Real-World Retirement Planning

What I Should Have Said For Real-World Retirement Planning

Happy real-world retirementThe NY Times posted an article recently from Paul B. Brown. He’s a former advisor and author. When asked if he would change the advice he gave he said, ” No, I wouldn’t change any of the advice. I told people to start saving aggressively while they’re young and to diversify their holdings. — But I would have provided not only more empathy, but more real-world advice as well.”

The article goes on to detail 3 examples of things he would say now – in hindsight. He talks about the age of retirement, the reality of life and finances as well as those special expenses that come along. He actually even gives a percentage goal for how much you’ll need – which may surprise you.

You can read the full article here.

Radical New Strategy for Advisors in Asset Planning

asset planning

Family asset planning

Have you ever considered providing asset planning for the whole family when consulting with your clients?

Forbes October magazine has an interesting article about a pilot program from an advisor with Wells Fargo.

We probably all know of situations in which a family death began a feud over what money and possessions remain. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s great amounts of money or small. It always has the potential to get unpleasant.

The program highlighted in this article seeks to counsel families in how to plan for the inheritances – before death – so that everyone makes the best use of the assets. Parents are finding comfort through this program in discussing their financial standing openly and honestly with their children so that they can plan to make the best use of their inheritance. It also gives peace of mind to the parents that their gifts will be used appropriately and not be wasted on foolish gains and activities.

The clients noted in the article are, admittedly, dealing with massive amounts of money. Maybe you have some of those clients yourself. Maybe your clients with less money could benefit from a similar approach as well.

Take a look at the article and see what you think. This program is reporting huge success and say they have people beating down the doors to be involved. Could this work for you in your practice?

April 2017 Newsletter

How is it already April?  This year just keeps HOPPING along.

Read the newsletter here!

March Newsletter 2017

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Here’s our March Newsletter – Hot off the presses! –March 2017 Newsletter

Leprechauns & St. Pat’s Day

st_pattys_leprechaun_2March is getting to be “St. Patrick’s Day” MONTH as people celebrate the Irish green.  Where did St. Patrick’s Day come from?

According to Wikipedia: Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.  Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, cèilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.

I’ve always wondered how Leprechauns have been associated with St. Patrick’s Day and tried to find it online.  I found a lot of sites talking about Leprechauns, but none that say why they are associated with St. Patrick’s Day.   This is the info that I found courtesy of  http://www.holidayinsights.com.

Leprechauns, or little people, are Irish fairies about two feet tall. Leprechauns are dressed in green and are shoemakers. They can be found by following the sound of their hammering. They are believed to have hidden away a pot of gold. If you catch a Leprechaun, they have to lead you to their treasure. But, be wary, if you take their eye off of them they will get away.

Leprechauns are sly creatures, and will try to trick you into looking away so they can escape and not have to give you their treasure. They are also a bit of a loner, and rarely seen in groups. Seldom do you even see pairs of Leprechauns together.

Just curious, do your clients view you as a “Leprechaun” financial advisor?  That now that they’ve caught you that you are going to bring them a big pot ‘o gold?  My guess is you have to “manage expectations” so that they understand you are not a miracle worker.

I’ve looked at a LOT of retirement pictures and some look great, and others… well the person has just not been diligent enough in their savings.  Their expectations of how to live off so little in retirement probably lead them to a “lottery” mentality.  That they will win big.  Or that they will catch a Leprechaun and get his gold.

I’ve also met a lot of financial advisors that aren’t realistic about why they are not growing their practice.  They have very few leads and claim “I get referrals”.  They spend virtually no money on “real” marketing – by which I mean systematic efforts that bring real potential clients into their office on a regular basis.  Or worse, they try something one time and conclude “it doesn’t work”.

“Real marketing” requires ongoing continuous effort to track, assess, hone, and improve so that over time the marketing is bringing a profitable ROI.  It’s not a one-time expense.  It’s an ongoing effort.  Ideally, a “system” that is put in place and constantly worked.

If your practice is growing and you want to accelerate that growth “faster”, or if you want to put “something” in place that is foundational for generating leads, please contact my assistant Suzie at suzie@torrid-tech.com to set up a time to discuss your practice.  If you are broke and constantly chasing shiny new items procured by Leprechauns, please don’t waste my time.  Serious inquiries only.

Meanwhile, I think I just saw a Leprechaun running over that yonder hill.  I’d better ignore it and get back to some real work!

Tim Turner

February 2017 Newsletter

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to get a newsletter to you. We’ve just been so busy making some changes around here. Small ones like database boring stuff. The the BIG ones like developing a new platform for the 2017 version that has LOTS of upgrades and enhancements. See the last page of the newsletter for some of them. All enhancements listed here.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter. We’d love to hear what you think!

Here’s the link to the whole enchilada – Feb 2017 Newsletter

2017 – Lots of Enhancements!

When the 2017 version is fully live you will see a significant number of enhancements – maybe not initially because we still want you to “see green” and “get the red out”. But there are lots of things you’ve asked for and now they’re here! Many of these enhancements are things you have brought to our attention, requested, hoped and prayed for – we aim to please, so here’s hoping your request made the initial list.

