Make It Last – Ep 94 – Common Retirement Regrets and How to Avoid Them
Retirement is a one time experience, likely you will not have the time or resources for a do-over. The best thing you can do is research, plan well in advanced, and learn from other’s experiences. Listen here as Victor goes over some of the common retirement regrets people have reported on so that you can try to avoid having any regrets in your retirement experience.
Make It Last with Victor Medina is hosted by Victor J. Medina, an estate planning and Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®) and Certified Financial Planner™ professional (CFP). Through his law firm and independent registered investment advisory company, Victor provides 360º Wealth Protection Strategies for individuals in or nearing retirement.
For more information, visit Medina Law Group or Palante Wealth Advisors.
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Announcer: Welcome to “Make It Last,” helping keep your legal ducks in a row and your nest eggs secure. With your host, Victor Medina, an estate planning and elder law attorney and certified financial planner.
Victor J. Medina: Everybody, welcome back to Make It Last. I’m your host, Victor Medina, and I’m so glad that you can join us this Wednesday morning on another fun ride into the world of legal and financial retirement planning.
We have a great show for you today. In fact, what we’re going to be covering is some of the common retirement regrets and ways to overcome them. Making mistakes, I suppose, can be really demoralizing, especially when one is very significant, in terms of mistakes. We’re all human.
Unfortunately, we’re all going to be making mistakes throughout our lifetime. Many people really view themselves negatively. They let those mistakes that they may affect them in a negative way.
One of the things that I’ve really been into over the last couple of years is a practice of mindfulness. One of the tenants of that is really that you live in the moment. You don’t shoot yourself with second and third arrows over mistakes that you’ve made, really put things into perspective.
You deal with the right things at the right time. If you make a mistake over life, best thing that you can do is learn from it. Successful people in the world are ones that still make mistakes, but they used the mistakes as fuel. They learn from them, and they were better people because of them.
Then these successful people are the ones that may not hardly ever be afraid to make mistakes because then those experiences will build their character. I remember I was working with my trainer the other day. One of the things she asked me, “You really jump out there, and you do things. Aren’t you afraid of failing?” I said, [laughs] “No, no.”
I’m very afraid of failing in the sense that I would like not to do that, but I’ve had this cycle where I’ll go out and I’ll try something. It will work out, and then I’ll try it again. Then other times I will fail at whatever it is that I’m trying. But then I’m able to persist and succeed and learn from it. I’ve just gotten into this very comfortable habit of knowing that it’s OK to try things.
I don’t really live in their mistakes. When you think about it in the context of retirement, I think there are a lot of pre‑retirees that fear retirement. They fear the thought of possibly running out of money. I think that’s the case for many of them. Retirement’s so significant in a time in one’s life. It’s the latter half of your life that could last anywhere from 25 to 30 years.
You completely re‑identified who you are. You changed all of that up. It’s also one of these things that mistakes, when they’re different there, you don’t have a chance to do it again. You’re only likely to do retirement once. You want to make sure that one time is successful.
I’m going to talk, today, about some common regrets and mistakes that retirees make. They’ve already walked the path, what their experiences meant. I get you to learn from them, and show you ways to avoid these regrets and mistakes along the way.
Before I do, I have a great article that has come out. Something that I get so excited to read. One of the things that we do, principally, in the law firm that I run is, we help people with, what they call, Elder Law.
Elder Law has got a lot of different definitions around it. I think a lot of people misunderstand what the goal of an Elder Law Firm is there to do.
The way that I like to tell the story about what it is that we do is, we essentially make sure that you don’t step on any landmines in your journey from here till the end of days that you have. I want to make sure you don’t die broke in a nursing home. That’s basically what we exist to do.
Because of that, because we’re in that world where people are facing long‑term care considerations ‑‑ what happens is, they get older, care needs that they have ‑‑ we’re very, very involved in people who are dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
That tends to be one of those things that is the greatest occurrences that are going on. People are facing more and more cognitive decline, and dealing with the impact of cognitive decline.
In that way, we’re very interested in learning about different kinds of living situations, where people are taking care of the dementia, dealing with that. Many of them can look like hospital settings and whatnot. People want to avoid that. People want to age in place.
You won’t believe how excited I was to come across this blog post, on something called thealzheimerssite.com, or their blog. The web address is really crazy. It’s blog.thealzheimerssite.greatergood.com. I don’t even know if you’re going to find this article on your own. [laughs]
It was written by Elizabeth Nelson. What it talks about is essentially a pub that was installed in a Dementia Wing. Hospitals don’t have pubs for good reason. Most hospital patients are on medications that don’t mix well with alcohol. The people that are there aren’t well enough to play darts, billiards or whatever else.
This particular hospital’s got a pub, and they’ve got a good reason for it. As Dementia patients lose more and more of their memory, usually starting with newer memories, it’s common for them to revert back to old habits, in old ways of thinking.
Many of them also suffer from what is known as sundowning. This is really sad because if you don’t have personal experience with sundowning, you really don’t understand the significance with the way someone can change at the end of the day. I don’t know if it’s a matter of them getting more tired with the decision‑making that they’ve had to make over the course of the day, or dealing with the fact that they themselves are confused.
Many people, when they sundown, get very antsy and get very ornery toward the end of the day. For elderly gentlemen specifically, who used to work long days and go out for a drink with friends, sort of traditionally that would happen, it’s hard to go without the evening of social time they used to have. Instead of enjoying a pint of beer together, they’re stuck in rooms alone waiting impatiently for sleep to come.
