This week on Make It Last, Victor and Mark will be discussing the not-so-great forecast for taxes, and how current tax rates might be the lowest we’ll see for the rest of our lives.
They’ll also be talking about an article published by Dr. Ekerdt explaining the differences between having taught the concept of aging and living them… and how wrong he was!
Finally, they’ll wrap things up with a financial literacy quiz! Listen to find out how well Victor scores!
Make It Last is hosted by Victor J. Medina, a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP™). Founder of Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth Advisors, Victor and his companies are dedicated to empowering people through education about estate planning and their finances.
Full Transcription Below
Mark Elliot: Welcome to “Make It Last” with Victor Medina, I’m Mark Elliot. Victor Medina, of course, has two companies, the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Medina Law Group, and Victor is a practicing estate planning and certified elder law attorney.
They’re here to help you come up with those powers of attorney wills trust. What do you need when it comes to that phase of your life? That traditional estate planning type stuff that’s certainly important in your retirement planning and Palante Wealth.
Victor is a certified financial planner, professional registered investment advisor. They’re here to help you come up with a plan and a strategy for retirement. It’s about income, got every income replaced, those paychecks no longer coming in because you’re retired.
Investment, strategies, taxes, the state planning all of that as a part of the Make It Last plan. If you’d like to learn more, you can always give Victor and the team a call. There’s no cost. They’re here to help. They just don’t know if they can until they hear from you. 856‑506‑8300.
We’ll give that number throughout the program. 856‑506‑8300. Victor, welcome. How are you?
Victor Medina: I’m doing well, Mark. Thanks so much. It’s good to be back here. Again, I’m excited for today’s show, because I think we’re going to be talking about different tax matters.
I may be the only person that gets really excited to talk about taxes. It’s like, you’re going to the dentist, and you’re like, “Yes, let’s go. Let’s going to have a cleaning.” Let’s talk about the IRS. Let’s talk about taxes. I get really excited about it.
Mark: I’m glad you’re excited because the forecast for taxes or maybe not great. The federal income tax rates right now might be the lowest we will ever see for the rest of our lives. Remember, the 2017 tax cuts and Jobs Act went into play January one of 2018, it ends December 31 of 2025.
We get to 2026, it’s all reverting back to the 17 rates and brackets, so brackets will be squeezed. We’ve even heard that maybe by 2030, the lowest tax bracket, which I think now is at 12 percent, or tax rate is 12 percent, or even talked about 30 percent might be the lowest by 2030. There’s a lot of moving parts here.
Now, Victor, the Wall Street Journal editorial board had a swift reaction to President Biden’s proposed budget which he unveiled not too long ago, and they wrote this, “This comes from the Wall Street Journal editorial board, that the Biden budget repurposes most of the bad ideas that have not passed Congress and adds a new one, a tax on wealth that Biden refused to endorse as a candidate in 2020.”
The Op‑Ed goes on to say the White House proposal would enormously complicate the tax code and create huge investment distortions. Your thoughts.
Victor: Is it possible to complicate the tax code any more than it is? I mean, I just think [laughs] that as an opinion is probably like water is wet, kind of thing. It’s a really complicated structure in the first place. Look where my reactions‑‑
Mark: I tell you this. How about this? Just to add to what you’re just saying. In 1913, is when the Congress enacted the First Federal Income Tax Law ‑‑ 400 pages ‑‑ now, well over [laughs] 70,000 pages.
Victor: I don’t think it’s at all surprising to learn that it’s a complicated structure. Let’s first understand the context of where things are, what’s going on with these different tax proposals.
We’ve been in the coming out phase of the pandemic where there was a lot of stimulus that was injected, a lot of things that were promised and paid out for that need to get repaid as part of what we do in terms of balancing this budget or having this country run.
It only comes from the sources of revenue that are forms of taxes. Nobody voluntarily contributes to the United States, therefore it coffers, so we need to rely on taxes to be able to do that.
It’s not at all surprising that we have a new proposal that it maybe different than what was run on as a candidate and maybe in expansion of other ways of generating revenue, because we’ve got to make this up somehow.
The problem with it for retirees, of course, is that every dollar that gets spent in taxes is not a dollar available, is a dollar not available for you to be using in retirement.
This IRS partnership that you enter into, into retirement is not voluntary. In fact, they get to set the terms. Unless you actually take the bull by the horns. Unless your planner basically, proactively deals with the taxes, you’re going to be sitting there getting hit by all of these changes as they come through.
It is particularly injurious for retirees because the nest egg that you’ve created is not something that is easily replenished. That dollar is not only a dollar that goes to federal government, can’t be spent, but isn’t generated by you continuing to work, because you don’t have a job any longer.
It’s very, very important to, first of all, hope that taxes are low, but manage the ones that are there and take advantage of where we are in this timing. You talked about it, Mark, about the fact that the current tax rates are set to sunset at the end of 2025.
Meaning, we have four years left. Only four years left under this current tax‑rate scheme for people to be able to take advantage of lower tax rates. I would tend to agree with you that these are probably the lowest that we will see every time there is a proposal that somehow suggests that it’s only going to affect rich people.
I see that as the government tilting its hand about what’s coming down the road for the rest of the middle class. It may be an introduction of a particular strategy. There is one that happened last year that talked about taxing IRAs at above a certain level.
While that level and its proposal was some astronomical number that people were like, “That’s not me. I don’t have $20 million in the account.” I said, “That’s a foot in the door. It’s going to come down, so that there’s going to be a period of wealth that the federal government thinks that you shouldn’t have, and that it has a right to an amount above and beyond forcing you to take it out.”
We see this also in these proposals, I did something that would be helpful. I created a white paper that walks through how to manage taxes in retirement and how to make sure that you don’t pay too much in retirement. If it’s OK with you, Mark, I’m going to go ahead and share that link so that people can download that.
If you go to 920taxes.com, that’s 920taxes.com. I’m going to walk you through, asking for your name and your email. We’re going to go ahead and send you this report that we’ve created about how to pay the least amount of taxes in retirement, because that this is one of the most important things that people can focus on in their retirement is keeping as much of their money as possible.
