March 20, 2023 Weekly Update

We do love it when someone refers a family member or friend to us.  Sometimes the question is, “How can we introduce them to you?”   Well, there are multiple ways but a very easy way is to simply forward them a link to this webpage.

Here are this week’s items:

Portfolio Update:  Murs and I have recorded our portfolio update for March 20, 2023

This Week’s Podcast – I’m 66 – Can I Retire?

In this episode of the Secure Your Retirement podcast, Radon and Murs discuss the question of whether you can retire at age 66, using a specific example from an article in Market Watch. They provide insights and advice on retirement planning and financial management.


This Week’s Blog – I’m 66 – Can I Retire?

Are you 66 years old and wondering, “Can I retire?” You’re Not alone. We have a lot of clients come to us for retirement planning that ask this very question. People want to get out of the ratrace and enjoy life, and we actually read an article on Market Watch with a person asking this exact question.

I’m 66 – Can I Retire?

Are you 66 years old and wondering, “Can I retire?” You’re not alone. We have a lot of clients come to us for retirement planning that ask this very question. People want to get out of the rat race and enjoy life, and we actually read an article on Market Watch with a person asking this exact question.

Unfortunately, there is no standard answer to give you because the way you secure your retirement may be different than how someone else has planned for their retirement.

We do this every day. We know each element it takes to retire comfortably. Unless you’re working as a financial advisor, it’s not your job to know every little detail that shows you’re ready for retirement.

In our most recent podcast, we walk through the question of can I retire?

Let’s find out what we talked about.

Can I Retire?

What prompted this article is that a man who is 66 wrote into Market Watch, said he has $2 million in retirement and just wanted to retire and golf. We have folks with far less in retirement that have been able to retire and some with far more who have not.

Someone may read this and say:

  • You have $2 million. Of course, you can retire.
  • You have just $2 million? Of course, you can’t retire.

Let’s look at this man’s scenario. He is 66 years old and four months. He has $2 million in retirement, plans to have $3,300 in Social Security very shortly and works as a consultant three days a week and wants to leave his position.

He also has:

  • $1.6 million in retirement accounts
  • $600,000 in his wife’s retirement accounts
  • A daughter who still lives at home
  • A modest home that he owns
  • $9,000 – $10,000 in expenses
  • $6,000 in taxes and insurance
  • Home is paid off

As financial planners, we’re going to say to this individual, “Job well done.” This individual has done a great job paying off his home and saving over $2 million for his retirement.

Ultimately, dollars in and dollars out will dictate if this person is able to retire at 66 or not.

First, we’ll have a conversation with this individual to better understand their:

  • Travel goals
  • Legacy goals
  • Things they’re worried about
  • Health condition

We’ll want to create a retirement-focused financial plan that looks at multiple layers of a person’s scenario to understand if retiring now is possible with what they’ve saved and what they want in their retirement.

If you’ve read our blogs or listened to our podcast, you know that we mention the GPS retirement system a lot.

This system considers:

  • Where you’re going
  • Where you are right this moment

A fact-finding discussion that we have with our clients allows us to know a person’s starting point and where they want to be in the future.

What we’ll do is run a person’s financial plan at a rate of 4% to 5% because we know that if this plan does good, a higher rate of return will just make life easier. We don’t recommend running a plan at a higher rate of return than this because you’ll have to make riskier investments that can cause you to lose a major portion of your retirement.

The other thing we want to look at is why this person’s expenses are $9,000 – $10,000. We often find out that a person is spending $3,000 a month for traveling, so we then create a fun fund for 10 years.

Often, a person will travel for the first 10 years and then it tends to slow down, saving money in the process.

Taxes are also something to consider. If you’re paying a lot in taxes, it can reduce your ability to retire now or stay in retirement over the long term. Tax planning may be necessary for this individual because they may have deferred taxes, which means the $2.2 million in the bank is far less.

Next, we’ll go into scenarios.

What-if Scenarios

If we’re confident that the person can retire, now or in the future, then we can start looking into what-if scenarios. For example, if the person asking if they can retire has medical issues, they may be concerned about long-term care, which is very expensive. We can then consider:

  • Long-term care insurance
  • What would happen to the person’s retirement if long-term care were necessary?

