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Financial Symmetry: Balancing Today with Retirement

When considering retirement, do you wonder what financial opportunities you may be missing? Busy lives take over and years pass without taking advantage. In this retirement podcast, the Financial Symmetry advisors unveil financial opportunities, to help you balance enjoying today so you are ready to retire later. By day, they are fiduciary fee-only financial advisors who answer questions about tax savings, investment decisions, and how to save more. If you’ve been putting off your financial to-do list or are just not sure what you’ve been missing, subscribe to the show and learn more at www.financialsymmetry.com. Financial Symmetry is a Raleigh Financial Advisor. Proudly serving clients in the Triangle of North Carolina for over 20 years.
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Financial Symmetry: Balancing Today with Retirement
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Now displaying: Category: Retirement
Apr 8, 2024

So many of us will be hoping for no tax surprises when preparing our tax returns this year. 

This is why we want to provide you with a list of common tax surprises to watch for.

After working with hundreds of clients to prepare their tax returns, we’re sharing the latest tax surprises we see that could be helpful to know when completing your tax return this year.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:42] The Slott Report
  • [2:39] Inheritance surprises
  • [6:51] Credit card rewards
  • [8:10] Interest income increases
  • [10:54] Income earned in different states
  • [12:32] 1099Ks
  • [14:14] Underwithholding from your W4
  • [15:56] Forgotten statements
  • [17:32] Double taxation on the Backdoor Roth
  • [19:49] Underpayment penalty
  • [21:14] The K1 for small business owners

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📬 Get our Retire On Purpose Guide here

📰 See the full show notes here

🌐 Explore the Retirement Podcast Network here

 

Feb 26, 2024

Many who approach retirement view it as the ultimate goal, but you could have 30+ years to experience the retirement you've worked to build. 

While much of retirement planning is focused on the numbers, people often fail to intentionally plan out how they'll spend their time.

In this episode, we explore some common retirement pitfalls and then ten stepping stones to help us overcome challenges you might encounter.

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📬 Sign up for the Advisor Corner Newsletter here and receive our Pre-Retirement Checklist. 

🎯 Article - Uncertainty is Underrated

📰 See the full show notes here

🌐 Explore the Retirement Podcast Network here

Jan 15, 2024

If you have rollover IRA accounts and want to make a backdoor Roth IRA contribution, this episode is for you.

There are several steps involved to handle this strategy in the right way including understanding how you roll the IRA accounts to your 401k.

Today we walk through five considerations you should think through before you implement a strategy to complete your Backdoor Roth contributions.

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📬 Tips each month to help you Enhance Your Today and Enrich Your Tomorrow. Download our Pre-Retirement Checklist Ebook today

🎯 Subscribe to not miss future episodes here

📰 See the full show notes here

🌐 Explore the Retirement Podcast Network here

 

 

Jun 12, 2023

Most of us feel like we have a sound process for investing, that is until curveballs are thrown our way. Then, emotions like envy, greed, and fear take over, making us feel like we need to abandon our long-term investing process for the short term. We do this by taking impulsive actions like: 

  • Timing the market
  • Buying what’s hot
  • Selling what’s plunging

However, the investors who do well, in the long run, are the ones who stay the course, focusing less on reactionary changes and more on well-defined targets that you can plan for.

In this week’s episode, we talk about the importance of planning for cash flow needs over the next five years and how to reframe your thinking about making short-term changes to your investment strategy. 

*****

🎥 See a video recap

📬 Tips each month to help you Enhance Your Today and Enrich Your Tomorrow. Download our Pre-Retirement Checklist Ebook today

🎯 Subscribe to not miss future episodes here

📰 See the full show notes here

May 30, 2023

What can hockey teach us about pursuing your ideal retirement? 

As we watched our Carolina Hurricanes progress in the Stanley Cup playoffs, we were reminded of three hockey strategies that are also vital in fulfilling financial planning outcomes. 

And despite the early exit of the Canes in the Eastern Conference Finals, this hockey-themed episode can still assist you in the pursuit of your ideal retirement.

As Wayne Gretzky reminded us, don’t skate to where the puck is, skate to where the puck is going. Too many investors skate where the puck is currently. This Blackrock graph, mentioned in the show, is a good demonstration of results from people that tend to follow the herd to the hot trends now vs. investing where others are selling.

Now on with this week’s episode.

  • [2:18] Develop a game plan 
  • [6:50] Taking advantage of power plays
  • [11:23] Winning the face-off

*****

🎥 See a video recap & slides referenced here

📬 Tips each month to help you Enhance Your Today and Enrich Your Tomorrow. Download our Pre-Retirement Checklist Ebook today

🎯 Subscribe to not miss future episodes here

📰 See the full show notes here

Oct 17, 2022

Have scary markets made you second guess your retirement plan?

For those of you who are near, or already in retirement, you may feel like this year is a part of some retirement horror story.

🎥Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/bPmWBKTM-yg

Which reminded us of a common retirement tale from one of Halloween’s favorite fictitious characters, Michael Myers.

After 40+ years of scaring audiences, the Halloween movie franchise is coming to an end. Now that Michael has reached 65, we thought it fitting to envision that everyone’s favorite murderer is finally done chasing victims and is ready to settle down into retirement.

Has he prepared well enough or did he chase returns the way he chased his victims? Listen in to hear the retirement horror story of Micheal Myers.

