivative or other instrument in the report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold that or any other security, nor does it constitute an opinion on the suitability of any security, index, or derivative. The report is strictly an information publication and has been prepared without regard to the particular investments and circumstances of the recipient.

READERS SHOULD VERIFY ALL CLAIMS AND COMPLETE THEIR OWN RESEARCH AND CONSULT A REGISTERED FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE INVESTING IN ANY INVESTMENTS MENTIONED IN THE PUBLICATION. INVESTING IN SECURITIES AND DERIVATIVES IS SPECULATIVE AND CARRIES A HIGH DEGREE OF RISK, AND READERS MAY LOSE MONEY TRADING AND INVESTING IN SUCH INVESTMENTS.

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is a registered investment advisor.

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

On This Episode

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

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Disclaimer:

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

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

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.

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

On This Episode

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

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Disclaimer:

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

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

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

 


Nick: Everything’s great. Perfect.

 


Mark: Yeah. Rock and rolling?

 


Nick: Yep.

 


Mark: Feeling good?

 


Nick: Yep. It’s great.

 


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

 


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

 


Mark: Another chance.

 


John: Hoping that they could tie up the series.

 


Mark: There you go. Fantastic. Well…

 


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

 


Mark: Okay.

 


Nick: Free nothing as we record this.

 


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

 


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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


Mark: Right.

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


Mark: Okay.

 


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

 


Mark: Right.

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


Mark: Right.

 


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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


Nick: Yes. Yeah.

 


Mark: We all do it. Yeah.

 


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

 

 

 

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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


Mark: Cousin Eddie. Yeah. Right.

 


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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


Mark: Exactly. Exactly.

 


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

 


Mark: Sure. Go for it.

 


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

 


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

 


Mark: Yeah.

 


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

 


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

 


Nick: Exactly.

 


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

 


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

 


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

Ep 47: Understanding Financial Jargon: Investment Terms You Should Know

On This Episode

There are some important terms you’re going to come across as you prepare for retirement. Having a basic understanding of these will help you achieve financial success, so we’ll cover what they mean and what you should know on today’s episode. And don’t worry. We won’t go quite so far down the rabbit hole where we expect you to be able to explain how a company’s P/E ratio meshes with it’s Alpha and Beta ratings to determine how much stock you should buy.

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Disclaimer:

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

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

Mark: Hey everybody welcome into the podcast. Thanks for hanging out with John and Nick and I, as we talk about Retirement Planning Redefined here on the podcast. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to us on whatever platform you like to use. Find all the information you need at pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s the guys website pfgprivatewealth.com. Lot of good tools, tips, and resources to be found there. We’re going to have another conversation today about some financial jargon. This is more kind of investment terms you might want to know or have heard and maybe you want to get a better understanding on, especially if you’re sitting down and you’re shopping for a professional or something like that. You want to kind of understand some of these things that you’re talking about. Now we’re not going to go super deep. We’re not going to get into PE ratios and alphas and betas and all that kind of stuff, but we’re going to keep it kind of high level. So we’ll jump into that this week on the podcast, Nick, what’s going on, buddy? How you doing?

 

Nick: Pretty good. Pretty good. Staying busy. We’re recording this, just kind of closing up tax season. So happy that that is over for-

 

Mark: I bet.

 

Nick: Everybody that is at least not filing an extension.

 

Mark: Yeah.

 

Nick: But yeah, it’s obviously a lot going on in the world. So it’s been keeping us pretty busy.

 

Mark: Yeah that’s true. Very true. John, what about you buddy? You glad tax season’s over?

 

John: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a fun kind of hump to get over.

 

Mark: I like that little pause. It’s fun. Yeah.

 

John: Yeah. So, no, it’s good. It’s kind of a mark that people have on their calendar, so that’s over with, and really we start to kind of get busy afterwards.

 

Mark: Yeah.

 

John: Because a lot of people kind of delay meetings until after tax season, so excited to get back at it. And then also excited that NBA playoffs started. So Boston Celtics are playing the Nets right now.

 

Mark: Alright now, there you go.

 

John: Gearing up for that, so-

 

Mark: There you go. Very good. Well we probably should have done a show really on tax planning versus tax preps right after tax season because really tax planning is something you should be doing all year long with your retirement professional anyway, but we’re not going to do that this week. Maybe we’ll do that here in the next couple of weeks, we’ll come up and do something.

 

Mark: But for now let’s talk about some terms that people hear and probably should know. Maybe you know, maybe you have that kind of cursory high level view, whatever the case might be. Maybe you don’t. So let’s talk about a few of these. Let’s kind of start with fiduciary guys. And this is a term that I think people should know. They should know what it is. I kind of wish, and I was thinking about this before we started that our politicians had to do what fiduciaries have to do, right? They have that legal, moral, ethical responsibility to do what’s right for their client AKA us as American citizens. I wish our politicians had to be fiduciaries, but either way explain what it is and maybe a little bit of the difference between that and like suitability.