[laughs] In Wales ‑‑ and you got to leave it up to England to come up with this ‑‑ there is a 20‑bed, all‑male wing called Derwen Ward. It’s D‑E‑R‑W‑E‑N. Derwen Ward. Staff in this ward both focus specifically on ways to care for and entertain elderly men. These individuals are from a particular generation, like I said, who worked long hours traditionally in manual labor and then relaxed at the local pub with their buddies.
A hospital couldn’t open up a real pub for them to visit, but they were able to do the next best thing. So, what they did [laughs] was, they created the Derwen Arms pub. It features non‑alcoholic beer, so nobody gets drunk or has to worry about their medications not mixing well with their favorite drink. The darts are plastic and they can’t hurt anybody, which is great because you don’t know where they’re going to be throwing them.
Since they don’t have to leave the hospital to go to it, there’s no need to arrange for transportation, or check in and out of the hospital. Other than those minor details though, the Dementia Pub is almost exactly like the real thing. There are tables and chairs just like in a real lounge room, and there are special touches like beer mats and whatnot.
What they’re trying to do essentially, is normalize the things that they were doing before they checked into the hospital. The pub does special events on Valentine’s Day supper ‑‑ invites the patients’ wives to join them for a meal. They did it on an all‑male basis, because it fits the story very well about what these gentlemen were doing in their prior lives.
It also happens to be that the Dementia Ward is all‑men, but I am an equal opportunist. I think that we should consider opening up pubs in dementia wards all over. By the way, they should be co‑ed, and give people the opportunity essentially, to hang out. Hang out in the pub, play Billiards, play plastic darts, do whatever it is.
I tell you, I just like the idea that this is a tribute that has been focused on what these people used to do and the way their lives were, it’s done in a manner of respect. I think from that perspective, it is really, really exciting to see the way that these Alzheimer’s units ‑‑ these Dementia units ‑‑ are really thinking through what the experience is like.
It’s a big migration. You might remember, if you’re a fan of the show, we had on here some guests who were ‑‑ people who worked in an assisted living facility. Part of what they did was very non‑traditional. They focused on really learning about the experiences of the individual and letting the experiences of the individual dictate the kind of activities that they were doing.
What they did is, they tailored the program around the people that were staying there. That is really, the central lesson that we can take from a story like the Dementia Pub over in Wales. Which is that, there’s a way to honor and respect the people who are suffering from Dementia. That is something greater and more impactful to them, especially in this last phase that they are going to be going through, than simple warehousing.
Many times, what passes for a long‑term care unit, a facility, is really just a form of warehousing that these individuals have become too difficult to maintain. What we’re going to do is, we’re going to put them all in one spot. We’re going to lock the doors and we’re going to make sure that they get their food and their medication, but we’re not going to give them a lot of dignity around their activities.
I’m not saying that that universally is the way that the facilities are run, but here we have an opportunity. To see what happens when pub folks really focus on the way that we can create a life for these people that really honors and respects the life that they used to have in what would bring them joy. Even in the limited way that they may be able to experience joy.
The more that we start to think about those opportunities, think about it non‑traditionally, think about it outside of the beaten path in the way we craft this, the better that it’s going to be. One of my favorite facilities out there has a central meeting area. That central meeting area is designed to look basically like Anytown, USA, Main Street, USA. It actually reminds me of Disney World.
When you walk down Disney World and you get into the Magic Kingdom, those of you that have been, that first time that you go underneath these arches. When you come up from underneath there, you hit Main Street, USA. You feel like you’re in Anytown, USA, the central part of the country, the heartland of the country.
You go in. They’ve got a fire truck, the old‑fashioned with the wooden ladder. Then you walk down Main Street. All of the buildings there are decorated. There’s an old‑time soda shop. You’ve got the candy shop, and there’s a store. Then they’ve got things decorated like it’s a saloon ‑‑ not that it’s really a saloon because it’s Disney.
Unfortunately, you’d probably get better‑tasting related beer in the Dementia Pub than you can at Disney World. The point is that it’s meant to feel like it’s a real place that you can live. This facility that I’m talking about does that as well. There’s a movie theater. There’s a gathering area. There’s the hair salon.
It just gives people an opportunity to feel normal essentially in a life in which they haven’t had a great opportunity to feel normal. I just imagine the level of dignity that it brings these people when they’re able to do that. They can’t perceive a lot, but they can still perceive whether or not they’re being treated well.
They can certainly perceive whether or not they’re being treated with respect, even in the limited context that they can engage. I just think that, the more that we do that, the better that we’ll be regarded as community in the way that we treated them and certainly the better experience that they’re going to have. We’ve got a few minutes before the first break.
I wanted to give you some things to think about in terms of common retirement regrets. My goal here is for you to hear these common regrets and mistakes and essentially understand that, A, if you’ve made them, it’s OK. There are ways to correct from that many times. There’s things that we can do to improve what you have going on.
If you haven’t made them, know that you’re probably going to have to take some actions to avoid making them in your retirement years. On a day‑to‑day basis, I’m fortunate enough to sit down with many pre‑retirees and retirees just like you. I hear the questions and concerns from these people. They basically gave me this idea to create a show out of it.