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📬 Tips each month to help you reach your Ideal Retirement. Subscribe to the Financial Symmetry newsletter!

📰 DOWNLOAD the free EBOOK Your Game Plan for Market Volatility ebook

🎥 See other videos of podcast recaps here

🎯 Subscribe to not miss future episodes here

 

Oct 3, 2022

Have you ever been offered a non-qualified deferred compensation plan as part of your benefits package?

In this episode, you’ll learn who non-qualified deferred compensation plans were created for, what they are, the pros and cons, and their potential for helping you reduce your lifetime tax bill. 

Find out if this additional savings tool could be a difference maker for your retirement withdrawal strategy. 

*****

📬 Tips each month to help you reach your Ideal Retirement. Subscribe to the Financial Symmetry newsletter!

📰 DOWNLOAD the free EBOOK Your Game Plan for Market Volatility ebook

🎥 See latest video of podcast recap here

🎯 Subscribe to not miss future episodes here

Sep 19, 2022

We all have visions of our ideal retirement, and none of them include a terminal illness. However, sometimes life has other plans.

Today, we discuss the top concerns that are often overlooked for those facing a terminal diagnosis. 

This is a difficult, yet important, subject to address. Investment strategies, tax strategies, and estate planning may not be at the forefront of your mind during this challenging time period, however, doing the legwork now will set your loved ones up for success after your passing.

You won’t want to miss this episode if you or a loved one has recently experienced a terminal diagnosis. 

*****

📬 Tips each month to help you reach your Ideal Retirement. Subscribe to the Financial Symmetry newsletter!

📰 See the full show notes here [including a Terminal Illness Checklist]

🎥 See latest video of podcast recap here

🎯 Subscribe to not miss future episodes here

 

Sep 5, 2022

Retirement rules of thumb can give you a false sense of security. 

▶️ Watch a short recap on Youtube

Today you’ll learn why you should second guess these 4 commonly referenced retirement rules.

In this episode, we'll discuss:

  • what these rules are
  • where they came from
  • why they aren’t the best prescriptions for success in retirement
  • what you should do instead of relying on these common retirement norms

Our expanded pre-retirement checklist is packed with common questions asked by our clients. Our new guide answers the 4 questions you should ask about Social Security, includes common tax planning tools used by retirees, and examines how your investing may change in retirement.

Download this newly revised and expanded checklist to help you best prepare for your retirement. 

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📗 Download the expanded Retire On Purpose Guide

🎯 Subscribe to not miss future episodes here

📬 Tips each month to help you reach your Ideal Retirement. Subscribe to the Financial Symmetry newsletter!

 

Aug 8, 2022

Have you ever wondered how your retirement preparations compare with others?

Short video recap: https://youtu.be/mNYvWKgO3MM

This is a common question that we hear as financial advisors. On this episode, we’ll take a look at data from a recent study about the 4 types of retirement journeys that people take. You’ll also hear about the risks and opportunities that stem from these 4 retirement paths. 

People’s circumstances, attitudes, and ambitions can greatly affect their retirement experience. So, if you are on the cusp of retirement you may be wondering what type of retirement you will have. You can think of retirement as a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Each path has its own opportunities and lessons to learn. Which retirement adventure will you choose?

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:01] Retirement is like a Choose Your Own Adventure book
  • [3:13] The regretful strugglers
  • [7:34] Challenged yet hopeful
  • [11:34] Relaxed traditionalists
  • [16:19] The purposeful pathfinders
  • [21:41] Choose your own progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Allison

Subscribe To This Podcast

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Jul 25, 2022

Which retirement stage are you in? Spoiler alert: the stages begin before you are retired. You'll also be surprised by some of the stats we uncover as we dissect findings in the latest Age Wave study on retirement. 

Video Recap: https://youtu.be/8YeA6nSCenY

We've had the pleasure of working with hundreds of families as they have planned and transitioned into retirement. Let’s dive in to this episode to explore how you can maximize these 4 phases of retirement through financial planning.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:44] The anticipation stage
  • [7:20] Liberation/disorientation stage
  • [13:45] The reinvention stage
  • [17:44] The reflection and resolution stage
  • [25:08] Today’s progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

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Apr 18, 2022

Deciding to retire is just the beginning of your retirement decision-making. From tax planning to Social Security decisions, finding the best strategies for you requires regular analysis.

Video recap: https://youtu.be/TleOZ8CwYXw

Today’s question comes from a client who recently read an article from Rethinking 65 titled Why Trying to Quantify Roth Conversions Is Futile. After reading the article the client wanted to know if they should take advantage of Roth conversions. As we explore this question today, you’ll learn how you can decide whether Roth conversions would be a good fit for your retirement situation.

Outline of This Episode

  • Cameron’s thoughts on the article [1:42]
  • When to take the income [3:48]
  • Look at other areas of your life when considering a Roth conversion [7:48]
  • Longevity risks that come with retirement [13:38]
  • How taking Roth conversions could affect Social Security [16:58]
  • Today’s progress principle [22:20]

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Cameron

Subscribe To This Podcast

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Apr 4, 2022

Many people that listen to retirement podcasts and read financial articles are fantastic savers. If that sounds like you, congratulations!

Video recap: https://youtu.be/pUvfv1815fw

You have done the hard work to accumulate plenty of assets and be on track to reach your financial retirement goals.

