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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: October, 2020
Oct 26, 2020

You asked and I listened. This summer I asked you all for your thoughts on the show and many people responded that they wanted to hear more deep dives into complex subjects. We tried this out with the Living Off Your Savings series and now we’re taking some extra time to discuss Medicare. This episode is the first of a 4 episode series on Medicare. Grab your headphones and press play to begin your Medicare education. 

Since I am not a Medicare expert, I have invited Danielle Roberts with Boomer Benefits to teach us about this nuanced subject. Make sure to stick around until the end of the episode to learn how you can get a free copy of Danielle’s new book, 10 Costly Medicare Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make.

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:22] When should people start looking into Medicare in earnest?
  • [7:10] Why is Medicare Easy-Pay a good option?
  • [10:03] What will medicare pay for?
  • [12:25] What do your taxes pay for?
  • [17:15] Part D is an optional drug plan

When should someone start thinking about Medicare?

The official Medicare enrollment period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and this is often the time when people usually begin to start thinking about Medicare. Age 64.5 is a great time to begin to research your Medicare choices. In addition to Danielle’s book, there are plenty of resources online to help you educate yourself. After you listen to this series, YouTube and the Medicare website are good places to continue learning.

What costs are involved in Medicare?

Some people are surprised to find that Medicare is not free. There are costs involved that you need to be aware of to properly plan for retirement. In addition to the monthly fee taken directly out of your Social Security payment, there are deductibles for inpatient and outpatient services as well as copays or coinsurance for doctor visits. Listen in to understand why it’s important to do your research early on to decide on what kind of extra coverage you may need. 

What are the different parts of Medicare?

Medicare Part A is what your Medicare payroll taxes have been paying for all these years and it covers hospital stays. Part B is what gets taken out of your Social Security check each month and this piece covers outpatient care. Medicare Part B pays only 80% so it is important to consider how you will cover the other 20%. This 20% can be supplemented in 2 ways. Listen in to hear what the difference is between Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans. 

How you can receive a FREE copy of Danielle’s book

Danielle is a fountain of Medicare information, so you won’t want to miss this series. On the next episode, you’ll hear what to expect if you retire before or after age 65. If you want a chance to get a free copy of Danielle’s book sign up for the Every Day is Saturday newsletter and respond to that email with a promise to leave an honest review of this podcast and Danielle’s book. So, if you haven’t already signed up for Every Day is Saturday, head over to RetirementStartsToday.com and hit subscribe. 

Resources & People Mentioned

  • Start here to listen to the Living Off Your Savings series 

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Oct 19, 2020

Are you one of the many people still working from home due to the pandemic? What seemed like a phase that would last a few weeks has turned into a trend with no end in sight. While working from home creates exciting possibilities, especially for those considering retirement, it also has its downfalls. Many people have discovered that working from home means the lines between work life and home life are being erased. As long as you are conscious that burnout is a real risk then you can take active steps to keep your home life and work life in balance.

On this episode, I’ll share an Inc. magazine article about avoiding burnout while working from home. We’ll also take a look at a WSJ article on early retirement buyouts. Then we’ll wrap up this episode with a listener question about strategies for those on the cusp of retirement. So, grab your Airpods or your favorite listening device and take a walk with me.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:02] How to avoid burnout while working remotely
  • [6:30] Should you consider early retirement?
  • [11:55] Are there any one-time financial strategies for those on the cusp of retirement?

Is working from home leading you to burnout?

While the work from home revolution that picked up momentum during the pandemic has opened many doors, it has also revealed its own set of problems. People spend more time actively working and it seems that the 40-hour workweek has gone out of the window. Employees are now spending 25% more time ‘at work’ than before the pandemic. Many have stated that they find they are often sending work-related messages and emails after traditional work hours. Their desire to be productive now puts them at risk of burnout. 

Try taking a virtual commute 

Microsoft has come up with a creative way to help its team avoid burnout while working remotely. Their solution is to bring back the commute. They don’t recommend you jump in the car and drive to your workplace, but rather a virtual commute. The Inc. article recommends a 20-minute meditation commute. I love this idea. However, if you are not a meditator, a walk to work commute might be a better alternative. Before you start working each morning, head out your front door, and walk around the block. You can use this time to get in the right headspace for work and plan your day. 

Working from home could extend your working life

Working from home can create amazing possibilities, especially for those of you considering retirement. The possibility of working from anywhere means that you could extend your work timeline. However, to take full advantage of the possibilities it is imperative to avoid burnout. As long as you are conscious that burnout is a real risk then you can take active steps to keep your home/work life in balance. 