 

John: Yeah. So fiduciary, especially in our world’s investment advisor, it’s where the fiduciary is obligated to put the client’s best interests ahead of their own. So really looking to do what’s best for the client, regardless of any other factors. And what you mentioned there with as far as, how does that compare to suitability, where kind of like a broker has to recommend something that’s suitable for the client, so there’s a big difference when you start to kind of analyze that is something might be suitable for you, but it might not be the best thing for your situation.

 

Mark: Right.

 

John: Or maybe there’s other things out there that are better. So fiduciary has the due diligence and say, “Hey, I’m making this recommendation. And based on my expertise, my knowledge, everything I’ve compared it to this is what I believe is the best for you.” And also if there’s any conflict of interests for the advisor as a fiduciary, they must disclose that to you upfront.

 

Mark: Yeah.

 

John: So one thing, what people really need to do when they’re interviewing advisors or kind of taking that step to try to find someone to work with, it’s really one of the first questions should be asking. I’d say the good thing is the industry is really going in this direction-

 

Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

John: Over the last, decade or so. It’s really been kind of going, fiduciary, fiduciary, so that’s.

 

Mark: Making that the standard, making it more the standard?

 

John: Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that’s a great point. So if I’m getting this right, then maybe to kind of break this down for people, and Nick feel free to chime in, but so if there’s three options available, suitability would say, “Hey, any of these three technically work for my client, but this one actually pays me better or there’s a reward of a trip or something like that attached to it.” You’re not doing the wrong thing by picking that. It’s still suitable. Whereas a fiduciary has to go with the absolute best thing for the client period. Is that a fair way to break that down in layman’s terms?

 

Nick: Yeah, I think that’s a pretty fair way to kind of break it down and it can get tricky because when you really get into the nitty gritty in theory, people can argue about what’s better now versus what might be better down the road and that sort of thing.

 

Mark: Right.

 

Nick: But if anything, I think what’s important for people to understand is the conflicts of interests, the potential conflicts of interest and where they come from. So, if you’re working with an advisor that is tied in with a parent company that has proprietary products, then they’re probably not able to function as a fiduciary. So-

 

Mark: Gotcha.

 

Nick: Understanding that there’s a conflict of interest, a potential conflict of interest, there is just something that people should ask about so that they understand it. It can be from experience just kind of chatting with people. It can get a little overwhelming for people to kind of really drill down understanding the difference between fiduciary and standard versus a suitability standard. But people oftentimes understand conflict of interest. And just to kind of piggyback a little bit on your short little rant earlier about politicians, many people would be shocked to know that many politicians are able to invest in companies even though there may be conflicts of interests.

 

Mark: Yeah.

 

Nick: And the fact that’s able to happen. And there’s some websites that track those sort of things, but oftentimes they’re privy to information that will impact a company in the marketplace and they’re able to take advantage of it even though, the rest of the country can’t do that, so-

 

Mark: Yeah, I was just even talking financially. In just their basic decision making when they pass laws.

 

Nick: For sure. For sure. But that’s a good example of them not passing laws that-

 

Mark: True.

 

Nick: Aren’t good for everybody.

 

Mark: Well and to John’s point, so there’s nothing wrong with asking, right? When you go in and sit down with someone, you just say, “Hey, are, are you a fiduciary?” Right? That’s a fair question, and there’s nothing wrong with asking that.

 

Nick: Agreed.

 

Mark: Yeah. Okay. All right. So let’s move on to the other big term right now that everybody’s getting hit over the head with, on a regular basis, and that’s inflation. At the time we’re doing this podcast guys, the CPI numbers came out a couple of weeks ago for March, pretty ugly. Gross is a term that has been thrown around quite a bit some of these numbers, 8.5% on the inflation, we’re talking what 48% on gas, 35% up on used cars, food 13 to 17% up. So inflation break it down a little bit.

 

Nick: Yeah. So inflation has to do with spending power of money. And so one of the easiest ways for people to kind of think about it is, you mentioned food for example, one of the things that we kind of joke around with people is they were able to a couple years ago, do you remember when you could walk out of Publix and get everything you needed for 70, 80 bucks versus it now costing 100, $120 for the same amount of stuff. And the tricky thing with inflation is that it’s there on a consistent basis year to year, but every 10 to 15 years, it kind of creeps up on us. And then we realize, Hey, this is kind of annoying.