I don’t know about you, but I personally find it very beneficial to hear from a friend or family member about a mistake they made so that I can avoid it if I ever cross down the same path. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with my dad. We’re talking about what his journey was like.
Home ownership is definitely one of the bigger areas that he’s been able to help me understand and avoid mistakes down the road. Sometimes it’s just him staring, looking up. I can’t [laughs] tell you that, in my mind, that’s what I see him doing. He’s looking up. He’s staring, and he’s looking up.
I always feel like in that moment there’s a mistake that he is watching me potentially come across and he wants to share with me, either that he’s made that he help avoid it or that he knows about that he can help avoid it. Hearing about it and being able to make the decision to side‑step that is always, always much better than to having to make the mistake on our own.
That brings up an important element of this, which is this specialist or the idea of having somebody that is really focused in an area that has an expertise that you don’t have.
When you think about hiring a carpenter to do various jobs around your house, if were planning on, let’s say, selling your home relatively soon, and you want the updates to look professional, you could consider doing the work all on your own. You know that in the back of your head there are many mistakes that come along the way because it’s not your expertise.
Maybe you are a carpenter, but I’m not. I’m pretty handy with a lot of different areas. When we moved into our new office, I was able to change out the light fixtures. I was able to replace them, do some basic wiring, and get those things up and done. They look pretty professional, but then I had this other area. We’ve got this educational resource center.
That had a lot of construction that needed to get done. We needed to knock down a couple of different wall fixtures. We needed to insert some dry wall. We needed to mud and tape that. Then we needed to paint over everything. I am capable of doing all of those pieces, but I know that I would probably make a mistake. This was going to be a showpiece part for our office.
We wanted to bring in a lot of people and members of the public. In fact, some of you have gone and showed up at one of our events. It was very important for us for it to look good. We needed to invest in that. We needed to make sure that we were going to do that. Maybe carpentry isn’t the way that you’re going to link into this, but think about it from the medical profession.
If you’re having a heart problem, you’d rather see a cardiologist than your general practitioner. The point I’m really trying to make is that, when it comes to planning and specifically planning for retirement, it might be in your best interest to look for a retirement specialist, somebody that focuses in that area.
Not just any adviser that helps with financial matters or will tell you want to invest in if you’re accumulating wealth. You want somebody that specializes in retirement dealing with retirees, dealing with those people that are looking to retire in the near future. Those are the types of advisers that deal with people just like you every day.
You’re going to be, pardon the expression, fairly boring to them. I mean you’re not going to really be boring to them specifically, but your problems are going to be so commonplace. They’re the kind of problems that they deal with because they see not only what works but the mistakes that other people have made.
Really, their tools have been sharpened in helping people come back from those mistakes and really thinking innovatively about how to do that. Those are the kinds of concerns and regrets that I deal with on a regular basis for all of our clients because we focus exclusively in the area of retirement and retirement planning for people both on the legal and on the financial side.
It’s part of the reason why we host this particular show, is to share that expertise because, at the end of the day, there are only a limited number of people that we can help as an organization. Even over my whole life practice, there’s going to be limited number of people that I can help. I want to be able to share that information.
If you are interested in learning more about how your retirement can go and how to avoid some of the mistakes, especially if we’re highlighting some of those in the show today, then you can certainly reach out to us. You just call our number for that. That’s 609‑818‑0068. What I want you to do is really focus on not overlooking this concept of retirement.
Victor: It’s easy to get caught up in your retirement date and the thought of no longer working again. It could just be as easy to slip up and make mistakes in retirement. With that proper preparation on the front end, you can avoid these mistakes and find strategies to reach your goals in retirement. Again, if you want to work with us on that, you can see if you’re a good fit.
You can reach out at 609‑818‑0068. I look forward to hearing from you if you’re interested in doing that. Now, let’s go over the regrets that you’ve been waiting to hear. We’re going to do that right after this quick break on Make It Last.
Announcer: Life is better when you have your legal ducks in a row. One area attorney can help you get your financial ducks in a row as well. Victor J. Medina fills dual fiduciary roles, an estate planning and certified elder law attorney, and also a credentialed certified financial planner professional.
Through his law practice at independent Registered Investment Advisory Company, Mr. Medina serves high‑wealth individuals seeking conservative advice and a professionally managed approach to retirement wealth management. Learn more about Victor’s 360‑degree wealth protection strategies.
Call 609‑818‑0068 or listen to the newest episode of Make It Last Radio, Wednesday mornings at 11:00 and Saturday mornings at 7:30 on 1450 Talk Radio. Investment advisory services offered through Palante Wealth Advisors LLC, a New Jersey and Pennsylvania registered investment adviser.
Victor: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to, Make It Last. First, we talked about a great pub in Wales. They have a dementia unit that gives people the opportunity to feel like they felt when they were younger or experience the things that they did. Non‑alcoholic beer and plastic darts, but still a pub nonetheless. I probably would be happy to go, visit and hang out with some of those gentlemen.
Anyway, the main thrust of today’s show is dealing with common retirement regrets. First thing I want to do is stress the importance of learning through other people’s experiences. Retirement is viewed as the golden years of someone’s life.
The question is, is it always truly viewed that way? Often, on the front end of retirement, it can be viewed as a very difficult time. That’s understandable because those people who are getting ready to retire have not been there before, so there’s a lot of feeling of trepidation.
