Reviewing 2023: Retirement Podcast Resource List

Every week, we have podcasts come out, and as new listeners find us, it can get very tedious to find all the resources we provide. This week we have prepared an End of 2023 wrap up to highlight some of the episodes from this year. 

Reviewing 2023’s Episode List 

Finding an episode on your respective listening platform will vary, so we’re going to provide: 

  • Title 
  • Episode number 
  • Date 

We’ll also link to the location on our website where you can listen to each podcast to make it a bit easier to find. 

Ep. 193 – Navigating The Decision to Retire Now or Work Longer – January 16, 2023 

If you’re wondering if you can retire or if you’re ready to retire, you’ll love this episode. It can be an overwhelming process, so we take some time to outline important considerations such as: 

  • Budgeting 
  • Health and Age 
  • Goal and Interests 

This episode helps you think through your financial readiness to secure your retirement. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 197 – 10 Reasons Everyone Needs a Power of Attorney in Retirement – February 13, 2023 

Anything can happen at any time. A Power of Attorney, particularly a Durable Power of Attorney, is one that we’ve seen come up a lot this year with clients. Disability or incapacitation can happen at any time. 

We outline 10 very important reasons to have your Power of Attorney documents in order, including: 

  • Protecting Privacy 
  • Dealing with Tax Matters 
  • Having Someone to Manage Your Finances 

A Power of Attorney is up there in importance with your will and HIPAA authorization. 

You’ll learn the ins and outs of Power of Attorney documents in this episode. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 201 – Do You Need a Trust in Retirement? – March 13, 2023 

We did quite a few episodes on trusts this year because they’re such an important part of retirement planning. We’ve partnered with professionals in this area so that our clients can easily have a trust put in place for them. 

In this episode, we interview Andres Mazabel at Trust & Will. He addresses the common question, “Do I Need a Trust?”, to really help you understand if a trust is right for you or not. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 204 – Social Security Spousal Benefit in Retirement – April 3, 2023 

Social Security has a lot of complications, which is why we brought Heather Schreiber on to explain how spousal benefits work. In our example scenario, one client has worked their entire life, and his spouse did not. 

His spouse assumed that without working, she wouldn’t have Social Security, but we explained how she would receive $1,700 a month in benefits. 

For many couples, an additional $1,700 in benefits is completely finance-altering. If you’re close to Social Security age, this is certainly a good episode to listen to. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 208 – Maximizing Tax Benefits by “Bunching” – May 1, 2023 

If you’re charitably inclined, you can leverage “bunching” and donor-advised funds to save money on your taxes. In the episode, we discuss how you can bunch multiple years of contributions into one so that you can take a larger deduction. 

Utilizing this strategy has saved some of our clients hundreds or thousands of dollars. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 217 – You Have Enough to Retire, but How Do You Create an Income – July 3, 2023 

Creating income is challenging when you’re in the accumulation phase of life transitioning into the retirement phase. In this episode, we discuss how to put assets into buckets and methods that you can follow to have a consistent income. 

We talk about sequence of return risks and how to really have fun in retirement. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 219 – Annuities or CDs – What You Should Consider – July 17, 2023 

Last year, interest rates rose. For annuities and CDs, interest rates were favorable and therefore quite attractive to many people. In this episode, we cover what you need to think about when deciding between an annuity and a CD. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 223 – Protecting Against Cybersecurity Threats – August 14, 2023 

Cybersecurity is something that you may not expect to see on this list, but it’s a crucial topic that demands attention. Around this time of year (the holiday season), threats increase dramatically. 

You may receive spam and phishing threats from many directions, including texts and emails. 

We outline 14 items for you to consider to help protect yourself from these threats going into 2024. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 224 – Long-Term Care Planning Options – August 21, 2023 

Long-term care planning is something no one wants to think about, but it’s something that you really must dive into before you need it. Our guest Jessica Iverson talks with us about how this form of planning has evolved, the breakdown of increasing costs, and alternative options that are available. 

You do have options where you’re not stuck in a “use it or lose it” scenario, which is what we cover in great detail in this episode. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 226 – Integrated Wealth Management Experience in Retirement – September 4, 2023 

In this episode, we look at what integrated wealth management means and how it works in our practice. You will be interested in this episode if you want to know how we address: 

  • Income and tax planning 
  • Estate planning 
  • Long-term care 
  • Social Security 
  • Medicare 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 231 – Social Security Taxation – How it Works in Retirement – October 9, 2023 

Many people are shocked to learn that they must pay taxes on their Social Security. We had our enrolled agent, Taylor Wolverton, CFP® walk us through: 

  • The factors and math behind Social Security Taxation 
  • How Social Security Taxation can impact your Retirement Planning 
  • How to know if you’ll be taxed on Social Security 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 234 – Roth IRA – 5-Year Rule – Your Retirement – Part 2 with Denise Appleby – October 30, 2023 

Denise Appleby was our special guest during this episode, and she discusses Roth IRAs in such great detail that it’s a must-listen. We go over the rules for Roth accounts and conversions from start to finish in a nice and easy manner. 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 235 – The Art of a Risk-Adjusted Portfolio in Retirement – November 6, 2023 

Risk in retirement exists, but you can use a risk-adjusted portfolio to hedge those risks. We explore determining risk tolerance and some of the strategy behind investment styles. We also take some time to define terms like: 

  • Core 
  • Tactical 
  • Structured notes 
  • Fixed income 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 236 – Rae Dawson – The Basics of a CCRC – November 13, 2023 

Note: Rae was also on for Episode 236 on November 27 (listen here) for Part 2. 

Rae teaches a class on Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRCs) at Duke University, and joined us on the podcast to dive in on the basics, such as: 

  • When’s the best time to join a community? 
  • Should you do an upfront or rent-only scenario? 
  • What to think about when choosing a CCRC? 

