Info

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/
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Retirement Starts Today Radio
2021
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April


2015
October


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: May, 2020
May 25, 2020

Thanks for participating in the office hours that we’ve held for the past several weeks. Due to that question and answer period, we have exhausted all of our listener questions. But don’t worry we have some interesting articles to discuss on today’s episode. Listen in to learn more about the CARES Act, the lack of inflation, market positions from the big, and why so many people plan to return to work after being laid off. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:42] Financial planning opportunities within the CARES Act
  • [5:02] Taking a coronavirus distribution
  • [8:10] What’s up with inflation?
  • [10:55] The outsized position of FAANG stocks
  • [13:22] 80% of workers think they will return to their previous jobs

Financial planning opportunities within the CARES Act

The CARES Act was recently passed to provide more options to those affected by the COVID situation. This landmark legislation presents savvy with a few financial planning opportunities. The CARES Act has allowed for money saved in employer-sponsored retirement plans to become more readily available. Up to $100,000 can be moved to a less restrictive plan. Another opportunity is if you have already taken your yearly RMD. If you have done so, you have the opportunity to return the money to the account and let it keep growing tax-deferred. 

Be careful when taking a coronavirus distribution

One more benefit from the CARES Act is that if you are under 59 ½ and you take income from a distribution over 3 years without the 10% IRS penalty. This was written into the law to help people economically that have been affected by Coronavirus in some way. If you feel that you qualify to take money out of your IRA it is important to make sure that you only take the amount that you need so that you don’t end up with a hefty tax bill at the end of the year. 

Where’s the inflation?

When the government pumps trillions of dollars into the economy all of the economic textbooks say that there should be inflation. But nothing much is happening. Travel and apparel fell 0.4%, gas dropped 20%, and food costs went up 2.6%. While these numbers are interesting, what do they mean for the average investor? We can learn a lesson from this. Every time we think the market is going to zig, it zags. Remember this when you try to insulate your portfolio from a specific type of risk. There is always a different risk that you weren’t anticipating. The market will always throw you a curveball. Listen in to hear what you can plan for all kinds of risks in retirement. 

80% of laid-off workers believe they will return to their old jobs soon

As the country slowly begins to return to normal after the quarantine over the past couple of months many laid-off workers are optimistic. I find myself sharing their optimistic, albeit cautiously. Typically fewer than half of laid-off workers expect to return to their previous jobs but this time there is hope that things could be different. Only time will tell if this will be the case. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Benjamin Brandt

Subscribe to Retirement Starts Today on

Apple Podcasts,Stitcher,TuneIn,Podbean,Player FM,iHeart, orSpotify

May 18, 2020

Have you been listening to what has been going on in the commodities markets lately? People around the world were shocked when oil prices went negative in the month of May. I didn’t even know that this could happen and I’m a financial professional! This interesting turn of events led me to seek the expertise of someone more knowledgable in the oil commodities sector. This is why I’ve asked oil expert, Dan Eberhart, to come on the show today and explain how the price of oil could drop into negative numbers. We’ll also talk about the importance of diversification and not only in your portfolio. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:02] What the heck happened to oil prices in May?
  • [4:18] Should we start thinking of the city we may end up in?
  • [6:35] Should we avoid the Middle East in our international investments?
  • [9:32] What are the long term implications on oil?
  • [11:58] If we have the capital is it a good idea to invest in oil right now?
  • [13:15] Is the oil industry a viable industry for the future?

How did oil prices drop into negative numbers in May?

The price of oil is actually based on a futures contract. That contract is set for delivery at a certain date and these contracts roll over each month. Oil is traded by commodities brokers who don’t actually take possession of the product. Most people who want to trade in oil don’t actually want to take over the physical delivery of this commodity. What happened in May is that when it was time for the traders to exit and hand over the delivery of the product no one wanted to take it due to the lack of available storage facilities. This caused a panic in the market and sent the price into negative numbers. Listen in to find out if this could happen again. 

Should we start thinking about the city we may end up in?

We all know about the importance of diversification in our portfolios, but have you ever thought about the economical drivers of the town that you live in or want to live in during retirement. If that place’s sole economy lies in one market you may be taking on extra risk. Before purchasing a home in retirement think about what kind of economy drives the place. North Dakota and Texas have strong ties to oil. Wyoming and Pennsylvania are large producers of natural gas. And Silicon Valley and the tech economy drive much of California. If you do live in one of these places it is a good idea to pay even more attention to the diversification of your portfolio so it is not tied to one of these sectors.

Should we avoid master limited partnerships?

Retirees are often looking to have some income-producing investments in their portfolios. Until recently, master limited partnerships (MLPs) seemed like a great way to provide income and diversification. There were some MLPs that were paying between 7-9% annual yield on investments. Since these have been more volatile should we steer away from MLPs in the future? Dan recommends approaching these with caution. They will be less volatile than oil and gas stocks but more volatile than they have been in the past. 

What are the long-term implications for the oil industry?

With more people working from home, the increasing popularity of electric cars, and the green movement it seems like the future of the oil industry could be bleak. Dan mentions that it’s not practical to flip a switch to change our energy from oil and gas to renewables. He is confident that the free market will help solve this puzzle. As those in the sector already know, the oil and gas industry has always followed a boom and bust cycle. The demand for oil is down right now but it will begin to increase over the next 18-24 months. 

