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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: July, 2021
Jul 26, 2021

What do you think about senior living communities? Would you want to move to one? According to a recent WSJ article, occupancy in senior housing is on the decline despite the fact that baby boomers are aging and more of these communities are springing up all over the country. In the retirement headlines segment, we’ll take a look at the reasons for this phenomenon.

But before we get to the retirement headlines I also want to share a conversation I had with a client about how to plan sales of his company stock. Make sure to listen in if you have a significant amount of stock in your company. You’ll want to hear what you should consider before selling. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] Identify you pain threshold when selling company stock
  • [5:58] Boomers want to stay home
  • [10:38] Who will win?
  • [11:40] How does long-term care insurance play into this equation?
  • [13:03] Don’t forget to answer our annual listener survey!

Boomers want to stay home

It may not be a surprise to you that seniors want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. A recent WSJ article investigates these low occupancy rates in senior housing developments. People born during the Depression and World War II are moving into senior housing, but baby boomers plan to stay in their homes longer. Even though boomers would like to age in place, the oldest of this generation will start reaching their mid-80s within the next decade which is the age when many people start moving into senior housing. 

Why are senior housing occupancy rates falling?

There are a couple of reasons that senior housing occupancy rates are in decline. One reason is that improved health has led to people entering senior housing later in life than in years past. People are not only living longer, but they are also staying healthier longer. 

Another reason for the senior residency decline is technology. There are several new technologies that can help the elderly stay in their homes longer than in the past. Seniors can remain independent for an extended period with technologies like Uber, self-driving cars, and grocery delivery services. 

The article also mentions more innovative examples of how technology can help the elderly. One example is LifePod Solutions, a voice remote monitoring platform that can identify seniors' needs and send care when needed. An architectural design firm, Gensler is using technology to redesign senior-friendly homes that can adapt to the elderly’s changing needs. Tolent Construction in the U.K. has designed a mixed-use development that includes senior-friendly homes which will allow the elderly to age in place longer. Innovation is responding to demand and creating myriad ways to help the elderly stay in their communities with friends and family for as long as possible. 

Who will win?

The commercial real estate market has been betting big on the idea that aging baby boomers will be needing senior housing, but improved technology that can help the elderly stay home longer may change this reality. The beauty of capitalism is that competition will drive the best solution. I see a very bright technology-enabled future for our aging population. 

How will long-term care insurance play into this equation?

With all of these improvements in technology, will our aging populous still need long-term care insurance? Or will long-term care insurance legislation need to change? One way this insurance could adapt is to allow policies to pay for home upgrades that use technology-based solutions that allow elderly homeowners to age in place. Only time will tell how the technology, real estate, and insurance industries will adapt to baby boomers’ needs.

Before you go, be sure to chime in on what you think of Retirement Starts Today by filling out our annual listener survey. I produce this show with your needs in mind and want to ensure that I am addressing the issues that you find most important. Any changes in the coming year will be based on the results of this survey, so make sure your voice is heard!

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Jul 19, 2021

Has the Covid pandemic caused you to reevaluate your life and consider early retirement? If so, you are not alone. Now that we are starting to emerge from the pandemic, many Americans have a new 'life is short' mindset. This, coupled with an upswing in investments and home values is leading many affluent Americans in a rush to retire.

Check out the retirement headlines segment where we explore a recent Bloomberg article that explores this topic. Then, stick around for the listener questions where I answer a question from Randy about paying off his mortgage with a Roth IRA and if you stay until the very end you’ll hear the story behind the Retirement Starts Today theme song. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:22] Affluent Americans Rush to Retire in New ‘Life-Is-Short’ Mindset
  • [7:47] There is a downside to the loss of older workers
  • [9:32] Should we consider paying off our home loan with a Roth IRA?
  • [16:21] The story behind the theme song

Participate in our annual listener survey

Every year I send out a listener survey to our Every Day Is Saturday newsletter subscribers to give you all the opportunity to guide the content over the next year. In the past, I have made changes based on your answers and I look forward to hearing your thoughts this year.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to the newsletter you can do so here. In addition to being able to participate in the survey, the newsletter also contains all the links from the show each week, as well as free book offerings from the authors I interview, and all kinds of useful retirement tips. If you want to complete the survey now, simply click here

Many affluent Americans are ready to retire

One of the most surprising aspects of the pandemic has been the unprecedented surge in the stock market. Investors have enjoyed double-digit returns and this swell in portfolio values has led many to reconsider their retirement plans. This is in stark contrast to those on the opposite end of the spectrum that had little savings and lost their jobs over the past year. Life for affluent Americans is looking good and many are taking advantage of the situation by considering early retirement. 

Changes in work environments are another reason for the mass exodus

Another reason people may be considering early retirement is the toll that the past year has had on workers. The pandemic has changed the way that many companies do business. Zoom fatigue and stressful work environments are also contributing factors in the rush to retirement. Teachers and healthcare professionals are experiencing record levels of burnout. While this mass exodus is positive for those ready to retire, there could be a downside.

As the most experienced and productive workers exit the workforce, businesses are experiencing labor shortages. Older workers have higher productivity, lower absenteeism, and usually train the newcomers so this loss significantly affects companies. 

Life is short, enjoy it!

I love to see the newfound freedom that many are experiencing post-pandemic. Life is short and we should enjoy it fully. To do so, make sure to have a written retirement plan to help guide you. 

I also recommend taking a practice retirement before you actually retire. This can help you get a feel for retirement and help you build retirement routines. This trial run will also show you if you are mentally and emotionally prepared for retirement. 

Have you been thinking of retiring early? If so, what have you been doing to prepare? Listen in to hear how a retirement rehearsal could help you prepare for your retirement journey.