Listen to the episode here. 

Ep. 239 – Anne Rhodes – Estate Planning– Simplified – December 4, 2023 

Anne Rhodes from helped us simplify estate planning in retirement. She works closely with us and our clients to explain: 

  • Legal documents you need 
  • Reasons to have a trust vs a will 
  • What certain documents do  

Listen to the episode here. 

We look forward to our new schedule going into 2024 where we’ll continue to provide relevant insights every Monday with a more structured format. 

Click here to schedule a call with us to discuss any of the topics above in greater detail. 

December 11, 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 December 11, 2023

End Of Year Issues to Consider in Retirement

In this Episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, Radon and Murs discuss the retirement issues to consider as we approach the end of the year. As the year ends and another begins, it’s important to have a checklist to ensure you have things closed out for 2023 and things set up for 2024. Learn about tax planning strategies to look at, such as threshold tax brackets, qualified charitable distributions, donor-advised funds, and more. You will also learn the benefits of having a Health Savings Account (HSA) and contributing to 529 accounts at the end of the year.  

End Of Year Issues to Consider in Retirement

Can you believe that we’re close to the end of 2023 already? Before the year wraps up, it’s a good idea to address end-of-year items and work your way through a checklist of sorts. You can also reference this list in 2024, so if you’re seeing this post after the end of the year, it’s still going to be relevant to you.

End Of Year Issues to Consider in Retirement

Can you believe that we’re close to the end of 2023 already? Before the year wraps up, it’s a good idea to address end-of-year items and work your way through a checklist of sorts. You can also reference this list in 2024, so if you’re seeing this post after the end of the year, it’s still going to be relevant to you.

We’re going to walk you through:

  1. Things to do before the end of 2023
  2. Things to do for a good start of 2024

Note: We do have an actual checklist that you can work through. If you want to get that checklist, feel free to schedule a call with us or send us an email.

To Listen to this CLICK HERE

End-of-Year Issues to Handle Before 2023

You’ll want to work on your assets and debt issues. First, look at your unrealized investment losses. For example, perhaps you’re holding onto Apple stock and it’s a loss right now. You can sell the stock as a loss and leverage what is known as tax loss harvesting.

You can use these losses to:

  • Offset gains
  • Reduce your ordinary income by up to $3,000 a year
  • Losses beyond $3,000 will carry forward to offset income in future years

If you have capital gains, you can erase some of these gains by using tax loss harvesting. You can sell the stock and buy it back after a period of time. 

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

RMDs are something we talk a lot about on our podcast, and we have quite a few articles on the topic that you can review:

That being said, you’ll want to do a few things in terms of retirement planning with your RMDs. Based on your age, typically, if you’re in your early 70s, you’ll want to take your distribution before the end of the year.

Not sure if you need to take an RMD?

Discuss it with your financial advisor because distribution ages will vary based on when you were born

If you inherited an IRA or 401(k), you automatically have RMDs that you need to consider. Anyone who recently inherited one of these accounts will need to be sure that the account is empty within 10 years. You will need to consider whether (or not) you want to take an RMD on these accounts before the end of the year.

Tax Planning

The end of the year signals a lot of tax planning items that you’ll need to check off your list. A few of the most important things to consider are:

Do you plan on your income increasing significantly in the next year?

You can consider maximizing your Roth contributions going into the end of the year. If you’re over the age of 50, Roth IRA contributions max out at $7,500, and the Roth 401(k) maxes out at $30,000 in 2023 and will go up in 2024.

If you’re 59 1/2 or older, you can consider accelerating your IRA withdrawals since you’re in a lower tax bracket this year. You may also want to consider converting some of this money into a Roth account to leverage tax-free growth.

The annual deadline for Roth conversions is December 31st, however, you should get started on these before the beginning of December to give plenty of time for the process to be completed in your intended year.

Threshold Tax Brackets

Your adjusted gross income can push you into a higher tax bracket or impact your Medicare surcharges. Going back to tax loss harvesting, you may be able to leverage these losses to keep charges lower or avoid going into a higher tax bracket.

You need to be aware of your potential adjusted gross income.

If you’re reading this, reach out to your financial advisor and:

  • Ask what your adjusted gross income may be
  • Plan ahead, because your income amount now impacts your surcharges in the future

Medicare IRMAA surcharges will certainly impact your budget because you’re required to pay more for Medicare if surcharges are higher.

Are you charitably inclined?

If you like to donate to charity, it’s also an opportunity to help offset your tax burden. A lot of unique strategies can be employed in this realm. People who give money to charity can leverage:

  • Qualified charitable distribution, for anyone who is over 70 1/2. You can use one of these distributions to lower your tax burden. For example, if you take money from your IRA and have the check written straight to an approved 501(c)(3) charity so that it is never deposited to your bank account, the donated amount will not be reported as taxable income to you.
  • Anyone who reaches the age of RMDs (70 ½ or older) can also use this strategy. For example, if your RMD is $20,000, you can funnel $10,000 to charity using the same method above and only have $10,000 of your RMD be taxable.
  • Bunching contributions or setting up a donor-advised fund is also an option. For example, if you donate $10,000 a year to charity, it’s possible that you may not exceed the standard deduction and therefore, will not receive any tax benefit for your $10,000 donation. So instead, you can combine multiple years of donations together. If you were to combine 3 years of donating $10,000 a year into a one-time donation of $30,000, you can deduct the entire $30,000 in the year the donation occurs. This would give you a greater chance of exceeding the standard deduction and receiving a greater tax benefit by doing so.

Did you in 2023 or will you in 2024 receive a windfall?

If you receive a windfall, such as inheritance, lump sum payment, stocks, Roth conversion or some other major influx of money, you may need to make an estimated tax payment. If you don’t make one of these payments, the IRS can assess a penalty against you.

