Josh and cohost Michelle finish the remaining 3 Intentions from their 2 part mini series, the Top 7 Financial Intentions that every retiree and pre-retiree should have for 2023:
- Schedule a meeting with an advisor that doesn't collect commissions, because they are looking out for your best interest
- A vast majority of Americans do not have a will which can lead to arrears open to probate and to strangers determining the fate of your arrears inheritance
- Modifying your financial plan for longevity risk and healthcare events can prepare you for situations like know if your money will last as long as you or long term care
Segment 1 (Show Open):
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Coasting in Retirement! I am your host, Josh Null, and I’m joined by my co-host, Michelle Lee Melton. Michelle, how are you doing? We’ve got a great show today, continuing our theme of tying in our main topic to the start of the New Year! 2023, we see you! First, for those new to the show, I am the owner of Gulf Coast Financial Advisors, an independent financial planning firm based out of downtown Fairhope, Alabama that serves clients up and down the Gulf Coast. You can learn more about us on our website at Gulfcoastfa.com, and we will repeat our contact info several times throughout the show. As always, Michelle and I are here today to discuss financial topics relevant to those in or near retirement living their best life along our part of the coast.
Our topic last week and this week is New Year’s Financial Intentions versus Resolutions. Last week’s episode was titled the “Top 7 Financial Intentions that every retiree and pre-retiree should have for 2023”. Michelle and I were able to get through the first 4, so this week we will lay out the remaining 3 resolutions, plus I’ve added a bonus one for fun! For those of you that missed our last episode and want to get caught up, you can find the podcast version by searching for “Coasting in Retirement” on Spotify, or by simply going to the podcast page of my website, gulfcoastfa.com.
So, Michelle, let’s catch up those just tuning in. You and I started off our new year with what you call “intentions”. Would you mind to describe what that means again? Michelle’s text definition: “Intentions are courses of action vs resolutions that are more of a determination. Resolutions = outcome. Intentions = process.” So when you sent that definition to me, it got me to thinking – a show based on financial resolutions would be too easy right? Save more. Spend less. Buy generic. You get the idea. Like we said last week Michelle, we must try harder! So we dug deep and gave intentions the space to breath over a 2 episode mini-series. Welcome to Part 2. What should be the final 3…well, 3 plus a bonus 4th…financial intentions of pre-retirees and retirees in 2023 you ask? We shall answer. Before we do that, let’s quickly sum up the first 4 financial intentions from last week’s episode:
- Reorganize your financial plan to help deal with sequence of return risk
- Take a hard look at your social security, and if possible, delay turning on your benefits
- Investigate how a high interest rate environment can actually be your ally when it comes to income production in retirement
- Take real action to accommodate inflation in your retirement plan, including an honest assessment of how much inflation is affecting your daily living vs your investment accounts
Again, if you want to hear more about the first 4 intentions, check out the podcast version of this show or go to my website gulfcoastfa.com. Now on to the remaining 3 financial intentions of 2023 for those in or near retirement. Remember, just as with the first four intentions, these are in no particular order. We will break each down further in this segment. Here we go:
- Schedule a meeting with a fiduciary-based financial advisor
- Update your Will, do a check-up on any trusts and your beneficiaries on all assets and insurance policies, then have an open and honest conversation with each other if you married, and with those most affected by your estate, both in life and the hereafter
- Modify your financial plan to accommodate for longevity risks and extended health care events
So Michelle likes odd numbers, 3,5,7, etc, that is why there were 7 intentions. I on the other hand prefer balance in my numbers, so given the fact that the first episode in our 2 part series had 4 intentions, I feel I need to add a 4th to this episode so that we have…balance. Michelle and I are both a little OCD, but in our own distinct ways. Now, just for “funsies” as Michelle likes to say, I made the 8th reward based and easy, especially since the first 7 were kind of heavy. Here it is:
- Do something “crazy” this year. Something out of the norm. Check your budget, and if you’ve met with a financial advisor like we stated in item 5, have them weigh in, but if you can this year…take a trip. Buy that project car you’ve always dreamed about. Get on a boat if you’re not a boat person. Start painting if you’ve always dreamed of it but never found the time. In my case, make the time to write. Set up a craft studio. The point being, for those of you in or near retirement, it’s time to make the time to do something you’ve dreamed about but always struggled to find the time for. You’ve earned it!