Mark: We’ve talked about the Roth world and all of that, and it doesn’t make sense for everybody, but that window is shrinking. I would think now would be a great time to talk with a team like yours to try to find out, should we, because you mentioned it, we’re less than four years away from the ’26 reverting to 2017 rates and brackets, and it’s not right for everybody.
The Roth world doesn’t make sense for everybody, I guess. Like the idea of tax‑free.
Victor: No, it doesn’t, but planning on taxes does, Mark. It makes sense for everyone to manage that. I would tell you that probably at least three quarters to 80 percent of the people that we’re talking to right now, both our existing clients and new folks coming in.
We’re focusing on taxes as the primary strategy to help them make the most amount of money and make it last as long as possible, generate the best for inheritance and for their own retirement, all that stuff.
It’s focusing on the strategies around taxes because of the closing window. This year we’re coming into the midpoint of this year in the sense that we’re walking through the spring season and we only have until December and then this year’s gone, we don’t ever get it back.
There are lots of landmines that have to be tiptoed around. For example, moving money into a Roth, swinging a hammer around a China shop is not the strategy because sometimes moving more money out of an account will cause you to have to pay more Medicare premiums. We have to dance across that and make sure that people keep it as much of their social security as possible.
You’re right. Every plan is customized, but I would say that every client should be focusing on tax planning. We are in fact doing that with the vast majority of people that we’re talking to, both new clients and existing clients, taking advantage of what this window is and doing the most that we can to proactively take advantage.
There’s a Roth IRAs. There’s also specially designed life insurance that we can use as a tax‑free pocket of money, but paying attention to it so that it doesn’t control us, that we control our fade off of it is definitely something that I’m recommending across the board.
Mark: Again, that’s a 856‑506‑8300. Again, there’s no cost for this, let’s end this segment with some positive Economic News. This positive Economic News is for women preparing for retirement. Wage growth for American women is increasing at a faster rate than for men.
Female wages, Victor, were up 4.4 percent in February from a year earlier compared with 4.1 percent rise in male wages. That February figure marks a six straight month that women’s wage growth outpaced men’s. Is that right?
Victor: I love it. I love it because I’ve been a big proponent of financial literacy for women and be being able to support women’s journey off of it. We employ mostly women that are in my firm. They outnumber the men 2:1. Then similarly I was raised by a single mom and she had a lot of need for be focusing on her financial circumstances as part of what she was doing.
I like to see those numbers change because historically women have been underpaid. I would be guessing at this, but it seems to me to be response to what’s happening pandemic between work from home and being able to tap different workforces and different work arrangements.
There’s this need for strong workers and women tend to be in that category, so that’s my guess about the reason why we’ve seen the growth of the way that we have, but it’s very important because to the extent that the women are lagging behind men and with their wages, it means that they are simultaneously lagging behind men and their saving potential.
What they have as their earnings record for social security and how much they can expect out of their own social security benefits as opposed to relying on a portion of their husbands, if they’re married. There is a lot of this being jumbled together. I see it mostly as good news, but it has to come with it great advice and taking advantage of the opportunities that are in there.
Too often women feel it is their responsibility to be sacrificing in those situations. I would like to see those sacrifices be towards their own retirement, be towards the things that are going to help them be empowered to take the action that they need in retirement to be well secure for that. As long as they’re getting good advice in that front.
As we’ve talked about on the show, in different episodes, Mark, there is a different philosophy that I have encountered with women about how they view investing than men. While it’s hard to generalize, it’s not a 100 percent of this in both…To say, it’s a 100 percent of women do this, a 100 percent of men do that more often than not.
What I see women focused on is the need for security and reliability. That is an important concept, especially as we get through retirement as you create your own paycheck. We want to be able to speak to that. We want to be able to support those planning goals and making sure that we’re meeting them.
It’s often me trying to educate about those needs if I don’t have a woman involved in that scenario, which is why when I do get one that we’re talking to, the planning that we do about making sure that things last as long as they do and that they’re safe, and they’re secure.
They’ve taken their winnings off the table of whatever they’ve gained over the course of their retirement savings. All of those ideas resonate with them. Then they get a plan that is something that they can wrap their hands around say, “This is what makes me feel secure, peace of mind. I can rest easy at night.”
I’d love to hear the news. I want to see it followed with great planning.
Mark: At the end of the day, it’s about the plan. The Make It Last plan is an income plan. Investment strategies, tax‑efficient strategies, estate planning. That’s what Victor and the team of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth can put together for you. You think about it.
We’ve talked about this before. Right now, the age difference, men and women if they’re the same age, men typically will be outlived by the woman by six years. If there’s an age difference in a married couple already of five years, now we’re talking 11 years without their husband.
When you lose a spouse, you’re losing one of the two social securities. The lower goes away. Some or all of the pension could go away. Certainly, that year that the spouse passes you file taxes jointly, but the next year the IRA says, “Hey, we’re glad you were married 40 years, but now we need you to file taxes as a single person.”
There’s a lot of whammies that women deal with and their stay at home during raising kids, the pandemics, and a lot of women are out of work back home because kids couldn’t go to school. There’s some challenges.
Victor: They definitely are. I hate to see them not be responded to. I ended up writing a book called “Make It Last Empowering Women in Retirement,” specifically, to address the challenges that we’ve been talking about here in a divorce scenario, suddenly single scenarios.
Also, the typical thing that happens that when a kid gets sick, it’s expected that the mom is going to stay at home. The woman’s going to stay at home and that has an impact on their career trajectory.
There are a lot of variables that factor into this that tend to weigh negatively in women in their scenario, but we can re‑empower them. We can put them back in a position to control their fate by giving them a plan that attends to their needs.
It’s focusing on their income, investment, taxes, and estate planning. When we do that, we can set the ship in the right direction and put them in a great place. We always enjoy the opportunity to work with women when we get them either single or somehow as the heads of their household.
They find that we’re responding to what their needs are. We have great working relationship with them. I always want to make sure that we’re making sure that they know that we know what they’re concerned about and that we’re creating a plan that helps them.
Mark: If that’s you and you want to talk with Victor and the team, you’re wanting a plan. You don’t have a plan. We know 70 percent of Americans do not have a written retirement plan. They think they’re going to be OK. I think I’ve got the right things. They don’t really know.