However, after a lifetime of accumulation, you may discover that you have a hard time letting go of your assets. I recently came across an article in Barron’s magazine called Retirees Aren’t Spending Enough of Their Nest Eggs. Here's Why. On this episode of Financial Symmetry, Allison Berger and I will discuss the reasons that some retirees are reluctant to spend their savings and explore strategies that you can use to ensure that you have a successful transition into retirement.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:33] Retirees aren’t spending enough of their nest eggs and here’s why
  • [3:30] Why is there a reluctance to spend in retirement?
  • [6:53] Tactics to spend
  • [10:20] Create a retirement paycheck
  • [12:26] Delay taking Social Security
  • [14:48] Understand the tax tools available to you
  • [19:31] Estate planning is not only about documents
  • [22:05] Today’s progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Apple Podcasts <> Stitcher <> Google Play

Mar 21, 2022

Financial planning is a powerful tool that can help you not only anticipate risks and opportunities but also help you envision your future to ensure that you can retire the way you want to retire.

Video recap: https://youtu.be/hKJRvl-_RlM

As Howard Marks says, “You can’t predict but you can prepare.”

As you prepare for retirement it is helpful to stay up to date with the latest retirement trends. This is why we're excited to share our takeaways from the JP Morgan Guide to Retirement with you. You may be curious about how you are doing compared to others in your demographic and guides like this one can help you more deeply understand where you stand in your retirement planning journey.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:10] Increased longevity is changing retirement 
  • [5:33] How will you spend your 3rd act?
  • [9:30] Time is a limited resource
  • [13:50] How are retirees spending their money
  • [20:21] The benefits of diversified sources of savings

Resources & People Mentioned

 

Feb 28, 2022

From data breaches to text messages, emails, and phone calls, scammers are always looking for new ways to commit fraud.

Video recap: https://youtu.be/_PwxMMqnjNk

Fraud can devastate retirement plans, so it is important to stay one step ahead of scammers and keep your guard up to protect yourself and your retirement. 

On this episode, we discuss types of scams to be on the lookout for and how you can protect yourself from the conmen that are constantly devising new ways to ruin people’s lives. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:12] Elder fraud is an egregious form of fraud
  • [6:47] Victim shaming can make things worse
  • [9:43] Be cautious about new romantic relationships
  • [10:58] Ways that you can protect yourself from scams
  • [18:38] Is a credit freeze a good idea if you have been a victim of fraud?
  • [19:56] The progress principles

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Allison and Will

Jan 17, 2022

The biggest financial threat to your wealth is not the market; it is your brain.

Video clip with Money Egg example: https://youtu.be/PJ4Zryp2w8Y

Human behavior surrounding money varies greatly and can be fascinating to study. Allison Berger has been studying financial behavior in more detail over the past year in the Certified Financial Transitionist coursework.

On this episode of Financial Symmetry, we delve deeper into the common money scripts that drive financial behavior. Our conversation is inspired from the book Wired for Wealth by Brad Klontz, Ted Klontz, and Rick Kahler.

When you listen you’ll learn what a money script is and how it can impact your financial wellbeing.  You will also learn 5 steps you can take to help you improve your money mindset.

What is a money script?

Markets go up and down but one fact holds true: the money scripts you play in your head will determine your financial well-being. The things we do surrounding money are defined by the money scripts we learned in childhood.

Money scripts come from the explicit or implicit messages we received about money as children as we were trying to make sense of the world. Usually, these ideas are partial truths based on our parents' teachings and actions around money. We have internalized these money scripts and unconsciously follow them as adults as the logical response to what we saw as children. 

Here are common examples of money scripts: money doesn’t grow on trees, money can’t buy happiness, rich people are shallow, money is the root of all evil. 

Money scripts can keep you poor

Your money scripts can become roadblocks in your thinking about money, so it is important to think about how they may be affecting your life. At their worst, money scripts can contribute to financial disorders like financial infidelity, compulsive buying, pathological gambling, compulsive hoarding, financial dependence, and financial enabling. 

These are examples of money scripts that will keep you poor: your self-worth equals your net worth, it's ok to keep financial secrets from your partner, if you are good your financial needs will be taken care of. 

These negative money scripts can be linked with overspending, compulsive shopping, or workaholism. As people edge closer to retirement the more they tend to stick with the money scripts that have led them through life. However, retirees may need to embrace new ideas to be able to reach their financial goals. If you are struggling with your money mindset, try reaching out to an objective third party for help. 

Money scripts may keep you poor in spirit 

Money should be saved, not spent. You can never have enough financial security. Money that I did not earn is not really mine to spend. These are a few examples of money scripts that can cause people to underspend. Scripts like these can lead to hoarding wealth and workaholism. 

A financial plan can help you break free from your money scripts. Without a financial plan in place, you don't know how much you can safely spend. A financial plan will ensure that you look at the details and the reality of your spending situation. You want to make the most of your money and your life especially as you transition into retirement.

5 Steps to change your money mindset 

You can change your mindset surrounding money and the book recommends 5 steps to overcome your limiting financial beliefs. 

  1. Face your fear. Accept that you have beliefs about money that are not currently serving you. Identify your present reality to see how your money scripts have contributed to your financial situation. 
  2. Visit your past. Ask yourself these questions to help you dig a bit deeper into your money scripts to discover where they stem from. What was your first money memory? What is a positive money memory? What money experience was painful to you?
  3. Understand your present. What is your current financial situation? What is your current reality? Explore your financial situation deeply to understand it fully.
  4. Envision your future. What does your future hold? What would you want your life to look like if you had 30 days to live? What are your goals?
  5. Transform your life. Redefine your priorities and your core values. In light of these changes, what are your new financial goals? What lifestyle or behavioral changes are necessary to take action? 