 

Nick: And then obviously we have times we’re in right now where there’s some hyper inflation and kind of pocket books are getting hit. The one thing that I would say just to kind of pour some water on it is that although there are some real substantial issues that people are dealing with, there are some kind of, I guess, what we would almost call acute factors that are having an impact on it, that we would hope subside to a certain extent within the next year or two. But also there are going to be ramifications that we’re already starting to see where the FED is doing things to try to combat inflation, like increasing interest rates, which we’re kind of already on the docket, but has been getting pushed down. The cans been getting kicked down the road for a while.

 

Nick: And so things like mortgages, mortgage rates are now I think mid fives I read, whereas a year ago, closer to three. And I was just having a conversation with somebody to kind of put that in real world numbers. A half a million dollar mortgage at rates a year ago, a half a million dollar financed amount is from a monthly payment standpoint is equivalent to around 370,000 now, or if you look at it inverse half a million dollar mortgage at current rates is going to cost you around $700 a month more than it was a year ago. So that’s going to have a real impact on housing prices and a lot of other things as well. So those are some real world examples of how inflation kind of impacts our life.

 

Mark: All right. So yeah, obviously we’re hyper aware, we’ve talked about it before a little bit, but inflation we always kind of think of, at least I do it anyway, like calories, right? We know it exists and we don’t often put a lot of thought into it until it’s slapping us in the face, so to speak. And it’s definitely doing that right now, so a lot people very concerned about that. So when we are talking about that, what happens is you start thinking, well maybe I should take a little more risk or whatever the case is with my portfolio to try to outpace inflation or keep up with it or whatever the case is, especially in these crazy times. So that leads us into risk tolerance guys. So what is your risk tolerance? And is that a wise move to try to take on more risk to combat something? Usually it’s not.

 

John: No, it’s not. And this is one of the most probably important things in building a portfolio that someone should really take a look at, and it’s often overlooked. So risk tolerance is, to kind of bring it down to the simplest form is how much loss is an investor willing to take in their portfolio? How much volatility can they tolerate? So one of the things that we do when we are building a portfolio for our clients, the first thing actually is we have them go through a risk tolerance questionnaire to determine, are they conservative, moderate, aggressive? And from there we really help us design the portfolio so that way we can kind of match up the expected volatility of the portfolio with kind of what they could bear.

 

John: Because one of the worst things you could do investing is jumping around. And I hate to say it seeing a little bit right now I’ve already kind of feel a few phone calls I’m like, hey what should we do with the market? And if this volatility’s already got you nervous and it hasn’t really, it’s been a pullback but it hasn’t been anything too significant.

 

Mark: Right.

 

John: You really need to take a look at am I invested correctly because as we all know, as you shift to conservative or to cash, and then the next week the market just rally up and all of a sudden you just lost all. You realized your losses and didn’t get to recover from it.

 

Mark: Yeah, knee jerk reaction is not the best right now. Right?

 

Nick: Yeah. And I would even jump in with that too going along with what John said where I think we have hit that point where people have forgotten what it’s like to have bad markets, or even a normal market cycle of having a negative year. Even during COVID when the markets pulled back, 35, 40%, they bounced back by the end of the year. So it was never really realized. There was a short period of panic, but the recovery was quick, but.

 

Mark: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Nick: There’s a lot of people that don’t remember that hey, there are going to be years where the market is down 10% for the year, the whole year. 12 whole months, so that’s something that’s interesting that’s happening right now that we’re seeing. Plus, historically where people would shift would be to fixed income or bonds. And that’s not necessarily a safe place right now, either. So we’re kind of in this, almost unicorn phase that only comes along every 50 or 60 years where there’s not a lot of opportunities in many places. And so there’s going to definitely have to be some patience involved-

 

Mark: I like that.

 

Nick: In the next 12 to 18 months.

 

Mark: Yeah. I like the unicorn phase. That’s a good way of putting it. It’s definitely been interesting, that’s for sure. So do you guys kind of with the risk tolerance, is it kind of that number kind of system? Do you guys do that risk tolerance kind of thing where you kind of give someone almost like sleep number, if you will. If you’re 100 or if you’re a 20, how does that work?

 

John: Yeah. So how we do it and I’ve used actually some programs that do that. They give you a risk number based on how you answer questions. We have a set of some pretty good questions that give us an idea of what that person can kind of stomach.

 

Mark: Okay.

 

John: And what their expected return is. It’s really, when you start to break it down, it’s a lot of the same questions just asked differently to really kind of understand how the person ticks.

 

Mark: Yeah.

 

John: So we do a real good job of figuring that out. And then as advisors, part of our job is to make sure we put them in the appropriate portfolio based on how they answer.

 

Mark: Yeah. Because it’s pretty easy to say conservative, and you go, what does that even mean? Right? Or I’m moderate.

 

John: Yeah.

 

Mark: Well what does that mean? That’s probably a wide window, right?

 

John: It is.