Let’s start with #5, schedule a meeting with a fiduciary financial advisor. As a fiduciary based financial advsor myself, this obviously sounds self serving, so let me explain first what a fiduciary means in my world. The term “advisor” is a broad term that is applied to anything from an insurance licensed only salesperson to a fee-based financial advisory to a Certified Financial Planner that only charges a flat planning fee. However the levels of accountability vary greatly between these different types of advisors. A lot of this is dependent on the type of securities license an advisor holds and how the they are paid for their work. Most commissioned based advisors, whether they are selling an insurance product, such as an fixed index annuity, a variable annuity or a class A mutual fund, are held to what is called a suitability standard. That is, they only have to prove that the sale or recommendation they made was “suitable” to the client’s situation. Fiduciary based financial advisors, which typically do not collect commissions on variable insurance products or Class A mutual funds, have to always act in the client’s best interests, that is, they must be able to prove that they put what was best for the client above their own pay structure. The financial services has been moving towards fiduciaries for years, in some part because of advisors recommending one product over another because the commission payout was higher for them. That doesn’t mean all suitability based advisors are bad actors – far from it, there are good and bad actors in all segments of the industry – just that those in or near retirement will want to meet with someone where they can have the peace of mind that their best interests are the standard.
Number 6 on our list of financial intentions, where we recommend that you update your Will, do a check-up on any trusts and your beneficiaries on all assets and insurance policies, then have an open and honest conversation with each other if you married, and with those most affected by your estate, both in life and the hereafter, is both practical advice and relationship advice. First, as we will discuss later in this episode, the vast majority of Americans do not have a will, which leaves their heirs open to probate, to strangers determining the fate of their inheritance, and all too often can wind up with inherited property being sold on the courthouse steps to the highest bidder. As Michelle can attest, a basic will is not expensive, and the amount of money, time and heartache it can spare is significant. Same goes with checking on the beneficiaries of your assets and particularly your insurance policies. It is not an uncommon conversation in our industry where the kids thought they were getting the proceeds of a life insurance contract when in fact the long divorced spouse is the recipient because the policy owner failed to correct the beneficiary while they were alive. And the final point on this particular resolution, where we recommend having an open and honest discussion with your spouse, if applicable, and definitely with any potential heirs, is as much a practical recommendation as well the voice of experience. It can often be uncomfortable to have these conversations, especially if it’s impossible to split your estate perfectly equitable, but it needs to happen while you are alive and of sound mind and body. One of the biggest reasons family fracture, and brothers end up in court with sisters, is because the parent or parent didn’t take the time – and the pain – to sit everyone down and discuss how they viewed the situation well before they passed from this earth. If you’re in a situation like this, my opinion is that a disinterested third party can greatly assist with this conversation, particularly a professional such as a CPA, attorney, or financial advisor. We won’t have a dog in the hunt, and most of us that have done this for a number of years don’t mind being the “bad” guy if it helps our client solve their estate issues.
Number 7 of our financial intentions refers to making sure your financial plan accommodates longevity risks and extended health care events. First, with longevity, the uncomfortable conversation I mentioned in the previous intention kind of becomes a mute point if you actually ending up out living your money. I guess forget worry about what kid or heir is getting what, you’ll be to pre-occupied by trying to figure out how you’re going to keep a roof over your head. A comprehensive financial plan can become a valuable tool in accounting for longevity risks, particularly when it comes to the production of income and the preservation of capital, these are things we do every week at Gulf Coast Financial Advisors. As concerning an extended health care event, or more specifically a long term care situation, it is my opinion and my experience that there is no single greater destroyer of wealth – not down markets, not bad stock picks – than an unplanned and unfunded long term care event. Fortunately the insurance industry is as vibrant as it’s ever been with clients to address this issue, both through traditional long term care policies, and through what is referred as “asset-based” long term care solutions. Some people are fortunate enough to have the assets to survive potentially years upon years of paying for long term care, or maybe lucky enough to have an adult child or family member that can provide the service needed, but the reality is most folks will need professional care at some point, and it won’t be cheap. We have the ability to have these long term care conversations at Gulf Coast Financial Advisors during our comprehensive financial process, so it’s on your mind, reach out to us. And do it while you are in at least reasonably good health, programs like these are bought with your health has much as your money.