An estimated tax payment alleviates the penalty because if you’re within a certain percentage of what you owe, the IRS will be satisfied, and you can make any remaining payments at the time your taxes are filed.

A tax or financial advisor can help you with these estimated taxes.

Have there been any changes to your marital status?

If you got married or divorced, or your spouse passed on, it can have an impact on your taxes. Married filing single and married filing jointly are two very different things. Consulting with a tax professional about your situation can help you decide on how to handle your filing status this year.

You Have a Little Extra Money in the Bank

If you’ve had a good year and have made more money than expected, you may want to save some money. One thing that’s common is to put money into a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you are on a high-deductible health insurance plan.

For 2023, you’ll be able to put money into an HSA up to:

  • $3,850 if you’re single
  • $7,750 if you have a family health insurance plan
  • $1,000 extra if you’re over 55

These numbers will change in 2024.

The beauty of an HSA is that you can let the money in the account grow tax-deferred and then use the money for your medical needs. If you leave the money in the account until you’re 65, it can also act as a retirement fund.


If you didn’t max out your 401(k), you can put up to $22,500 in the account in 2023 and an extra $7,500 if you’re over 50.

Roth IRA

If you’re eligible, you can put money into a Roth account. You can pull the money out of this account if you need it in the future.

529 Account

If you have kids or grandchildren and want to fund their college education, you can put money into a 529 account for them. You can fund this account with a gift exclusion of $17,000. There’s also a strategy to get up to $85,000 out of your estate and into one of these accounts, but you should work with a tax professional on this strategy.


If you met your deductible for your insurance this year, try to get any of your medical needs met now because you won’t be paying for it. Working to get these procedures done now before you must pay your deductible again is an efficient means of using your insurance.

Depending on when you read this, don’t forget that open enrollment takes place in November and December.

Evaluate your Medicare and Supplement programs because there may be advantages to switching.

Estate Planning

Whether it’s the beginning or end of the year, you’ll want to focus on your estate plan. Review all your beneficiaries, including on your:

  • 401(k)
  • IRA
  • Brokerage account
  • Savings account

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but we’ve covered some main points that are really important going into the final weeks of the year.

Click here to request a checklist with all these key items.

December 4, 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 December 4, 2023

Anne Rhodes – Estate Planning in Retirement – Simplified

Listen in to learn about the importance of documents like the HIPAA form, certification of trust, and why you should consider a trust versus a will. You will also learn how is set up to reduce estate planning friction and simplify estate planning for financial advisors and their clients.


Estate Planning in Retirement – Simplified

Estate planning is a topic we often discuss with our clients. If you’re in the middle of retirement planning and trying to secure your retirement, an estate plan is something you want on your “to-do” list. Anne Rhodes, the Chief Legal Officer of, joined us on our latest podcast, where she provides a simplified rundown of estate planning for our audience.

Estate Planning – Simplified

Estate planning is a topic we often discuss with our clients. If you’re in the middle of retirement planning and trying to secure your retirement, an estate plan is something you want on your “to-do” list.

Anne Rhodes, the Chief Legal Officer of, joined us on our latest podcast, where she provides a simplified rundown of estate planning for our audience.

What Core Documents Make Up an Estate Plan?

Everyone – no matter the size of the estate – can break their estate plan into two large buckets. 

  • Bucket 1: Passing Away and Death: Who will step into your shoes? Who will help distribute these assets? Where are these assets going?
  • Bucket 2: Incapacity: Incapacitation remains a serious question because if you’re no longer able to make decisions on your own, you can assign someone you trust to assist you in this area.

Documents in a standard estate package should include a will, even if you have a living trust. Both a will and a living trust are key components of an estate plan. Even if you have a living trust, you’ll need a pour-over will.

A pour-over will is what initiates your asset transfer into a living trust at the time of your death if they’re not already in the trust.

You have a whole other set of documents that you need to think about with incapacitation:

  • Financial Power of Attorney: A financial document that allows someone to have signature authority over your matters for any financial documents that you must sign.
  • Advanced Healthcare Directive: This document may be called something else, such as a healthcare proxy or healthcare power of attorney.

HIPAA Form Purpose

A HIPAA document is a great example of a healthcare directive. When it comes to medical privacy, your agent acting on your behalf with an advanced healthcare directive does not have the power to access your private medical records unless the HIPAA is signed.

If your doctor does not have a HIPAA release on file, they cannot share pertinent information with the person that you want to make medical decisions on your behalf.

As you can imagine, if the person handling your healthcare decisions cannot access your medical information, they cannot make the best decisions for you.

Certificate of Trust

A certification of trust, also known as a certificate of trust, accompanies a living trust. This certification accompanies a living or revocable trust. What this certification of trust does is allow your bank to know that:

  • Your trust exists
  • You’re the trustee
  • The trust is 100% legitimate 

A certificate of trust is very important for streamlining your trust and ensuring that there are no issues along the way.

Trust vs. a Will

A living trust and revocable trust are the two most common forms of a trust because they’re a substitute for a will.

If you die without a will, your estate will go through a process called “probate.” Even if you have a will, your estate may still go through probate. A judge will be assigned during probate and must sign off on asset transfers. As you can imagine, involving a judge in every decision can take a while – especially in some states.

Court systems are handling a lot of cases, and if you’re in one of these states, a trust can help you avoid probate.

Probate also goes through the public system, which allows anyone to dig in and find information on what transpired during the probate process. In terms of privacy, you can keep much of your estate planning private with the help of a trust.

You may also have a trust because:

  • You own multiple properties across many states
  • You want to avoid probate in each state where you own property

If you secure your retirement and want to keep your estate out of probate, a trust is one of the best ways to achieve this goal.

