Retirement Answer Man

Do you remember your high school sweetheart?  I remember.....all of them. Young "love" is exciting how often does it turn into true love, that lasts into retirement?  I found my true love, Shauna, in college. This year, we'll celebrate our 25th anniversary. When did you meet your true love?

In this week's journey to retirement story, we hear from true high school sweethearts, John and Patti.

Lessons Learned

  • Your story matters. It’s great to hear couples have conversations based on the stories you share on this podcast.
  • Retirement is more about having flexibility in what you do than simply not working.
  • Fixing things yourself can save a lot of money and keep you engaged.
  • Not knowing when retirement is possible and what it could look like is a central issues people struggle with.
  • You and your retirement goals will evolve over time. It's important you have a nimble process to help you make good retirement decisions along the way.

John and Patti

  • Patti age early 50’s and has worked for the same company of 28 years
  • John works in the technical field
  • They've dated since age 17 (how sweet is that??)
  • Two grown Daughters
  • Gearing up for retirement

What Does Retirement mean to you?

  • Patti:  Retirement means doing a lot more things, doing the things I want to do. I don’t think I could not do something. It’s flexibility at an age when you can still enjoy it.
  • John:  I’m kind of a do it your selfer. There’s really a lot of money to be saved by fixing things yourself. Retirement for me is going to be doing the things I want to do, on my terms. That in a nutshell is what I’m hoping for. I’ve got a laundry list of things I want to do.

What are you most excited about?

  • John:  Right now I commute an hour each way. I’ll have 2 hours my day back just like that. There are some things I’ll probably be doing in my 70’s that I could never think I would do.
  • Patti:  Moving to a warmer climate in the winter. Maybe downsizing our main home.

What are you most worried about?

John: Do I have enough money. Am I going to run out of money. That kind of thing.  I have a lot of things I’m planning on doing. Am I going to be able to do them?  Is my health going to be okay?

Patti: The worry for me would be managing the money properly so we have enough. We always worry about the health care costs. I think that will be a major cost that’s hard to predict.

How do you think your doing?

Based on the calculators we’ve run, I guess, we’re not panicking. We’re doing the best we can. If it means working longer that’s what we’ll do. If it means retiring earlier, that’s what we’ll do.

Do You Use a Financial Planner?

  • We do a lot ourself.
  • What I’m looking for is someone to help me with a plan to move forward, give us recommendation and Patti and I execute them.
  • A lot of the places say we need to transfer all our money to this financial institution in order for them to manage it.

What is the worst financial decision you’ve ever made?

John: Before we got married…I read a book on penny stocks and I proved that book wrong.

What are some of the things you have to deal with personally when your managing your finances?

John: I think the biggest thing is…it’s (financial planning) not exciting. You can see it’s important but it’s not urgent so it doesn’t get the attention it desereves.

Patti: The budget part. John wants to stick to it more than I do. He wants it all documented whereas I know more of what I spent and what I didn’t.

What is the one resource that has had the most impact on your lives?

Patti: My parents. I think being brought up in a modest home and working at a young age…has made me into a conscientious spending adult.

How do you want to be remembered?

Patti: I’d like to be remembered for helping others and being a core part of the family.

John: For the positive experiences we’ve had together.

Have a question or want to share your story? Click Here.


Direct download: Retirement_Answer_Man_72.mp3
Category:Investing -- posted at: 2:20pm CDT

Category: -- posted at: 1:56pm CDT

You'd never intentionally make a stupid investment for your retirement. Yet, most of us do everyday. We invest or should I say digest horrible things into our body. Over time these bad "investments" rob us of the most important thing in retirement, our health, and potentially give us a huge negative return in the form of high health care expenses. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do now to create a healthy retirement.

Simple Investments to Create a Healthier Retirement.

Pharmacist, Phil Carson of has counseled patients for years on medications to treat their health problems. Over those years, he's seen the long-term effects of treating symptoms and not the causes of common health issues.