Listeners keep hearing me reference our comprehensive financial planning services, so we close this segment, let’s take a look at what that entails. There’s too many details and options to fully discuss on this episode, but let me give you our basic process at Gulf Coast Financial Advisors:
- First we figure out how much you’ll need for the retirement you’ve been dreaming about
- Next we uncover the main risks posing a threat to your retirement, including inflation, stock market volatility, potential tax increases, skyrocketing health care costs, etc
- Then we discuss options for generating income in retirement and putting your investment portfolio to work doing specific jobs, such as battling inflation
- Finally we discuss how to keep your current standard of living in retirement, even as costs keep rising.
The strategies we use are designed in part to help you with inflation and longevity risks. Not only are we trying to match your risk tolerance with your investment holdings, we want to help make sure you don’t end up outliving your retirement savings. If you’re interested in having that conversation, give us a call at 251-333-5151, or find us at gulfcoastfa.com. That’s gulfcoastfa.com.
Alright folks, coming up next - There’s always a lot going on in the world! Particularly the world of finance. It seems like there’s major headlines every week affecting investors, especially those in or near retirement. Join us after the break to hear Michelle and I discuss this week’s relevant headlines in our “Michelle with the News of the Week” segment. Stay tuned!
Segment 2 - Michelle with the News of the Week:
Josh: “Welcome back to Coasting in Retirement, your host Josh Null here! As we discussed before the break, it seems like there’s major headlines every week affecting investors, especially those in or near retirement. Coasting in Retirement’s co-host Michelle and I are going to help you all understand and decipher the deeper meaning of those headlines, particularly the ones that relate to our show topic and have an impact on those in or near retirement. So with out further adieu, here’s “Michelle with the news of the week”!:
1. Michelle: Alright Josh, let’s start with an Investopedia article titled “When should you hire a financial advisor?”. This is a pretty indepth article but I want to highlight a couple of things that agree with what you said in the opening segment. Quote, “if you choose a financial adviser, always make sure that they abide by fiduciary standards and legal obligations to act in your best interests and disclose any conflicts of interest. Importantly, financial advisors are held to the suitability standard only.” Can you explain suitability further Josh?
Josh: So we touched on this in our opening segment but let’s summarize for those just tuning in. The “suitability” standard in my industry means that the product or service being sold to you only has to pass a suitability standard, that is, it only has to be “suitable” for your financial situation. The alternative is fiduciary, which means that the best interests of the client are required to be served above all else. Now in this article Michelle Investopedia states that financial advisors are held to the suitability standard only, which is not accurate. My guess is that while the proportion of insurance based and/or commissioned based financial “advisors” is far greater than the proportion of fee-based or fee-only advisors, the fact is that the financial services industry has been moving for years toward the fiduciary standard. My guess also is that this is because of demand; as opposed to years past, most clients are aware of the difference, and if given the choice, will want a fiduciary based financial advisor. Whatever the case, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with selling a product for a commission – heck, I can name many life insurance salespeople I know that do everything they can to take care of the client – and one could argue that a fee is just a commission stretched out over time. But the issue becomes both one of the advisor both pledging themselves to the highest standard, and on a practical note, servicing the client. When you are a commission based advisor you are often on hunt for the next commission because you don’t have the recurring revenue stream that is part of being a fee based advisor, and that can sometimes lead to a lack of time to properly service your existing clients. Plus commissions can be a murky world with the actual commission amount. All that said, it’s just way more transparent in the fee world because the client can see exactly what they are paying their advisor, and more often than not the client is paying the advisor directly, so there’s a greater amount of control for the client and a greater pull on the advisor to keep servicing that client. In depth article with Investopedia and definitely worth the read. Ok Michelle, what’s next?