The same thing goes, “Well, should I move money from my 401(k) or IRAs into the Roth world? Should I do the Roth 401(k) work?” I don’t know. This is an opportunity for you to find out by calling the teams at Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth, 856‑506‑8300.
Again, there’s no cost. There’s no obligation for this. 856‑506‑8300. There’s no cost. Why would you not take advantage of this to find out more about where you are on your road to retirement? 856‑506‑8300.
We’re getting started today with Make It Last, with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. A lot to get to, stay with us. We’re back right after this.
Mark: Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina at Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Victor focuses on traditional estate planning, asset protection, retirement distribution, proactive income tax planning.
Victor’s been featured on national television, “The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, US News, World Report.” If you have any questions about anything you hear on the show today, or question and concerns that you may have leading into retirement, or you’re already retired.
Give the team a call at Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. It’s 856‑506‑8300, 856‑506‑8300. There is no cost for this. There’s no obligation, no pressure. The team’s here to help. Just don’t know if they can until you reach out. 856‑506‑8300. We’ve got couple of segments coming up for you.
Fewer than one in four Americans think their current retirement lifestyle aligns with what they planned for their retirement to be. It turns out it’s one thing to dream about retirement. It’s another thing to live in retirement every day.
We had an opportunity and this gentleman, Dr. David Ekerdt. He taught about aging and retirement at the university of Kansas for 44 years. He wrote about his transition into retirement in The Wall Street Journal.
Admitting that while it’s one thing to know intellectually what happens with retirement, living through it is another thing altogether. We were talking before the show that we’re going to talk about this. Victor, you remembered reading this article, don’t you?
Victor: I do. I have the lucky circumstance, a blessing to have my wife love what it is that I do and be looking out for me. Jennifer, every once in a while will find articles that she think I might like.
Her contribution to the success of Medina Law Group, Palante Wealth, and the Make It Last show, is to find these articles and send them to me. Say, “Hey, this might be something good for you all to talk about, or did you see this?”
She found this article from Dr. Ekerdt, who was talking about the differences of having taught the concepts of aging in retirement and living them and basically how different the two were to a certain extent, because we’re going to go into this, how wrong he was about so [laughs] many things that he was teaching, that I think he would even say.
Mark: This is two years into his retirement. Remember, he’s taught about aging and retirement for 44 years at the university of Kansas. He’s two years into retirement. He writes this article with The Wall Street Journal folks. He said, one of the biggest surprises is how he feels about his use of time now.
Dr. Ekerdt: One surprise for me is I thought that, the feeling of release and freedom that I went from retirement would come about because I was no longer externally scheduled by a job. In my case, I was a professor and I had to teach these classes and I had to attend these meetings.
In other words, meet these time commitments. The relaxation came from taking pressure off of myself. In order to have as many people do a successful career, you put pressure on yourself to attempt things, and try things, and learn things and go for opportunities.
When I no longer had to do that, that was the thing that relaxed me. It doesn’t matter now what time in the morning I start my walk or what time in the afternoon I decide to finish the crossword puzzle. Time is much less a pressing thing for me.
Mark: Victor, obviously with your time talking with retirees and helping them come up with their own Make It Last plan. I’m 62. I have a lot of friends that were teachers. They’re retired in their mid to late 50s.
I have some other guys that worked for the company that gave them a pension, they retired early 60s. I have a lot of people that I hang out with that are retired and half the time they don’t even know “Oh, you’re here must be a weekend.”
Mark: You’re working during the week to play golf or something. Your take on that. He goes. It’s relaxing, but it’s different.
Victor: This is a big area of interest for me just thinking about how to create a successful retirement for people. I think he touches on a couple of things that are important as you enter into retirement.
You’re shifting away from the pressures that were created around you, not just in the expectations of the work that you were doing because that’s certainly something when to show up and what you’re expected to do. Also as a reliable structure to lean on.
If you’re trying to find a definition of purpose or identity, or if you’re looking to measure yourself and say, “I’m being successful.” They’re going to give you the standards to work on. Do you show up on time? Does your effort match what your requirements of your job are?
When those fade away, the mistake that a lot of people have, is to try to recreate them in the same way. That’s, “What time do I get up? Am I productive today?” It can lead to a lot of judgement, because you’re never going to be as productive not working as you were when you were working.
Especially in terms of your contribution. Being able to be a little more forgiving with the way that you define this. When you start to think about for example, what is going to make a successful day? What might be a successful month? What even is the time period that you should be measuring?
Is it every day? Is it the morning? Is it the week? You’re looking at a monthly basis. What are you doing this…I hate to use the word quarter, because I don’t want to make you think like it’s a fiscal quarter, or a working quarter.
Are you looking at it in three‑months chunks or 90‑day chunks, and you’re re‑evaluating. Even the structure by which you set up how you’re going to measure whether or not you’re being successful, needs to be a little more flexible. You need to be a little more forgiving.
I love the idea of time, because time is still a resource that is non‑renewable. As you enter into retirement, you’re going to measure that time spent, because you know that it’s not going to be something that you get back. I agree with the idea.
I’m not even sure he’s adjusted this. I agree with the idea that you should be a little less judgmental on exactly when you do something. Go ahead.
Mark: The next comment I have from him, is exactly about what you’re talking about with Dr. Ekerdt. He says that, transitioning to all that free time can also create some conflicted feeling for retirees.
Dr. Ekerdt: …and you think to yourself, “Why? Why are you doing that?” As I put it I have two angels on my shoulder. One angel whispers in my ear, “Relax, take it easy.” The other angel whispers in my ear, “Shouldn’t you be doing something right now?”
Mark: That’s kind of what you’re talking about, isn’t it?
Victor: Yeah. Thanks for jumping in and sharing that clip, didn’t know that you had that. That’s exactly where I’m going with it, is that there’s this duality because you’re trying to create definition about who you are.
You also have an enormous amount of pressure to make retirement successful. That pressure not only comes because of the expectations that you have set forth, be like, oh, when I retire, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to travel more and I’m going to have more free time and I’m finally going to be happy. Or whatever that’s going to be.
You also understand of that it is of a limited time, meaning that this last third act, you’re not going to get multiple shots at it. You can get multiple shots at a job. You may even have multiple shots at careers.