Attorney Estate Planning vs (or similar platforms)

Digital platforms allow us to offer a simplified process of estate planning to our clients. Some clients are unsure if using an online platform like is the same as working with an estate planner. provides access to financial planners and similar professionals, streamlining the way that people create an estate plan.

Most people in the US can use and go through the entire estate plan on their own. You must fill in forms online, which can speed up the process to make it much faster than working with a lawyer one-on-one.

Anne’s company,, has had 70+ platform reviews from legal professionals, ensuring everything is accurate.

You can create a trust in 36 minutes with a platform like, breaking down barriers that exist with meeting with a lawyer.

 Can all families be helped with an online platform like

No. There are special case examples where we cannot serve certain families well, such as special needs children. is undergoing a survey to better help these clients. If, during the onboarding process, you answer that you have one of these situations, you will be prompted to find someone who specializes in these areas.

Do online platforms offer any personal help?

You may have one-off questions that you need answered when forming a trust, creating a will, and so on. Many platforms will not provide direct assistance in this area, but they may have an attorney network who will be available to you. vs other platforms

We’ve seen many legal platforms that attempt to help in numerous areas of law, and this is where things can kind of get messy. focuses on estate planning only and has built a team that can help in complex estate matters, whereas many do-it-all platforms cannot.

Since you must connect with financial advisors to use the platform, you also receive additional help you wouldn’t otherwise.

Note: You need to work with a professional advisor, like Peace of Mind Wealth, who grants you access to and can walk you through the process. If you just go to the website, you won’t be able to access the wealth of tools available.

Once you’ve filled out all the estate planning documents, printed them out and notarized them as needed, your estate plan is in place.

If you’re interested in financial planning and want to add an estate plan into the mix, feel free to reach out to us.

Click here to schedule a call with us today.

November 27, 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 November 27, 2023

Rae Dawson – The Basics About a CCRC in Retirement – Part 2

In this episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, join Rae Dawson as she breaks down the fundamentals of CCRC, covering everything from costs and waitlists to choosing the right time to make the move. Ever wondered about the factors influencing CCRC expenses? Rae delves into that, offering insights on what to consider when evaluating the cost of a CCRC. Now, imagine this: How might being flexible in your requirements help you sidestep a potentially lengthy waitlist, which can stretch anywhere from 4 to 15 years?  

The Basics About a CCRC in Retirement – Part 2

How does the choice of location impact the cost of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)?  The expenses associated with CCRC are influenced by the contract type and community location. Living in a sought-after real estate location may come with a higher price tag compared to a more rural setting. As you contemplate the costs of CCRC, it’s crucial to factor in…

The Basics About a CCRC in Retirement – Part 2

Rae Dawson is back with us this week to continue our series on CCRC (continuing care retirement community) and how it fits into your retirement planning. While much of this information is going to relate to your area, it is focused on Raleigh, NC.

Note: If you missed Part 1 of this series, click here to read it. You can also listen to the podcast version here.

To  listen to this Episode CLICK HERE

Triangle Area CCRC Costs

CCRC costs are driven by the type of contract and community location. If you’re in a popular real estate area, you can expect to pay more than if you’re in a rural area. When thinking about the cost of a CCRC, you need to consider:

  • Buy-in
  • Monthly fee

Rental CCRCs are different than traditional ones because they do not have a buy-in, and monthly fees are much higher. Today we will be doing a deeper dive into Traditional CCRC costs.

For a traditional CCRC, you’ll often have 2 contract options: a single occupant contract, or a double occupant contract. The second occupant is often a spouse, friend, or sibling. Typically, no more than two people can live in a residency. 

In the Triangle area, a buy-in for one of these communities ranges from $60,000 for a studio, and up to $990,000 for an extensive contract cottage. A higher buy-in rate for the extensive contract cottage because you’re paying for your higher level of care upfront. The buy-in is a one-time cost.

For double occupancy, your buy-in could be anywhere from $140,000 for a studio to $1,065,000 for a cottage. Why does the studio buy-in jump up for double occupancy? Most communities will not allow double occupancy in a studio.

Often, if your buy-in is on the lower end of the range, the community’s policy is if you leave the community after 15 months, your buy-in return is $0. However, if your buy-in is on the higher end, some communities offer a 100% return of the buy-in to your estate. If you secure your retirement and want to leave money to your heirs, it’s often best to pay the higher buy-in so that they receive the buy-in amount back.

What is a Cottage?

A cottage, in this sense, is a single-family home. The buy-in price is driven by square footage. A larger cottage may be 3,000 square feet, so a 600 square foot studio will cost significantly less. When moving to a CCRC, you have a lot of activities that you can engage in at the common area of the community. You’ll likely spend less time in a cottage by yourself, so downsizing is often a great option.

Different communities may have different names for types of homes. You may hear “duplex”, “triplex”, “apartment”, etc., in addition to studio and cottage. Keep in mind that the buy-in prices are driven by square footage if the different names for types of homes becomes confusing. 

Monthly CCRC Costs

On top of your buy-in costs, you also have monthly fees. For a Traditional CCRC, there are ranges for the monthly fees:

  • Single person studio is as little as $2,150 per month
  • Cottage can run as high as $8,000 per month
  • Double-occupancy, one-bedroom ranges from $4,580 to $9,840 per month

In most cases, some meals, cable television, most utilities, transportation to and from the doctor’s office, gym or pool access, and some other perks may be included in the monthly fee. It’s important to know what amenities are included in the monthly fee, as they vary between communities and are probably things you pay for on an individual basis before living in a CCRC. 

Qualifying for a CCRC

A general rule of thumb when pursuing a Traditional CCRC is that your monthly income should be at least 2 times the amount of the monthly fee. Your assets should be greater than 3 times the amount of your buy-in fee. If you’re moving into a $2,150 studio, your monthly income should be $5,000 to support this.