 

Nick: Yeah. And then I would say one of the things that without it sounding like a commercial for ourselves, one of the things that we do that’s a little bit different than some places that we do have what’s called like a tactical tilt to how we manage money, where if we do have significant concerns, we will tamp down the risk. So maybe if somebody’s normally in a portfolio that’s a 50/50 mix stock to bond and what we would consider a moderate portfolio, if we have significant concerns in the market, we may drop them down to 30% on the stock side of things in certain cycles where we have high concerns. So sometimes what we found is that helps allay some fears for some people that there’s some proactive potential changes, where if we really feel like it’s going to hit the fan, we will make that change.

 

Mark: Right. Okay. So risk tolerance, another big one then definitely making sure that you’re having that proper risk tolerance for yourself, especially in these inflationary times. When it becomes, it’s hard to not feel, I think as humans, we feel like if we don’t do something, we’re doing something wrong or we have to take action or therefore we’ve made a mistake. And sometimes doing nothing can be a smart move. Especially in volatile times when it comes to a financial standpoint, if you don’t know the correct answer, making no move might be a good place to start at least. That way you’re not having that knee jerk reaction. And then of course, talk with a professional. Get some advice, and get a good strategy in place so that you know the right moves to make at the right time. Let’s do another one here, guys, another technical one, dollar cost averaging, what is that?

 

Nick: So dollar cost averaging is the easiest example that most people have exposure to on a regular basis. And they don’t probably realize that they’re doing it is when people are contributing to their 401k. So every two weeks, a certain amount of your paycheck goes into your 401k and you have a set allocation and you are buying in to that allocation at whatever price it’s at that point in time. So the thought process with dollar cost averaging is that you are balancing, you’re investing over a period of time. Where sometimes you’ll be buying at a premium, sometimes you’ll be buying at a discount, but the objective is to continually invest and make sure that you are not trying to time the market.

 

John: And part of that is also what we’re finding with the current market where it’s at, with people with money on the sidelines, it could be a good way to kind of take some of the risk of putting all your money into the market and all of a sudden it dropping. So there’s a strategy to basically say every, if I have 100,000 I want to put into the market every month or so, I’m going to be putting in 10 grand into it. That way, if it does dip down immediately, I only have $10,000 at risk. So dollar cost averaging, as Nick mentioned, most people are doing the 401k, not knowing it, but if you have money on the sideline in a volatile market, or if you’re nervous, it is a good way to kind of get money that was on the sideline into the market.

 

Mark: Okay. All right. Well let’s do one more guys and we’ll wrap it up this week. Asset allocation, another big term we hear. We probably get that tossed around a little bit. Give us the kind of high level view of what that is. And because often I think people wind up feeling like they have a whole bunch of one thing and they’re diversified because they’ve, I don’t know, for example, I’ve got a whole bunch of mutual funds, so therefore I’m good. So explain what asset allocation is and is that correct? What I just said, is that really diversified or not?

 

John: Yeah. So asset allocation’s kind of taken diversification to a different level. You could have seven different mutual funds, but if it’s all the same type of funds, for example, like a large cap growth fund, they’re going to do the same thing in reality when the market goes up or down. So when you do asset allocation, you’re spreading your money, your portfolio within different asset classes, such as large cap stocks, small stocks that Nick mentioned, fixed income earlier, cash, some alternatives.

 

John: So what you do there is when you’re building a portfolio and again, starting with your risk tolerance and your goals, you determine, hey my risk tolerance is X, here’s my goals. I should be in a, let’s just call it in income in growth portfolio. Well, what’s the right mix of asset classes to make that work and to kind of bring it down to layman’s terms here? Imagine kind of cooking, you’re making recipe for a pie. The pie has certain ingredients to make it work and make it taste good. And that’s basically what you’re doing in your investments. It could be 20% large cap, 5% small cap, 20% fixed income, and our job as advisors and wealth management is we build that portfolio for the client if they hire us to do so.

 

Mark: Gotcha. Okay. All right. That’s a good way of breaking that down. You just think about like a pie. So, and who doesn’t love pie? So there you go. All right guys, thanks so much for the conversation this week. Good stuff talking about these technical terms, some jargon here. Hopefully we kept that pretty high level and it helped out with some of the things that you might be thinking or hearing. And if you’ve got questions, definitely reach out to the guys.

 

Mark: As always, before you take any action sit down. If you’re already working with them, maybe share this podcast with someone who might benefit from it. If not, if you’ve been listening for a while, just reach out to them, have a conversation, and chat with them for yourself. You can find all of it at pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s their website pfgprivatewealth.com. They’re financial advisors at PFG Private Wealth, which makes a lot of sense. So make sure you subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify, all that good kind of stuff. That way you can catch past episodes as well as future episodes. For John and Nick I’m your host, Mark. We’ll catch you next time here on Retirement Planning Redefined.

