Make It Last – Ep 140 – Our Clients Are Family

August 14, 2021

This week Victor and Mark discuss the client experience at Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth, and what we can provide to you!

Then, Victor gives a heartwarming narrative about his employees who make Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth Advisors feel like family.

Finally, Victor gives us more info about how he can help you clean out your financial junk drawer and get your legal ducks in a row.

Also available on SpotifyApple Podcasts, & Google Podcasts

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.

Full Transcription Below

Mark Elliot: Welcome to "Make It Last" with Victor Medina, I'm Mark Elliott. Victor's got two companies. We're going to talk about both of those companies today on the program, Medina Law Group, and Palante Wealth.

Victor focuses on traditional estate planning, Medina Law Group. He works on, with Palante Wealth, asset protection, retirement distribution, proactive income tax planning. Now, Victor has been featured on national television, "The Wall Street Journal," "The Huffington Post," "U.S. News and World Report".

We're going to go into depth today. What is the client experience like? if you want to have your estate plan, you don't really have an estate but you feel like your estate needs a plan, and not just for the wealthy. We'll talk about that today as well.

You want to go sit down with Victor, and the team in the Medina Law Group. What's that Like? What's that experience like? Hey, maybe you want to find out, "Hey, can I retire? Do I have enough? Will my money last? Will my loved ones be OK if something happens to me?"

Maybe that's the Palante Wealth side. The holistic planning for your retirement side. What happens if you go in and sit down with them? What's it like? What is the experience like? Now, Victor. Right out of the gate I'm going to guess this isn't like going to the dentist and having a root canal, right?

Victor Medina: No. Not at all.

Mark: [laughs]

Victor: The thing about it is that most people don't think about contacting their lawyer, contacting their financial advisor. It's the thing that they want to do for fun and enjoyment, and understanding that. We're focused in the client experience of shifting that around. When you're thinking about scripting that client experience so that people feel welcome and they're put at ease.

From the moment they contact us, the moment they walk into the office, and the moment their plan is complete. That every moment of that is seen through their eyes to make sure that they're feeling comfortable and welcomed, understood, and cared for all along the way.

The biggest source of pride that we get when clients reflect back on what their experience is like is how they were treated like family all the way through. They would think, "Hey, this is what I would hope that my child would have done for me if they were an estate planner or a financial advisor for what they were doing."

The very beginning part of that reaching out to us and making sure that you know about us and schedule an appointment, those types of things, the first source of contact is somebody who spends their time talking to people just like you our clients all the time. Hears their stories, understands what their needs are.

We've got a director of business and client strategy and her role is to make sure that she's talking to clients and understanding what their needs are, making sure it's an appropriate fit for the kind of planning that we do.

She spends as much time as is necessary to make sure that we've got the right people in front of us, in front of the right planners on our side. We want to make sure we've got that great marriage along the way.

To your point about not visiting the dentist, we want to demystify everything around there. The moment that you make an appointment, whether you're going to visit with us virtually, because we can definitely accommodate people that want to do that, or you want to come into the office, we'll talk a little bit about what that experience is like, too.

The moment you do that, we're going to send a lot of information, an opportunity to learn more about us. We're going to send you a video series introducing you to the firm, and to our planning, and to the people that are on the team.

We're going to send you some copies of our books if you'd like them, so you can read through that, we even have a nutshell guide. Let's say you don't want to sit through a 100-page book, you want to get a flavor for what we're doing. We've got a nutshell guide that's about 35 pages or so that just explains really our biggest philosophies in and around planning.

What are those principles that we think are most important, and every one of our clients gets that as part of a welcome package, before they even sit down for their first appointment. The other thing we're going to do is we're going to let you know what the process is going to be like, even before you settled in.

There's no mystery about what to expect. There's no pressure, there's no sales process, there's no meeting where you're going to be asked for any form of commitment afterwards.

We want to spend the time when we finally get together, talking with you, getting an understanding about who you are, how you arrived here, what your goals are, what's your biggest concerns, how we can help address them, and start to put together the framework of how to put a plan in place.

We're going to talk a little bit about what that first meeting is like. Walking up to that or ramping up to that is this process to get you to be welcomed in by our firm. Again, those videos that we send out are a great opportunity to see some of the personalities that are involved, and make sure that it's a great fit for you.