Traditional CCRCs will feel comfortable with allowing you to move in if you meet these income and asset requirements.

I’m Ready to Go. What’s the Waitlist on a CCRC?

CCRCs often have a waitlist because they’re in high demand and communities aren’t opening up at an adequate rate to meet the demand. It is not uncommon for a waitlist period to be 4 – 15 years. However, if you’re flexible with your floor plan requirements, you may be able to circumvent these long wait times.

In some communities, you can remain on the waitlist for your ideal floor plan and switch to your ideal unit in the future, but it’s often discouraged. What a lot of communities will do is allow you to downsize. Let’s say that you’re in a 3,000-square-foot cottage and one spouse dies. You would rather move to a smaller footprint, and the community may allow you to do this.

However, do not put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, you’ll want to be on multiple waitlists at a time. If you receive a serious diagnosis, you may be prohibited from entering a CCRC. It’s always best to have multiple options.

Joining a CCRC Waitlist

If you want to join a waitlist, there are steps that you’ll need to take to make all this work. You’ll need to:

  • Pay an application fee. It’s typically about $300, and it’s not refundable
  • Provide general financial and health information 
  • Moving from a waitlist to a ready list will involve providing your financial statements

Communities will run a financial assessment before accepting you onto a waitlist, knowing the waitlist period is 4-15 years. You will also need to pay a $1,000 – $5,000 waitlist fee, which is refundable if you choose not to move to that community. If you do move to that community, the fee will be applied to your buy-in.

What Age Should You Start Looking Into a CCRC?

Today, the average CCRC entry age is 75. People are moving into these communities earlier than in the past due to competition and the attractive convenient amenities. The average age of a community may be 80 – 85. People who live in CCRCs often live longer than the normal person, with some living until 90 – 100.

Most communities require 6 months to 3 years of being healthy to move into a CCRC, so you can live more independently for longer.

If you wait too long and fall into bad health, you may not be able to move into one of these communities. Entering a CCRC early allows you to build friends and relationships early on, which is a nice perk of living in any type of community.

How to Decide What to Do

If you decide that you want to move to a CCRC, now you’ll need to choose the right community for you. You’ll want to think about quite a few different points, such as:

  • Family health history. Have your relatives lived through age 90 with few health issues? If so, you may not want to pre-pay for an extensive stay with higher levels of care. 
  • Do you have long-term care insurance? Your insurance may help pay for a higher level of care.
  • Location. If all your friends and family are in one location, you’ll likely want to stay in their area.
  • Cost. It can be challenging to compare contract types and communities without a lot of organization first. 

However, you will find there is one thing that’s even more important than all these points: culture and community. Visit multiple communities and find one that fits you and makes you feel comfortable. If you’re not visiting multiple communities, you may miss out on finding the community culture that is best for you.

Want to reach out to Rae Dawson to learn more about CCRCs? Email

Still working on your retirement?

Click here for our latest book: Secure Your Retirement.

November 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 November 20, 2023

Andrew Opdyke – 2023 End-of-Year Economic Update

In this Episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, Radon and Murs speak with Andrew Opdyke about a 2023 end-year economic update and the expected shift in the economy in 2024. Andrew is a Certified Financial Advisor and Economist at First Trust Advisor. Listen in to learn about the impact of the concentration of investments in the top ten companies and when the market broadening will happen. You will also learn about things to consider when expanding your investment portfolio in 2024…  

2023 End-of-Year Economic Update

Andrew Opdyke is back with us to get his insight on the broad economy. He’s been on our show multiple times, and he’s returned with his 2023 end-of-year economic update that everyone should listen to at least once. Whether you’re trying to secure your retirement or in the middle of retirement planning, it’s always important to keep a pulse on the market.

2023 End-of-Year Economic Update

Andrew Opdyke is back with us to get his insight on the broad economy. He’s been on our show multiple times, and he’s returned with his 2023 end-of-year economic update that everyone should listen to at least once.

Whether you’re trying to secure your retirement or in the middle of retirement planning, it’s always important to keep a pulse on the market.

October-November 2023 Economic Update

October was an interesting month due to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and inflation remaining stubbornly high. Economic data came in stronger than anticipated, but there were still some concerns.

November 1st, the Fed’s meeting was a sigh of relief for many when they announced that maybe they’re “done” with trying to tame inflation. Perhaps rate hikes may remain on pause for now.

Rate easing may be ahead in 2024, which is what a lot of economists are hoping will occur.

However, as anyone who follows the market knows, just two weeks prior to these reports, there were just too many concerns that inflation may last a little longer. We just don’t have all the data yet to say if 2024 will see interest rates fall, stay the same, or even go a tad bit higher. Right now, as of mid-November, the New Year looks promising.

We’ll need to watch the data to better understand the ebbs and flows of the market right now.

Concerns of Investors Outside of the Magnificent 7 Stocks in the Market

When looking at the S&P 500, it has performed well this year when you include the stocks that are the “magnificent 7.” What are these stocks? They’re high performers that carry the market and include big names:

  1. Alphabet
  2. Amazon
  3. Apple
  4. Meta
  5. Microsoft
  6. Nvidia
  7. Tesla

If you remove these seven stocks from the market, you’ll notice that the market is down in an equal weight market. The percentage of companies beating the index is at a 20- or 30-year low. Equal weight provides a better picture of what’s transpiring in the market, which would show most stocks are either flat or slightly down.

How much are people paying for the top 10 companies in the index? Many investors are paying a multiple of 25 to 30 for these ten stocks and a multiple of 17 for others.