In this episode he shares his simple advice to create a healthier retirement.

Highlights From Our Conversation

 "I want to help those that are half living to learn that they can live fully alive."

"You get to that point when your retired and you don’t want to end up spending all of your money on health care. You have this nice nest egg and they start to see it dwindle away because they have to spend so much on healthcare because they didn’t do what was necessary before hand."

"Be proactive. Don’t wait until your dealing with a health issue like high blood pressure or cholesterol ."

"What I see a lot are people at retirement age that have been working to build up that nest egg, waiting to retire. When they finally retire and then they get sick because they’ve pushed themselves so hard. They failed to stop to thing and be proactive in taking care of their body."

"When your talking about health and being proactive and taking care of your body, I look at that as an investment in your future."

"It’s not just about the quantity of life, you’ve got to think about the quality."

"A lot of medications are designed to just treat symptoms. They’re not designed to treat the underlying cause."

Don’t just look at treating symptoms, treat the cause."

"The majority of people with high chlorestorol issues, its because of their lifestyle problems"

5 Simple Health Investments to Make Now

  • DRINK WATER (one half your body weight in ounces).
  • Get source minerals from spring water or supplements.
  • Replace electrolytes.
  • Eat more food instead of food products.
  • Exercise.

Diagnosed with Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes?

Facts From Dr. Phil Carson

  • 29 million diagnosed with diabetes
  • 86 million diagnosed with pre-diabetes
  • Statistics show that if within 5 years, these folks don’t make some type of lifestyle changes they will be in a diabetic state.
  • Making lifestyle modifications can help turn things around for most that have been diagnosed with pre-diabietes.
  • A health coach can make all the difference in helping you make lifestyle habits.
  • A lot of times we need that person to come along side us to give us that nudge and help keep us on track.

Find More From Phil Carson Here

Direct download: Retirement_Answer_Man_73.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm CDT

IS ANYONE THERE???  I ask because, no one wants to talk about dying or end of life costs. Seriously, when does one bring this subject up?  At a family dinner?? Maybe on your Saturday date night???  Most likely the subject is broached when you bear witness to the devastating effects it has on someone you know.

The Emotional and Financial Costs of End of Life Care

I've learned a lot about the devastating costs of end of life care lately. Over the last year, there's been a lot of death in my family. Last year my sister, Barbara passed away at age 51 and my aunt Nicola passed too. Now, at age 96, my grandmother is tiring out and is in hospice.

When someone you love is dying, it takes a toll on everyone close to them. If you're not careful the emotional and financial toll can be devastating.

In this episode,

We'll discuss:

  • How to manage the emotional cost of end of life
  • The role of family in end of life
  • The average cost of end of life care
  • The uncertainty of the end of life process
  • Ways to plan for end of life costs
  • The importance of good estate planning documents
  • How to write a family love letter

Listener Question

After listening to episode #69 I have had a question I have needed answered for a while.. .

Quick background Im 33yrs old have no retirement working on life/work balance.

Married 3 kids

Built my own business for last 8 years best profits have come last 2 years and current year.

I have no debt personally besides my mortgage.

I have some business debt im paying off over next 2 years.



My question is how much should I start investing in retirement vs reinvesting into my company to help it grow. Up until age 30 I have had the mindset that ill invest in my retirement later and building the company

Great question!  I struggled with this question as well and work with many owners that have the some issue. We business owners tend to be very confident in our abilities and company. Most business owners have the majority of their assets tied to their business. Makes sense, since typically the best return on investment is investing in themselves.

If we're not careful, though, we can become addicted to fueling our business and fail to diversify our assets outside our business.
We'll discuss:

  • The difference between a cash flow business and enterprise.
  • How to decide when to start diversifying your assets outside your business.
  • The difference between wealth creation and wealth preservation and growth.
  • The importance of not getting "addicted to the deal."
  • How to separate your business and personal finances.
  • The importance of "don't go broke" money.


