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Retirement Starts Today Radio

Benjamin Brandt wants to teach you how to retire! Listen in as Benjamin Brandt CFP©, RICP© answers the questions on the minds of the modern retiree, often joined by the top experts in the retirement planning industry. Ask Benjamin a question here: https://retirementstartstodayradio.com/ask-a-question/
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Now displaying: April, 2020
Apr 27, 2020

On this episode of Retirement Starts Today I want to share with you the retirement questions I received through my Friday Office Hours. Office Hours is an online space where I am available to answer any financial questions that come to mind. Over the past 2 weeks, we’ve had a great turn out with about 50 people joining each session. If you want to come to Office Hours make sure you are signed up for my Every Day is Saturday newsletter to get the invite. The next Office Hours session is on Friday, May 1 at 10:30 am CDT. Listen in to hear these retirement questions from my Office Hours session on April 24, 2020.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] The solvency of the PBGC
  • [7:00] Do I still recommend delaying Social Security until age 70?
  • [15:34] How will the new money being pumped into the economy affect inflation?
  • [18:15] Tax diversification
  • [22:14] Should deflation be a worry?

What do I think about the solvency of the PBGC?

The PBGC or the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation is a private insurance company that insures pensions. This corporation is a safety net for private pension plans. Many people are choosing to cash out their pensions in favor of a lump sum. The lump-sum payments are artificially high right now due to low interest rates which and this fact has put extra stress on the PBGC. Whether or not the PBGC remains solvent should not affect your decision to take a lump sum or to keep your pension. 

How you should decide whether to take a lump-sum payment or a pension

The solvency of the PBGC shouldn’t play much of a role in your decision to take a lump sum or an annuity, instead, you should first consider other factors. First, consider your lifestyle and then do the math, after you have done both of these things then you can factor in whether you think the PBGC will remain solvent. You should really think about how much flexibility you need with your money. If you need a lot of flexibility the lump sum is the right choice for you. But if you are risk-averse then the annuity is your best bet. You’ll also want to factor in your own longevity and how much you value simplicity. Next, you’ll want to factor in the math. Listen in to hear all the factors that you should consider when making this decision.

How will the new money being pumped into the economy affect inflation?

We have been printing money for years and that should have led to inflation but it hasn’t yet. This also should have led to high gold prices but that hasn’t happened either. None of the things are happening the way the textbooks told us they would. This may be due to technological advances leading to deflation or it could be because the dollar is the reserve currency of the world. Learn how to outgrow inflation by listening in. 

A strategy for tax diversification 

In an ideal world, you would start your retirement with 30% of your assets in a Roth IRA, 30% in tax-deferred accounts like IRAs, and the last 30% in a brokerage account. This would give you a lot of flexibility to live life how you really want. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have our assets perfectly distributed so we need to consider how we can diversify our assets before we reach age 72. It’s important to figure out what your RMD’s will be and planning your taxes. Find out about tax diversification and the answers to many other questions on this episode of Retirement Starts Today. 

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Apr 20, 2020

You may have gotten your stimulus check last week, but whether or not you have received the funds you may still have stimulus check questions. On this episode, I’ll answer several common questions surrounding the stimulus checks. I’ll also highlight some positive news for most of us. Positive news is hard to find today so let’s relish it a bit! Listen in to get your stimulus check questions answered and bask in the glow of some happy news. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:22] will you be benefitting from auto insurance discounts?
  • [4:45] Did you receive your stimulus check this past week?
  • [6:15] Questions surrounding the stimulus check

Is your car insurance going to give you money?

When I see good news I want to spread it far and wide, especially during these trying times. Since there has been less traffic on the roads there have been fewer car accidents which, in turn, has led to fewer car insurance claims. Many insurance companies have decided to pass their savings back to their policyholders. Listen in to hear whether your insurance company is one of those that are offering discounts or refunds.

We all have stimulus check questions

The Senate passed the stimulus package bill in record time and the treasury started rolling out the money even faster. Our government wanted to get the money in the hands of the citizens as soon as possible. We all have questions about the stimulus checks that we will be receiving soon. So, I thought I would do some digging since there is so much information out there it can be difficult to determine what is true and what is false. 

Will this stimulus check eat into my 2020 tax refund?

One of the biggest questions people have is whether this federal benefit is simply an advance on next year’s tax refund. Thankfully I was able to find a reliable source that could help me answer this question. The answer is no. This is considered a special tax credit and is simply an addition to anything you might have otherwise expected. 

Will this money count toward my taxable income for 2020?

The stimulus funds aren’t considered income so the money is not taxable and it won’t affect your tax bracket for 2020. Some people also wonder whether they will still get a stimulus check if they don’t normally receive tax refunds. Eligibility for a refund check is determined by your 2018 or 2019 AGI. If you look at line 8b on your 2018 1040 or line 7 on the 2019 tax return you will see your AGI. You can check the status of your refund on the IRS website. Did you receive your stimulus check this past week? Listen in to hear more questions about the stimulus money answered. 