Ep 46: The Most Important Birthdays In Retirement Planning

On This Episode

There are certain age milestones where you should really pay attention to your retirement planning progress. On this episode, we’ll look at the most important birthdays as you approach retirement and cover the exact things you should be checking off your to-do list at each age.

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Disclaimer:

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

Here is a transcript of today’s episode:

 

Mark: Hey, everybody. Welcome into another addition of the podcast. This is Retirement Planning Redefined, with John and Nick and myself, talking investing, finance, retirement, and birthdays.

 

Mark: We’re going to get into important birthdays in the retirement planning process. As we get older, I don’t think any of us really want birthdays, but these are some things we need to know. They’re pretty useful. Some of this is pretty basic. Some of this stuff’s got some interesting caveats in it as well. So you might learn something along the way. It can go a long way towards that retirement planning process.

 

Mark: We’re going to get into that and take an email question as well. If you’ve got some questions of your own, stop by the website, pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com.

 

Mark: John, what’s going on, buddy? How you doing?

 

John: A little tired. Got woken up at 2:00 in the morning with two cranky kids.

 

Mark: Oh yeah.

 

John: So if I’m a little off today, I apologize.

 

Mark: There you go. No, no worries. You get the whole, they climb the bed, and then you’re on the tiniest sliver?

 

John: I got one climb into bed, I think kicked me in the face at one point.

 

Mark: Oh, nice.

 

John: Another one climbed into bed missing out on the other one, because they share a room. Then I had the sliver. I woke up almost falling off the bed.

 

Mark: There you go. And usually freezing because you have no blankets.

 

John: Yeah, yeah.

 

Mark: That’s usually the way it goes. Nick’s sitting there going, “I don’t know what you guys are talking about.”

 

Mark: What’s going on, buddy. How you doing?

 

Nick: Yep. No. Pretty low maintenance over here.

 

Mark: Well, that’s good. Hey, don’t you have a birthday coming up?

 

Nick: I got a couple months still.

 

Mark: Okay, a couple months.

 

Nick: Yeah, I just got back from a trip a few weeks ago. Some buddies that I grew up with, a group of us have been friends for a really long time, I guess, going back to middle school. We’re all turning 40 this year, so we rented a house in Charleston, and all survived.

 

Mark: Nice. There you go.

 

Nick: Yeah. It was good.

 

John: This is how you know Nick’s turning 40. He came back with neck pain.

 

Mark: Exactly.

 

Nick: Yeah.

 

Mark: Hey, when you start to get a certain age, you start going, “When did I hurt that?” It’s like, “I didn’t even do anything.” Yeah. You don’t have to do anything.

 

Mark: Well, you know what? That’s a good segue. Let’s jump into this.

 

Mark: We’re going to start with age 50. I turned 50 last year. First of all, the thing that sucks is you get the AARP card. I don’t know about all that. That’s annoying as a reminder that you’re 50.

 

Mark: But the government does say, “Hey, let me help you out a little bit here if you need to catch up on some of the retirement accounts, help building those up.” Talk to me about catch up contributions, guys.

 

Nick: Yeah. Essentially what happens is when you hit 50, there’s two types of accounts that allow you to start contributing a little bit more money. The most basic one is an IRA or a Roth IRA, where the typical maximum contribution for somebody under 50 is 6,000 a year. You can add an additional thousand to do a total of 7,000 a year. The bigger one is in a 401(k) or 403(b) account, where you’re able to contribute, I believe it’s an extra 6,500 per year.

 

Nick: This is also a good flag for people to think about where, hey, once that catch up contribution is available, it’s probably a good time, if you haven’t done any sort of planning before, to really start to dial in and understand your financial picture a little bit more. Because if you talk to anybody that’s 60, they’ll tell you that 50 didn’t seem too far back. So that’s a good reminder to dig into that a little bit.

 

Mark: Yeah. It adds up. It’s not necessarily chicken feed. You might hear it and think, “Well, a thousand dollars on this type of account over a year, or 6,500 on the other type of account, whoopedidoo.” But if you’re 50 and you’re going to 67, let say, for full retirement age, and we’ll get to that in a little bit, that’s 17 years of an extra seven grand. It’s not exactly chicken feed, right?

 

Nick: No. It’s going to be big money down the road.

 

Mark: Yeah, exactly. So that’s 50.

 

Mark: John, talk to me about 55. This one’s really similar to 59 and a half, which most of us are familiar with, but most people don’t understand the rule at 55. So can you break that down a little bit?