What does this all mean? The top stocks need to continue performing well for the overall market to recover. Andrew would like to see a broader market rise, in which dozens of stocks are lifting the market, and believes that it will take some time to materialize.

Will the Economy Land or Take Off?

Soft landing. Hard landing. A lot of terms are thrown around for the economy and how it will end up after the pandemic and the high level of inflation that we’ve seen. Some economists are of the mindset that the economy won’t land but will take off.

However, Andrew believes that we’re likely to see a soft landing.

What we saw in the third quarter is that companies have excess inventory, which is due to a slowdown in production after COVID. Companies purchased a lot of inventory due to supply chain issues and are likely to:

  • Slow spending over the next 3 – 9 months
  • Avoid some growth initiatives due to high-interest rates

Will we hit a recession? Who knows? A recession has been six months away for 18 months now. Companies are buying less, building is slowing and if we do go into a recession, there’s a good chance that it will be very shallow.

We need to get back to sustainable interest rates without outside influence and stimulus.

Entering into 2024, we should start to learn more about the strength of the markets and economy without any outside influence building it up.

Building an Investment Portfolio to be Recession-proof

If we enter a recession, will interest rates still remain high? Look at companies that have sustainable cash flow, because even Apple must pay the high interest rates of today when they take out a loan and they add tens of billions in free cash flow quarterly.

Investors will want to dive into balance sheets and see which companies can fund their own projects without loans.

You should also look at:

  • Smaller companies with healthy cash flow
  • Exposure to small- medium- and large-cap stocks
  • Potentially add international stocks

Recalibrating your portfolio to deal with the unknowns and still have exposure to potentially risky technology.

Hamas and Israel Conflict

The United States has been sending money to Ukraine and is now funneling money to Israel. Ongoing events like these play into how the economy will look in the future.

The main risk of this new conflict is in the energy markets.

If Iran or others enter the conflict, it can lead to higher energy markets and a further rise in inflation. Economic repercussions of the Israel and Hamas war are likely to be a lot less than even Ukraine and Russia.

Trade conflicts and fracturing are occurring, and the US is doing a good job by determining who our strong trade partners are and reallocating our investments to these countries. We’re importing less from China and are trading more with:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Japan

We have shuffled back and pulled away from China, pushing them from the first to the third trade partner that we have.

AI and the Hype Around It

Cryptocurrency was a major trend in past years, followed by blockchain. Now, we’re seeing a lot of people harp on the idea of AI. We’re at a point where we were with the Internet first coming about, where companies knew that the landscape of the way we work was changing.

What does AI mean for us?

The environment and world are changing. Some professions may become obsolete, and some new jobs may be created. If you look at the top 10 companies in 1999 and today, only two remain: Microsoft and Exxon.

AI may be won by the biggest companies, but if history repeats itself, we’ll see some companies born out of AI that may change the world. We may see the next Facebook or Meta created, and it may be a company everyone is overlooking.

What are you Most Worried About?

Geopolitical issues that are popping up, and more are likely to be added, are a major risk to the economy right now. China is likely to see a more difficult path in the next 10 – 20 years. We’re also entering an election year, and the negative side of the election can cause market fluctuations.

Escalation of Russia and Poland, Iran entering the Israel and Hamas war or China invading Taiwan can all effect the economy. 

What are You Most Excited About?

AI excites Andrew, and he believes that while the technology is likely to change the world, in the next 24 – 36 months, we may see some major changes thanks to AI. Humanity is “fighting the fight,” with more people being literate and doing some amazing things.

We’re seeing how dementia has been in decline in the last decade, and as a whole, we have more people than ever trying to solve problems that have plagued the world around us.

Andrew is unbelievably excited to see how human potential is being unleashed.

Need help reviewing your retirement plan? Schedule a free 15-minute call with us today.

November 13, 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 November 13, 2023

Rae Dawson – The Basics About a CCRC in Retirement

In this Episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, Radon and Murs have Rae Dawson to discuss the basics of Continuous Care Retirement Communities (CCRC). Rae is a CCRC expert and spent her original career primarily managing people and projects in high-tech in Silicon Valley for many years before gaining an interest in CCRC. She explains what it means for a facility/community to be a CCRC and why most assisted care facilities are not CCRCs.  

The Basics About a CCRC

Rae Dawson was a special guest on our podcast this past week, and she was happy to talk to us about a very important topic: CCRC. If you don’t know what a CCRC is, don’t worry. We’re going to cover that in just a few seconds. But before we do, let’s learn more about Rae and why we’re so excited to have her on our show.

The Basics of a CCRC

Rae Dawson was a special guest on our podcast this past week, and she was happy to talk to us about a very important topic: CCRC. If you don’t know what a CCRC is, don’t worry. We’re going to cover that in just a few seconds.

But before we do, let’s learn more about Rae and why we’re so excited to have her on our show.

A Little Bit About Rae Dawson

Rae was mentioned to us by one of our clients, and after a great conversation with her on the phone, we knew that we had to invite her onto the show. She had a career in high-tech and worked in Silicon Valley.

She moved to North Carolina when she retired, and she worked with her friend, who taught a class on CCRC until 2021. Her friend eventually moved into a CCRC herself and Rae has been teaching the class on her own ever since.

What is a CCRC?

A continuous care retirement community (CCRC) is not well-defined and there are a lot of opinions on what a CCRC should include. A CCRC, by Rae’s definition, should offer:

Memory care may or may not be offered, but it’s a nice perk of these communities. 

CCRCs offer a continuum of care while staying within the same community. Most residents live in these communities until they pass on. CCRCs are a topic that we cover when discussing retirement planning with clients, but many people are educating themselves on their community options.

What is the Mindset of People Attending Rae’s CCRC Class?