Here's the thing, we're not the best fit for everybody that's out there because, sometimes, we hug a little too much virtually. Sometimes we welcome people too much and that's not what they want. They want people that are hands-off. They want people that are cold and transactional. For people that that's their mindset, we're not a great fit.

If you are somebody that wants to be embraced and enveloped in an environment, a culture, a client family that is caring and is welcoming, is holistic and thinks through everything, if that's what you're looking for, you're going to get a sense of that right from the first step.

Mark: With all that being said, I'm going to give you the number you might want to write it down, you might want to call right now and make an appointment.

You might want to write this number down and go, "All right, I'm going to hear what Victor has to say about his companies. I don't have an estate plan, yet. I think I need one, but I don't have it. I wonder if maybe Medina Law Group's who I should talk to?" or, "I'd love to retire in the next five years. I'm not sure I have enough and if my money will last as long as I do."

The number with no cost, no obligation, no pressure, no judgment either, 856-506-8300. Victor, you think about it, a few years ago, I had a car loan. I decided to get a different car and I went back to the bank that I had my loan and I didn't like the odds. I didn't like the percentages. I said, " I don't think that's very good." I went to one of their rivals and I got a better deal.

Then, they say, "Why don't you move all of your $10, $20 you have over to us?" They're like, "It's painless. It's really easy." That was not easy because now that I have so many things that most of us do today, where we pay online, have an app or whatever. There're banking done through the phone and all that.

It was not as easy as they said it, but I think people when they change, sometimes they just do nothing because they don't want...changing doctors, right? Your kids are 17, 14 and eight. Dylan probably goes to a different doctor than Aiden, right? We change doctors as we age.

We probably should be changing financial advisors as we age because our needs change. How do you get people to get past that over analyzing area -- the analysis paralysis stage?

Victor: Yeah, there's a couple of strategies that I think are important because I feel an overriding sense of an obligation to help a client and make sure that a plan that they want to put forward is actually implemented. How it relates to making the changes in the following week.

Let's say you came to us and you say, "Listen, we want to talk about putting a safe plan together. We need to update a trust and we'll put some documents in place." When you move forward with...I said this is something I want to do, we're going to set up all the appointments so that you'll know exactly from the moment you say, "This is something I want to do."

When is it that you're going to have your design meeting? When are you going to be able to choose the people that are going to be involved in your plan? When are you going to sign the documents? When is it going to be completed? You have to know all of those dates from the beginning.

That setting out that schedule, where we understand how do we get from step one to step two, what are the dates for that? What are the things that we're going to accomplish in each one of those meetings? Helps us get a sense of momentum propelling us forward.

I know that people left to their own devices would do nothing. There's not really pressure. You can abandon it at any point in time. The idea is that we don't want to have a failure from a plan that a client wants to implement, simply because we don't know what the next step is.

Even when we sign an state plan, for example, because all of our planning is revocable. What we do, we say, "Look, we're going to give to unlimited changes for the first six months. You're going to be able to go in and make any swaps at whatever you want."

That way, if you don't like something that's in there, you don't feel like you're so committed to it that it's going to be the worst decision. I say, "Sleep on it." Comes out of there and you're up in the middle of the night, maybe it wasn't a great choice for you, you can shift it. If it doesn't bother you after a few months, probably was an OK decision.

In the financial side, you mentioned something going in there where people are making a shift and it's often that the person that they're coming away from never did anything wrong. I don't like taking the position that the financial advisor that you're moving from is some sort of horrible person that has somehow done something wrong.

OK, wrong Mark. [laughs] Sometimes there are some horrible people that do some wrong things and I feel that I have to point it out when it happens. For the majority of the time, they were decent on what they did. They did some great accumulation, they got them in that great position and we should say thank you.

The shift that we're making is because we need a different strategist for a different phase in our lives. We've decided to focus our planning efforts, expertise, skills, strategies on helping people in retirement. Post retirement, pre-retirement. Getting to that different phase where they have to now take this nest that they've accumulated and make that thing last. Have it generate a paycheck for themselves in retirement. Make sure that they're leaving a legacy behind. Make sure that they plan for long term care.

All of those elements, we are shifting the goals and the needs, and for that reason, often we have to shift the strategy. What my experience is? My experience is that when we couch it in those terms, and we understand that what we're doing, we're just making a shift to a different need and somebody who can fulfill that need. Then we don't actually encounter a lot of friction in making that happen.