There’s a lot of people that change careers multiple times over the course of their work life, but you’re not going to have multiple shots at a retirement. You’re not going to get that time back. You may not have the same health later that when you begin. The pressures can be enormous.
Recognizing that, just naming it, just understanding that it’s there goes a long way to getting you on the road to be a little bit more…I like to say you have grace with yourself. Be a little bit more forgiving, just understand that the measure of success is not going to be what you brought into it.
If you are making progress, you’re taking effort to do and live deliberately in retirement. That’s going to be enough for you to chalk that up as a win that day, that week, and understand that those pressures are going to be there.
You’re never going to get rid of them entirely because time’s fleeting and it’s going to be passing you by, but with an incredible opportunity to live deliberately, to make choices strategically and tactically about what you want to do, and then by the way to… [laughs]
Get back to me and what we do, maybe how we can help you fund that and make sure that you’re going be safe and have peace of mind on your financial and your legal world. In the retirement sphere, if you’re a retiree just being able to enter that phase and be really happy and optimistic and be celebrating the wins that you’re creating on a day‑to‑day basis. I think that’s huge.
Mark: Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina, Medina Law Group Palante Wealth. I’m Mark Elliot. Do you have any questions you want to talk to Victor about this?
There’s a lot that goes into the Make It Last plan, income investment taxes estate, but it’s not all about money either. This is a factor they’re trying to figure out what you’re doing.
Which leads me to…I think a lot of people think, well, why would I talk with a financial advisor? Why would I talk with Victor Medina about how I’m going to spend my time in retirement? Victor only cares about my money, but you can’t really come up with a Make It last Plan unless you know what they’re planning on doing, right?
Victor: Yeah, man. That sounds horrible. I hate to walk around in life and people they’re like, “Victor only cares about my money.” I know that none of my clients would actually say that. We actually care about their retirement success, their lives outside of their money. That’s actually what’s most interesting to us.
When we get to the brass tacks of what we’re doing, whether we’re creating a plan, managing investments, or creating legal documents and doing some legal counseling for people, we’re doing that to help somebody achieve a goal.
It’s not going to be a cookie‑cutter approach for everybody that comes in because people have different goals, different things that they want to do, different purposes for their life, and therefore by extension, what their money is going to need to do. That means the plan is going to be specific to them.
Somebody might be coming in and just being worried about leaving behind a nest egg for the next generation, that their purpose is to set up their children going forward. I think it’s a noble one. By the way, this happens a lot with first‑generation wealth. They just want things to be easier for the people that they leave behind. That might be a goal.
That’s going to be very different from somebody that really wants to take advantage of the free time that they now have no longer working, and they want to experience life and have a bigger spending plan off of it.
Those two people are going to have completely different goals. By extension, they’re going to have very different plans. For this reason, not only do we care about you as an individual, we’re really energized by the things that you want to accomplish and the things that you want to do. We want to help you be successful in that area.
We can’t do our job well without understanding it. We can’t do our job effectively without having a really clear picture about what you’re going to consider success in the future. Then, we can help guide you there.
Ultimately, this is your journey. We are just a guide. We are just somebody that can help you get there with some experience, some better education, maybe a little bit more knowledge in what the area that you’re doing to help you get there. At the end of the day, we can only help you chart a course in the destination that you have set. That’s why it’s so important to learn that from you.
Mark: What goes into a strategy like the Make It Last plan that you create for your clients for their retirement and all those areas are?
In a way, I would be the CEO if I’m talking to you about my retirement because it’s my hopes and dreams. It’s my money. It’s the things that I want to do, but I don’t really understand all these moving parts. You’re like my chief financial officer to help guide me along the way. I’m the pilot. You’re the co‑pilot. However, you want to look at it.
What goes into that strategy like the Make It Last plan you create in conjunction with your clients that helps turn someone’s ideas and dreams about retirement into an actual reality?
Victor: There are things that we talk about with people, about what they want to accomplish. Then, we help them understand maybe what they have to be spending in order to do that, or what kind of wealth they have to generate because those things are linked.
If you want to travel, that means that you’re going to have a budget to do that, especially if your travel is going to be a lot kind of, “I’m going to want Viking cruises.” It’s very expensive. “I’m going to go in RV and I’m going to stay at hostels when I go overseas,” whatever that looks like is going to have a spending plan associated with it.
That spending plan then gives us an idea about what your income plan needs to be. Those two things are linked together. Once we know what your income plan needs to be able to reach the goals that you have, now we can help develop an investment plan for you. Then, we have to make the assets that you’ve saved to generate the income that you need in order to accomplish your goals.
When we’re done with that element of it, we have to plan for today and guard for the future. How much the federal government and the state government can take from your money? We think about tax planning. We want you to maximize the money that you have saved, and you be the person that spends the majority of that because you’ve done careful planning on that.
Then, the final component of that, the fourth of the four pillars that we create is around estate and legacy planning, which not only helps us protect what it is that you have generated with the good estate plan, but also makes it possible for you to have a very smooth transition if you happen to become incapacitated or when you eventually die.
Those four pillars, ‑ income, investments, tax, and estate planning ‑‑ they become a framework for us to drape your retirement life. What’s nice about that? We spend a lot of time developing this market. We spend a lot of time working with retirees, trial and error, really figuring out what works.
The simplicity of draping that over those four pillars allows us to take that template very clean, like a very white canvas, and paint the picture that the client needs in order to get through that.
By the way, it’s not a static plan. We talk about this concept like, oh do the plan. Then, once the plan is done, maybe you never touch it again. It’s quite the opposite.
We think about the plan as more of a living document. It is dynamic. Your life is going to change. The ground underneath this is going to shift. A very clear example of that our tax rules and tax law changes. Those things are going to shift the assumptions that we put in when we first got putting a plan together.
We need to think about the plan more as a living or dynamic document. What we’re doing is we’re using this as a guiding North Star for what we’re choosing to do and the decisions that we’re going to make and how we’re going to arrive there.
That stuff that goes into there, as it changes, we’ll need us to change what it is that we’re looking at, but if we plan it from the beginning, giving us as much flexibility in the future. What you get in return is this ultimate peace of mind knowing that no matter what life deals you along the way and no matter what comes up, you will have the opportunity to handle it.