Educating yourself on CCRCs is important. Most people want to age in place and remain in their family home. However, planners take Rae’s class because they want to know:

  • If aging in place is for them and what that looks like
  • If CCRC is something they might prefer, and what criteria must be met before going into a CCRC

CCRCs are regulated and there are nuances that everyone considering these communities must know about beforehand.

Regulations on CCRCs

Note: We’re going to cover a lot here, and Rae has been kind enough to share some slides with us. We’ll be adding these slides to our YouTube channel for you.

A lot of money and resources go into CCRCs. You plan on living in one and ensuring that you receive the care you need in retirement. Regulations are a safeguard that offers you peace of mind and ensures that the community is “following the rules.”

In North Carolina, where Rae and our team are located, CCRCs are regulated by the NC Department of Insurance. Assisted living and skilled nursing facilities are also regulated by the Department of Health and Human Resources.

The NC Department of Insurance is your best resource for understanding the financial stability of a CCRC.

Luckily, in North Carolina, no CCRC has ever gone bankrupt. One almost went under, and the Department of Insurance stepped in to protect residents and help the community get back on the right financial footing.


Residents buy into these communities and make a significant investment to remain in one.

Familiarize Yourself with the Department of Insurance Website

Rae recommends that all her students familiarize themselves with the NC Department of Insurance website because it’s their go-to source for information. You can:

  • Search the site for CCRCs
  • Read through contract types
  • Read through community disclosure documents
  • Learn about the licensing requirements to be a CCRC
  • Access community search tools

Community search tools allow you to use an interactive search engine or download a PDF on all CCRCs.

If you cannot find a community on the Department of Insurance website, it is not a CCRC. Often, nursing facilities may promote themselves as a continuous care retirement community, but they are not if they’re not on the site.

Browsing through the PDFs on the NC Department of Insurance website, you’ll find great information on each CCRC, such as:

  • Buy-in options
  • Refund options
  • Low and high costs
  • Meals on wheels info
  • Waitlist time

A new interactive portal is also available that makes it simple to browse through all of the CCRCs in the state.

Note: If you’re not in North Carolina, you can often find similar information on your state’s website.

Wait List Notes

CCRCs have limited space, which means there’s a waitlist. We’ve had some clients wait six months, two years, or even longer to get into one of these communities. Some communities have a 12-year waitlist!

CCRC Rating Agencies

Rating agencies for CCRCs do exist, and three of the main ones are: Fitch, CARF, and CMS.


Fitch provides primarily financial liability ratings. The main factor in the Fitch rating is the Debt Service viability. When a CCRC is expanding, the community takes on a lot of debt. However, once complete, the community will sell residency and its rating will rise because it’ll pay off the debt.


Rather than focusing on the financial aspects of a CCRC, these agencies will look at the services provided and the quality evaluations. Communities apply for a CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) rating and pay for the assessment that is done. 

CMS (Medicare)

Medicare will provide quality of care and staffing service ratings for skilled nursing facilities. Note that not all facilities are Medicare-certified, which may sway your decision to join one facility over another.

Note: Remember, the NC Department of Insurance also has a rating system for each community.

Understanding the 5 CCRC Contract Types

1.  Extensive or Type A

An “extensive” contract is the most popular and requires a buy-in plus a monthly fee. No matter what level of care you’re living in, your monthly fee does not increase. You’re pre-paying with your buy-in with a higher upfront cost but a stable monthly cost.

Moving into a Type A CCRC does mean that your doctor will need to state that you’re likely to remain independent for a longer period of time than with other contract types.

2.  Modified or Type B

A modified contract means that you’re buying in for a higher level of care at a subsidized rate or for a fee for a certain number of days. You’ll have a lower buy-in and monthly fee than an Extensive contract, but you’ll be paying more than our next contract type.

3.  Fee for Service or Type C

Fee for Service contracts are exactly what they sound like. You pay for what you receive. While you live in an independent living facility, you’re paying for this level of care. When going into an assisted living area, you’ll pay the going rate for this type of care.

4.  Rental

Rental communities are growing in popularity in North Carolina and do not have an entrance fee. You may need to provide a deposit of two months of rent. These communities do provide access to higher levels of care at the going rate.

What we do want to point out is that Rental communities are for-profit while the other communities that we’ve mentioned are non-profit.

Traditional CCRCs are beneficial because they will often offer a benevolent fund, which means that if you move into one of their communities and you run into money issues, they will not make you move communities. However, they may require you to move to a smaller footprint within the community that is less expensive.

Rental communities will make you move out of the community if you cannot continue paying.

5.  Equity

An equity contract comes with a real estate transaction because you’re buying the residence that you move into. The real estate transaction allows you to buy the home and contract with the community for a higher level of care services.

The cost of the contract with the community is roughly 10% of the cost of the unit you purchase.

While there is not a structured classification, equity contracts are, more or less, a fee-for-service type of structure for higher levels of care.

Which CCRC Contract is Best?

Rae finds that no single community is best for everyone. If you have long-term care insurance, your choice for a community may be different than someone else’s. Why? Your insurance can help you cover the financial requirements of the facility.

Extensive contracts with long-term care are often a good choice because you may pay less once long-term care kicks in.

A few things to consider when choosing a CCRC contract are:

  • Current level of health
  • Family health history
  • Do you think you’ll need a higher level of care for a long period of time?

Rae’s former co-teacher chose a fee-for-service community because she didn’t want to pay for any services that she may not use.

In terms of quality of care, you’ll find that the quality of care across all contracts is about the same. You will receive the same great care in a Rental community as you will in an Extensive one.

Many residents who are tired of caring for their homes will often go to a Rental community. The community allows them to avoid the buy-in and gives them the freedom to move to another community or move into their kid’s home if they wish.

Rental communities do have a lease that is 12 months, but you will need to pay some costs upfront.

