Retirement Answer Man

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Ike is reminding us that the plan is not as important as the process. It is the practice of planning that is critical to success. You’ll never have everything figured out since the perfect retirement plan doesn’t exist, but by planning and staying agile you will be able to correct your course along the way. 

This month we have gone from theory to practice to mastery. On this episode of the Retirement Answer Man show, you’ll learn how to optimize your feasible, resilient plan so that you can rock retirement. 

Have a feasible, resilient plan in place before trying to optimize

Most retirement planning blogs and articles focus on optimization since optimizing retirement plans is the bling of financial planning. 

However, without first having an inspiring goal for your retirement, you wouldn’t have the hope of rocking retirement. It is important to start with a goal at the beginning to ensure that you build a feasible, resilient plan before trying to optimize your retirement plan. Remember that you create a retirement plan to help you focus on achieving the life outcomes that you have envisioned for yourself in retirement not to find the best Roth conversion strategy or qualify for ACA credits. 

Retirement tax planning is the best way to optimize your retirement plan

There are so many ways that you can optimize your retirement plan that it can end up being an infinite pool of possibilities. So you may be wondering what the best way to enhance your retirement journey is. The biggest way you can optimize your retirement journey is through tax management. 

In retirement, you have more control over your taxes than at any other time in your life. This means that instead of planning your taxes from year to year, you now have the capability to plan for lifetime tax savings. Retirement tax management is not about avoiding taxes, instead, it's about timing your taxes

You can plan your withdrawal strategy to optimize for taxes not just for this year but in the future as well. By forecasting your tax rate over the next 5-8 years using a traditional withdrawal approach you can gain an idea of what your RMDs will be once you turn 72. 

From there you can work backward to see if it would make more sense to do Roth conversions and pay more in taxes now so that you don’t have to withdraw so much later on in life. Listen in to hear how working backward can ensure that you focus on where you are going rather than where you are now.

Timing your Social Security benefit is another way to optimize your retirement plan

Social Security timing is another area that is important to think through in an organized way. Once you understand your withdrawal strategy then you can analyze where your Social Security benefits fall into your pie cake structure. 

Establish a retirement plan of record

Once again it is important to start with the end in mind. As you revise your retirement plan it is important to create an abstract with a summary of all the decisions you have made so that you can have a log of how everything plays out within the context of your thinking. This method will give you the framework to see how your decisions fit together over time. 

Every 6 months you’ll want to revisit your plan and ask yourself what has changed. Are your goals still the same? If not, then you can realign as needed. By revisiting your plan you can focus on the risks and opportunities that lie ahead. Try to set action items that focus on 1 or 2 of these risks and opportunities. This will give you an inspiring goal to work toward, the agency to achieve it, as well as the confidence to rock retirement. 



  • [5:53] What can you do to enhance this journey?
  • [6:12] Tax management is the biggest thing you can optimize
  • [14:42] Should you try to get ACA healthcare subsidies?
  • [16:21] Take a look at Social Security
  • [20:55] The little conversations


  • [23:37] Why should you use your house on your net worth statement?
  • [25:46] On using the strategic assumption of no inflation
  • [28:17] A Social Security timing question
  • [30:08] An observation on inflation
  • [33:23] Using caveats on Roth conversions
  • [36:34] How to report decreased income to Medicare


  • [41:04] Map out the process that you want to take to walk through your strategy in a fresh way

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Form SSA-44

Episode 402 with Andy Panko - The Retirement Tax Toolbox

LTCI Partners

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: RAM428.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am CDT