Yes, there's some work that needs to get done, but we always link it back to the, "Were you better served with the strategies you came from, or the one that we're going to now? Are your needs any different?" If they were still at the same point in time, then we should still be moving forward on the plan that we put together.

It is difficult to make a change. Change is difficult for people generally. They get very comfortable where they're at. The best thing that we do is to show them that their experience is going to be fantastic off of it. That they're going to feel as stable as they were when they didn't move anywhere and they were caught up by inertia.

They're going to feel that same level of stability moving over here because we've done this so many times before and it's all that we do in terms of helping people in retirement.

Mark: All right, if we go back to 2006 -- that's when Victor started the Medina Law Group. Victor's a practicing estate planning and certified elder law attorney -- then those clients were saying, "Why can't you help us with the rest of our retirement planning?" Victor analyzed and goes, "Well, I don't know why I can't. I bet I can."

He then started Palante Wealth, which is about holistic planning for your retirement. Victor is now a certified financial planner professional, a registered investment advisor. That company started in 2014.

Here's the question, when I walk in the front door, to the left is Medina Law Group, to the right is Palante Wealth or I walk into the building at Medina Law Group and I've got to go across town to Palante Wealth? Where are we?

Victor: It's neither of those. It's more like the first one in terms of it's better. One of the things that I love is the building that we're in is a building that I bought, which is an old home. It was built in 1781. It was the home of the first Mayor of Pennington, which is where we're located. It's a great old house.

The reason why I love that is that I love the sense that people are coming into our home. We're helping them in that way. It's not a big corporate park. It's not this antiseptic feeling. The moment that you walk in, you're walking into essentially what would be our living room. You walk in, and you walk in through...We have our entrance in the rear...We have coming from the back.

When you do that, both of those companies, are in the same building. They're on the same place. They coexist everywhere. The person that helps with our events and our marketing is the event and marketing coordinator for both of our companies, which is to say for all of our clients.

We think of them as one large client family. It could be that some people only want us to do legal work. It could be that some people only want us to help them in the financial world. I would tell you that the biggest percentage of people see the value in having us help them in both.

Then, it becomes very comforting to know that the people that they talk to all know them throughout their continuum. In other words, you talk to the paralegal, they know that you're a financial client, and what's going on in that world. One part of one overall plan that's working synergistically, it's working with its parts together.

They don't have to explain. Whoever they talk to, wherever they call, knows everything about them as one client family. In fact, it's even on the sign when you walk in. We are a total retirement planning firm. You're going to see the logos of both companies on the sign when you pull into the driveway.

Both places are here under one roof. We handle everything in house with that same high-level, high-touch for what we're doing, whether you be a client of one, both, it doesn't matter. We think about you as part of our client family.

Mark: We're going to come back. We're going to talk about what do you expect when you come in to sit down with the teams that Victor created to help you on your journey in retirement. Whether it's an estate plan. It's a holistic retirement plan. What should you expect when you come in and sit down with the team.

You walk in that old home, what's it going to be like? We're going to talk about that. Victor is going to talk about the companies, the key people. The people that make it feel like a family. Something you're very comfortable coming in to chat with Medina Law Group and Palanete Wealth. Here's the number, (856) 506-8300.

If you like to maybe start this process because it's not a one meeting, you're a client now. There's a lot of moving parts. We're going to get into that. How does this whole process work as well? "Hey, Victor, when can I retire? Do I have enough? Will my money last as long as I do? Will my loved ones be OK if sometime happens to me? We have a lot of questions, right?

We want to know if we pull the plug on working, and we head off into retirement, and we got a purpose, what's going to get us up out of bed every day, what do we need to do? Are we going to be OK?" That's what we want to know, (856) 506-8300. More of "Make It Lasts" with Victor Medina, we're going to break down the companies.

What do you expect? What can they both provide to us as well? Stay with us, this is "Make It Last" with Victor Medina.

Mark: Welcome back to "Make It Last" with Victor Medina. Victor Medina has got two companies, and we're talking about them today, Medina Law Group, that's if you need an estate plan, Palante Wealth, if you need a retirement plan, holistic plan, income strategies, investment strategies, tax strategies.