 

John: Yeah. We don’t see people utilize this too often, but an example would be let’s say you’re 50, 55, 56, and for whatever reason, you leave your current job. You have an opportunity, at that point…

 

John: Let’s give a bad scenario. You get laid off. If you didn’t have a nest egg saved up in savings, there’s an opportunity to actually access some money from your 401(k) plan without penalty. What you’ll do is, basically, you take the money directly from the plan, and you just have it go to your bank account, and the 10% penalty’s waived.

 

John: Now, some people need to be careful with this. Once you roll it out to an IRA, this 55 rule here, where the 10%’s waived, ceases to exist. It has to go from the employer plan to you directly in that situation. It’s a nice feature if someone finds themselves in a bad situation, or they need access to money, and the 10% penalty’s gone, but you still have to pay your income tax on that money [crosstalk 00:05:03]

 

Mark: Of course. Yeah. That caveat being, it’s only from the job that you’ve just left, right? It can’t be from two jobs ago kind of thing. It’s got to be that one that you’ve just walked away from, or been asked to leave, or whatever the case is. That’s that caveat.

 

John: Correct.

 

Mark: It’s basically the same rules, Nick, as the 59 and a half. It’s just is attached to that prior job. But 59 and a half is the more normal one. What’s the breakdown there?

 

Nick: Yeah. Essentially what happens is, at 59 and a half, you are able to take out money from your qualified accounts while avoiding that penalty without any sort of caveats. One thing to keep in mind is that usually you’re taking it out from accounts that…

 

Nick: For example, if you’re currently employed, the process of taking it out of the plan where you’re employed can be a little bit different, but it’s pretty smooth and easy if you have an IRA or something like that outside of the employer plan.

 

Nick: One other thing that happens in most plans, for people at 59 and a half, is, and we’ve seen it a bunch lately, where a lot of 401(k) plans have very restricted options in fixed income and those sorts of things, where most or many plans allow people to take inservice rollovers, where they’re able to still work at their employer, but roll their money out of the plan to open up some options for investments outside of the plan.

 

Nick: That’s not always the best thing for people. Sometimes the plans are great. Fees are really low. Options are great. So it may not make sense, but oftentimes people do like having the option to be able to shift the money out without any sort of issue.

 

Mark: Okay. All right. So that’s the norm there. You got to love that half thing. You always wonder what the senators or whoever was thinking when [crosstalk 00:06:56]

 

John: Finally, they got rid of the 70 and a half [crosstalk 00:06:58]

 

Mark: Yeah. They get rid of that one. Yeah. We’ll get to that in just a minute as well.

 

Mark: John, 62, nothing too groundbreaking here, but we are eligible finally for Social Security. So that becomes… I guess the biggest thing here is people just go, “Let me turn it on ASAP versus is it the right move?”

 

John: Yeah. So 62, you’re now eligible. Like you said, a lot of people are excited to finally get access to that extra income. You can start taking on Social Security.

 

John: Couple of things to just be aware of is, any time you take Social Security before your full retirement age, you will get a reduction of benefit. At 62, it’s anywhere, depending on your full retirement age, roughly 25 to 30% reduction of what you would’ve gotten had you waited till 66 or 67.

 

Mark: They penalize you, basically.

 

John: Yeah.

 

Nick: Yeah. Actually, if you do the math, it ends up breaking down to almost a half a percent per month reduced.

 

Mark: Oh wow.

 

Nick: Yeah. It really starts to add up when you think about it that way.

 

John: Yeah. We always harp on planning, so important if you are thinking about taking it early, once you make that decision, and after a year of doing that, you’re locked into that decision. So it’s important to really understand is that best for your situation.

 

John: Other things to consider at this age, if you do take early, Social Security does have what they call a earnings penalty slash recapture. If you’re still working and taking at 62, a portion of your Social Security could be subject to go back to them in lieu of, for a better term, [crosstalk 00:08:27]

 

Mark: It’s 19,000 and some change, I think, this year, if you make more than that.

 

John: Yeah.

 

Mark: Yeah.

 

John: Yeah. Anything above 19,000 that you’re earning, 50% goes back to Social Security. [crosstalk 00:08:36]

 

Mark: Yeah. For every two bucks you make-

 

John: 5,000 goes back to Social Security. So that’s really important.

 

John: Something that I just want to make, last point on this, is that earnings threshold is based on someone’s earned income, and it’s based on their own earned income, not household. That comes up quite a bit, while people say, “Well, I want to retire and take at 62, but my husband’s still working. Am I going to have a penalty if I take it?” The answer is no. It’s based on your own earnings record.

 

Mark: That’s where the strategy comes into play too. Because if you are married, then looking at who’s making more, do we leave one person’s to grow, as we’re going to get into those in just a second, to grow towards that more full number.

 

Mark: Again, that’s all the strategy. It may make sense for one person to turn it on early, and the other person to delay it. That’s, again, part of the strategy of sitting down and talking with a professional, and looking at all the other assets that you have, and figuring out a good move there.

