May 6, 2024 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 May 6, 2024

Downsizing In Retirement

In this Episode of the Secure Your Retirement Podcast, Radon, Murs, and Nick discuss downsizing in retirement. Scenarios such as lifestyle preferences and financial needs are what make downsizing a consideration for retirees. Listen in to learn how we use practical scenarios to help clients…  

Downsizing In Retirement

Nick Hymanson, CFP® from our office, joined us this week on our latest podcast, where we talked about something many people overlook in their retirement planning: downsizing.  Nick often meets with clients to review their retirement focused financial plan, making sure…

Downsizing In Retirement

Nick Hymanson, CFP® from our office, joined us this week on our latest podcast, where we talked about something many people overlook in their retirement planning: downsizing. 

Nick often meets with clients to review their retirement focused financial plan, making sure everything is up to date and the clients are happy. Sometimes, there are needed adjustments that are identified, and Nick works with clients to address these as well. 

And one of these adjustments relates to downsizing in retirement. 

We’ve noticed a common conversation recently where some folks are interested in discussing: 

  • Downsizing into a smaller home 
  • Downsizing into a home that’s easier for them to get around in 

Let’s dive deeper into this topic and look at a few scenarios. 

Scenario 1: You’ve Been in Your House for 30 or 40 Years 

Let’s say that you have been in your home for 30 or 40 years. Maybe you raised kids in your home, and it was set up for the lifestyle you had 20 – 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the house isn’t set up for where you may be now, or in 10 years. 

Often, retirees are in a much larger house than they need for the lifestyle they have now, and it would be nice for the main bedroom to be on the first floor. 

Pros and Cons 

In addition to wanting your bedroom on the first floor, you may want: 

  • Fewer stairs 
  • A smaller space that is easier to maintain 

Downsizing may mean worrying less (or not at all) about constant tasks like yard work, stairs, and cleaning additional bathrooms. 

In the Raleigh-Durham area, housing prices have been going up for quite some time.  People are concerned about going into a smaller home that may be even more expensive than the home they are in currently. From a financial perspective, moving to a new home may be an even exchange but the person may lose some square footage and land. 

Depending on the community, landscaping, and some outside work that you may not be able to do on your own may be included. 

Scenario 2: Cash Flow Scenario 

You’re in a beautiful home, but you want to reduce the mortgage and the strain it may have on your financial plan. From a cash flow perspective, downsizing may be a better option and provide peace of mind for the next 10 – 20 years. 

If your house has appreciated in value and you don’t have much to pay off on the mortgage, you might find yourself in a scenario where you can sell your home and buy another one in cash. 

A $1,000 – $3,000 mortgage can have a drastic impact on your financials. 

When we look at a retirement plan, we look at a person’s income and expenses to see where they may be having stress in their finances. For some people, downsizing can either: 

  • Reduce the mortgage 
  • Eliminate it 

If you eliminate the mortgage, you may have the additional cash to travel or have less of a strain on your finances in retirement. 

We talk to clients from the beginning about their homes and if it makes sense to downsize. 

Planning from the start to downsize can offer a realistic view of what freedom selling the house may offer. Of course, not everyone will need to sell their home or have a desire to do so. 

If selling does make more sense from a cash flow or mobility standpoint, then it is something that is worth discussing with a financial advisor. 

Moving to a CCRC is a conversation that we have, too. The CCRC allows you to receive community and care throughout the various stages of retirement, which is also a nice perk. 

What Happens in Our Strategy Meeting 

We have software that allows us to plug in the numbers and look at what your financial decisions today will mean in the future. Let’s assume that your target date for retirement is five years from now. 

In five years, we can simulate: 

  • What the sale price of your home is likely to be in five years 
  • Tax consequences of selling the home 
  • What it looks like if you use the funds to buy into a CCRC or another home that’s better for your scenario 

Our goal is to show you how downsizing in retirement may benefit you. We’re able to see how a lower mortgage (or no mortgage) can benefit your overall cash flow and retirement plan. If you don’t have a $1,000 – $3,000 house payment, it can make a world of difference in your expenses. 

Visualizing all the cash flows through the software helps you feel more confident in your decision, which may or may not be to sell your home. 

We can look at this scenario for you if you have two homes and want to sell one in the future or even if you want to make a large purchase in the future. Seeing the figures of your retirement and how the decisions you make today can shape your retirement is empowering. 

If you need help to secure your retirement, are considering downsizing and want to see how it may benefit you or want to know if you can really afford that once-in-a-lifetime trip, we’re here to have that conversation with you. 

Click here to schedule a call with us to learn more. 

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. 

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.