People are worried about making mistakes and because they come into it with suboptimal knowledge, this is not something they do every day, this is not something that they help other people with every day and clearly, of course, it’s not something that they themselves have tons of experience with. People are very worried about making mistakes. The sad part of it is that many of them make mistakes.
There’s a company called Global Atlantic Financial Group. They did a study in 2018. Their study basically unearth that more than half of retirees have retirement regrets.
Whether you are in retirement already or you see it in your future, I wanted to show you some of the common retirement regrets that other retirees have already experienced, in the hopes that by hearing about them, you’ll either identify that you have these regrets ‑‑ because we’re always going to be talking about ways to fix that ‑‑ or you can put it in the list of things for you to avoid.
Things for you to make sure that you don’t do on your own. Let’s go and dive right in. The first retirement regret is failing to make a detailed retirement plan. When I first sit down with a client, I want to see what kind of plan they have in place ‑‑ if they’d any, at all.
The reason why I want to do that is, I want a snapshot to be able to ascertain, are they on the right path? It’s very easy for me to see where people are and see that as being on a trajectory. You might be able to see what I look at, “If I keep heading down this path I know where it ends up.” Because all the variables are in there.
What’s interesting is that the amount of people who come in with no sort of plan or direction is probably much higher than you would expect. I suppose that’s OK. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Although these people that I’m starting to meet may not have any direction yet or a retirement plan in place yet, they are taking that first step by coming into the office to talk to me about these matters and see if we can work on that together.
They know that to be able to be successful in retirement they are going to be much better off working with a retirement income specialist. Somebody that deals with retirement specifically who can help them make a detailed retirement plan. That brings the other kind of people that I meet with.
Those are the people who are already retired and they want to know where they stand. These people have walked in the path of retirement in terms of getting started on that. They have taken those first few steps in that journey of a thousand miles. They are heading down a direction. So, we can see the direction that they are heading down.
They may have actually made some mistakes and learned from mistakes along the way. There are many clients that came in and they may have retired back in 2008. They’ll talk to me about some of the mistakes that they had made.
They say, “When we first retired, we had X amount of money available and then the big crisis hit. The recession hit and we lost some of that. Some of it has come back but not all of that has come back.”
For me, it’s very easy way to diagnose why that is by the way. Even if they stayed involved in the market because they were retired, they were drawing out of their funds. So it was impossible for them to get a 100 percent of that all the way back.
Anyway, they’ve made some mistakes and they’re understanding that sometimes it’s better to start late than never. They’re taking some action by coming and talking to me about some of these matters. Making sure they are positioned the right way.
Now when I speak with them about what they wish they would have done earlier, when I help them create a retirement plan, they immediately bring up the regret of not having a plan like this set up earlier in their lives.
What I want to do is go over some of the key components to a detailed retirement plan. Again, if we’re starting with this, the first retirement regret is not having a detailed plan.
What are the key components of a retirement plan? One of them is managing the risk. When most people retire today, they’ve built up some nest egg in the form of 401(k), IRA or another retirement plan; perhaps it’s a deferred comp or they’ve got a pension, they’ve got to figure out what to do with a lump sum.
Everyone’s focused on growing that money during their retirement years, but your mindset needs to change once you get close to retirement. You need to move from growing to protecting, and when this mindset changes it’s important to start adding insulation around your portfolio so you know that you could lose some of it if the market makes a correction, but you don’t lose a lot of it or you don’t lose so much that it impacts your quality of life in your retirement.
The reason why people need to make this mind‑shift is because, in retirement, we can’t continue to add to it.
There are two things that were factors to why you accumulated as much wealth as you did, pre‑retirement. One of them is that you stayed invested, and you may have stayed invested largely aggressively, you rode the roller‑coaster of the ups and downs. The other component is that you were constantly adding to it. You were always saving, you were in your 401(k) and you were contributing to it regularly.
Those two powers together are what gave rise to this big nest egg. So when you retire, you can still have the power of the roller‑coaster, but rather than making contributions or even holding it flat in terms of the account value, you’re actually making withdrawals from it. Because you’re making withdrawals from it, we need to shift to that from growing and protecting, because this is basically all that we have.
Everyone’s risk tolerance will vary depending on many factors, but you need to understand that you need to reduce the risk in retirement or manage that risk in retirement.
I’m very fond of saying that your personal risk tolerance is sometimes less important than the risk tolerance that is required by your plan. When you think about how you put a plan together regarding risk, there’s one component about what risk can you tolerate? What risk can cause you to lose sleep at night?
You can drive that risk all the way down to zero. Put everything in cash and there will be absolutely no loss in that ‑‑ put it in a checking account and there will be no loss to that, what‑so‑ever. But the problem is that that’s not going to serve your retirement goals. That assuming some form of a risk is going to be necessary for you to have enough money, or make that money last through 25, 30, 35 years.
The question isn’t whether or not you have to take on a risk but how do you manage that risk, or how do you reduce that risk. Specifically, the risk of taking money out.
The insurance industry has great ways of doing it, whether it’s health insurance, life insurance, long‑term care insurance, or even forms of annuities. They can all add protection to your portfolio because generally speaking, insurance is a way of transferring that risk. When you transfer that risk, you reduce your own personal risk and that’s a good way of thinking about insurance products.