We’ve asked Rae to come back onto our show, because we’ve really just covered the basics of CCRC here. We plan on covering this topic more in-depth in the future, so be on the lookout for more episodes with Rae if you want to learn more about CCRC.

If you want to learn more about CCRCs with Rae, you can contact her directly at

November 6, 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 November 6, 2023

The Art of a Risk-Adjusted Portfolio in Retirement

In this Episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, Radon and Murs discuss the art of building a risk-adjusted portfolio. When building a risk-adjusted portfolio, it’s important to identify your personal risk preference and choose the best model to structure your investment portfolio. Listen in to learn the key differences between passive and active investment styles and the benefits of each in helping you reach your goals.


The Art of a Risk-Adjusted Portfolio

We’re excited to talk to you about a conversation that we have with every client surrounding risk. Clients who are further away from retirement often don’t mind taking on more risk with retirement planning. However, when you inch closer to retirement age, you want to do everything you can to secure your retirement, and maybe want to take on less risk.

The Art of a Risk-Adjusted Portfolio

We’re excited to talk to you about a conversation that we have with every client surrounding risk. Clients who are further away from retirement often don’t mind taking on more risk with retirement planning.

However, when you inch closer to retirement age, you want to do everything you can to secure your retirement, and maybe want to take on less risk.

A risk-adjusted portfolio is how we perform a balancing act between risk and growth to help you achieve peace of mind in retirement. This is our philosophy, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for everyone.

How We Determine Risk Tolerance

Imagine this scenario. The stock market goes up and you’re happy with the gains. However, economic issues cause the market or bonds to swing in the other direction and now you’re down 10, 15, or 20 percent.

At which level do you start to lose sleep at night?

Imagine that you have $1 million to invest and want to go with a moderate portfolio. Most clients believe that they would prefer this option. However, are you comfortable with:

  • 20% – 25% losses?
  • How about $200,000 – $250,000 losses?

Often, a percentage doesn’t sound that bad until you see the actual dollar amount. Losing $100,000 or 10% of loss is concerning. You may see these figures and be okay with this level of loss, but most of our clients do not have this much of a risk threshold before they begin to lose sleep.

If you’re uncomfortable with losing money at this level, we’ll recommend a risk-adjusted portfolio.

The Two Styles of Investing

Investing can come in two main styles with a bunch of deviations along the way.

Passive Management

Your passive management, such as a 401(k), is common for a lot of people just starting to think about their retirement. You funnel some money into the account, allot 50% to large caps, 25% to medium caps and 25% to small-cap stocks.

In terms of management, you may make a small adjustment quarterly or annually, but you don’t do much more management than that.

You contribute to the account and bet that, in the long run, the market will prevail. For all intents and purposes, this is a passive management strategy. 

Younger investors may be fine with passive investing because, in 30 years, they may not be retired. When you’re 55 or older, you don’t have the luxury of 30 years for market corrections.

Active Management

An active management strategy is more hands-on and may include active money managers and financial advisors.

Hedge funds may work to actively manage your account to outperform the stock market to the best of their ability. You may also have active management on the side of protecting against significant market drawdowns.

The active manager will make changes to the portfolio to move your money around and reduce your risk of losses.

During the pandemic, we actively managed our clients’ accounts and moved a lot of money to cash while the market suffered losses. Our clients ended up far better thanks to this approach when compared to the significant losses in the stock market.

Every strategy has years where it outcompetes the others and years when it underperforms the other.

We like to have a portfolio that has multiple parts:

  • Tactical, which is risk on and risk off, depending on what’s happening in the market.
  • Core, which is always invested, but what is invested can be rotated throughout the year. Rotations often occur quarterly.

You can cut your risk considerably by having a tactical and core approach. Risk-adjusted portfolios include multiple layers of investment that will help you reach your retirement goals. Our most common portfolio option is moderate growth.

What a Moderate Growth Portfolio Looks Like

Our moderate growth portfolio has many elements, including:

  • Equity element. In the equity element, there are strategic, core and tactical investments. If we go into a period of high volatility, the core will remain invested because things are okay over time. The tactical area will begin to adjust to hedge risk by reducing equity exposure and moving toward fixed asset exposure.
  • Structured notes. If you’re still not comfortable with the risks, we will move into structured notes. These notes are available to our clients due to our buying power. We negotiate with the banks, structure a note, and have a rate of return. Right now, the annualized return for these notes is 7% – 11%, so they’re much better than a CD or money rate. Structured notes have inherent risks, but they’re lower than most other options.

A breakdown of our moderate growth portfolio right now is:

  • 38% in the core sleeve, always investing and rotating based on the equity market
  • 38% in the tactical sleeve, which we can turn risk on and off as necessary
  • 24% (max) in structured notes

Structured notes help smooth out a portfolio, especially when you have ups and downs like we’re seeing in 2023. These notes often include a coupon, which offers interest on the account every month.

If a scenario occurs where we need lower equity exposure, we may move into a moderately conservative portfolio that adds bonds or ETFs as a way to lower exposure. We would likely put 30% core, 30% tactical, 24% structured notes and 16% in fixed income.

Our most conservative portfolio will include:

Clients who don’t want much risk in their portfolio benefit most from this type of portfolio. Many people don’t want 100% risk of the S&P 500, which, over the last 30 years, is a 58% drawdown.

You would lose $580,000 of your $1 million portfolio in the scenario above.

Risk will fluctuate throughout your retirement funding, but when you reach closer to the time when you can finally retire, it often makes sense to mitigate risk as much as possible. You have a dream retirement in mind, and we want to help you reach it.

It takes 15 – 20 minutes for us to have a risk tolerance assessment with you to help you understand what your personal risk preference is because it will let you have the most peace of mind.

Click here to schedule a call with us today to have us run a risk assessment for you.