Not only because the plan has designed it, but also because you’re working with us as your guide along the way. If this isn’t you yet, and you want to explore this more, all I can do is encourage you to reach out because you probably are already have a mind that knows that you have a plan like this and a partner like this, or you don’t.
If you figure out that you don’t but you want one, then you should reach out to us. Just give us a call at our number. It’s 856‑506‑8300. Just reach out, start the process. There’s no commitment. There’s no pressure. There’s nothing that we’re going to ask of you. You’re going to make no decisions in that first meeting.
We will only get to know each other and see if there’s an opportunity for us to work together for you to get what I just promised every all of our clients already have, which is just incredible peace of mind that are going to be able to achieve their retirement dreams.
Mark: Victor and the team at the Medina Law Group, and Palante Wealth serve the Pennington, Greater Mercer County areas as well as Bucks County clients in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania. It’s all about you that Make It Last plan those four key pillars, income, investment, taxes, and estate planning.
As Victor said, give me a call. There’s no cost for this. It’s 856‑506‑8300. It’s one thing to come up with how you would spend your perfect day in retirement. What happens to that ideal day and those retirement plans when your spouse is also retiring?
Let’s say you retire at the same time. What if you retire at different times? How does that play out? That’s where we’re headed next. Stay with us. This is Make It Last with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group, and Palante Wealth.
Mark: Welcome back to Make It Last with Victor Medina at Medina Law Group, and Palante Wealth here to help you come up with that plan, that strategy for your retirement and give you some confidence and clarity going into retirement.
There’s an income plan, investment strategies, tax‑efficient strategies, estate planning. It’s all in the Make It Last plan that Victor and his clients work together to create because if you come in and sit down with Victor, you’re the CEO, right? It’s your retirement. It’s your money. It’s your hopes and dreams.
Victor works in this world. He’s been helping folks with the Palante Wealth team since 2014 and the Medina Law Group since 2006. He’s seen a lot of scenarios. We can help you avoid some of the common mistakes, certainly, but he can’t guarantee that everything’s going to be perfect, right? Nobody can. We don’t know what tomorrow brings.
The key is having the plan. Then it lives and breathes with us as we move down the road. 856‑506‑8300 If you’d like to chat with Victor and the teams about where you are in your road to retirement. 856‑506‑8300.
We’re talking today…or we got some sound bites anyway from a professor of 44 years at the University of Kansas. He is Dr. David Ekerdt. He wrote an article after two years in retirement. He was a professor at Kansas, and he taught aging and retirement.
He’s two years into retirement, and he writes an article about, “I taught this for over 40 years. I’m now two years into retirement. It’s a little bit different. What I thought was what I’ve been teaching all these 40 years.” He got a lot of things right.
Obviously, it’s just different actually being in retirement. We’re going to talk about a couple more things that David Ekerdt…We have some couple sound bites from him in this segment as well. He says one of the many factors we have to consider when it comes to retirement is not only how we will spend our own time, but what if we have a spouse who is going to retire with us?
Dr. Ekerdt: I married him for better or worse, but not for lunch.
Mark: It’s interesting. When you think about Victor, you’ve got…Back in the day, our grandparents, for example, a lot of you know my granddad worked most of the time, but my grandmother worked as well at times, but they still had the old way to do it was the mom stayed at home raised the kids, dad went off to work, dad retired. They’re both now back together all the time.
But I’ve even had a friend of mine that their dad had a heart attack. The mom was a stay‑at‑home mom. Dad has a heart attack, he’s in the house all the time while he’s recuperating, and she’s like, “He is driving me crazy.” There are some challenges here
I don’t know to most people…I suppose some both retire on the same time because they can’t wait to jump in the RV, travel the country, or go overseas. Then others stagger. One will retire one year. Then maybe the next a year or two later. It’s different, I suppose for everybody.
Victor: There’s so many stories around it, Mark. Even my own parents, when they retired probably had about a year break between them. They were both in the school system, both educators. One was an administrator when they retired, but it basically gave them a year break in between.
In that year, my mom saw what my dad was doing at home puttering around. She was resentful that she was still getting up and going to work while he was just sitting around. I think maybe thinking that he should be doing more, accomplishing more.
Well, “While you’re home, you might as well get this stuff done because I’ve been busy working.” I think I’ve seen all manner of different configurations…people at the same time. Somebody retired two, three years afterwards, but I think that the point that you just punctuating with the sound bite is true, which is that the nature of your relationship changes.
You have to be prepared for that because you existed for probably the longest period of time. Your work life, you were married, you raised kids, but you had the trappings of getting up and going to work and having that identity for eight to 10 hours a day, five days out of the week that was outside of the home.
Then you just curated or worked on your relationship in the weekends in the evenings. Now, every day is a weekend day. Every time that you spend together is your evening time. If you don’t have a good solid foundation going into retirement, as a marriage, you’re going to get that challenge.
Look, and not in a dramatic way, I’m not going to tell you that divorces happen all the time as a matter of retirement, but there are enough of those silver divorces for people write articles about it.
I would say that the work that you can do going into retirement, about thinking about how you’re going to work together and what you’re going to do together is probably a really good work spent before you get into retirement.
Mark: Yeah, so when your wife is still working, and you’re going to go play golf say, “Hey, have a great day at work. I’m going to go work on myself for a while.” You don’t have to say you’re playing golf, I suppose.
Mark: But it is. I had a friend of mine that had high‑stress job. His thought was, “At 50, I’m going to retire. Then I’m going to get another job as a truck driver because I want to see the country, and I might as well get paid to do it. My wife and I will just go all around the country, and we’ll get paid to do it.”
He talked to somebody that was actually a truck driver. He goes, “Really, that’s your plan. We’ll do this weekend, then. Have some food and stuff available for yourselves, but lock yourself in the bathroom for the weekend. Then tell me how it goes.
Victor: Those cabins are small. They definitely are small, probably bathroom‑sized.
Mark: Here’s a good news though, certainly, Victor. In his research of how people act in retirement and how they adapt to retirement. You were just talking about the silver divorces.
He says typically there’s not any serious effects on a marriage because there’s adjustments, definitely, that we have to make. If you communicate properly, hopefully, you’re not going to have that silver divorce.