What-if scenarios can be very positive, or they can be negative. Perhaps you want to buy a boat, RV or a second home. This will be considered in a what-if scenario.

We know that the individual in question has a lot of money in retirement accounts and a home paid off. Next, we would run a full retirement plan that shows us:

  • How much money the person has in their accounts every month based on the rate of return and expenses
  • How long the person can be retired
  • What life will be like from a financial standpoint if they reach age 90 or 100

If the person has more than enough money left at 90 in their retirement, we can then consider a long-term care scenario. Using the average cost for long-term care, stay length and so on, we can then find out the cost for the level of care, which is often $400,000 – $600,000.

Then, we will look at the remaining retirement balance when the person in long-term care passes, and we’ll see if they can live until 90 or 100 on the remaining retirement accounts.

We may find that self-insurance is possible, but if we find that you start running low on assets early, long-term care insurance may be a better option.

As you can see, there are many moving parts in retirement that you need to consider. We may be a bit biased, but everyone should sit down with a financial advisor to go through all these scenarios to better understand if you can retire and when.

We want to ensure that if you do retire, you can handle the what-ifs that come your way and have peace of mind heading into retirement.

If you have individualized questions that we haven’t covered just yet, feel free to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to answer them for you.

Click here to schedule a call with us.

How to Protect Against Cyber Attacks

Cyber security is of the utmost importance. At our firm, we work diligently to protect against cyber-attacks and prevent our client’s data from being stolen in the process. We recently had the pleasure of speaking to a cyber security professional named Jamie Ramirez, who walked us through the steps of reducing the risk of threats.

While he works primarily with businesses, his points are helpful for everyday folks. After all, everyone is using the Internet more now than even three years ago.

If you’re in the midst of retirement planning and trying to secure your retirement, the last thing you want is for someone to hack into your financial accounts or steal your identity. Diligence is critical here, and we’re excited to bring this interview to you today.

Securing Transactions to Secure Your Retirement

Jamie, the owner of Preventor, is a cyber security professional who created the next generation in ID verification and financial crime risk management. Lending his expertise to us, he offers many recommendations throughout our talk.

A Rise in Individual Threats and Risks

The pandemic has led many people to work from home and do more online than in the past. For example, remote workers don’t have the same level of security as they did in the workplace, which employers have more control over.

Jamie states that the pandemic has accelerated threats and a major demand in AI and security services.

The Internet opens opportunities for identity theft and cybersecurity risks.

Cloud computing companies, such as Google Cloud and Azure, have high-end security measures that help protect businesses and their customers. So from an individual standpoint, if you use a service that runs on these platforms, you can have some level of confidence that your data will be secure.

However, when you use a no-name service or something similar, you just don’t know who is on the other end looking to steal your data. As an individual, it’s crucial to ask the service providers you use about their:

  • Security measures
  • Internal security protocols

For example, at our firm, we have a strict rule never to follow a client’s instructions that are sent over email because it’s just too easy to fake an email or gain access to an account and request money transfers.

We perform security and identity checks to ensure the client truly made the request before proceeding.

How to Protect Clients from a Business Standpoint

In our business, it’s possible to perform a phone call verification because we don’t handle thousands of client calls per day. But unfortunately, large companies that have thousands of transactions per day cannot call to verify every person’s identity.

Even when calling a person to verify their information and requests, there’s still a risk that it’s someone close to the person who can answer all of these questions.

Additional methods to authenticate a person’s identity include:

  • Face recognition
  • Voice recognition
  • Requesting specific documents
  • Etc.

From a business standpoint, it can be complex to automate these processes. Technology can only automate some of these steps to protect a business while reducing customer abandonment. Many customers don’t like to go through extra security measures, so it’s crucial to find effective solutions that don’t cause customers to leave your business.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves 

Consumers must take it upon themselves to protect their identities and ensure that their information hasn’t been exposed. First and foremost, it’s essential to look through account statements and balances to ensure there are no unwanted charges.

Additionally, credit reports can help you find accounts in your name that you may not have opened.

Hackers have become very creative.

For example, you can see this creativity in the way that certain transactions are made or even hidden. Hackers will try and make transactions look normal to the consumer, and when they realize the issue, it’s too late.