The companies are tied together, Medina Law Group, Palante Wealth. If you would like to learn more about these, you can always go to the website. Victor started Medina Law Group back in 2006. It's, M-E-D-I-N-A,

He started Palante Wealth because the law group folks were saying, "How come you can't help me with the rest of my retirement?" He started that company in 2014. That is, P-A-L-A-N-T-E, Now, so far, we've been giving you both websites.

Here, in the very near future, we're going to give you if you want to know more about this, here's the website. We're going to do a lot of different things on this program to make it easier for you. Victor, we're getting close, right?

Victor: We're getting very close, being able to launch a number of sites that is going to provide us on a value for people. I believe in providing education ahead of time, being able to share all this. There's nothing hidden what we do. You may need a checklist for retirement. You might need a blueprint, or you might need a tax plan.

We want to provide all of these resources, so you understand the landscaping and super prepare to go through a retirement process. We want to share all of that information. We're going to be able to do that in this show. It's going to be great.

Mark: Absolutely, so look forward to hearing more about that. The Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth, they're in Pennington, right? They serve the Pennington Greater Mercer County as well as Bucks County, clients in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania as well. Talk about your office a little bit.

What clients can expect when they come in to meet with you and your team? Tell us about your team.

Victor: Absolutely. One of the things that we like is...Let's even talk about stuff that's as "boring" as the furniture, what is there. We talked about walking into a living room. All of our rooms, with the exception of where we pass documents for signing, are set up to be very welcoming. There's a couch, chairs.

We got a big TV screen to walk through stuff. We're super serious about what it is that we do, but we want to make sure the people feel comfortable. It's the same thing if we were in their living room, they're coming into our living room. We're making sure that they feel comfortable, welcome, and at ease.

The stuff that we're talking about can be very daunting in you've saved an entire lifetime for your retirement. This decision about who's going to help you plan for this retirement is one that you don't want to screw up. You want to make sure that all of those parts in there, we don't want to make it any more difficult by making you feel uncomfortable along the way.

It's quite the opposite. We get to that first point of contact. Our Director of Business and Client Strategy, her name is Susan Helen. Susan is a great story. Susan worked for me twice. There is a period of time in 2014 where she was working for me, and she has a training as a social worker.

I tell you, that's probably great training to talk to people that are nervous about have an estate planner or retirement. She got that skill base. When she was working as a social worker, she was in a role where we were helping a lot of people who were in assisted living facilities and nursing homes navigate as protection.

She took a break to do some life coaching. She started a life coaching company on her own. Then, she came back, and she took a position with us where she's the first point of contact, and a very key element to meeting with initial clients. Clients that come in, contact us, and making sure that they understand the strategy and explaining our process.

She's a fantastic person. What I like about Susan is the person that we talk to. She knows everybody's story. When she talks to the client, she knows about their family. She knows about what's going on. She knows all the circumstances that are going on in their lives. She's a great resource to have.

She never let go of that social work background, caring for other people. You're going to see that a lot in the rest of the team as well, Mark. Everybody that comes and works for us has this instinctive reaction to wants to care for all of our clients.

There's elements of it we might put in that kind of client service element which like, "OK. You know how to return people phone calls and that kind of stuff?" "Yeah, sure. That's fine." They go above and beyond that.

They think about our clients and their problems. They adapt them in a way that they just care for making sure that they're solved. I've never seen anything like it. I'm really blessed to work with a team that's like that.

Once you meet with Susan who's explains a little bit about the roadmap, about what we're going to do with each step along the way. If you want to take the next step from that, what we're going to do is we're going to start to create a plan for you.

What we're going to do is we're going to...Regardless of whether anyone look at the legal side or their financial side, makes you want to ask about everything. There's no way to craft the legal plan without knowing more about the financial. There's no way about crafting a financial plan without understanding what's going on with your legal plan.

We're going to create a planning document, we call it our "Make it Last checkup." We're going to do is we're going to look at all these four elements of your income, investment, tax and estate planning, and we're going to give you a diagnostic, and audit, playbook a look on what's in good order, what needs addressing, what recommendations we have, when we're in some hard numbers off of that.

Then I'm going to present that to you in that next meeting and so you're going to have an opportunity, we're going to sit down and I'm going to show you what I think about what's going on. We're going to give you some recommendations at that point in time is probably a good decision point for you to figure out whether or not you want to move forward.

