Author: Benjamin Brandt

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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Five Things to do Five Years Before Retirement

Five Things to do Five Years Before Retirement:   So much planning, so little time, but if you only can complete five items this week, here are our top choices:   Prepare your retirement budget  How much will it cost to live for one month in retirement?   Don’t know? – Now is the time to figure it out!    Use a credit/debit card, print off last month’s statement and dig into the details.  Ask yourself if this month fells like an average month you might have in retirement. “Does this seem like an average month?”     Map it out  What will your spending...

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Life Insurance in Retirement

  One of the most common questions we are asked in our offices:   – “Do I need life insurance in retirement??”— This week is an especially apt time for me to discuss life insurance as I am in the process of buying some! I am absolutely astonished at how inexpensive term life insurance has become over the last several years, I nearly quadrupled my coverage and added 20 years to the term, for an additional cost of only about $30 more per month.   Unbelievable!     I replaced a pair of 10 year term life insurance policies I...

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It finally happened…..

  – Originally posted 08/24/2015 –     It finally happened….   The 10% market correction the financial pundits have been clamoring about for years finally arrived this week.   What does this mean for your retirement plan?  Where will you take investment income next month?  When will the market come back?  How long will this downturn last?   What is a retiree to do in these markets?   (Probably nothing)   The time to decide “What do we do now?” is not when the markets are in turmoil. Your retirement deserves a plan for good markets as well as bad. ...

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You Need a Will – Prince Edition

      You Need a Will – Prince Edition   When I heard about Prince’s death, I did what I think most of us do when a famous singer dies. I immediately went to YouTube and listened to a few of Prince’s songs. The obvious choices for most of us are Purple Rain, maybe Little Red Corvette, and KISS. It wasn’t until a few days after his death that Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, filed paperwork with the state of Minnesota, declaring that she thought her brother had died without a will.  Every financial news site immediately had their stories...

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Top 10 Reasons to Try a “Practice Retirement”

This week we’re talking about a cousin to the Retirement Rehearsal: the “Practice Retirement”. I might refer to either back and forth throughout this post, in case there is some confusion. The retirement rehearsal is when you take a few weeks off of work and stay at home without doing anything fun. You can do some fun things of course, but the rehearsal is when you track your expenses, use up some of that vacation that you’re going to lose anyway, and apply reality to your hypothetical plan and to see how close you are.   That’s the retirement rehearsal....

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Preparing Parent’s Finances for the Nursing Home

We featured this topic on episode 15 of Retirement Starts Today Radio.  Check out the episode below, and subscribe on iTunes or your favorite Android podcast player.  “Sometimes life’s changes are subtle, sometimes change is a red Dodge truck.” My Grandmother’s health and mental acuity had been deteriorating in small bits and pieces for a few years, but not enough to warrant any drastic changes to her living situation.  It wasn’t until she literally got hit by a truck (while driving, her fault) that it became obvious that she needed help with the day-to-day activities of life. We moved...

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