Has the wild swing in oil changed your diversification strategy?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dan Eberhart

Connect with Benjamin Brandt

Subscribe to Retirement Starts Today on

Apple Podcasts,Stitcher,TuneIn,Podbean,Player FM,iHeart, or Spotify

May 11, 2020

 One of the effects of the Coronavirus has been a number of cancelled plans. Have you had to cancel plans due to the pandemic? Today we’ll explore how to get a refund. I’ll also share a CNBC article that I use as a cautionary tale. Then we’ll look at some cosmic opportunities that may arise post-pandemic. And lastly, we’ll listen to a listener question about home mortgages in retirement. We’ve got an action-packed episode, so press play now.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:02] Resist the urge to swing at a fat pitch
  • [5:24] How to get a refund from your canceled plans
  • [7:13] The cosmic opportunity post-Corona
  • [10:00] A home mortgage question

Resist the urge to swing at a fat pitch 

A recent CNBC article came across my feed right before I started recording and I wanted to share it with you all as a precaution. The headline states that investors are betting that 2 of the hardest-hit sectors, airlines and energy, have hit their bottoms. ETF’s including these 2 sectors have increased in the past few weeks. I want to warn you away from betting on the large companies with household names that have taken a beating recently. Just because a company has suffered huge losses over the past few months doesn’t necessarily mean that it will eventually bounce back to its all-time highs. These may seem like huge opportunities but taking risks with your retirement money is a frightening gamble right now. 

How to get a refund from your cancelled plans

59 million people have been forced to cancel their plans due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But shockingly, only ⅓ of them expect to get a 100% refund. Have you tried to get a refund from your cancelled plans? If you have and haven’t been successful try these strategies. Start by calling the merchant. But before you call to ask for a refund develop a plan. Consider whether you are looking for a full refund or if you’ll settle for a credit. You may yield better results by being willing to take a credit. If the merchant doesn’t cooperate try calling your credit card company. 

The cosmic opportunity post-Corona

I’m always looking for positive news coming out of the pandemic. Recently I read an article written by Professor Scott Galloway. If you haven’t heard of Professor Galloway, he is a fun follow on Twitter @ProfGalloway. His article showcases the idea that we can use this downtime that Corona has offered to invest in ourselves. By investing in ourselves and our relationships we are really investing in our future. So ask yourself how can you use this time to improve yourself?

A home mortgage question

To pay off the house or to retain a mortgage? That is a common question folks have as they get closer to retirement. There really is no correct answer. The answer is different for every person and it depends on your own personal goals. On the one hand, no one ever laments their paid-off house. And no mortgage means less risk. But… With interest rates being so low you could see much more growth by leaving those funds in the market. Where do you stand on this subject?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Benjamin Brandt

Subscribe to Retirement Starts Today on

Apple Podcasts,Stitcher,TuneIn,Podbean,Player FM,iHeart, or Spotify

May 4, 2020

With the recent market volatility, people are looking for financial advisors now more than ever. But how can you choose a financial advisor that’s right for you? I created a PDF with 8 questions to ask a financial advisor when you are looking. I’ll discuss these 8 questions as well as answer 2 listener questions and discuss the retirement headlines on this episode of Retirement Starts Today.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:42] What is the best way to take Social Security benefits?
  • [5:15] A 60/40 question
  • [11:55] 8 Questions to ask a potential financial advisor
  • [19:21] Nationwide has decided to have 50% of their staff work from home permanently

How to decide the best way to take Social Security benefits

Often in a marriage, the Social Security benefits vary greatly between the 2 partners. One may be much larger than the other. So how should you determine which one to take when? Many people don’t realize that if one spouse has a very small or even no Social Security benefit they are actually entitled to half of their spouse’s benefit. Find out how to decide what to do if one of the Social Security benefits is much smaller than the other by listening to this episode of Retirement Starts Today. You can also check out one of the Social Security calculators on the Social Security website.

How much bond diversity should you have in your bond portfolio?

I often call the 60-40 portfolio the swiss army knife of portfolios for a good reason. The 60% in stocks is for growth and the 40% in bonds is for short term spending. A listener asks how diversified their bond portfolio should be. I think that just like your stock portfolio, your bond portfolio should be as diversified as possible. It should include short term, intermediate-term, and long term bonds. These types of bonds have different levels of volatility. 

8 Questions to ask a financial advisor

With the recent market volatility, people are looking for financial advisors now more than ever. But how do you find the right financial advisor to meet your needs? I created a free PDF of questions you can ask potential financial advisor candidates. Included are these questions:

  1. Are your questions truly in my best interest?
  2. Will your recommendations be focused in one area or will they be comprehensive?
  3. Do you have the knowledge and experience to help me achieve my financial goals?
  4. How many clients do you serve and how does their situation compare to mine?
  5. How often will I hear from you?
  6. What will my total investment expense be?
  7. Will you help me solve any financial problems I may encounter?
  8. Where do you keep my money and how can I see it?

Download the PDF to see the full questions and my answers.

A Fortune 100 company plans to have 50% of their staff work from home permanently

This pandemic has shown that many people can do their jobs from a home office. One company plans to continue this trend in the long term by having 50% of their staff work from home. This is a huge benefit for the company and will save them a lot of money on commercial real estate, but the potential benefits for employees looking for flexibility is even greater. Many people looking to retire are really looking for time flexibility. If your company offered you a semi-retirement option where you could work from home and have flexible hours would you take it? How many more working years would that afford you? This may be the wave of the future. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Benjamin Brandt

Subscribe to Retirement Starts Today on

Apple Podcasts,Stitcher,TuneIn,Podbean,Player FM,iHeart, or Spotify

 

1