We've explained a lot about the way that we do things and if you like the plan, you want us to implement it. Now, we're formalizing that relationship. When we've made that shift, you see the rest of the team swell up to envelop a client and help them through the rest of the process, whether it's Juliana who's working mostly in our financial services.

By the way, she's also somebody who spent a lot of time as our operations manager on the legal side as a chief paralegals, some of our Medicaid specialist. She spent time in both of those companies and really has the broadest sense of what they need.

She's a crucial element to understanding how to put a plan together. She's, working mostly in the financial services side right now, but tons of experience on both. On the other side, we've got a chief paralegal has been with us for five years. Lillian is a fantastic paralegal.

It's funny because I've got a great story that I tell where she took an attorney friend of mine to task but she's so right about the planning [laughs] that we do that she's like, "Wait, she's just a paralegal." I said, "Forget about it. She can run circles around most of the lawyers that you've ever met."

She really focuses on making sure that the state planning documents are in place. Both of those folks are one of the substantive people that are related to what we do. You're also going to have an opportunity, the longer you're part of our client family, to meet somebody like Katie, who is our marketing coordinator. It really helps run our client events.

Anytime that you're part of the client family, you get invitations to come to events that we hold, which can be either fun learning events like photography, and retirement, or they can be substantive events, like what tax planning that you need to do in the rest of the year.

She's going to be somebody, that's going to be a crucial part of it. Every time that we do a book launch, for example, she's there organizing that event. She is a delightful 20 something year old. She's really young, but she is great at what she does.

She's a fantastic team member. She is as invested as the people who work substantively but knowing who our clients are. Those are the people that are part of the team. We've got some people that are also underneath them and work with them. We're a little bit larger than that. Just in terms of the sheer number.

The chief contact points for people are going to be folks like Susan, folks like Giuliana, folks like Lillian, and what's great. What I hear from clients, time and time again is it doesn't matter who they talk to Mark, the experience is exactly the same. They feel like it's one team working together.

Everyone who works is so great. Everyone that works there really cares about them. It's not my words. It's is what they share with me. That's fantastic for me as a business owner. It's fantastic for me, as somebody who cares about our clients is that it gives the neatest comfort, that it doesn't matter who calls at what time and who picks up the phone.

Every one of the folks that work here, really understand that our mission is to help clients to make sure that we are that resource for them and make sure that they have a great experience as we have put a plan together for them.

Mark: Again, the numbers (856) 506-8300. Victor, I always say there's no cost, there's no obligation, there's no pressure for this. The phone call is absolutely free (856) 506-8300. If you want to talk about estate planning or holistic retirement planning, just pick up the phone, chat with the team.

They are here to help. Don't know if they can help to hear your situation. The number again, (856) 506-8300. I'm taking it after listening to go through meeting number one they get to know you meeting right? Meeting number two, where we're looking a little bit deeper.

The way I understand it, maybe was the phone call meeting number one meeting number two, there's no cost for this. Am I on the right track?

Victor: Yeah, absolutely. As we get through the first initial meetings, we're not asking for any dollars upfront. What will happen from time to time is that people will say, "Well, I'm ready to get started on the legal planning. This actually gives me an opportunity just for a second to talk about this high level of integrity and both of those companies."

There's never any backroom deals about what's going on. If you want to hire us to be your lawyer, there's a cost associated with that, as there would be for hiring any lawyer. There might be some people who say, "I want to get started with illegal planning."

We work on a flat fee or fixed fee basis. I think, great if you want to accomplish A, B, and C, here's the fee for that. That's nothing to do with whether or not you become a financial client. We're going to help you there too, but we don't trade one off of the other.

I'd be great if you did some legal planning here to be able to discount off for that. I really don't think that's a great way to operate. You want to know that the people that you're operating within this world, these financial advisors, these legal advisors are above board on everything that we do.

The only time that we'd ask for money in terms of getting started on something is going to be if we wanted to get started on that legal planning. Even that doesn't come up until after that second meeting.

Mark: On the Palante Wealth side, you are going to create a retirement plan for me. That one is not because you don't start with how much money do you have. That you're not trying to push stocks, bonds, mutual funds.

You're not trying to maybe push a certain tool for my retirement because you have to learn about me, right? You don't start with products where you can go in and sit down with a stockbroker, probably in 15 minutes, you saying, "Hey, you need this stock or that stock." That's not how Palante Wealth operates.