These are not quick, easy steps to take. They require a bit of soul searching to get to the heart of your issues with money. However, if you find yourself with a money mindset that is not serving your goals you’ll want to do what you can to solve your problems. 

If you think that you may need help changing your money mindset, reach out to us to see if we can help you. Head over to FinancialSymmetry.com and click talk to an advisor. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:30] What is a money script
  • [7:01] How can you move away from your money script
  • [10:42] The money scripts that keep you poor
  • [14:22] The money scripts that promote wealth accumulation
  • [17:15] How to change your money mindset
  • [22:15] The progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Apple Podcasts <> Stitcher <> Google Play

Nov 22, 2021

The end of the year is a great time to start tax planning for next year. 

Video example: https://youtu.be/lzghkK2iP3Q

This week we are discussing the strategies you can utilize to enhance your tax situation before year-end.

You’ll learn which tools you can use and how the actions you take in one area of your financial life can flow into other areas.  

Are you maximizing your retirement account contributions?

When considering your pre-tax retirement account contributions there are a couple of aspects that you should consider. These contributions are a great way to reduce your tax burden, but you also need to examine your cash flow. 

Do you maximize your employer match? If not, look at your budget to see how you could take advantage of this free money. You could also take your savings a step further to maximize the pre-tax retirement account contribution cap. In 2021, the yearly max was $19,500, but in 2022 that number rises to $20,500. 

If you are maximizing your savings, it is important to review whether you are at risk of over-contributing both this year and next. After analyzing the amount that you want to save, then you can consider which account type is best for you to save in. 

Harvesting capital losses or capital gains

Another tax opportunity is to harvest capital gains and losses. Harvesting capital losses can offset any capital gains that you have realized over the year. This year it may be difficult to find capital losses; however, this is a concept that you can explore so that you can understand how it impacts your tax return. Harvesting capital losses creates an opportunity to reduce your tax burden. 

Itemizing vs taking the standard deduction

The standard deduction changed in 2017 to $12,500 for singles and $25,100 for married people filing jointly and thus causing 90% of filers to utilize the standard deduction. There are 4 deduction categories to consider when calculating whether to take the standard deduction or to itemize deductions: state and local income taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and medical deductions.

Listen in to learn if you should take the standard deduction or whether it would make sense to itemize, you’ll also hear how you could receive a tax benefit of $600 for charitable contributions.

Should you utilize Roth conversions?

Roth conversions can be an exciting opportunity to take advantage of current tax rates and have your investments grow tax-free. However, you have to be careful about how you take them. The best way to consider whether to make Roth conversions is to zoom out and look at your overall lifetime tax plan. 

If you are in a higher tax bracket than you are projected to be in the future then taking a Roth conversion now doesn’t make much sense. You also need to consider how taking a Roth conversion now could trigger other events, especially if you are 63 or older. Listen in to hear how doing a Roth conversion at age 63 could trigger an additional Medicare premium. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:42] Your retirement account contributions
  • [6:00] Harvesting capital losses or capital gains
  • [8:47] Review your deductions
  • [14:23] How to utilize Roth conversions
  • [18:05] Tax withholding for high earners
  • [20:58] Utilize catch-up contributions to supersize your savings
  • [27:50] RMDs are back in 2021
  • [29:39] Create a checklist of these opportunities

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Grayson

Oct 18, 2021

The decumulation stage of retirement is different from all those years you spent accumulating your retirement savings.

Video Recap: https://youtu.be/UyvHGltT1Z0

This is why you need to have a retirement plan in place to help guide you through this transition. Unfortunately, the same plan won’t work for everyone which is why it is important to understand what type of strategy would work best for you. 

On this episode of Financial Symmetry, Allison Berger and I will check out the risks and opportunities to consider as you approach the decumulation stage of your life. Listen in to hear what you need to consider to make the most of your personal retirement plan. 

What to consider if you are retiring before age 59.5 

If you are planning to retire before the age of 59.5 you first need to make sure that you have all your ducks in a row. Before age 59.5 you won’t be able to access your various retirement accounts without a penalty, so you’ll want to make sure that you have access to money for this time period outside of a traditional retirement account. You could obtain funds from a brokerage account, home equity, rental properties, or an inheritance. Before you retire early, think about which funds you could source without having to take a penalty by dipping into your tax-deferred accounts. 

You’ll not only need to know where your money is coming from when retiring early, but you’ll also have to think about health insurance. Obtaining health insurance before you are eligible for Medicare can be quite costly. Many people choose to go with COBRA or the ACA. Make sure you consider the costs of health insurance when creating your retirement plan. 

The younger you retire the more susceptible you are to sequence of return risk. Sequence of return risk can lead many people to become conservative with their investments, however, this leads to increased inflation risk. To consider these two types of risk it is important to have a balanced portfolio

Retirement between the ages of 59.5 and 65

If you are planning to wait until full retirement age at 67 or beyond then you may be funding the early years of retirement all on your own without the help of Social Security. Once you reach the age of 59.5 you can access your retirement accounts without penalty. However, it is important to remember that income from your IRAs, 401Ks, and 403Bs will be taxed when you access them. 