Direct download: Retirement_Answer_Man_71.mp3
Category:Investing -- posted at: 5:28pm CDT

You may die tomorrow. You may get sick. There's no way to predict it and there's nothing you can do about it. Yeah, It sucks, I know. I've got the same deal. As important as planning for retirement is, its just as, more make the most of the only life you have. The one that's happening right now!

The frailty of life is so easy to forget. We're so busy planning, worrying and doing we can miss enjoying the here and now. Lately, I've had lots of reminders of how important enjoying today is. Last year, my sister passed and aunt passed away, my grandmother (age 96) is in hospice and a old neighbor was just diagnosed with MS. I think of events like these as taps on the shoulder. God reminding me, that I was created to live NOW.

Don't just plan a great retirement. Not at the expense of living today. To create a great life, you need to find that balance between living well today AND planning for tomorrow. I know, it's a hard balance to achieve. It might be impossible. You still need to try though. And don't wait, as many do, for a health issue to force your hand. Start today to:

Dream up, plan out and begin living an amazing life.

In this week's episode, we here Amy's journey to retirement and how health issues helped bring into focus the need to find better balance between living today and planning for retirement?

Lessons Learned From Amy's Story

  • Don’t postpone living. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Health issues can hit at any time.
  • Resist the urge to inflate your lifestyle as your income rises. Society has trained us to be consumers and it can rob us of our financial security.
  • Even after financial ruin, you can have a great life.

Who is Amy?

  • 46 married 15 years
  • Two children, 19 and 20
  • Owned our own business, CPA
  • Teaches part time at a local university
  • Shares the same financial philosophy as her spouse
  • Very debt adverse

What Does Retirement Means to You?  

“I enjoy working. I consider being a professor being retired from being a CPA.”

“I don’t see us every not doing anything.”

“We envision traveling and work camping to help pay expenses.”

“I am disabled and my mobility has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older.”

What Are You Most Excited About Retirement?

“Not having to worry about the money”

“Being able to travel”

“Retirement means being able to go do what I want to do.”

What Are You Most Worried About Retirement?

“My health.”

“It (health issues) kinda opens your eyes that you’re not promised tomorrow.”

How Do You Think You’re Doing?

“My grandparents were always a good role model.”

“Being a CPA and seeing a lot of people struggle. I didn’t want to structure.”

What’s the Worst Financial Decision You’ve Ever Made?

“One thing we both regret, as the careers were lifting off…you always think you’re supposed to have that next big thing. The Cars the boats, the house…So we traded in this really nice house for this big We got into it thinking that is what we were supposed to have.”

What has been the Hardest Thing to Deal with Personally in Managing Your Finances?

“I think telling myself that we have enough….because we had nothing and I never we want to go back there.”

“For the past 40 years we’ve been accumulating and accumulating. It’s hard now to decompress and flip that switch.”

What Resources Have Had the Most Impact in Your Life?


How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

“Just a good mother, wife and someone that gave back.”

“I just want to be happy and for my family to be happy. That’s how I want to be remembered.”

I Need Your Help

Many of you have asked questions about Social Security benefits.  Smart move. Your Social Security benefit may be the most important retirement assets you have. I'm in the process of creating educational materials on how to maximize your Social Security benefits. 

What are the 3 things you'd like to learn about taking your Social Security benefit?

Click here and let me know.

Direct download: Retirement_Answer_Man_70.mp3
Category:Investing -- posted at: 5:17pm CDT

If you're working to build a great retirement, stop listening to weekend investment talk radio. The economics of these local shows encourage the sale of investment product rather than offering sound investment advice. 


In this week's episode, I answer listener questions and talk about the difference between investment and investment product and why too much worry will rob you of your life. 

Brenda asks: 

"What do you think about those weekend radio shows where they talk about "no risk investing" and how their clients "never lose money"? Are they legit?"