Victor: No. In fact, I think the products are probably the least important part of what it is that we do because they have no bearing in life unless they're related back to a plan. I don't want to put people feeling like they've got terrible things are going on.

If you've got a roof that's leaking, if that's your retirements, your roof is leaking, I'm not going to sit there, first, go to the shingle type that is going to be part of what replacing which hammer, I'm going to be swinging along the way. Those are not our primary focus.

We've got to figure out what's going on, what direction do we needs to go because none of these things works in a vacuum. None of these products works in a vacuum. By the way, we want to make sure that we've narrowly tailored, what it is that we're doing for exactly the solution that we need to do.

We don't need to be swinging a big hammer, that's a sledgehammer. What we need is really a scalpel for what it is that we're doing. We can't even gets to that point in time. I wouldn't feel uncomfortable speaking my thing.

I know general principles. You want to know about mutual funds, you want to know about life insurance or about annuities being talk general principle, which one is right for you, or is one right for you at all?

I have no idea about that at all, nor should any real, valid, competent planner until they spend more time with you to really understand what are the goals that you need, and then be able to do some due diligence.

That planning document, Mark, is really our opportunity to take a 360-degree view on what's going on your vibe, so that the recommendations that are being offered are specifically custom-tailored bespoke plan for you based on the totality that review and your discussion about what your needs and your goals are.

Mark: All right, Victor, when somebody comes in for the first time to sit down and talk about whether it's estate planning, or they want that holistic retirement plan, what kinds of questions are typically being asked?

Victor: I really want to focus on few things. First of all, I spent a lot of time talking about them and their family. Really want to understand what makes them tick. How did they arrive here? Want to learn a little bit about their journey. Want to learn about their experience with either investing or legal planning to understand what brought them here so far?

What are their expectations around that? I want to talk about what their goals are for retirement. It could be as something as hardline as what is your budget and your expenses, how much do you need to spend, or what are your obligations. It's also going to be talking a lot about what is a picture of a great retirement look like?

I ask some sometimes weird questions along the way. It's like, what are some red flags in your life that I need to know about? Because sometimes there are family red flags, sometimes health-related red flags, when we really want to see landmines in the field before we step on them, we'll talk a little bit about that as well.

We sort of going through this nine-step discussion where we go into nine different domains in that initial conversation, where we're really looking at what's going on with them, their family, their retirement, their investments, their prior relationships, professionals, red flags they're going in, their health concerns.

Once we've got through that, once we've gone through those nine domains, we now have a good picture of them. The next step for us is to really start to look at some of the hard numbers. This is the point in time where we are asking for bank statements and investment statements.

We've got to look at the numbers, we got to look at the underlying investments, we've got to look at what they've got here. We really have to take a deep examination. We want to see their prior tax returns. I don't know many advisors that want to dig time into tax returns, but we do.

We want to see what that picture looks like part of this work that we do in creating a plan is a projection of what a tax return might look like in the future depending on what we could do with our planning.

Many clients who are married are surprised to learn what their attacks picture might look like when one of them dies, or what would happen if their Medicare premiums start to increase or if there's a change in the tax rate.

Again, it allows us to do some forward-looking views on their planning. We also want to take a look at their legal documents as well. What is that have? Hey, it could be that everything's in great order based on our review. We don't come into every situation knowing that we can help.

I will tell you the majority of time, once we take a look at what's going on, we've got great recommendations that can help people improve their chances for success.

That discussion, those nine domains, taking a look at the hard paperwork underneath that their account statements things like that are what are the seeding documents, the things that we do in order to put us in a position to prepare a great plan to present on that next meeting.

Mark: To call the team to get started, as you can tell it's not just calling your client, they're not going to force you into anything. There's no pressure, there's no obligation. The phone call, absolutely no cost. 856-506-8300. The first couple meetings, basically no cost unless you're needing that estate planning needed right now.

Well, maybe then there is that fee for that, but it takes a while to become a client of Palante Wealth, it's not an overnight deal. There's a lot of moving parts here, and the team's got to go through your stuff and then present you, "Hey, here are what we think are the best options."

Again, it's options. It's education. It's not telling you, you have to do this or you have to do this you have to use that company or this company. It's about you.