2. Michelle: Here’s a website I see quoted a lot, The Motley Fool. They have a recent article titled “Eight 2023 resolutions from experienced investors that you can actually keep”. Alright, so first – Motley Fools, get with the program! Intentions versus Resolutions, intentions win! Second, I think they should have 7 but then they would be totally copying us. Lastly, and seriously, the article states that “seventy percent of Americans don’t have a will”. As someone that writes wills, I find this tragic, and so easily corrected. What are you thoughts on this article, Josh?
Josh: So this relates to our 6th financial intention for 2023: update your Will, do a check-up on any trusts and your beneficiaries on all assets and insurance policies, then have an open and honest conversation with each other if you married, and with those most affected by your estate, both in life and the hereafter. And that leads me to what I believe is the reason why 70% of Americans don’t have a will. Let me ask a couple of questions to lay some groundwork. First, Michelle, who should have a will? Michelle: everyone with an estate, which basically means almost everyone. Great. Next, as someone that has written many wills, how hard is it to write a will? Michelle answers. Ok, so with that groundwork laid, why would the vast majority of Americans not have a will? I think it ties into what I said about the financial intention – writing a will requires an open and honest conversation with your spouse, if applicable, and definitely with those most affected by your estate, whether you’re alive or not. And those conversations can be uncomfortable, not only for those that have multiple beneficiaries, but because it is also an acknowledgement of your own mortality! And most folks don’t like that. As we stated in the opening segment, having a disinterested third party can often tamp down some of the raw emotion that comes with having these types of conversations, particularly in their in an industry where we do this a lot, such as attorneys or financial advisors in my case. The Motley Fool can sometimes be a little click baity, a dare I say a little like Jim Cramer with their short sightedness, but I agree with this resolution, and if they change the title to intentions next year, we know they are paying attention. They already own the Motley Fool name, so I guess they can call me the “hillbilly jester” if they give credit I guess. Great job, what’s next?
3. Michelle: So Josh I pulled this article from what I believe is a competitor of yours, Raymond James. From their site, “Financial Resolutions for 2023”. Again, RJ, get with the program! Intentions are where it’s at! Maybe they’ll change to intentions for 2024 after they hear our radio show, right? Anyhoo, one of the resolutions listed in article stood out and reinforces what we’ve been talking about with updating wills and having conversations with beneficiaries: “Spark a family conversation”. Do you agree with their statement that “Consider creating a family mission statement that outlines the shared vision for your wealth and legacy.” Josh?
Josh: So, yes, Raymond James is technically a competitor, but I don’t mind saying that there is a Raymond James advisor in Fairhope that I think does a good job and is fiduciary based, which makes him one of the good guys as far as I am concerned. And yes, I obviously totally agree with the sentiment of this resolution and I really like the idea of creating a family mission statement. I know that may sound a little corny to some of our listeners but I think seeing something in writing versus just conversation has much more impact. The resolution also states that this mission statement should be about more than just finances, and as someone that comes from a family that has always thought multi-generational, I think this is a great idea. It helps the next generation see how they are building upon the sacrifices of the previous. It also – full disclosure here listeners, I am that guy that has a white board on the wall in his kitchen for everyone to see that lists our family’s needs and wants, for better or worse – so it also gives me new ammuniation for updating this board with a mission statement. I like this a lot. Great find Michelle, what’s next?
4. Michelle: Alright, Josh, let’s talk about New Year’s resolution #7, where you discussed tweaking your financial plan to accommodate extended health care events. So back to one of your favorite sites, Charles Schwab, which has an article titled “Should you buy long term care insurance?”. There was a couple of stats that stuck out to me in this article, specifically that according to LongTermCare.gov, about 70% of people ages 65 and older will need long-term care at some time in their lives, with women more so than men (79% vs. 58%, respectively). Just like with the percentage of Americans that don’t have a will, I found these high numbers alarming. What say you Josh?