In my answer I discuss:

  • The economics of weekend investment talk radio.
  • Why you should be careful in responding to messages playing off your fear or greed.
  • The differences between investments and investment products.
  • How to make smarter investment decisions.

Janie Asks:

Question: My husband and I are both self-employed. (I am 35, he is 40). I am paralyzed with stress about retirement. We save about $20,000 per year, max out Roth, remainder in mutual funds. In addition. we also save for college funds (3 kids) and paying $350/month extra towards 30yr fixed mortgage. (Really have only been able to save like this for past 5 years--prior to that paying off student loans, building business etc.)

We have no credit card debt and no car payments.

What stresses me out, is that I don't have a traditional 401K so I don't know what is "normal" amount saved. 

I guess my question is. . . . . is 20% the right amount? Is it  WAY low?  Way high?

Frankly, I want to be safe. I had a very uncertain, unstable childhood. I've built a great life for myself but I find myself not being able to enjoy my efforts because I'm constantly worried about the what ifs. (Are you a financial planner and a shrink. . lol).

In my answer I discuss:

  • Why Janie needs to STOP worrying and start living more (I say it with love).
  • Why Janie and her husband should be PROUD of their progress.
  • The dangers of constant financial worry.
  • How a having sound plan can help lessen financial worries.
  • How a good financial planner might bring needed perspective and structure to their financial life.

Want to Make Smarter Financial Decisions?

Get free access to resources to help you:

  • Create a net worth statement
  • Manage cash flow if you hate to budget
  • Understand the basics of Social Security

Click here and get access to these and over 30 other retirement resources.

Direct download: Retirement_Answer_Man_69.mp3
Category:Investing -- posted at: 8:40am CDT

Have you noticed how these Journey to Retirement stories have little to do with money? Each listener story has focused on freedom and experiences.

Favorite Quote From This Week's Story

"It (retirement) means the freedom to do what we want, when we want and where we want.”

Lessons Learned

  • It’s important to think about what financial situation your spouse will be in when you pass.
  • Pay attention to fees and make sure the fees pay are adding value to your financial life.
  • Brake the habit of using consumer debt. It can be a major drag on building wealth.

Who is Harold

  • Age 56
  • Retired Air Force
  • Current civil servant
  • Married 23 years
  • Goal to retire in 6 years

What Does Retirement Means to You?  

"It means the freedom to do what we want, when we want and where we want.” 

"Our big hold up is not having the time to do the things we love."

“Our time is limited and everything we want to do feels rushed.”

What Are You Most Excited About Retirement?

“I’m excited about…well, see above answer.”

“Traveling is our big thing.” 

What Are You Most Worried About Retirement?

“My main worry is...if something happens to me that she is taken care of.”

“I used to assist widows and widowers upon the death of their spouse. I saw so many times when the main breadwinner died and they were in horrible financial straights. I want to assure my wife is not in the same boat.”

“I want to make sure she knows where everything is because I don’t want her to feel paralyzed if something happens to me.”

How Do You Think Your Doing?

“I’m feeling very good.”

Who Do You Use in Your Life to Help Make Smart Financial  Decisions?

“I have not and I’ve come close on three different occasions.” 

What Has Been Your Worst Financial Decision?

“I really don’t have a big financial mistake, but I have several small ones.”“Prior to my wife coming into my life, I was not at all bothered by carrying debt. After she came into my life, she put a stop to that quickly.”

“I never used to pay attention to fees on the mutual funds I would get into.”

What has been the Hardest Thing to Deal with Personally in Managing Your Finances?

“The 2001-2002 and 2007-2008 markets were very hard to watch the bottom fail out of the market.”

“Putting money in is easy to me. Taking money out (in retirement) I think will be mentally a little more difficult.”

What Resources Have Had the Most Impact in Your Life?

“The Truth About Money” by Ric Edelman

“Buckets of Money” by Ray Lucia

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

“Well Roger, I’d like to think of myself as a loyal, kind family man.”

Direct download: Retirement_Answer_Man_68.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:52pm CDT