It is a diversification of your investment choices, and one of those investment choices it to transfer some of that risk away from you, as an individual participating in the market or having all of your eggs in one basket, to the insurance industry that is better suited to help you manage that risk and accept that risk based on the way that they structure their different products.
The first component of a retirement plan is managing risk. The second component has to do with income sources. Income is often one of the most overlooked components of a retirement plan because most people heavily focus on growing their nest egg, but they neglect the importance of an income stream or how to convert that nest egg into an income stream.
We want to think about this at different levels. A very common retirement strategy is to think about your retirement plan as being the distinction between necessary and discretionary expenses. There may be somethings you need absolutely to live, to pay your mortgage, to buy your food, to do the essentials of what life is. They’re not the things that you might draw joy from in retirement, they’re not going to be the fun stuff, they are the necessary things.
When we think about necessary expenses, one of the things we want to do is build guarantees around that. We want to build guarantees around the income that will be coming in, in order for you to meet that because that’s going to be doing all kinds of really important things. Not the least of which is give you a behavioral bump. You’ll be able to be comfortable in retirement.
By the way, it’s fallacy to think that simply taking withdrawals from your nest egg are ways of getting that guarantee because as what we talked about in that first element, if you haven’t managed the risk in some fashion, then what will happen is that market fluctuations will cause you to have less certainty around those regular withdrawals.
One thing you want to do is create an income stream that you can never outlive in retirement. This will take a huge weight off of your shoulders. It will give you the foundation. It will completely fill up that cup of necessary expenses.
You’ll never be able to outlive those until you’ll know with certainty that you’re going to be able to meet your necessary expenses. This will allow you take on, by the way, more risk in the other areas of your life.
Going back to managing risk, you’ll be able to manage in some way because you’ve many times guaranteeing the income sources or done with an insurance product. You’ve transferred some of that risk away and you can take on greater risks so that you can leave off a potentially a bigger inheritance when you go away.
Some sources of retirement income can include social security benefits. It’s really important to think about when you’re going to take those, when essentially you’re going to be able to…when you hit the trigger on that. If not, in addition to social security benefits, you might think about a pension if you’re fortunate to have that.
Many of you who are fans of the show know that my wife is working towards that. She works in a school district. My parents, some of you know. My parents have that. They were both school teachers so they have pensions. You might also think about retirement income from sources like real estate income.
If you own a piece of investment in real estate, that might be a form of income in retirement. For me, we own the building that the firm is in. Now look, retirement’s long off for me. Many, many years.
I got kids. They’re going to college. [laughs] I’ve got to pay for all of that. Retirement’s way off, but when it comes the fact that I own this piece of real estate means that I can convert that piece of real estate into a form of real estate income.
It may not cover all of my expenses, but it’s a way of creating real estate income. I know that I basically take on the risk to keep this place with tenants and that’s my risk. I’m going to be able to do that. You can get retirement income from other sources like investment dividends. Some people even in retirement…
Sorry for the voice there coming over off of some bronchitis. Some of you know that…I’m sorry, even in retirement for some of you, you’re going to think about part‑time work. You’re thinking about generating that income now. That income is probably not enough for you to add to your retirement nest egg, but you can have or create the retirement income.
Of course the risk there is you’re not well enough, long enough for that income to last and you don’t have certainty around it. Again, different ways of creating income sources, social security pension, real estate income, investment dividends, part‑time work and possibly insurance products like annuities.
The next component of a detailed retirement plan is dealing with your estate planning. You know I was going to get into that as the practicing lawyer here. Probably the only one with the radio show like. You know that I’m going to be focusing on legal planning.
We want to make sure that legal planning is…the reason why it’s important by the way in terms of retirement plan especially if you’re married, is that you can think about what will happen when one spouse dies.
A very efficient estate plan will allow you some continuity so that makes it very easy to transition to having two spouses to having one spouse around. Not just from a financial matter, but just in terms of wrapping things up and having things organized.
Your estate planning will also help you deal in terms of retirement in any case of incapacity. If something were to be happening to you, you need somebody else to manage your affairs whether it’s your spouse or if you’re single whether it’s your kids or somebody else that you want to help manage that.
A good estate plan is going to dovetail and as part of a good retirement plan because it’ll make sure that there is a smooth transition in each one of those different scenarios. We’re lucky or you would be lucky if you’re working with us because our firm can handle both aspects of that in‑house under one umbrella. We’re dual fiduciary.
You’re able to get everything done under one roof. Even if your retirement specialist is unable to do that they might have good referrals that they can lead you to.
In this way, I’m going to make a recommendation for a book that I wrote. It was the first book that we published. It’s the book called “Make It Last ‑‑ How To Get, and Keep, Your Legal Ducks in a Row.” You can find that available on Amazon or if you would like you can contact our firm and we will ship you a free copy.
You just have to pay for the postage to get out to you. It just a couple of bucks. Five bucks or something like that to get it to you. If you’d like that, you can contact our firm at 609‑818‑0068 or you can drop us an email at email@example.com. Tell us that you would like a copy of the free book.
We’ll send that out to you. Just need some information. Anyway, inside of that book in the last component of that, there are interview questions for your estate planning attorney.
Again, if you are not going to be working with us, we’ll give an opportunity if you’re going to be interviewing somebody else specifically somebody that your retirement specialist has referred you out to.