Have you been offered an early retirement package?

Press play and listen in to hear whether you should consider taking an early retirement package. And keep listening until the end to hear the answer to Frank’s question about one-time financial strategies for those on the cusp of retirement. 

Resources & People Mentioned

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Oct 12, 2020

Are you worried about the seemingly constant news stories which claim that Social Security may run out of money? These articles highlight any problems that the Social Security program is facing which can lead the reader to fret about the future of the guaranteed income source in retirement. Not surprisingly, there are companies out there that want to capitalize on this worry. 

Does Social Security insurance sound like a good idea to you? On this episode of Retirement Starts Today I read from and discuss an article about Social Security Insurance. You’ll learn what it is and how it works and hear my thoughts about this product.

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:22] Make sure there is not a planning solution before rushing out to buy a product
  • [6:37] How does Social Security insurance work?
  • [9:48] What is my opinion on Social Security insurance
  • [12:10] How to begin a migration into bonds

There is a product out there to solve every problem

Investors are always looking for less volatility in their investment portfolios, but oftentimes they don’t realize that proper investment planning is the best way to achieve that. Those who don’t approach their portfolios with an investment plan in place are often looking for a product to buy to solve their problems. The low volatility fund is one product for people who want to buy a risk solution rather than plan. 

Is a low-risk fund all it’s cracked up to be?

Does this low volatility fund end up raising risk in the short run while at the same time reducing risk in the long run? These low-risk funds often paint a distorted picture. While trying to reduce the downside they ultimately limit the upside which leads to less risk yet ultimately fewer returns. Zweig explains it beautifully, “the market loves to make monkeys out of people who think they’ve solved it.”

Solve your investing problems with strategy rather than products

It is important to remember that in investing as well as in other areas of retirement planning there will always be someone there to charge you a fee for a product as a solution to your investment planning problem. So before you rush out to buy the first product that comes along, my advice to you is to think about your own behavior first. Consider if there is a planning or behavior management solution that could replace this product. 

What is a good alternative to Social Security insurance?

If you think that Social Security will run out of money or that you may see your benefits reduced that’s okay. But instead of rushing out to buy a product to hedge against the Social Security problem, be a prudent pessimist. A prudent pessimist doesn’t take a cut on their Social Security benefit by filing early, they wait until age 70 to receive a 32% bonus. That way if there is a cut to your benefit, it will be a cut on the bonus rather than on the reduced benefit. Press play to hear more about Social Security insurance, investment planning, and a listener question about how to migrate into the bond market.

Resources & People Mentioned

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Oct 5, 2020

If you are listening to Retirement Starts Today, you probably have retirement on your mind. You have probably given thought as to how you will spend your money, where that money will come from, healthcare, and plenty of other subjects. 

But have you put any thought into how much notice you will give your employer? Do you have one of those jobs where you relish the day that you give your retirement notice? Or will your announcement be bittersweet? You may want to put some extra thought into how you want to present your retirement notice, especially during challenging economic times.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:12] How much notice will you give your employer of your pending retirement?
  • [3:19] A cautionary tale
  • [5:54] Real life examples for you to learn from
  • [11:16] There is no one right answer

A cautionary tale

You may want to give your employer plenty of notice about your retirement. If you have a strong sense of duty, you may feel that it is the right thing to do. I talked to one person who did just that. He was an employee who deeply valued his work and wanted to leave his career better than he found it. But his thoughtfulness didn’t pay off in the end. When the company offered early retirement packages he was passed over since he had already announced his retirement. 

There are a number of different ways to make your retirement announcement

While there are disappointing stories such as that one, there are also positive responses to retirement news. When I asked readers of my Every Day is Saturday newsletter about how they plan to announce the news of their retirement I got several different answers. These answers vary based on the type of work they do and the type of employer they work for. 

What factors should you consider when announcing your retirement?

One listener that has a technical job in IT plans to give 6 months’ notice. He based this number on the amount the time it will take to train his replacement. You may also want to consider the size of the company you work for and your level of responsibility in the organization. Another listener’s 1-month retirement announcement was well received. He also offered flexibility and it ended up paying off. Listen in to find out how that story worked out. 

There is no right answer

So what can you learn from these examples? What is the right amount of notice to give? Unfortunately, like just about everything else in retirement, there is no one size fits all answer. However, we are generally rewarded when we make these decisions with careful due diligence and specific intentions. So how will you give your retirement notice? 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Benjamin Brandt

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