Sequence of returns is still a factor this early on in retirement so make sure that your portfolio can weather the storms that the market could bring. Listen in to discover what you should be thinking about 2 years before you apply for Medicare. 

Retirement considerations after age 65

Once you reach 65 you can enroll in Medicare and will no longer have to worry about paying for costly medical insurance. This is a good time to start thinking about when you will take Social Security and the tax ramifications. If you are unfamiliar with the Social Security tax bubble check out episode 101 to learn more. 

During retirement, your annual tax plan should always be taken into consideration with your overall retirement tax plan to ensure that you save as much as you can over the course of your lifetime.

Retirement strategies don’t always go according to plan

You’ve probably heard of popular retirement strategies like the 4% rule, the guardrails, the bucket strategy, or a systematic withdrawal approach. These strategies are all great on paper but they can often fall apart when life gets in the way. We like to take a flexible approach to retirement planning that is based on your life and your financial plan. We look at the big picture to think about how you can reduce your lifetime tax rate and create a plan that works with your financial goals. 

Examine where you are on your retirement journey. Think about your risks and opportunities when creating your retirement plan. Listen to this episode to hear what you need to think about during the different phases of your retirement. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:40] What to consider if you are retiring before age 59.5 
  • [7:30] Considerations for those between the ages of 59.5 and 65
  • [9:49] Retirement strategies don’t always go according to plan
  • [12:10] Retirement between ages 65 and 72
  • [16:39] Retirement in the post-RMD age
  • [22:28] Progress principles

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Apple Podcasts <> Stitcher <> Google Play

May 17, 2021

A recent survey discovered that millions of Americans 55 or older are in a rush to retire.  The pandemic has many contemplating retiring years earlier than originally imagined after adopting a "life is short" mentality.

Video recap: https://youtu.be/q5r5ZiVw7d4

But before you rush into a decision to retire early you’ll want to consider it carefully. We've listed 6 steps below to analyze if you are ready to retire.

Why retire early?

Since the pandemic has made us all consider how we are spending our time, people have become more and more frustrated with their daily grind. Many people would like to spend more time with their families or pursuing hobbies that they enjoy. 

However, if you are in a position to retire early it is important to think about why you really want to retire beyond the initial urge to leave the work world behind. It is important to consider how you will spend your days. Think about your purpose so that you are retiring to something, rather than simply running away from the 9-5. Have a plan, not just a portfolio.

Use the acronym RETIRE to consider early retirement

Grayson Blazek and I have come up with 6 strategies to consider when thinking about early retirement. We’re using the word RETIRE as an acronym to help keep it easy to remember.

  • Risk - Have you considered the sequence of return risks? You may have good returns now but a bear market could ruin that. You don’t want to have to sell low, so make sure your portfolio is allocated with risk in mind. If you want to retire early, you’ll need to have the upcoming 5-7 years of spending available to avoid the risk of having to sell a position when you aren’t ready to. Everyone has their own risk tolerance, so carefully consider yours. In addition to the sequence of return risk, you’ll also need to think about inflation risk. 
  • Early retirement account withdrawals - If you are retiring early you won’t want to pull from accounts where there might be a penalty. This means that you’ll have to consider which accounts your income will come from. Be sure to have a diversified mix of accounts to pull from. Give yourself flexibility and make sure you have access to your wealth outside of retirement plans. Have different buckets ready and understand all the tools that you have available.
  • Taxes - Take advantage of strategic tax moves. Use Roth conversions to take money from pre-tax accounts and convert it to a Roth IRA. You can take advantage of lower tax rates to fill your buckets with tax-deferred funds. In retirement, you'll want to think about your lifetime tax rate rather than your yearly tax bill.
  • Insurance game plan - One of the biggest issues for early retirees is where to get insurance. You’ll need to carefully plan how you will source insurance and how much it will cost. Most early retirees consider 3 choices: COBRA, a spousal healthcare plan, or the Affordable Care Act. You’ll want to ensure that you understand the expenses involved with each of these choices.
  • Regular reviews - How will you know if you are on the right track? Have a plan to monitor your situation periodically. Ask yourself these questions: Have your goals changed? Do you want to pivot? Has your financial situation changed? 
  • Estate loose ends - Nobody likes thinking about end-of-life decisions, but having your estate documents in place will give you peace of mind. Consider the 3 most important ones: a will, a healthcare power of attorney, and financial power of attorney. 

Download the Pre-Retirement Checklist

The question of whether to retire early is one that should not be taken lightly. You can use these 6 considerations to help you contemplate your retirement readiness, in addition, you can also download our Pre-Retirement Checklist to ensure that you are making the right decision for you and your family.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:46] Questions people have about retiring early
  • [3:48] R is for risk
  • [8:42] E is for early retirement account withdrawals
  • [13:06] T is for taxes
  • [17:52] I is for insurance
  • [20:56] R is for regular reviews
  • [23:02] E is for estate loose ends
  • [25:42] The progress principle

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Mar 8, 2021

It’s always fun to peek behind the curtain and see the strategies and process people use for their decision making.

Video recap: https://youtu.be/DDp2dBUhrSg

During this conversation, we review some of my core beliefs around:

  • importance of tradeoffs - how every financial decision affects others
  • being intentional in being a good steward
  • Defining the balance between enjoying today while saving for tomorrow
  • Structuring your money management around the give, grow, owe and live philosophy

4 Primary Uses of Money

You can use it to live, give, owe or grow. For us, we rank these in the following order: give, grow, live, owe.