You’ll have ways of interviewing them to make sure that you have got a good person working on your estate plan, which of course gives me to the last component which is finding a great retirement adviser. I think that an essential part of a retirement plan is working with the retirement specialist.
Just like the estate planner, you want to find somebody that’s in the adviser to help you with your retirement journey. You want to find somebody who’s a retirement specialist, who deals with people like you every day.
I was talking about before that you want to be largely boring to that person. Not boring, but you’re going to want to be so common to the way that they deal with planning that you’re not going to surprise them about the different problems that you’re having them help solve.
What can you look for by the way in that? You want to look about certain designations and minimum. Having the CFP designation just means that they’re really committed to knowing about financial planning.
One of the components of the CFP education is a retirement component. There’s a retirement module that’s in there but then you want qualifications above that. I think there are three or four that are good. One of the ones that I have is called the retirement income certified professional or the RICP.
There are probably three that are out that I think that are similar to that. Any one of those three basically means that the adviser is going on and taken the challenge to learn more specifically about retirement planning so that’s going to help you.
You want somebody who’s really focused in the retirement sphere because they’re going to be able to help you with insurance investing, healthcare solving for income a lot more. These are the most important stages of your life if not the most important because you can’t afford to be making mistakes.
Victor: You really want to work with an adviser that is really focused in this area. Again, number one retirement regret or the first retirement regret is not having a detailed retirement plan. Components of routine retirement plan include managing risk, income sources, estate planning and finding the right advice.
When we come back I’m going to deal with other retirement regrets. Stick with us because this is chock‑full show. Don’t miss it. We’ll be right back after this break.
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Victor: Hey everybody, welcome back to Make It Last. We’re talking about the common retirement regrets. We’ve talked about the first one which is not having a detailed retirement plan.
The second one has to do with having no goals set for retirement. I think that retirement should be a great opportunity to have freedom to do what you want to do. However, it may make sense to figure out what you actually want to achieve in retirement before you just start roaming out there freely.
I like to ask people what their goals are in retirement because I think that goal setting is important in any aspect of life. Those people that have met me see me carrying around something called “The Full Focus Planner.” I’ve mentioned this in previous shows.
For me, it’s a way of living deliberately. I use it with my team here. Everybody has got a copy of the planner. One of the sections in there is setting goals. They’re ways of defining. They’re called smarter goals. Each of those letters in the word smarter means something. The idea is that they’re really stretched. They’re ways of living beyond who you are. They’re ways of stretching beyond who you are, increasing the joy that you get from life by challenging yourself along the way.
There was a soccer game this Saturday. I had an opportunity to talk to one of the parents because what they posted online, the spouse had lost their grandfather. These were people in the mid‑40s, early 50s. They lost the grandfather. The grandfather is 102.
We started talking about it. What was interesting is that he worked until he was 99 years old. He was well enough to do that, all the way. Then these last three years, he declined precipitously. Now look, he was 99 years old. He died 102, but there was so much value that he brought to his life.
He was constantly challenging himself. He had a reason to get up. He had a reason to deal with life. He had that as a goal of his, that from what we consider to be any normal retirement age, 70, 75, 80. He went 20 years beyond that, working in his life. I think it’s important to set up these goals ‑‑ I think, for any age ‑‑ whether you’re 99 years old or whether you’re 49 years old.
People when they come in here and we ask them about goal‑setting for retirement, typically, I hear very broad goals. Such as they want to retire by age 65 or save a million dollars before they retire. That’s a great place to start, but to be successful and enjoy retirement, I think that you want to make even more detailed goals.
Many times, I deal with people that don’t have a clue what those goals are. It’s because they’d never spent time exploring them. Setting goals and achieving them is a great feeling. I’m going to promise you that it feels that way in retirement as well. Don’t go into retirement without having defined goals on what you want to achieve.
Now, there are ways to set goals and achieve them. You don’t have to use the Full Focus Planner, although, I love that as a tool. Again, it just is a deliberate, habit‑filled way of getting that done.
One of the things you want to do is align your goals with your purpose. If you ever find yourself setting very vivid goals that you can’t wait to try and achieve, but before too long you lose motivation and you start slacking on the goals, part of the reason can be that you didn’t align those goals with your purpose. It’s hard enough to reach goals, especially if you set those goals as stretch goals.
If you align them with your purpose, they become a lot more achievable. By this, I mean that you set your goal with clear whys. They’re clear about their dreams, their desires, their passion. The “why” to do them has been very clearly defined.
If you think about this in your own life, when you start to have a purpose towards doing something, you often get innovative about your ways of achieving them. You get passionate and driven to get them done. I’ll give you a secret on top of that.
When your purpose for doing it goes outside of yourself, when that purpose is other‑centered, the drive grows exponentially. Your resourcefulness grows exponentially. One of the things that we want to do is maybe think about the outcome in the future. Imagine it. Imagine the purpose behind it. Again, if that purpose is bringing joy or bringing value to someone outside of yourself, you’re going to be far more driven in terms of those goals.
Many times you’ve got people that are philanthropic. Part of their goals is to give back or to be involved in a charity. I went out to dinner with my wife over this weekend. I said, “One of the things that I’m trying to grow towards in the way that we’re growing our firm, is so that we can do a couple of different things.”
One of those things might be for you to leave your job because we’re so financially successful that what you’re doing for day‑to‑day is helping me manage an orphanage that we might be sponsoring overseas. That you’re dealing with the day‑to‑day of that, and managing that.