Josh: So here a basic fact. We humans are living longer on average than previous generations. Particularly women, you all tend to outlive us men, as a result, have a higher chance of needed long term care. But we are not necessarily healthier. While modern medicine has tackled an unimaginable amount of health issues during the past 100 years or so, we’ve also developed an alarming number of long term health ailments, such as diabetes, health disease, cancer and the orthopedic issues that arrive from being alive for so long. As we discussed in the opening segment, it is my opinion and my experience that there is no single greater destroyer of wealth – not down markets, not bad stock picks – than an unplanned and unfunded long term care event. Fortunately the insurance industry is as vibrant as it’s ever been with clients to address this issue, both through traditional long term care policies, and through what is referred as “asset-based” long term care solutions. Some people are fortunate enough to have the assets to survive potentially years upon years of paying for long term care, or maybe lucky enough to have an adult child or family member that can provide the service needed, but the reality is most folks will need professional care at some point, and it won’t be cheap. We have the ability to have these long term care conversations at Gulf Coast Financial Advisors during our comprehensive financial process, so it’s on your mind, reach out to us. And do it while you are in at least reasonably good health, programs like these are bought with your health has much as your money.
5. Michelle: Well, well, well. If it isn’t our old friend Kiplinger making the headlines again. Not Kip Winger of the 80s band Winger that Josh likes so much (silly discussion here). Kiplinger gives us “3 Steps to Worry Free Splurges for Retirees”. Now this is the type of retirement I want! Ol’ Kiplinger says “Spending on grand experiences can be a wonderful gift, as long as you've properly planned. So don't worry, and don't feel guilty. Just do it.” I like it. What say you Josh?
Josh: Now we’re talking. Listen, I get it, one of the reasons people may hesitate to utilize a financial advisor is because you feel we will be slapping your hand all the time. And while it’s true that the advisors that do it like I do have an accountability part to our process, at the end of the day, this is your money and your life. And for most of you all that have worked to a point where you’re either about to retire or have retired, you often spent years doing things you didn’t want to do, and saving money by not doing the things you wanted to do in the moment. And now you’re time has arrived. And you’ve earned it, so like Kip Winger and Nike both say, Just do it! But do it with a plan. Have the equivalent of the old envelope system where you dedicated money specifically towards this specific dream or dreams of yours. Don’t go into debt to make it happen, but don’t be afraid to live a little if your plan can accommodate the expenditure! I may be a financial advisor, but I am a human being first, and I pretty sure no one has gone to their grave being thankful that they saved that last whatever thousands of dollars instead of taking that vacation they’ve always dreamed about. Or buying someone they love something that will last for generations. Whatever the dream is, share it with your financial advisor – as Michelle will tell you, I’ll happily share my dream of a travel trailer with you – and make it part of your plan!
6. Michelle: So Josh, because I liked it so much, and all of this financial talk can be so boring, I’ve decided to re-use a headline from our previous episode on financial intentions. I think we’ve successfully established that people should make New Year’s intentions versus resolutions. But just to prove it’s not my opinion, and there is a deeper meaning behind the methodology, my final article is from Psychology Today, and can of course be found under the “Motivation” section: The article is titled “Better Than a Resolution? Try a New Year's Intention” and I totally agree. Do you?
Josh: So Michelle let’s revisit your great explanation of resolutions versus intensions: Intentions are courses of action vs resolutions that are more of a determination. Resolutions = outcome. Intentions = process. Now we typically don’t have guests or callers on this show, but I think it’s a good time to bring in one of the biggest proponents of process, Coast Saban of the University of Alabama? Coach, how are you? What say you about process?
Josh: Michelle, great job with the headlines, these are all important pieces of information that impacts those in or near retirement. And for our listeners that are impacted by this news of the week, or interested in learning more, we invite you to take action and start a conversation about your financial plan. You can reach us at 251-333-5151 or find us at gulfcoastfa.com.
Alright folks, coming up after the break, regular listeners are used to co-host Michelle and I getting to poke a little fun at me, sometimes even getting picked on a little by Michelle in our regular segment titled, “Where Josh nailed it, where Josh was a little off”. Normally I get to share some opinions that I’ve made public that proved fairly accurate, and for balance, a few where I didn’t quite stick the landing, but with New Years upon us, we’re going to throw in a little twist for this episode. Let me ask you, the listener, this: ever made a New Year’s resolution that you didn’t keep? Maybe it didn’t even make it a few weeks? Well, I sure have. Maybe even super-planner Michelle whiffed on a few. So tune in after the break to hear me, and maybe Michelle (?) discuss times where our best intentions proved accurate, and well…maybe where we were human after all. See you after that break!