Giving is at the top of our budget. Giving first breaks the power of money and releases its hold over people. Therefore, tithing to our church has been at the top of our priority list.

We then focus on the growth aspect. This starts with automating our savings so that we can reach 15% of our income. As for how we invest we focus on various types of accounts from 401K to Roth IRAs to 529s for the kids. We explain in the episode how we've set up a system to where we don't lose sleep over our 90% stock allocation.

With 3 yr old twins, a large part of our spending goes to daycare costs. My spouse and I try to spend our money on the things that create joy, including going to NC State sporting events and going on camping trips.

I've always used debt as a tool for large, low-interest purchases such as his home and car. We only hold one credit card and doesn’t want to open any more accounts than are necessary.

Outline of This Episode

  • [4:25] What are Cameron’s money influences?
  • [9:07] How does Cameron divide up his resources?
  • [15:27] Does he worry about his 90% stock allocation?
  • [21:26] How does he see debt?
  • [26:30] What was the best money he spent in 2020?
  • [31:15] The power of small wins

Resources & People Mentioned

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Feb 22, 2021

Have you wondered if there are any financial mistakes that you may have been making?

Video recap here: https://youtu.be/9fsWlp56R2U

Sometimes our financial mistakes aren’t obvious, so in this episode of Financial Symmetry, we discuss 3 hidden financial mistakes that you may be making and how you can spot them. 

Uncertain outcomes cannot be predicted

Are you guilty of believing an uncertain outcome is certain? Sometimes we feel confident that things are going to happen. This can be true even with geopolitical events like the Coronavirus. You may have known the virus would happen, but could you have predicted this current situation? 

People are naturally overconfident, but the market is smarter than you. Trying to anticipate corrections will cost you money. In fact, trying to anticipate market corrections will end up costing you more money than the market corrections themselves.

One way to prevent overconfidence is by talking through potential outcomes with a financial advisor or a financial accountability partner. 

Don’t underestimate the market’s ability for positive surprises

Many people have a negative money script or way that we view finances. This scarcity mindset could penalize their financial potential. There will always be reasons to wait it out or not invest, but instead of focusing on those reasons focus on not missing out on opportunities. You don’t want to take a pay cut in retirement because of missed opportunities. 

We often delay financial decisions to give ourselves time to think about it more or evaluate the alternatives and to consider all outcomes. But often the best investments are the most difficult ones that you have to make. This is why having an investment plan makes sense. 

“Investing is a lifelong journey. Making money slowly is much better than making then losing money quickly.” -- David Booth

Are you missing hidden tax opportunities?

There are different tax opportunities that can be taken depending on your phase of life and how the laws change. One opportunity that many retirees were able to take advantage of this year was the lack of required minimum distributions (RMDs). This allowed people to do Roth conversions. Retirement brings on a wealth of tax planning opportunities since you have more control over your income in retirement. Advanced tax planning early in retirement can help you save on your lifetime tax bill. Listen in to hear how long-term tax planning can save you money over your lifetime. 

Estate planning pitfalls

Estate planning is often the last part of a financial plan that people want to address since it is the least enjoyable part of financial planning. But if you want a say in what happens to your money after you are gone then you’ll need to create an estate plan and review it periodically. Check out episodes 102 and 122 to learn more about estate planning. 

Do you have enough? Are you saving enough? When is the best time to invest? Are you missing out? These are all questions that can be answered with the right financial plan. Think about what a financial plan can do for you. If you are looking for a financial advisor to help you create a financial plan click through to our website.

.Outline of This Episode

  • [2:40] Believing an uncertain outcome is certain 
  • [10:16] Missing hidden tax opportunities 
  • [14:50] Are you taking advantage of an HSA?
  • [17:15] Estate planning pitfalls
  • [21:18] Today’s progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

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Jan 25, 2021

What is the most important thing you can do for building wealth?

Video recap: https://youtu.be/OVSKtk6TzB0

Recently, Jeff Levine (@CPAPlanner) put this question out into the Twitterverse: Other than saving and investing, what is the one single most important factor to financial success?

Too often when dealing with financial decisions, we try to overcomplicate what is best for us. We liked the simplicity of a single thing to focus on, so this week we are breaking down our version of the most important thing you can do in each decade to improve your financial journey.

Harness the power of compound interest while you’re young

If you are starting to build wealth in your teens and 20s you’re in luck. Time is on your side.

An often cited roadblock to getting this started, is the overwhelming debt obligations to student loans. While important to tackle high interest rate debt, carving out a small amount of automated savings can be life-changing.

For many, the first time we see a compound interest example, we are inspired. We included a powerful example below to demonstrate how much investment growth accumulates over 40 years, compared to the amount you are saving.

By saving small amounts early, compound interest becomes your super power. Automating this savings each month in an investment account with exposure to a diversified stock portfolio starting in your 20s, is arguably the single biggest impact decision you'll make in building wealth. Because of the natural discipline it creates, making it harder to stop it down the road.

Continue to pay yourself first

During your 30s, life often becomes busier. Between new marriages, job changes and growing families, consequential decisions can pile up. These exciting changes bring curveballs you often don't expect, like childcare for remote school over the past year.