Dr. Ekerdt: People actually look forward to retirement as the time that they can finally spend together, after decades of raising children and marching off to work. Now they can enjoy together and engage in activities that they would like to explore.
Mark: I’m sure you have some clients that are just love being with each other all the time.
But then you have other clients that. “Hey, I love my spouse, but I want to do my own thing too. For example, if I wanted to go hunting, fishing, whatever with my buddies, we’re gonna go on a golfing trip, or what have you. My wife maybe would like to go with her friends to Broadway, in New York City? Well, I don’t want to go, I want to go golf.”
I mean, there’s two different scenarios that could play out here. Aren’t there?
Victor: There are two different scenarios, I think my wife Jen and I are in that first one, where we’re just really looking forward to being able to spend time together, we vacation well, we hang out with each other well. It’s one of the reasons why we do date nights every week. What we don’t go crazy on the different restaurants we go sometimes just the same place, it’s in the neighborhood over and over again.
It’s really because we enjoy spending time together. Even if we had different interests, we would be able to negotiate around that time. It’s very much in the way that we create a retirement plan for people because when we have a married couple, we are having people show up with different expectations about what retirement means for them. We tend spend a lot of time listening to each of them.
I think that one of the failings of the industry that I’m in right now is that it’s very male‑centric around the advisors are male, the people that are driving the finances and financial decisions are the husbands often in a married couple. They ignore the wishes or the desires and the voice of the other spouse that’s in there.
Regardless of whether it’s the husband or the wife, there’s always typically one financially savvy spouse that’s driving the desires, the needs, the planning, the diligence to save. And they’re usually the ones that’s leading the charge when they meet with us. But then there’s also the one that’s less financially savvy or less financially responsible for what’s going on.
We need to hear what it is that they want as much as the other spouse. The current approach for us is to really explore the goals for each of them.
One of the things that we do is actually have them fill out a form separately so that they can rank what’s important for them in retirement differently, they don’t have to come on to the chair.
Then we do spend some time in those initial meetings talking about where those differences are, and getting them to get to some agreement about where they want to prioritize so that the plan can do that.
If they’ve got enough money set aside, we might create, I won’t call it two plans, but plans that serve both of those goals equally, but sometimes we have to get them to compromise to what those goals are going to be, but the important part is that we engage in the communication, inform parties that you engage in the communication.
If you’re in a married couple, right now, you want to have discussions early about what a retirement picture looks like for you so that you don’t show up on its doorstep expecting completely two different things, somebody with Scottish life and somebody else with a colonial.
That’s what they’re looking for. You open the door, and this is exactly the house that I want, but no, wait, that’s not the one that you want from it. If you do that before retirement if you spend that time sort of communicating and talking about what success looks like and what your dreams are.
Then getting to that point in time, you’re going to have a much happier experience, it’s going to meet your expectations, you’re going to be able to temper.
Some of the expectations won’t be everything that you want, but it’s a lot of what you’re looking for and then you’re happy that the other person is getting what they want as well, but it goes into when we create a plan as well that it has to meet the goals of both people and do so to the extent that we can to make them both happy.
Mark: It really comes down to communication, and Victor and the team at Medina Law Group and Palante. Well, they’re here to help you do that. It’s sit down and have a conversation. It’s not all about money.
That’s what a lot of people think, “Well, I need a million dollars to talk with Victor.” No, you need to have some save for retirement, there’s no question, but it’s really about the plan. Everybody’s plans and hopes and dreams are a little bit different, sit down with the team and talk about this, you need to be open.
Communicate doesn’t mean you have to be in the same room all the time during retirement, you can do your own thing, but you need to talk about it, communicate 8565 06 8300 because you don’t want to be, Victor.
I had a friend of mine that his dad always dreamed of retiring in Florida. Mom, though, didn’t want to leave, “Kids and grandkids are here. I’m not going.” They never really talked about it.
Mark: We had some issues there, but they got it all worked out. What are some of the differences? We got just a couple minutes left in the segment? Are there some differences between helping a single person whether widowed, widower, divorced, or just plain single or a married couple? Are there difference between working with an individual versus a couple?
Victor: Absolutely. Some of the differences are very practical in the way that we design a plan. If you think about it from the perspective of a married couple, we have to create spending longevity for them and plan for one of them outliving the other.
The women outlives the man typically by four depending on how the numbers go, but we have to plan for longevity and spending in a different way when we’ve got a married couple because we have two people that have to go for a longer period of time.
By the way, if you are actually interested in learning more about how you can plan for this kind of longevity, making income last with share, have a report for you, that’s at 920income.com. You go into 920income.com, you should download a white paper, put your name, email in, and we’ll deliver that to you. That helps you understand that.
When we think about the single individual though, we have different considerations because married couple often serves as caregivers for one another, meaning that if there’s a health crisis, if somebody needs something along the way, if they’re both alive, the other spouse, the healthy one is caring for the sick spouse, but we don’t have that situation in a single person’s life.
Some of the plans that we have to do is more focused on how we’re going to help them be OK if something happens to them along the way, both from a legal planning perspective, as well as financial planning. Looking more at long‑term care issues, looking more at being able to manage assets with a disability provision and a power of attorney, that kind of thing.
We have to look for a safety net because the safety net of the spouse doesn’t exist in the single person’s life. Those are two practical ways that we’re very different when we approach a single person versus a married person to make sure that we are serving their best interest in the way that we design a plan.
Mark: 856‑506‑8300. This is a great opportunity. There’s no cost, there’s no obligation, there’s no pressure, to chat with Victor and the teams at Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth about where you are on your road to retirement.
How do we come up with this plan, this strategy, this make‑it‑last plan? How do we do it? Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s what we’d love to do in retirement. Can we do it? When can we do it? Our money last as long as we do. Will our loved ones be OK if something happens to us? These are big questions.
The team is here to help. 856‑506‑8300. There’s no cost. I don’t know why you wouldn’t pick up the phone right now and give him a call, set up an appointment. It’s not like going to the doctor or the dentist.
Mark: Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Medina Law Group, it’s right there and the name Medina Law Group. It’s flat fees, it’s about client care, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, all those legal documents you need. Estate planning, legacy planning.
