Retirement Answer Man

Welcome back to the last episode in this Listener Questions series. From time to time I step away from our usual monthly themes and dedicate an entire month to answering your questions. This week I have requested help from friends to answer your burning retirement questions. Press play to learn more about the rule of 55, Social Security, using HSAs before Medicare, and more. 

Will I regret not paying off my mortgage?

Mark and his wife are planners. Most of their life has gone according to the plans they made; including their timeline for retirement. However, recently their retirement plans changed. Instead of paying off their house in preparation for retirement, they decided to buy a new home by the beach with a mortgage. After careful assessment, they realized that they have enough money to live comfortably on their pensions with this mortgage payment, but Mark wonders if he will eventually regret the decision to keep the mortgage and not pay off the house. 

Have you grappled with the decision of whether to pay off your mortgage or not in retirement? Listen in to hear Chad Smith from the Financial Symmetry podcast answer this question. He may provide some insight that you hadn’t considered. 

Should you use a 3-4% increase in Social Security benefits when planning your retirement?

You may have noticed that many financial planning tools default to increasing Social Security benefits 3-4% per year in their projections. While a 3-4% increase is the average cost of living adjustment for the program, it does not increase at the same rate each year. As a matter of fact, There have been many years in recent history when Social Security hasn’t risen at all. 

Taylor Schulte from the Stay Wealthy podcast prefers to be more conservative in his predictions. He uses a 1% average increase in projected Social Security benefits when helping his clients create their retirement plans. He has found that it is better to be conservative when making assumptions so that his clients are prepared for extreme, unpredictable situations. In retirement, you don’t want to be caught off guard. 

Meaning and purpose in retirement

To have a successful retirement, you must have meaning and purpose in your life. You may agree with this statement, but have you ever defined these terms? 

Meaning is an internal concept that is important to you and gives you pleasure. Meaning allows you to use your unique gifts and talents to feel useful. Since meaning is internal, it doesn’t matter whether society thinks something is meaningful, meaning can only be defined by you. 

Purpose is an external concept that involves looking outside yourself to make a difference in the world. It doesn’t matter if that difference is earth-shattering or whether it is as simple as bringing joy to your grandkids. 

The key to a successful retirement is to find activities that provide both meaning and purpose. Decide which activities are meaningful to you. Look around to see how you can make a difference in your world so that you can attain a sense of fulfillment.

What will you do to find meaning and purpose in your retirement? 



  • [1:30] A rule of 55 question
  • [4:10] The ramifications of the decision to not pay off the mortgage
  • [8:38] A Social Security question
  • [11:27] Using health savings accounts vs. health reimbursement accounts before age 65


  • [14:04] Defining meaning and purpose in retirement

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Andy Panko, Tenon Financial Group

Andy Panko’s Taxes in Retirement Facebook group

Chad Smith from Financial Symmetry

Taylor Schulte Stay Wealthy podcast

Tanya Nichols, Align Financial

Rock Retirement Club

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Work with Roger

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

Direct download: RAM384_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38am CDT