This is when deciding to pay yourself first benefits you behind the scenes when life decisions are taking priority. If your saving and investing decisions are made only after you cover your expenses, then your budget is upside down.

Automating your savings and charitable giving can leave you better positioned as you head in to your 40s.

Don’t compare yourself with those around you

During this decade, it's tempting to continue moving the goalposts as you reach certain levels of success.

Comparing your financial situation to others is a common derailment to your long-term success in your 40s. Keeping up with the Joneses can feel like an endless treadmill.

In the The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel writes, “the ceiling of social comparison is so high that virtually no one will ever hit it, which means it is a battle that can never be won or that the only way to win is to not fight it to begin with, to accept that you might have enough even if it’s less than those around you.”

Determine your definition of enough. Is it a certain amount of money in the bank? A bigger house? Being laser focused on your ultimate financial goals, allows you stick to your financial plan, providing peace of mind along the way.

Be flexible in your 50s

Successful financial planning begins with understanding potential high impact risks.

More and more, we see unexpected hurdles for people in their 50s. It could be a layoff or a loss of assets due to grey divorce, but understanding the potential impact with scenario planning beforehand can leave you more agile to adjust.

Investing in your personal and professional relationships through the years, allows for more flexibility when reinventing yourself in these circumstances. Additionally, understanding the impact of withdrawals on your assets can be valuable in the case you need temporary withdrawals to sustain you during a transition.

After building wealth, keep perspective

Hopefully, in your 60s you are reflecting on a life well lived. This is a time to gain perspective. Common rules of thumb or family recommendations may not be the best. Some common things we hear related to this are:

  • Because I'm retiring soon, shouldn't I reduce the risk in my investment strategy?
  • I need to pay off your mortgage before I retire.
  • Shouldn't I take Social Security at 62, because I not sure it will be there if I wait?
  • Why would I want to make withdrawals from my IRA before I have to?

Having a plan in your 60s provides confidence. Hiring a financial professional can help you develop a plan and to gain perspective so that you can create a long term plan for your money.

Outline of This Episode

  • [4:06] What is the one thing you can do in your teens and 20s to help build wealth?
  • [8:23] The one thing in your 30s that you can do to build wealth 
  • [10:57] What should you be doing in your 40s to build wealth?
  • [14:35] The one thing in your 50s that you can do to build wealth
  • [17:49] What can you do in your 60s to build wealth?
  • [21:30] Consider continuity in your 70s
  • [22:55] What should you be doing in your 80s?
  • [25:32] The progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Nov 16, 2020

Have you been offered an early retirement package?

Video recap: https://youtu.be/jpIfdhYVx6Y

Early retirement packages are on the rise. Companies are often looking for ways to cut costs and one way to do that is to give highly compensated employees an incentive to ease into retirement. Usually, these packages offer a one-time payment and sometimes they come with a period of additional healthcare coverage. 

If you are offered an early retirement package many questions will arise. Is this a good deal? Is the package negotiable? What will I do about health insurance? And, of course, should I take it? 

On this episode, Mike and I will give you the tools to create a framework to think about the questions that early retirement packages bring. Listen in to learn how to weigh this huge decision. 

How does this early retirement package affect your long-term financial plan?

Before you consider anything else you need to think about how this package fits into your long-term financial plan. Receiving a lump sum can give you a lottery mindset, so you’ll need to consider what is most important to you. How would this package fit into the bigger picture of retirement?

This is a good time to ask a professional for help. If you are working with a financial advisor, you’ll definitely want to ask their opinion. A financial advisor can help you spot risks and opportunities that you may not have otherwise seen. Mike has some questions you may not have asked yourself about this early retirement package, so make sure you listen in to hear all the questions. 

What about insurance?

The main reason that many people decline an early retirement package is due to insurance. You may want to see if health insurance is a negotiable part of the package. Sometimes the company will offer to pay for your health insurance for a certain period of time. 

You can also check into COBRA coverage which will guarantee you 18 months of health insurance coverage under your old plan--just be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. 

Another way to cover your health insurance is to check into the ACA healthcare exchange. Be sure to weigh all of your healthcare options before signing the deal. 

How will this influence your tax picture down the road? 

So many tax opportunities pop up with an early retirement package. You’ll want to consider all the ways that you can save on taxes if you do decide to accept it. Do you have a health savings account? If so, make sure to max it out. Have you maxed out your 401K for the year? What about your company stock?

If you are under 59 ½, where will your income come from? When do you plan on taking Social Security? Now is the time to plan how to build your ultimate retirement withdrawal strategy. 

Ask yourself: what’s next?

Will you be able to transition into retirement successfully? The answer to this may be dependent upon whether you are retiring from something or to something. This is why it is important to consider what’s next. 

Will you relax on a beach somewhere, find another job, become a consultant, or try your hand at entrepreneurship? An early retirement package can bring about myriad choices, but you need to make sure that you are financially prepared to accept them. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:15] How does this decision affect your long term financial plan?
  • [8:02] Health insurance often makes or breaks this offer
  • [10:02] How will this influence your tax picture down the road? 
  • [15:04] Ask yourself: what’s next?
  • [17:43] Alternate scenarios
  • [18:40] The progress principle

Resources & People Mentioned

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Jul 27, 2020

2020 has brought us a new reality with our vacation mindsets. With many vacation plans put on hold or completely cancelled, the pandemic has become the impetus for second homes becoming more of a reality.