Medina Law Group can certainly help you find out more at medinalawgroup.com. M‑E‑D‑I‑N‑A, medinalawgroup.com. Then, of course, there’s the other company, palantewealth.com. Palante Wealth is about your holistic planning for your retirement. P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E, palantewealth.com. It’s the two teams come together to create your make‑it‑last plan for retirement.
Income, investments, taxes, estate planning, it’s all part of the make‑it‑last plan. If you’d like to chat with Victor and the team about where you are, maybe you don’t have a plan. The majority of Americans do not have a written financial plan. We think we’re going to be OK. We think we might have enough to retire. You don’t really know.
Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this free opportunity to talk with the teams at Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth about where you are on your road to retirement. It’s 856‑506‑8300. 856‑ 506‑8300.
Victor, we’re going to talk financial literacy. Now, I am 62, which means I should be financially literate. The problem is, I am not. A lot of it is that in high school, it was maybe a general business class. I mean, the algebras and calculus and all that stuff. Geometry. I wasn’t into that.
I was a sports guy. Loved to play sports. Didn’t really see the point of, these two letters equal this letter. I didn’t see the point in that, but the actual stocks and bonds and mutual funds in the insurance world and all those things. I never was taught that. My dad was a longtime coach, so I didn’t get that information. I guess I’m behind the eight ball.
The numbers are out from the American College of Financial Services. Eighty‑nine percent of female participants flunked a 38‑question quiz. Seventy‑two percent of men failed the quiz. I have no doubt I would fail the quiz and I have [laughs] no doubt you would pass the quiz. What’s your thoughts on this?
Victor: I think I would have failed the quiz before I was a financial advisor as well. It’s to be mandatory in the classrooms that we should have some form of education requirement that you have some basic level of financial literacy.
The school where my oldest son and middle go to, but my oldest is a senior now this year. He has a Horizons Project. It’s interesting because at the end of the year, one of them tried to do is give them some life skills along the way. “Is this how you’re going to cook and how you do laundry?”
They have a component of that. That is about financial literacy. I volunteered to come teach some aspects of it.
Even in the world of financial literacy, there is what I would consider to be good thoughts and good ideas and ones that are popular but may not help as part of your overall planning, and what people should be doing.
We have these more advanced strategies that we work with people in retirement about embracing where taxes are so that we pay the lowest amount of it and not just following the conventional wisdom to just delay it as long as possible.
There’s a lot of things that go wrapped into that. I think that basic financial literacy does become a function of what your life status is, and what you’re exposed to. You talked a little bit about your dad and what is it that he did?
I gotta be honest, my parents did well. They weren’t people that spoke to me about financial literacy, I absorbed it, watching them, but they would never sit down and have those conversations. I suppose there’s an occupational hazard for what I do because my boys do get them.
I took a road trip recently with the older two because they were on spring break. We actually spent some of the dinners and the drives in between the cities. We did a little tour of Texas. There’s about three hours between the cities that we went. We went to Houston, Austin, and Dallas.
We took some of that time to be talking about some of these concepts. Because I find it’s important. I think it’s important to share that information with them. I’d love to give them this test, by the way, to see how far along the path they are, [laughs] how good of a teacher I am, let’s say, and how much I have left to go.
I would love for them to see how they are on that. It doesn’t surprise me if the majority of people don’t pass it because this is not something that we’ve stressed as an education point in our community.
Mark: Are there any topics maybe or areas of the financial world that you find most people struggle with when you’re helping them come up with that make‑it‑last plan for their retirement?
Victor: I would split this up into two different answers, Mark. The first answer that I would have is that, as we create a make‑it‑last plan, there are concepts about advanced tax planning and embracing, let’s say, conversions out of an IRA, that run counter to the conventional wisdom.
They’ve delayed this, they deferred it, they hate taxes, they don’t want to pay any portion of it. Then we can illustrate for them why they might want to pay some today because they’re at lower rates. That’s something that we have to educate people on that are already financially literate.
They know how to save, they know compounding, they understand diversification, they get all of those concepts. When I start to introduce things like proactive income tax planning, where we’re going to proactively move money out of the IRA before you’re required to do so, and why that’s beneficial.
When I talk about tax allocation strategy, so we take assets, and we locate them in the right accounts so that they’re being taxed the right way. That’s an advanced topic that I got to spend some time on. I find that that’s pretty consistent. Because we do things at a high level.
I think that if we were going to back up to that, and we were thinking about concepts that like, if I’m talking to my kids, or I’m talking to other people, I had a nice enough friend of my oldest give me a call because she was concerned about financial literacy.
This is a great example of it because she was raised in a community that was not stressed. She came from a lower socioeconomic status. She had been the first person to go to college and bless her heart because she was wanting to learn and she knew this is what I did.
She asked Aden, “Hey, can I talk to your dad?” Because she wanted to have the right ideas in place.
I think that in today’s world, some of the things that get overlooked is living below your means and well below your means so that you have excess in your cash flow. We’ve got income, we’ve got expenses, we want the excess there, and then how we save and invest that so that it grows to something in the future.
There is a book called The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. One of the lessons in there is how the rewards that come from really great discipline around finances are actually things that are seen as a function of time down in the future.
Staying with that for a long period of time, it can be very difficult for people that are making these short‑term sacrifices for a long‑term benefit.
Anyway, to answer your question, I think that those are the two things that I would see as being relatively consistent is that people pre‑retirement need some of the basic level of their understanding, and people post‑retirement and the plans that we create are learning about these advanced topics along the way.
By the way, if this is you if you’re listening now and you’re like, “Well, what advanced topics is he’s talking about? Is there anything that I’m missing?” You have an opportunity for you to learn more about that.
We can help you create a plan and see if there’s something that we can introduce as part of your planning that can help you with your retirement that can enhance your picture. We just need you to reach out. To do that, so you give us a call at 856‑506‑8300, that’s 856‑506‑8300.
Just reach out to us and say, “I’d like to learn more about these advanced planning strategies.” We can make an introduction, see if we can help, and see what your plan is, for you like, what can we fix, and how we can help you.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. I like that idea to maybe help us make better decisions. We can’t do anything about what we’ve done already but we certainly can make some adjustments may be to put ourselves in a better position going forward.
Victor, when you were growing up, did your mom and dad drive you on vacations? No, you said you were [crosstalk] single mom, single mom.