 

Mark: Nick, let’s go to Medicare. 65 magic age.

 

Nick: Yeah. Actually, my dad turns 65 this year. So we’ve been planning this out for him. He is a retired fireman, so he has some benefits that tie in with his pension.

 

Nick: One of the things that came up, and just something that people should think about or remember, even if they are continuing to work past 65, is it oftentimes makes sense to at least enroll in Medicare Part A. You can usually enroll as early as three months before your birthday. The Medicare website has gotten a lot easier to work with over the last year or two.

 

Nick: Part A, the tricky thing is that you want to check with your employer, because usually what happens for the areas that Part A covers, which is usually hospital care, if you were to have to be admitted or certain procedures, it’s figuring out who’s the primary payer, who pays first, who pays second. So making sure that you coordinate your benefits. Check in with HR, if you’re going to continue to work.

 

Nick: If you are retired and are coming up on that Medicare age, make sure that you get your ducks in a row so that you do enroll. Most likely you’re going to start saving some money on some healthcare premiums.

 

Mark: Technically, this starts about, what, three months early? It’s a little actually before 65. I think it’s three months when you got to start this process, and three months before and after.

 

Nick: Yep. Yeah. You can typically enroll three months before your birthday, and then through three months afterwards. There can be some issues if you don’t enroll and you don’t have other healthcare, at least for Part A. There can be penalties and that sort of thing.

 

Nick: Frankly, with Medicare and healthcare in retirement, this is a space that we typically delegate out. We’ve got some good resources for clients that we refer them to, because there are a lot of moving parts, and it can be overwhelming, especially when you start to move into the supplements and Advantage plans, and all these different things.

 

Mark: Oh yeah. And it’s crucial. You want to make sure you get it right. A lot of advisors will definitely work with some specialists, if you will, in that kind of arena. So definitely checking that out when we turn 65.

 

Mark: Again, some of these, pretty high level stuff, some of this stuff we definitely know. But we wanted to go over some of those more interesting caveats.

 

Mark: Let’s keep moving along here, guys. Full retirement age, 66 or 67. John, just what? It’s your birthday, right?

 

John: It is your birthday. That’s the time that you can actually take your full Social Security benefit without any reduction, which is a great thing to do. Then also that earnings penalty we discussed earlier at age 62, that no longer exists. Once you hit your full retirement age, 66 or 67, you can earn as much as you want and collect your Social Security. There’s no penalty slash recapture.

 

John: When that happens, people have some decisions to make. If they’re still working, they can decide to take their Social Security. I’ve had some clients that take it, and they use that as vacation money. I’ve had some other ones take it, and they take advantage of maxing out their 401(k) with the extra income. Or you can delay it. You don’t have to take it. You get 8% simple interest on your benefit up until age 70.

 

John: So full retirement age, you got a lot of big decisions to make, depending on your situation. But you want to make sure you’re making the best for what you want.

 

Mark: Definitely.

 

Nick: Just as a reminder to people that that 8%, and you had mentioned it, but it does cap out at age 70. So there’s no point in waiting past 70, because it doesn’t increase any more.

 

Mark: Right. Thanks for doing that. It wasn’t on my list, but I was going to bring it up real fast. So yeah. People will sometimes email and they’ll say, “Hey, I want to keep working past 70. How’s that affect Social Security.” It’s like, “Well, you’re maxed out, so you got to just go ahead and get it done.” You can still work if you’re feeling like it. Your earnings potential is unlimited, but it’s just a matter of you’re not going to add any more to it. So I’m glad you brought that up.

 

Mark: John, you mentioned earlier, they got rid of the other half. Thank God. The 70 and a half thing, just because it was confusing as all get out. They moved it to 72.

 

Nick: Yeah. Required minimum distributions, as a reminder for people, are for accounts that are pre-tax, where you were able to defer taxation. 401(k), traditional IRA, that sort of thing. At 72, you have to start taking out minimum distributions. It starts at around 3.6, 3.7% of the balance. It’s based on the prior year’s ending balance. It has to be taken out by the end of the year.

 

Nick: An important thing for people to understand is that, many times, people are taking those withdrawals out to live on anyways. So for a lot of people, it’s not an issue at all. However, there are a good amount of people that it’s going to be excess income.

 

Nick: Earlier mentioned, hey, at age 50, really time to check in and start making sure that you’re planning. One of the benefits of planning and looking forward is to project out and see, hey, are these withdrawal going to cause you to have excess income at 72, where maybe we’re entering into a time that tax rates could be higher, tax rates could be going up, which is fairly likely in the next five to 10 years. So if we know and we can project that, then we can make some adjustments to how we save, should you be putting more money into a Roth versus a traditional, and how we make adjustments on the overall planning.