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Jul 12, 2021

Episode 200! I can’t believe I’ve made it to this landmark episode. Thank you all for joining me on this journey and I hope you'll join me for the next 200.

I enjoy looking back and reminiscing on previous episodes, but I don’t have to go too far back to find my most recent favorite. Episode 199 is one of my most recent favorites. In it, I interviewed world-renowned Disney expert, Lou Mongello, to discuss multigenerational Disney trips. Check it out if taking the grandkids to Disney is on your bucket list. 

In this episode, we’re covering two retirement headlines. The first is from Investment News and it describes how some leading retirement experts question whether advisors should rethink their assumptions about retirement spending when creating financial plans. The 2nd retirement headline is from HumbleDollar.com titled Secret SauceThis article describes the aspects of work that we want to hang onto, those that we might not, and it outlines six steps to design a successful and ideal retirement.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:22] How we should rethink our assumptions about retirement spending
  • [9:30] How to plan your retirement withdrawal rate
  • [11:20] To have a successful retirement, you need to have an understanding of work

People in retirement live differently

Mary Beth Franklin recently wrote an article for Investment News about retirement spending. She sourced a study completed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) which analyzed the spending of 2000 retirees. The study found diversity in the way people live in retirement based on financial status, retirement goals, demographics, and spending habits. Mary Beth's article focuses on the results for those that were classified as affluent and comfortable retirees.

Not many affluent retirees plan to spend their savings

In the article, affluent retirees were defined as those with financial assets exceeding $320,000 and an annual income of $100,000 or more. Most of them were also mortgage-free with zero debt. Their most common sources of income were defined as employer benefit plans, Social Security, and personal savings. They reported that they feel they have saved enough for retirement and only 1 in 3 plans to spend all or a significant portion of their savings. 

Comfortable retirees may spend only a small portion of their assets

Comfortable retirees had mid-levels of financial assets between $99,000 and $320,000 and an annual retirement income of less than $100,000 a year. Many still had a mortgage and other debts. Most of these people cited workplace retirement savings and Social Security as their major sources of income. Almost 75% of these comfortable retirees said that their retirement savings are sufficient or more than meet their needs, however, more than half of them plan to grow, maintain, or spend only a small portion of their assets. 

Why are affluent and comfortable retirees hesitant to spend their retirement savings?

The study found that the Baby Boomer generation wishes to retain assets rather than spending them down. So the question is, why don’t these retirees wish to spend their retirement savings?

This may be due to the fact that their Social Security income or pension provides enough to meet their expenses, but it could also be due to an inability to switch gears from accumulation to decumulation. Another reason may be that many retirees don't know how to determine a sustainable withdrawal rate that considers future uncertainties, and this lack of knowledge makes them wary to spend their nest eggs. 

I think the key to confidently spending and living off your savings is to understand how much it costs for you to live for a year in retirement. Listen in to hear how you can learn how to calculate your spending so that you can determine your sustainable withdrawal rate in retirement. 

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Jul 5, 2021

What is the number one travel goal for people approaching retirement? Disney! People young and old alike love to go to Disney. In my 15 years of retirement planning, I have discovered that a multi-generational trip to Disney is at the top of most people’s bucket lists. That is why I have brought the world’s foremost expert on Disney travel, Lou Mongello, on to Retirement Starts Today for an interview. Lou and I discuss all things Disney: the must-see attractions, when to go, how to plan, and what is so special about Disney. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:52] What’s so special about Disney?
  • [4:29] What are the must-see attractions?
  • [8:45] When to go
  • [12:53] Plan in advance
  • [15:56] Lou’s favorite thing at Disney

What’s so special about Disney that everyone wants to go there?

Since Disney is the number one bucket list item for many people there must be something extra special about it. When I ask Lou why it is so special, he is unable to quantify this phenomenon. He chalks it up to the way Disney makes us feel. If you have been, you know what he means. 

One way that Disney is able to give us those warm fuzzy feelings is with its customer service. Disney’s level of service is unparalleled. They always go beyond expectations which is why everyone remembers Disney with such fondness. No other place in the world enjoys such a level of brand loyalty. 

What are the must-see attractions?

There is so much to do at Disney. In Orlando, there are not only the 4 main theme parks but there are water parks and resorts to enjoy as well. It can be challenging to figure out what to do when there is so much to choose from. 

There is something for everyone at Disney. Lou recommends the classics from Magic Kingdom in addition to some of the newer attractions. Grandma and the littles are sure to enjoy It’s a Small World and the Jungle Cruise. The Haunted Mansion is another Magic Kingdom classic. At Hollywood Studios, the Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster are fun for the thrill-seekers in the family. And Frozen and Toy Story are hits with the kids. The Animal Kingdom safari also brings joy to the entire family.

When to go?

When planning your Disney vacation it is you’ll need to consider when to go. This will depend on your family’s schedule, but there is more to consider. Disney has different travel seasons. The peak season includes major holidays and summer. The off-peak times are the rest of the year. During the off-peak times, you can find values on food and lodging prices. 

One tip to use while planning your Disney vacation is to use a Disney travel agency. Many don’t realize that Disney agents are free to the consumer since they get paid by Disney. When planning your Disney vacation make sure to take advantage of these experts. They can help you make the most of your holiday. 

What is the best age to go to Disney?

There is no bad age to go to Disney. There is so much to do that appeals to every age group. That is what makes Disney such a great multigenerational vacation getaway. Not only is there something for everyone, but there is a wide variety of accommodations and food choices. You can customize your vacation to your family’s specific wishes. The most important thing to do is plan ahead. Much like financial planning, planning before you go to Disney will ensure that you get the most out of your family holiday.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Lou Mongello

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