Banks may recognize the issue and send money back to the user – when and if the money can be recuperated.

What Preventor Does

Preventor is a risk and identity management platform. The company started by working with financial institutions, but now it has expanded to more industries. Preventor is based in Miami, Florida but works with financial solutions globally.

Wrapping Up

Staying as vigilant as possible as we adopt more Internet solutions requires you to take advantage of the technology that’s available. Don’t reuse your passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and be willing to take advantage of more complex security measures, such as facial or voice recognition.

Click here to subscribe to our podcast for other great retirement information.

Retirement Before Medicare

Medicare begins at age 65 for people in the United States, so if you enter early retirement before this threshold, you’ll be retiring before Medicare. Most people that come to us will say that they want to work until 65, 66 or even 70.

Since we believe in retirement planning using concrete data, we’ll plug in the person’s figures and forecast what their retirement may look like.

For some people, they’ll find that they have significant money leftover at age 90, so they want to see what happens if they retire at 62. We can easily run these forecasts, but there are a few things that occur when you start thinking of retiring early.

Early Retirement and a Few Factors to Consider

If you can secure your retirement by 60, it’s a wonderful feeling. You’ve done everything properly, and now you’re able to enjoy your life a little more. However, if you do retire early, there are some factors you need to consider.


Medicare is going to be unavailable until you’re 65, and if you’re no longer working for a company that offers health insurance, you’re now on your own. Health insurance expenses will be a major factor, especially with rising insurance costs.

Lost Income Potential

If you retire before 65, you’re no longer paying into Social Security, nor are you able to allow your investments to accumulate as much money as you would if you stayed in the workforce. Of course, this is a tradeoff of early retirement, but it’s something to consider based on your current financials.

Potential retirees that are trying to make all the calculations on their own may miss crucial factors that help shape their retirement plans. We use special software that can easily be adjusted to add in:

  • Special expenses
  • Fun funds
  • Additional expenses or income

Running what-if scenarios, such as retiring before Medicare or if rates rise for Medicare, can help you better understand your retirement potential.

While you may be a master of Excel, it’s far too easy to miscalculate your funds or miss a calculation that throws off your retirement figures in both directions.

Real-time output and reports are crucial to outline whether you have enough money to secure your retirement and what can happen if you do retire before you’re eligible for Medicare.

Social Security

Another thing to consider if you’re retiring early is that you will pay less into Social Security. You can start Social Security as early as 62, and your contributions stop at 70. For some people, they plan on retiring at 65. If you’re working and have ample income, it doesn’t make sense to take Social Security.

Instead, in the scenario above, it makes the most sense to let your Social Security build so that it’s higher when you do retire.

Some people will retire at 65 and not take Social Security until they’re 70 to maximize their benefits. We like to run figures until a person is 90 to have a good idea of what it means to take Social Security.

Ideally, we run figures for taking Social Security at:

  • 65
  • 67
  • 70

It may seem like a no-brainer to take Social Security at 70 because that’s when your benefits will be their highest. However, if you must take money out of your retirement account because you stopped working at 65 and don’t take benefits until you’re 70, this will impact your retirement, too.

For example, if you still have $500,000 in retirement funds at 90, why would you wait to retire?

You’re unlikely to use all your retirement before your demise at that point. If you’re holding out on Social Security and continue working to maximize these benefits, will they really matter in the whole spectrum of things?

There’s a lot to think about if you plan to retire early, and it’s a very individualized thing.

You might want to help pay for a person’s wedding, renovate your house, and make other big purchases. If you’re retiring before Medicare, these expenses may be fine, or they may leave you taking money out of your retirement accounts earlier than expected.

If you do plan to retire a little earlier, we recommend running the figures to have a clear picture of:

  • What your health insurance costs will be.
  • What happens to your retirement accounts because you’re paying for insurance out of your investment accounts?
  • Etc.

Ideally, you’ll work with someone, like us, who can run the numbers for you to plug in all these variables and what-if scenarios. We can even forecast what happens if you plan to retire at 55, so you can have a clear picture of how realistic retirement is for your situation.

If you need help running these reports and want to know what your retirement before Medicare may look like, schedule an introductory call with us.