Segment 3 - Where Josh nailed it, where Josh was a little off:
Welcome back! For regular listeners of the show, this is the segment where we typically get to discuss some of the opinions and thoughts I’ve expressed publicly, we call it “Where Josh nailed it, and where Josh was a little off”. With the New Year upon us, and to go along with the theme of this show, we’re going to mix it up a little for this episode. Michelle and I are going to share past New Year’s resolutions, or intentions if you will, that we made that both in the past, and those that proved pretty accurate, and to be fair, the times we may have swung and missed. This will require us to be open and honest with you listeners, and in my case, probably a little raw at times. So since this involved Michelle’s statements as well as mine, I’ll start with one that I nailed last year:
1. Josh: Alright Michelle. I promised myself last January 2021 that I would do everything I could to help me and the kids overcome a ridiculous personal situation by finding and buying a nice home in a great neighborhood that allowed them to meet new friends and have new experiences. Now remember listeners, it was a red-hot housing market, especially here on the Gulf Coast, so this was not as easy as it sounds now, especially with 3 kids. So, self gloss here - I nailed it. Josh – expand on how well Jubilee Farms, and your house, worked not only to give the kids a great landing spot, but also allowed you to build a home that Michelle and all of your friends and family could enjoy….
2. Josh: Alright Michelle. So I mentioned that I may get a little raw in this segment. So, here it is. For too many years I have had the resolution that I would help my Mom and Dad get their dream house designed and built on some family land they own back in Wappapello, MO. It’s called “Punch Lake” – Josh – describe. And for the past handful of years, I have been a little off, and it bothers me greatly. Let me explain. I come from a big, close, emotional, country, intertwined family, and where some generations of families kind of do their own thing relative to the next generation, my family tends to think in legacy terms. So when I say that I want to help my Mom and Dad build their dream house, it’s not in a condescending way, or that they even need my help, it’s based on the fact that I wouldn’t even have a financial planning practice here along the Gulf Coast without their support, and that when we do things to help each other, we do it for the family. So, once again in 2023, one my intentions is to help my Mom and Dad along their path of building their dream home. Describe how this year is different. For one, I am not held back by an anchor but instead set free by a kite. Figure out how to say that in an appropriate way.
Great stuff, great job Michelle. Alright, coming up next: we reach into our listener mailbag for our question of the week! Stay tuned!
Segment 4 – Mailbag and Show Close
Welcome back to Coasting in Retirement, your host Josh Null here! Great show today Michelle! Every week we try to get to a listener’s question if we have. We’ve got some time left so why don’t we check in the mailbag and see if there are any questions needing answered?
Michelle: Alright Josh, here’s on from Harold on Wappapello, Missouri: Do you feel that the media is overly negative on our economy? And if so, why?
Josh: Thank you for the question, Harold from Wappapello, Missouri, that sounds like the most wonderful place on earth, maybe after our beautiful part of the Gulf Coast down here! And thank you Michelle for pronouncing Missouri correctly, unlike my middle Missouri brethren that like to a an “ahh”at the end when they make me cringe by saying “Missourah”. Anyway, to your question, Harold. And full disclosure listeners, Harold is my Dad, so a little radio reverse nepotism going on here: when it comes to the economy, and particularly the stock market, I doubt there are many website readers, or the handful of newspaper readers left like luddite Michelle here, that would read an article titled “Stock market calm today. Traders left twiddling their thumbs. Buyers and sellers operating in harmony” or something like that.
We can help with all of these options and more, all you have to do is give us a call at 251-333-5151 to make an appointment or visit our website at gulfcoastfa.com
Folks, that’s it for us this week here at Coasting in Retirement! I want to give a huge thank you to my lovely co-host, Michelle Lee Melton, a thank you to our awesome radio station 106.5, many thanks to the provider of our show music, local band Sloth Racer, and as always my sincere appreciation for all of your out there that have been listening and joining us on this journey. We would love to be a part of your journey as well. Until we talk again next Sunday, have a wonderful and productive week. This has been Coasting in Retirement with Josh Null!