Here’s a list of (most of) the 2017 Updates:

For ALL Editions:

  • Basic 2017 branding changes.
  • Files can now be opened and edited on both MAC and PC computers.
  • Updated Help file with new 2017 tax tables and Social Security changes.
  • Updated Social Security algorithm and related data points to 2017 data for bend points, national average earnings, maximum creditable earnings, average wage index series, and cost of living adjustment.  Now using 20 year average of 2.13% for the COLA in the built-in estimate.  If you do not use the built-in estimate, make sure you consider using the 2.13% COLA under Settings – Social Security.
  • Major improvement in the printed report using professional design, alternate shading, and color.
  • Added clear note “After Taxes in Today’s Dollars” for the Retirement Income Goal.
  • Maximizing main window now has resizable buttons.
  • Maximizing main window now increases font size of the Spreadsheet for better readability.
  • Added “Simple” Spreadsheet that only has most important color columns. Use Ctrl-R to switch to it.
  • The executable file has been renamed from Planner.exe to RetirementView.exe so you can find it more easily in the list of Processes if you need to.
  • Added a built-in Print Preview screen for the printed reports.
  • Added a built-in PDF printing and saving option for the printed reports.
  • Changed old Most Recently Used file menu items to Open Recent menu.
  • You can now run the plan out to age 117 – the age of the oldest person in the world.  Good luck and good health!
  • If couples plan and one spouse still working, we now deduct Social Security Tax at 6.2% (Subject to the Max Earnings test) and Medicare Tax at 1.45% (thanks Peter Plant).
  • Updated EBRI.org retirement factoids that pop up if you click returns in unregistered demo mode.
  • Re-added the Backups routine that backs up data file changes in case you need to recover lost data.
  • Removed built-in AppUpdate since it failed on most computers. Now just point to online download pages.
  •  Fixed bug where spouse was already retired but the spouse tab was not disabling job income and other “Not Applicable” fields (thanks Nick Seltun).
  • Fixed bug where clicking on spouse Job Income field or Retirement Age field would call SetAlreadyRetired which would by mistake set the primary client Job Income to zero (thanks Nick Seltun).
  • Fixed bug in print out on Investments page where the blended return BEFORE retirement did not make any sense if it was a Couples plan and one spouse was already retired. The program would average a 0% return for the retired spouse since they had no “before” retirement period. We now just print “N/A” since that return does not make any sense when the retirement has already started (thanks Nick Seltun).
  • Fixes long time bug for “Invalid Type Mismatch” on the secondary grid controls on Investments, Cash Infusions, and Special Expenses.
  • Fixes long time bug where program could not print in color if your default printer was set to “black and white” printing only (i.e. you could not switch to color and get the reports to print in color).

For the PROFESSIONAL EDITION:

  • Advisors with a CFP can now print the Registered Trademark symbol with their name.

For the PERSONAL/COUPLES Editions:

  • Added ability to use files to create multiple scenarios as needed (File New, Open, Save, Save As, Close).  Note that it is still locked to the one name and/or spouse name.

Full list of all current updates and enhancements will be located on our help desk.

If you are just learning about our software, you can find us at www.torrid-tech.com. Also check out our video tutorials and our YouTube channel.

If you have any questions about our software give us a call at 888.333.5095 or email us at support@torrid-tech.com.

Silver Anniversary

By Tim Turner

No, I’m not talking about Torrid Tech.  I’m referring to my marriage.  My lovely wife and I celebrated 25 years together in August.  If you are blessed enough to be married this long, you definitely will learn a few lessons that help smooth the ride.  These lessons are not just for marriage but for any relationship that you care about.

Be Forgiving – It’s not easy to do, but being forgiving and not keeping a running list of past wrongs will go a long way to drawing you closer together.  Being able to admit you are wrong on something is an important part of this lesson.

Be Intentional – Your spouse doesn’t always want you to “just wing it” especially when it comes to the relationship.  We have little traditions that show each other we care.  My wife always likes a good card for Valentine’s Day, her Birthday, and our Anniversary to name a few, but I go the extra mile and write my own poem in these cards. Yes, one that I make up myself!  It doesn’t take long but it speaks volumes in intentionally telling her how much I love her in my own words.

Be AvailableIf you aren’t around much because you work and travel all of the time, then it makes it difficult to grow your relationship.  Not impossible, but difficult.  Luckily I have not had to travel too much with my work.  But besides being in town, being available when you are in town is what I’m talking about.  My wife and I have often met for “dates” just for breakfast.  Yes, breakfast out.  It’s not as crowded and it’s less expensive than dinner. Or do lunch.  Every date doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant.  There’s nothing better than meeting over a meal that no one has to cook or clean up for.  We also go on walks together as often as we can, usually every day after dinner.  This gives us time to talk and catch up on what happened in our day while doing something else important – exercising.

Be AdventurousFor our honeymoon 25 years ago I took my wife to France. This was BEFORE the internet.  I had to write letters to hotels to reserve a room and find out the exact prices.  It took a fair amount of planning and work.  But the adventure we had when we went on that trip made it all worthwhile.

