Author: Benjamin Brandt

Social Security Reform

In this episode of Retirement Starts Today Radio, we read between the lines of new Social Security reform proposals to better help you understand what might lie ahead for the popular social insurance platform.     Here is the exact wording without any additional commentary: From Sam Johnson’s website: The Social Security Reform Act of 2016 ensures Social Security will be there when Americans need it by: Modernizing how benefits are calculated to increase benefits for lower income workers while slowing the growth of benefits for higher income workers. Gradually updating the full retirement age at which workers can...

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Why Taking Social Security Early Could Be a Grave Mistake

You’ve paid into social security for your entire working life, and you’re ready to reap what you’ve sewn. By claiming your benefits early, you can enjoy greater income now and and let your investments grow untouched for a few years more…… Right?! Year after year, millions of people choose this fast and furious approach to their social security benefits. As the Social Security Administration notes, 65.1 million people received benefits from social security programs in 2015, 5.4 million of which were new recipients. Full benefits begin at the age of 65 or 66 for individuals born between 1943 and 1954, although...

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ProActive Budget with Ryan Clark

Budgeting is the cornerstone to any retirement plan.  Our advice is to focus your energy on things you can control and the budget should be near the top of that list.   Cash envelopes are the budgeting tool that had the biggest impact on my debt-free journey.  Ryan Clark founded a software solution to bring cash envelopes into the current century.   Check out our interview with Ryan Clark, the founder of ProActive Budget: ProActive...

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The Best Way to Buy a Car in Retirement

Cars! For some, cars are a status symbol, for others cars are an A to B transportation system.  For all of us, cars are an integral part of living in a modern society.  Many of us make a car purchasing decision every few years.   During our working years, we either save up our income and pay cash for a car, or we borrow money and use our income to pay off the loan.   Once retired, and living off savings, that buying decision changes.   What is the best way to buy a car in retirement? Don’t buy one!...

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Do I Need Two Financial Advisors?

Question: Everyone has heard the old saying about investment diversification; “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket”.  “Does having more than one financial advisor help me stay diversified?”  I will concede that having more than one financial advisor could offer benefits of diversification if you are worried about your advisor’s competence.  It would be impossible for your advisor to invest 100% of your retirement funds in Pets.com stock if he/she only has ½ of your retirement funds. However, assuming that your advisor knows what they are doing, having more than one advisor could be harming your financial plan, in...

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5 Reasons to Work One More Year

So much attention is paid to the ‘retirement’ part of retirement planning that it is easy to overlook the benefits of continuing to work. In fact, sometimes the best thing we can do for our retirement is to keep working! Reason Number One to keep working involves your investments. With a little cooperation from the stock market, one more year of compound interest would be a welcome addition to your retirement nest egg. I know what you’re thinking, “How much difference could twelve more months make? Shouldn’t I keep a long-term view for investing?” This is true, but on...

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Why You Shouldn’t Hire Me As Your Financial Advisor

As I approach the ten year milestone of my financial planning career, I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of my industry. I’m a firm believer that the winds of change will continue to blow through the financial planning industry. For financial advisors, that means keeping up with the times or calling it a career…. When I started my financial planning career in 2006 as an intern for a large insurance company, the financial services industry functioned differently than it does today.  Google was already a household name, but had just started to put phone books out of business by becoming the...

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The Fiduciary Standard – Explained by John Oliver

I’ve wanted to talk about the “fiduciary standard” and the new Department of Labor rules for months, but haven’t been able to articulate my feelings in an entertaining way. The legal-eeze of the new rules aren’t easily digestible for the average investor. In fact, most investors don’t even know how their advisor is compensated, or that the investment industry has varying standards of care.   That’s why when I heard the newest episode on Last Week Tonight on YouTube, I dropped everything…..     ……I pushed back new content and made this my new topic for podcast episode 20....

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Five Tips for Buying a Second Home in Retirement

  Μany parts of the Midwest were insulated from the housing meltdown of 2008, North Dakota in particular bucked the trend and has had a decade of solid real estate appreciation.   This real estate confidence, along with still recovering housing prices in the south, along with the lowest interest rates seen in generations, have sparked the curiosity of many mid-western retirees looking for a second home in retirement.   Our firm feels privileged that we can play a small role in helping our clients achieve their retirement goal of becoming “Snowbirds”. We hope to be able to pass...

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