Maybe heed from here. I’m not saying you’re going to be traveling overseas to do that, but that becomes your responsibility, your contribution. That contribution is born out of the success that we’ve had over here in the firm.
That goal of ours, to be other‑centered and to contribute back is a big drive for why I’m growing the firm that I’m growing. That the company, the people we are helping, we’re financially successful not just in our glorifications, but that we can use that for someone else.
Again, if you align your goal with their purpose, and if that purpose is other‑centered, it’s going to be one of the ways we can help achieve those goals. We want to make your goals, by the way, visible all the time. I believe in making your goals visible in different ways. We want to be able to write them down. We want them to be available.
I know that for instance for me, one of the things that I do is I create a screenshot or a wallpaper for my iPad. My iPad has got a picture of what I’m working towards with a few very clear words. Three words that I use that help me focus on what I’m going to be doing to help achieve those goals.
You can do it different ways. You can do it written, you can draw it at a picture, you can do a storyboard, you can set these goals however you want. What you want to do is be in a place where you’re reminded about these every day because during your journey, you’re going to encounter distractions.
You’re going to encounter things that push back on you, that push you away from these goals, that interrupt your linear path towards that. By having these goals visible at all times, it can help you get through those distractions and help you stay focused.
Other ways that you can help achieve those goals is to have an accountability partner or a system. Sometimes the best way to reach the goal is to have someone hold you accountable.
Many of you have workout partners. I’ve seen you at the gym and I’m talking about my retiree friends out there in the world. You’re retired and when I go to the gym at two o’clock which is my time to go to training, I like when it’s quiet.
You all know that. I’ve talked about that. I go in and I see my retired folks and they are in pairs or they are in groups of three or four. That’s essentially an accountability partner for a health goal.
If you work out by yourself and distractions come off your path, you may not go to the gym that day and you lose track of your original goal. I do this not just in the context of my health. By the way, because my accountability partner is my trainer. I hire them. I go out and I work out with them and I have my appointment. It’s three days a week.
Those things are set on the calendar. That’s my accountability. I also do it in the context of the way that I built my firm. I’ve accountability partners that I work with. Different people who are doing what I’m doing or coaching that I’m doing and I’m working with those people. Again, accountability is important.
You also want to think through roadblocks and anticipating them. I think that the idea is that success in a goal is a linear path. Too many people start out saying, “I’m just going to get from to get from A to B and it’s just a straight line.”
I love that graphic. That’s it most people see success as a straight line from A to B. What it really is is zigs and zags because it’s crazy mess. It looks like the cloud around the Peanuts character that’s dirty all the time.
It’s not going to be that way. It’s not to be the linear path. It’s going to not be smooth. It’s not going to work out as you had planned. It’s great to be optimistic, but you need to be realistic and roadblocks are going to occur on your journey.
What you need to do is make sure that you either plan to avoid these roadblocks or overcome them because people fall short on their goals because the moment that they encounter a roadblock they don’t push through.
I’m not saying by the way that you’re going to always be able to overcome certain roadblocks, but if you anticipate them you might be able to sidestep them. That will help you reach your goals.
First retirement regret, not having detailed plan. Second retirement regret, essentially no goals for retirement. The third retirement regret is experiencing social difficulties in early retirement.
Many people jump at the thought of an early retirement. They think, “I’m not going to have to work anymore. I’m going to retire early. The rest of my life doing what I want to do.”
They may even have goals about that, but when certain people are doing very well financially at an early age and they are considering early retirement, I got to tell you that early retirement is not always great as it sounds.
If you retire early at 50 and all your friends and people you spend time with have continued to work until they’re 65, you’re not going to see them much.
They’re going to be unavailable most of the time because they’re working. Not only will retirement be boring for you, but it’s also going to expensive later down the road because you’re dwindling down your savings early on as well as missing out on a good chunk of money that you could have saved if continued to work.
People have social difficulty. One of ways to get around that is for some of your goals and your plans to be about how you’re filling your time in feeding your social need.
You may have to deal with people that are considerably older than you are. You may have to consider dealing with people that have interest that come from different walks of life.
There was an article in the “Wall Street journal” where because people are different in retirement, people who were friends while they were working and could enjoy the same quality of life, may not be able to be friends in retirement because the quality of life that the plan that they have has given them is going to dictate something different for each of them.
The people that you’re going out to dinner with may not be the people you’re capable of going out to dinner with later because they just simply don’t have as much as you do. You want to plan around that. Essentially the next retirement regret is underestimating risk management…By the way, I got to speed through this because we’re coming towards the end of the show. I spend a little too much time early on that.
Leaving behind a steady paycheck to retire is a big risk. The fourth retirement risk is underestimating a risk management. Leaving behind a steady paycheck is a big risk especially when you will not receive a pension in retirement. Knowing that you need to find a way to create retirement income, should help you recognize the importance of managing your risk.
Too often, now, I see people come into my office focusing on portfolio management when they really need to focus on risk management. That risk management goes across their investment portfolio. They’re more caught up at a stock that’s hitting them a home run or failing them miserably. They don’t recognize the importance of insulating their portfolio against various risks.
The risks are not only investment risk, but they’re longevity risks, they are tax planning risks, they’re healthcare risks. They come to us, especially on the estate planning and the elder law side, having a regret not having doubt with their long‑term care risk.