25 years later – this summer – we went back to France and had just as much adventure as the first time.  We were able to visit many wineries in the Bordeaux region, as well as castles in the Loire valley.  We were able to go to Giverny to see Monet’s house and gardens, and end up in Paris for several days of site seeing including Versailles, Musee d’Orsay, Les Tuilleries, The Eiffel Tower (of course), and the Louvre.  One fun adventure we had was going to a cooking class where we shopped for the ingredients and then learned how to cook a number of dishes including mussels, coq aux vin, and poached peaches with vanilla ice cream.

Be OpenBy this I mean communicate”.  Don’t keep everything bottled up inside.  As men we typically want to keep our feelings inside and that makes it hard on your spouse.  Being open also means being open to “feedback” on what you can do better and what is going great without getting all bent out of shape about it.

I could write many other lessons I have learned in 25 years of marriage but there just isn’t enough paper in this newsletter!  I’m far from a perfect husband, but my best trait is that I keep on trying to do better. I guess you’d call that focused persistence. Some of these same lessons also apply to your relationship with your clients and customers.  Can you see some similarities?  I hope so, but keep the trips to France with just you and your spouse…

Mystery: The Case of the Jumping Social Security Income

Hello,

Glad you are here and I wanted to try to make this article a little LESS BORING by telling the story of a MYSTERY that needs to be solved.  sherlock-holmes-147255_960_720-pixabay-publicdomain

Do you have a bit of Sherlock Holmes in you? Can you crack this case? 

The taxation of Social Security is a bit of a complicated topic, but the basics are that the IRS has a specific worksheet that you can fill out to figure out the “tax” you will owe on your Social Security.  Part of your Social Security is tax free, but then it can jump up to 50% or 85% taxable depending on other income and various factors.

If you want to learn how to calculate it, then consider getting the “Social Security Taxation Kit” that we offer which explains it all through video and worksheets.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share a SPECIFIC case study that an advisor sent in that shows an interesting “visual” anomaly in the RetirementView program.  NOTE: this not a the real file but a copy and all identifying information has been removed.

So let’s dig in… first look at the main Retirement Income Graph below.  The advisor sent this file in asking “Why does the Social Security jump up by over $4,000 for 2 years and then drop back down? ”  You can see where we point out this anomaly in the following graphic:

2016-04-14 Income GraphIf you are an advanced RetirementView user, think to yourself “Why would this happen?”

To search for clues about this, I flipped to the Spreadsheet to examine the numbers.  If you scroll to the right you will eventually get to the royal blue Social Security columns.  Indeed, we see that there are 2 years where the taxation drops from 85% to 0%.  This causes the amount of income from Social Security to INCREASE.  Notice that’s counterintuitive to think about… taxation DROPS but income INCREASES.  I guess that’s why everyone would like lower taxes (except maybe our government).

Here is a graphic showing the spreadsheet columns that are relevant.  Now this is an internal copy where we have columns for every one of the Social Security taxation lines on the IRS worksheet so we can validate our calculations.

2016-04-14 Spreadsheet

The question is WHY is this happening.  Well first you have to understand the Social Security taxation algorithm which is too much to explain here.  But the revelant key is that Tax Free investment withdrawals from a Roth IRA account, do not get added into the calculation of taxes on Social Security.  So when you withdraw money from your Roth IRA in retirement, it won’t affect your Social Security taxes at all.

Whereas, when you withdraw from Taxable accounts or Tax-Deferred Accounts like Traditional IRAs and 401(K) plans, then that income IS included in the taxation algorithm for Social Security.

The second clue you need to figure this out is to look at the Savings Graph.  When we looked there we see that Taxable investments get depleted right before the anomaly.  At that point the program begins to tap the Tax Free investment bucket to satisfy the target retirement income needs.  When that happens, the taxation on Social Security drops to 0% and thus the income from Social Security increases by over $4,000!

Here is a screenshot of the Savings Graph pointing out the depletion of Taxable:

2016-04-14 Savings Graph

Now go back up and see the original Retirement Income Graph picture… you can see the Social Security jump up for two years.

In Retirement View the order of investment depletion is Taxable, Tax Free, Non-Qualified, then last is Qualified.  So program taps the Taxable until it is gone and then switches to Tax Free.  When it does so, the withdrawals reduce the taxes on Social Security which then increases the net Social Security income after taxes.

And now mystery solved!  You know why this is happening. 

Another retirement planning case closed.  Til next time and Happy Planning!

Regards,

-Tim

Effortless Marketing for Financial Advisors

Hey, if you are a financial advisor I highly recommend the book “Effort-Less Marketing” for financial book-effortless-marketing-smadvisors by Steve Moeller.

It has some great foundational chapters that talk about marketing without a bunch of technobabble.  The nuts and bolts of the “5 Steps to a Super Profitable Business and a Wonderful Life”.

I have recommended this book before and even given it away as gifts to clients.

If you’d like to see a MIND MAP of some of the principals in the book, here you go.  I think you can click to make it bigger:

Effortless Marketing for Financial advisors - Mind Map by Tim Turner

Effort Less Marketing Mind Map

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