The number 856-506-8300. Victor and the teams. I'm Medina, and Palante Wealth are here to help. Just don't know where to get help? Give them a call. They'd love the opportunity though. 856-506-8300.

Mark: Come one. Now, we're going to talk about a junk drawer. I know Victor does not have a junk drawer. We're going to find out. What is a junk drawer have to do with our retirement? Stay with us to find out. This is Make It Last with Victor Medina.

Mark: Ride with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina of the Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Medina Law Group practicing estate planning. Victor is a certified elder law attorney. You go to the website to find out more. M-E-D-I-N-A.

Victor get started that company in 2006, and then those clients who [inaudible 30:30] help us with the rest of our retirement. Victor setup [inaudible 30:34] again. He went about and got...He's now a certified financial planner professional. A registered Investment advisor. He can help you in the insurance world. He can help you in the investment world.

That company is Palante Wealth. The website, P-A-L-A-N-T-E. Victor started that company in 2014. That's what we're talking about today. What's it like to come in and chat with Victor and the team to talk about the state planning, or to talk about retirement planning? How does that all transpire?

You think about it, there's one drawer that everybody has in our house. That's the junk drawer. Now, your wife Jennifer, of what, 20 years now, right?

Victor: You're right. At 20.

Mark: She's a school psychology, and you're a lawyer guy that helps people in the estate planning world or retirement planning world. I thinking you guys are really efficient, probably no junk drawer at the Medina home.

Victor: You haven't been to our house, Mark.

Mark: You think about it, basically we all have junk drawers. Maybe you've got the batteries, rubber bands, power cords, and we've got power cords. Then there's phones that were 10 years ago, that we don't know why we don't throw them away. We have a junk drawer. The thing that I think about is a lot of people have IRAS, 401k.

Back in the day they would have CDs and the like. You're not making money in CDs, so you got IRAs, 401K. My dad's some real estate. You got stocks bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and the like. I have annuities. I have life insurance life. There's a lot of different things that we have in our financial junk drawer.

The problem is when Victor, when people come in and say, for example, that first meeting they're pushing the statements they've got with from..."Here's all our stuff." They think that is their plan, don't they? But, that is really a junk drawer.

Victor: It is junk drawer. It's funny that you mentioned that because my wife recently had a vacation from her school. She spent one of the days, we're organizing our junk drawer. We got rid of a lot of stuff, a lot of bags, a lot of reorganization.

When I started as a financial planner, obviously my first client became myself and my wife. Even she had a junk drawer. She had a tax sheltered, annuity from one of her jobs and old Ford freebie from another one.

People look at the kind of aggregation of these things as being their plan. When I asked them "How did these things work together?" There's never really a great answer for that because they were never designed to work together. It was really a series of acquisitions.

I had a brother in law that did this and I bought that thing. Then there's this person that came in and brought in bagels to my work and I go ahead invested in that, and we used to have this other job. It never was designed to be a plan. It's very difficult to think about it that way.

Once we start to help them think through "OK, which of these do we do, in what order?" Which of these you're going to withdraw money from? What's the purpose of that money? What's the purpose of that account? You have this product, why is it in the plan? What purpose does it serve? Not a lot of pretty answers to those questions because people never thought of them that way.

Our job is to take off what is in the junk drawer, and make all elements of that valuable. What's important is that no matter where you are in that cycle, whether you're just...with 10 years before you get to retirement, or you've been 10 years since you've been retired. There are always opportunities to improve. If you didn't have a kind of valid holistic comprehensive plan before, there's always value to putting one in place right now.

Of course, the earlier you do it, Mark, the better your situation is going to be because the more options you're going to have. The further you get along, the fewer options you're going to have. You want to do it sooner rather than later, with as much time as you can possibly budget for where you are in your life cycle.

The goal, overall, is to have a cohesive plan that is meant to work together. We've talked about our focus in on looking at income investments, tax and estate planning. Once you start to layer the elements of what is in the junk drawer to those principles, it starts to clarify what it is you should be doing it. The whole income component is how you're going to generate a paycheck, your retirement.

By the way, not just one paycheck, but paycheck every month. Not just the same paycheck, but a paycheck that is indexed to increase with inflation so your spending power remains constant. Then you start to look at your investments. What kind of accounts do I need to have? When we start to look at that, some of it is in pre-tax accounts like IRAs and some of it is in post-tax IRAs, non-IRA accounts.