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Apr 13, 2020

We all know that scammers are out there looking for the next opportunity to prey on their targets. The Coronavirus isn’t just a worldwide pandemic, for scammers its an opportunity to try new scams. On this episode of Retirement Starts Today you’ll learn how to spot a Coronavirus scam, stimulus check scam, and a grandparent scam. I also have lots of links to resources for you to learn more about this topic so be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this page when you’re done listening. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:02] Thanks for coming to the webinar
  • [6:02] How to Coronavirus scams
  • [13:22] Stimulus check scams
  • [15:07] Grandparent scams

I’m holding office hours

Since we are all experiencing heightened stress and worry during this pandemic I thought I would try something new. On Friday 4/17 at 10:30 am CDT I’m holding office hours so that we can chat and discuss all things retirement. I’ve had many attendees during my recent webinars, but they aren’t very interactive. During this Zoom meeting, you’ll be able to ask questions. If you are nearing retirement and have worries about the virus, the markets, or anything retirement-related this will a great place to bring your questions. So please join me here on Friday 4/17 at 10:30 CDT

The Coronavirus is a great time for scammers

Anytime is a good time for scammers, but people are even more susceptible to scams during times of stress. The Coronavirus has brought stress upon us all so scammers are having a field day. A plethora of new scams have sprung up during the past few months. These scams range the gamut from apps with viruses, phishing emails, Robo phone calls, and so many others. Listen in to hear how to identify a Coronavirus scam and find out what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from these tricksters. 

Stimulus payment scams

The thought of $1200 per person has scammers ready to pounce. Your stimulus check is not in the mail. Paper checks won’t arrive until May. If you receive a paper check for more than you were expecting it’s probably a scam. Remember the IRS call, text, or email you to ask you for your bank account information. If you need information about your stimulus check go directly to their website irs.gov/coronavirus

Grandparent scams with a new Coronavirus twist

Grandma, I’m sick in the hospital, please wire money right away! Grandpa, I’m stuck overseas and can’t get home, please send me money! These old scams can pull at the heartstrings even more in these challenging times. You are probably savvy enough not to fall for these types of tricks but maybe someone you know and love could be easy prey. Do them a favor and educate them about these tactics. Listen in to hear about all the different types of Coronavirus scams and what you can do to help the ones you love not fall for them. 

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Apr 6, 2020

Everyone is talking about buying the dip, but what is the best way to do that? I’m not an investment advisor, but since the stock market has taken a serious downturn, now may be a good time to consider your overall investment strategy. That’s why I’ve invited investing expert, Lawrence Hamtil, co-founder of Fortune Financial Advisors, to chat with me about the ups and downs of investing after the recent stock market collapse. Listen in on this discussion to hear the pros and cons of buying the dip, investment timelines when buying today, and exceptional industries that have stood the tests of time. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] He does custom portfolios for clients
  • [2:35] What should people look for when buying the dip?
  • [4:18] What kind of timeline should you consider when investing today?
  • [5:44] How to pick and choose?
  • [7:50] How much time should you spend studying the stocks before investing?
  • [11:05] What do some of the exceptional industries have in common?

What should people look for when buying the dip?

Now that the stock market has dropped everyone is talking about buying the dip, but how should an individual investor approach this? Lawrence recommends sticking to your investment strategy. You need to have an idea of how much of your portfolio you want committed to a particular sector. Once you establish that then it is important to stay within the confines of your plan and rebalance as necessary. He points out that sometimes rebalancing can be a challenge, but the best time to rebalance is when your portfolio is off-kilter. Stay within your target allocations rather than focusing on the daily moves of the market.

What kind of timeline should you consider when investing today?

Investing in today’s market can be a bit nerve-wracking, but in the long-term, it can really pay off. The stocks of many large corporations are down 20-80%. But that just means that you are getting more for your money now than just a few months ago. The investment that you make today won’t immediately bear fruit and it could take up to 5-10 years to really pay off. Rather than trying to pick individual winners and losers a better strategy is to make broad sector bets. 

How much research should you do before investing?

It is important to understand how a company drives revenue before you purchase their stock. Some important questions to ask are: How do they compete? How does the company react to crises? And how does buying that stock fit into your individual thesis? Don’t just study the company before you invest. It is important to study the behavior of the company while you hold the investment. Listen in to hear what else you can consider when investing in individual stocks.

What do exceptional industries have in common?

We all know that many companies’ valuations have taken a nosedive, but there are some exceptions to note. Tobacco, food, and defense are some examples of industries that are insulated. Some of these are historically undervalued or underappreciated. Think about what can be learned from this downturn. How will this affect your investment strategy going forward? Keep your eyes open to see which companies survive and why. 

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