Short Youtube video recap: https://youtu.be/dZvXxmFmDxM

If you have been considering purchasing a second home, we lay out 5 questions to consider as you're analyzing your purchase decision.

Questions to ask yourself before buying a second home

Have you ever considered buying a lake house, beach house, or mountain house? Vacation home purchases have surged this year, quadrupling the sales of last year. After an amazing vacation, some people want to jump right in and buy. But before you apply for that second mortgage there are some questions you need to consider. 

How much can you afford?

Many people only consider the cost of the mortgage, but with a second home, there is much more to consider. Where will you get the down payment? How will you pay 2 sets of utilities? Will you have 2 HOA’s to pay for? If you or your spouse lost a job, how would you continue to pay for this second home? Remember, typically a second home is not a great investment. They can be hard to sell and generally do poorly in recessions. Another important consideration is: how will this purchase impact your other financial goals? 

How often will you use it?

When will you use your new home? Every weekend? Winters? Summers? Will you rent it out? Consider whether you really want a second home, or 2 nice beach vacations a year. 

How much time will you use it? Will you feel like you have to go there? Will it limit other vacations? Is this really where you want to spend all of your time? 

Many people end up selling their vacation home because they realize that they didn’t use it as much as they had envisioned. How close is it to your primary residence? Oftentimes, the amount of use a vacation home gets is based on proximity to one’s house.

How will your life be affected by a second home purchase?

Remember there are not only the financial costs to consider but the time cost as well. Another house means more maintenance. This upkeep requires a financial cost but it could also mean that you have to spend your own personal time fixing up the place. What will you be giving up in return for the new house? 

If you are still keen on the idea of purchasing a vacation home after answering all of these questions, listen in to hear what steps you should take next are. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:37] This year second home purchases have increased
  • [4:19] How much can you afford?
  • [7:40] How often will you use it?
  • [9:16] How will your life and kids’ lives be affected by this purchase?
  • [10:32] What about the ongoing maintenance?
  • [13:07] Describe your ideal second home
  • [13:45] How far is it from your home?
  • [15:47] Do you plan to rent it out?
  • [20:57] The key takeaways from today

Resources & People Mentioned

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Jul 13, 2020

You spend half your life preparing for retirement, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be surprises when you get there.

YouTube Recap here: https://youtu.be/zzEnHR9Qv8I

Retirement can bring on both positive and negative surprises, so it's important to prepare the best you can beforehand. So in this episode we breakdown the different kinds of surprises you may experience in retirement and how you can be ready.

A year of surprises

2020 has been a year of surprises. It seems that every time we turn around the world has something new in store for us. Life has changed substantially and we are all dealing with a new reality. A changing reality amidst retirement can be scary if you aren’t prepared. If you want to be prepared for any eventuality during retirement then listen to this episode now.

5 positive retirement surprises

In retirement, there could be good surprises or bad ones. We like to start out with the potentially beneficial surprises. You’ll want to hear which surprises might start out negative but could lead to positive changes.

  • A second career - Some people find that retirement brings them into a second career. They may find this second round more fulfilling or it could be a way to give back to their community. Being able to contribute and still earn an income is an unexpected surprise for many. 
  • An unexpected inheritance - While the situation may not be that positive, an unexpected inheritance could completely change your retirement plans. Coming into money unexpectedly requires careful consideration and planning
  • A layoff - Not everyone retires when they want to. If you get laid off close to retirement age you could turn that negative into a positive especially if it includes a severance package. 
  • Increased travel - If you have family that moved across the country or even across the world this could bring more travel into your retirement itinerary. Although seeing new places is always exciting, it’s important to prepare for the added expenditure. 
  • A change in family dynamics - You may be surprised by taking on a caregiving role in retirement. This role could be for aging parents or even raising the grandkids. Another way that family dynamics change in retirement is through grey divorce. Listen in to discover how changes in family dynamics can change your financial outlook as well. 

Don’t let negative changes in retirement surprise you

Unfortunately, retirement doesn’t always bring sunshine and rainbows. It’s important to be prepared for negative surprises in retirement as well. 

  • A decline in health - Health changes can change your finances as well. You may find that your Medicare premiums are higher than expected. Find out how you can rectify that by listening to episode 104. Long term care can also have a huge impact on your retirement finances. 
  • Downsizing didn’t have the expected effect. Sometimes we think that downsizing in retirement will bring substantial financial benefits but that isn’t always the case.
  • Inflation can be the silent killer of retirement savings. Even if you pay off your home taxes and insurance are still there and they tend to increase over time. Is your portfolio prepared to battle inflation?
  • Taxes continually surprise us. Many people discover that in retirement they are still paying high tax rates.
  • A market correction - sometimes the timing of market corrections can come as a surprise (although it shouldn’t!) How you respond to a market correction matters. Learn how to factor your risk tolerance into your portfolio so that you can be prepared for any eventuality.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:30] What are you going to do in retirement?
  • [4:38] You receive an unexpected inheritance
  • [6:01] Turn a negative into a positive
  • [10:12] A caregiving role can be a surprise
  • [13:42] Healthcare costs can be surprising in retirement
  • [16:02] Sometimes downsizing doesn’t provide the expected financial benefits 
  • [19:35] Taxes can be surprising
  • [20:21] Market corrections can come as a surprise

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Apple Podcasts <> Stitcher <> Google Play

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