 

Nick: So making sure that you understand how those work, and then the impact that it has on other decisions to take into account for that situation, is a huge part of planning.

 

Mark: Definitely. Those are some important birthdays along the way. You got to make sure you get this stuff done. 72, there’s the hefty penalties involved if you don’t do that. Plus you still got to pay the taxes. All this stuff has some crucial moments in that retirement planning process, so definitely make sure that you are not only celebrating your birthday, but you’re also doing the right things from that financial and that retirement planning standpoint along the way.

 

Mark: Again, if you got questions, stop by the website, pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com. You can drop us an email question as well, if you’d like. That’s what we’re going to do to wrap up the show right now.

 

Mark: We got a question that’s sent in from Jack. He says, “Hey, guys. I’ve thought about meeting with a financial advisor to plan my retirement, but I’ve never used a budget or anything like that before. So I’m wondering, should I budget myself for a couple of months before I meet with a professional?”

 

Nick: Based upon experience, putting expense numbers down on paper is one of the biggest hurdles for people to get into planning. But with how this question is phrased, I would be concerned, because it’s kind of like the situation of starting a diet. You start a diet. You’re going to eat really good for two to three weeks. You’re trying to hold yourself accountable. You’re functioning in a way that isn’t necessarily your normal life.

 

Nick: One of the things, as advisors, that we want to make sure that we understand are what are you really spending. It’s great to use a budget, but if you’re budgeting to try to look good in the meeting, which we’ve seen happen, you’re painting a false picture, and you’re not letting us know what the finances actually look like.

 

Nick: So I would actually say to put down the real expense numbers in place, let’s see what it really looks like, and then if we need to create a budget after we’ve created a plan, then that’s something that we can dig into.

 

Mark: Yeah. John, let me ask you, as we wrap this up, sometimes people associate seeing a professional financial advisor with a budget. Also, people have a cringe to the B word. They think, “Well, I don’t want to live on a fixed budget,” or something like that.

 

Mark: That’s not necessarily what we’re talking about, right? That’s not probably what Jack is referring to. He’s just trying to figure out, I guess, more income versus expenses, right?

 

John: Yeah, yeah. The first step is to analyze your expenses. That could be what he’s referring to as far as, “Hey, should I take a look? Should I get my expenses down before I meet with someone?”

 

John: I’d agree with Nick, even if that’s what you’re looking at, versus the budgeting, I would say no. I think the first step is sit down with an advisor, because they can assist in categorizing the expenses correctly based on today’s expenses, versus what expenses are going to be at retirement.

 

John: I think it’s important just to get going rather than trying to prep. Because we’ve seen a lot of people that have taken … They’ve been prepping for years to meet. That’s years where they haven’t done anything, and they’ve, unfortunately, lost out on some good opportunities, otherwise, if they just said, “Hey, I’m going to sit down first, see what’s going on.”

 

Mark: Yeah. It gives you that built-in excuse.

 

John: [crosstalk 00:18:26]

 

Mark: It gives you that built in, “Well, I’m not quite ready.” Well, you might never be ready if you play that game. Especially a lot of times when it’s complimentary to sit down with professionals, have a conversation. Most advisors will talk to you, no cost or obligations. So why not right? Find out. Just get the ball rolling. That’s the first step. It’s usually the hardest part too.

 

Nick: Yeah. One thing that we typically tell people is that we are not the money police. We are not here to tell you that you can’t use your money the way that you want to use it.

 

Nick: The way that we view ourselves, and what our role is as an advisor, is to help you understand the impact of decisions. Whether those decisions have to do with spending money, saving money, whatever, it’s to make sure that you understand the impact of your decisions so that you make better decisions. That’s it.

 

Mark: There you go. Yeah. It’s your money, at the end of the day, your call, but certainly having some good, well, coaches in your corner, if you will, advisors to help advise, that’s the whole point. But I like that. Not the money police.

 

Mark: All right. That’s going to do it this week, guys. Thanks for hanging out. As always, we appreciate your time here on Retirement Planning Redefined. Don’t forget. Stop by the website.

 

Mark: If you need help before you take any action, we always talk in generalities, and try to share some good nuggets of information, but you always want to see how those things are going to affect your specific situation.

 

Mark: If you’re already working with John and Nick and the team at PFG Private Wealth, fantastic. Then you already have a lot of this stuff in place. But if you have questions, or you’re not working with them, or you’ve come across this podcast in whatever way, or maybe a friend shared it with you, definitely reach out and have a chat. pfgprivatewealth.com. That’s pfgprivatewealth.com. Don’t forget to subscribe on whatever podcasting platform app you like to use.

 

Mark: We’ll see you next time here on the show. For John and Nick, I’m your host, Mark. We’ll catch you later here on Retirement Planning Redefined.