In order to fix this, it can be very simple. You need to take less risk and work with a retirement specialist that it can help you build a plan that matches your risks or helps you cover them with your specific needs in retirement. You may not be eligible at your age for a long‑term care policy.
Managing your long‑term care risk may require working on the elder law planning side to help shelter assets with a very good preventative crisis planning case. That what you’re going to do is create a trust and secure assets that way.
The idea here is that you’re working with an adviser that helps you identify what those risks are. Then, push the plan that works best for you to help manage those risks. That was the next retirement regret, the fourth one, underestimating risk management.
Essentially, the last one is going to be holding on than experiencing memories. This last regret can be very eye‑opening. Many times people will come to my office at a very old age, having a large sum money. They’re certainly not going to spend through the remainder of their life and be more than they can leave behind or would be helpful to leave behind as an inheritance.
They’ll tell me that they wish that they would have spent more of this in retirement and enjoyed it. Instead, they held on to it because they didn’t have any of their defined goals, or they thought they’re going to need it for an emergency.
Maybe they just lived the very frugal lifestyle, and the emergencies never came up. Because they didn’t have a plan to manage them, they were always constantly worried about them. The good news is that when they pass away, their money is going to be passed on to the beneficiaries. It’s not going to go to waste.
The bad news is that they didn’t get the chance to spend the money that they worked all their life for. They got to retirement with the idea that they were going to be saving for this period of time, and they never spent any portion of it. My advice is make sure you set specific goals for retirement and make sure that those goals were about making memories from experiences.
Make it a goal to buy a condo in Arizona and travel there. Go and take a different trip every year especially when you’re young and you’re healthy. Many of you know that my mom is suffering from a health condition that is going to severely limit the experiences that she’s going to be able to make.
Thankfully along the way, she did make some memories in her early retirement. She’s still very, very young but she has memories. She’s lived in South Carolina, she’s lived in Florida, she spent a month in Puerto Rico, she’s going to go see a show. We’re going to take a trip to Chicago later in May. We’re going to have the opportunity to go see “Hamilton,” which is something that she wanted to see.
Some of you know the story that she won tickets in the lottery, and gave those tickets to my son and me, and we got to go. She didn’t get to experience that. We’re going to try to make that a memory for her.
Make it a goal to do something different every year and make a memory around that, at least one thing. I have a client that comes in and they do a Viking Story. It’s a very expensive tour company. It’s a cruise, it’s a riverboat cruise. If you’ve watched “Downton Abbey” at all, by the way, while it was still on the air, it was the ad that ran before. It was on TV in PBS.
They went to Viking’s. It looked great, by the way. I asked my client, “Hey, should my wife and I do that?” He said, “Only if you want to hang out with people 30 years older than you.” I get it because it’s an expensive tour especially when you go in retirement.
These clients, they do one every year. They knew the next one they’re going to be planning and they’re going to be later working towards getting that done. That gives them purpose. Whatever it is, write it down and take the steps necessary. Make the call, book it. Make a commitment.
I’m fond saying, “Throw your hat over the fence,” so that you know you got to go and climb the fence and get over it. You want those things in place.
We went through the last ones pretty quickly because, unfortunately, I spent too much time on the [laughs] first ones. If you’re writing down what the common regrets are, the first one was failing to make a detailed retirement plan. We gave you the element of what to put into that plan.
The second regret was not setting goals for retirement. Spend a lot of time on how to create goals. The third one is experiencing social difficulties in early retirement.
The fourth one is underestimating the risk management. The fifth one was holding on rather than experiencing memories, not spending the money that you have, not making the memories that you wanted to make.
Those are the common regrets. Hopefully by sharing them, you have an opportunity to sidestep them. Here’s the one that I can help you with most directly, and that’s setting up the plan. Our firm deals with people that are in your situation every day. I understand the obstacles that are rising in retirement.
If you want help overcoming those obstacles, we can help you do that. If at setting a detailed plan, we can help you put your goals in place and we can explore that. By helping you put your goals in place, we can make sure that they’re tailored so you don’t experience social difficulties in retirement.
After that, we can help you at risk management and make sure that we’ve covered all of those. We can help you create memories rather than holding on. All of those elements are possible if you take the first step to put a retirement plan together. We can help you do that.
The phone number is 609‑818‑0068, or you can check us out on our website at www.medinalawgroup.com. Listen, I went through a lot of things here today. If they went too quick for you, one of the things you can do is always download this episode as a podcast. That’s available to you in Apple iTunes or anywhere you would get a podcast.
Search for “Make It Last” with Victor Medina. If you look for that and subscribe to that show, not only will you get back these shows, you can go back over all of the elements that we’ve talked about, but you can get next week’s show automatically delivered to your device or you can get all of the back shows.
You can go and look at all of prior episodes and go to the archives and find the topic that you liked, as much as you liked this one. This is a great topic, Common Regrets. The whole idea behind this is…
Victor: …to highlight these so that you don’t experience them or you can sidestep them. If you have experienced them, know that you can, in fact, makes changes and correct from that. Just work with somebody that’s a specialist that can help you do that.
That’s it for this week, thank you so much for being our guest. We look forward to seeing you next week on Make It Last, where we help you keep your legal ducks in a row and you’re financial nest egg secure. Catch you next time. Bye‑bye.
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