Victor: She did get remarried when I was five. I was with an intact family, with my stepdad. We did do a few road trips, there’s a period of time where we were out camping, and we made that a regular thing. What we do, we weren’t big flying family, except to when we went to Puerto Rico to visit family there. But it was, we did some driving. Yeah.
Mark: That’s perfect then because I remember my mom getting mad at my dad because he would not stop and ask for directions. “I know where I’m going, we’re going to get there.” That’s how men are, right? We’re going to get there.
That was before, obviously, we could put our maps on our phone. We actually had an actual map.
Men and women think differently. There’s no question. Researchers in this study from the American College of Financial Services said, “Men often claim to have higher levels of knowledge and then test poorly, women’s self‑reported knowledge is more aligned to their actual literacy scores.”
Women are being more honest about what they don’t know when it comes to finance. What’s your take on that?
Victor: Yeah, pretty consistent with my experience. [laughter] They’re not always the people that become our clients. I will find every once in a while I’ve got a particularly boastful husband that comes in and absolutely knows everything. I have to be quite delicate about the way I reintroduce him to facts as opposed to what his opinions are.
This overvaluing, this bravado that comes in, I think my wife would be the first person to tell you that I probably exhibit some of that in the home repair area. That I really know my stuff around replacing outlets or something along those lines. I’m probably as guilty as anybody else.
I really do appreciate the folks that are honest about what they don’t know because it does give us an opportunity to focus on those areas.
We are a big believer, both in the legal and the financial world of our planning for people of investing in education, so they can get empowered to take action in that part of it. It’s so much of it is strange.
If we’re talking about legal documents, they’re not lawyers, they don’t write them when we’re talking about retirement planning. They haven’t gone through retirement before. They don’t know those strategies at all.
If we can get some heads up about what they know already, or where they feel real honest assessment, Mark, about where they are, then we can focus on those areas that we can build up in their knowledge base so that as we start to move forward with this plan, that they understand what’s going on, and they can grab hold with it and say, “Yes, this is the direction that I want to go.”
That’s the big part about what we do with our planning, we really focus on those areas that they need. It’s always customized to them.
Spending that time educating people so they understand why we’re making the recommendations to what they need to be doing, and they’re in charge, we’re just helping them. It’s their retirement, they are the conductors. We’re just there helping them play that music. The more we can do that, the better of the clients tend to be.
I really do enjoy that candid transparency and honesty when it comes to that.
Mark: I would think that when your team sat down with a couple, for example, or you sit down with an individual. Maybe single, widowed, widower, divorced, because you deal with couples, and you deal with individuals as well. Again, it’s 856‑506‑8300. I would imagine there’s a different planning process when you’re dealing with a couple, compared to an individual.
Victor: There’s two things that factor into that. The first is the real practical nuts and bolts, meat and potatoes, things that we need to deal with because they file taxes differently. When it comes to long‑term care planning, it’s less likely that they’re going to have a caregiver and their spouse available.
We have to think about things very differently, but I think that there’s also the softer side of what is that we do. I think this is part of the reason why so many couples do enjoy working with us is that we’re able to speak the language of the person that we’re across from. Sometimes that means that we’re focusing on some elements for one of the pair and then other elements for the other.
It’s not always breaking down around gender lines, but I know that there’s a lot of comfort that our clients get if the person who’s been the financially savvy spouse comes in and does planning with us because then they know that we’re going to be able to take care of the non‑financial savvy spouse, as we go on.
It’s the same thing on the legal planning, they’re comforted by the idea that they’ve had this relationship with us, and that they’re going to be OK. The most heartwarming of memories that I have on this is I’ve had a relationship with a client, and we were dealing with them, there’s actually a sudden death by the husband.
He had a little bit some health issues when we met, but not anything that would have thought that we were going to have passed away early, but we just kind of put that plan in place, and maybe say about two years, and he unexpectedly dies.
When that happens, the wife picks up the phone and said, “One of the things that we always walked away from is just that you spent the time in the meetings and you were explaining things, and I said I understood and I was just happy to go forward, but every time I would ask my husband about it, he said, ‘Listen, no matter what happens, the first thing that you do is you call Victor, and he’s going to be able to take care of you.'” She said, “So that’s what I’m doing.”
I got the phone call before some of the members of the family to be quite honest with you. That for me is always a cherished memory because it meant that in their mind, the man of that family, I was an essential part to their peace, to their ability to survive going forward.
It’s an honored position that I’m in. It’s an obligation that we treat with reverence because of the way that we’re factoring in.
With the idea of how you talk to different people and different married couples, I would tell you, that being able to navigate discussions with husbands and wives differently, and making sure that they both feel validated in what they have to share.
That their goals are equally heard and attended to as part of the planning, is definitely a difference in the way that we deal with them. Something that we absolutely make sure that we get done because both people do need to be heard in that process and a plan needs to be created for both of them.
Mark: That’s fantastic when you have clients that believe that you’re there to help them, because that’s what you are. You created Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth to help people, to come up with that plan so they would have a little more confidence and clarity moving forward.
You can’t guarantee that we’re all going to live to 100 with perfect health and go to sleep one night and pass away. Everybody’s situation is unique to them. The idea is you need the Make It Last Plan. It’s about income, investments, taxes, estate planning.
Mark: It’s all so, so important and quit putting it off. We don’t know what tomorrow brings. Call the teams. They’re here to help. There’s no cost for this. It’s 856‑506‑8300, 856‑506‑8300. Why would you not take advantage of this?
It’s maybe an hour of your time, or a 15‑minute phone call to see if you should go forward. 856‑506‑8300. Victor enjoyed it as always, enjoy the rest of the weekend. Have a great week. We’ll do it again next week.
Victor: Catch you again soon, Mark. Bye‑bye.
Woman: Taxes are just a fact of life. You can’t avoid it, even in retirement. What if I told you there are ways to minimize what you pay in taxes? Victor Medina and his team can help. To learn more, visit 920taxes.com to get your free copy of Victor Medina’s tax guide. 920taxes.com. That’s the numbers, 920taxes.com.
Mark: Palante Wealth Advisors are an independent financial services firm that utilizes a variety of investment and insurance products. Medina Law Group is an independent estate planning and elder law firm.
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