How do you use them together? How does it that we navigate that which leads us to that next component, about making sure that our tax plan is in place. How do you make sure that federal government is just getting the least amount that they're entitled to? In fact, if we do some planning, maybe we can get to a point where we don't pay them again, going forward.

How do we make that work together so we're not always reacting to what's going with our taxes, but that we're being proactive. Of course, that leads us to our last component.

How do we wrap all of that together with a great legal plan that helps you navigate what would happen if you became incapacitated or you got sick in the future or what you're leaving behind to your beneficiaries are making life easier for your kids as they manage your affairs.

That all together becomes a plan now. It seems like these four little areas, make it sort of simple what it's doing. There is an elegant brilliance to its simplicity. It helps us focus and orient ourselves in these four areas, but of course, what's underneath there, it's very deep.

The way that we go through looking money card simulations and looking at tax profiles and projection stuff. Out of 10-15 years, looking at rough conversions and putting all those elements together draws a substance behind that.

We always come back to this home base of this planning document. It helps us get true north on what it is that we should be doing, which is really focusing on those four major areas.

Mark: The Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth serve the Pennington Greater Mercer County as well as Bucks County. They have clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you like to seat down and chat with the team about your specific situation 856-506-8300.

Again, no cost, no obligation, no pressure for this. Teams are here to help, just don't know how to help till they hear your situation. It's 856-506-8300. Glad you're with us. Stay for "Make It Last" by Victor Medina. I'm Mark Elliot.

We're talking about the companies, Medina Law Group Palante Wealth, and looking at it is one company and just what do you need? Which company is the one that is the forerunner in this?

They're both going to be when it talks about retirement, income planning, investment strategies, tax strategies going forward, and estate planning. They're working as one. We were talking about the junk drawer.

A lot of people think that their investments are the plan. A lot of people focus on their investments and think that's what retirement planning is all about. I'm I off base? Or, I'm I getting what most people think about when it comes to retirement?

Victor: No, you're getting what most people think about it, and we shouldn't fault them. Or if you were the listener, I'm not faulting you off of it. It's been the way that they've been oriented.

You look at the Jim Cramer Show and it's all about what stocks to buy, or if you're looking at people's commercials, "Don't buy annuities. Do buy annuities." They're all focused on the product.

All the messaging that people are getting is related to the products and the brokerage statements or the investments that they have as being some form of a plan. It's when we get to the point in time and explain the use of this.

We've changed. We've shifted from accumulation to decumulation. From accumulation to a distribution. Once we make that shift off of it and we start to ask questions about how we're going to use, it becomes clear that we need something greater than just the accumulation of these accounts and these balances going forward.

Could it be a plan? I suppose it could be a plan, but it's not going to be a great plan, because it's going to be subject to all kinds of risk, market risk, longevity risk. It's not very well thought out now in its use and implementation.

Again, it is common that people are thinking about their investments as their plan, but it's not right. One of the better ways that people have been doing it is actually when the creation of plan that's meant to navigate and manage all of these things that we've talked about, longevity long-term care income, and the investment returns over a period of time, healthcare costs.

All of that stuff is meant to get jumbled together. Do you have a plan that allows you to navigate and surf through that and that goes way beyond a particular product, a particular stock or a mutual fund, or any brokerage account? It's much broader than that.

By the way, this whole show about the experience off of that, I should spend some time talking about the idea that your experience in that discussion is very deep and transparent. We're talking to you through the principles of what great retirement planning looks like and why it is that we're making the recommendations there.

It's not just something that we're just an edict from on high. Take it or leave it. It's explaining to you what the underlying principles are for making that be something that is helpful in your life. Then, if it's something that you agree with, then we can be the people that help you implement that so that you can make that shift and get a little bit better.

If we get to the discussion about specific products, it's like we're going to have a car? What would you need a Ferrari? Do you need a Jeep? Do you need an electric vehicle? They're not all the same.

Now we can explain the benefits of each one of these, why we're recommending one or the other and get somebody to agree on that as well and again, very transparent, very deep in the discussions about each one of these things.

Mark: When you're talking about holistic planning for retirement, and you think about, "Hey Victor, when can I retire?" "Do I have enough?" "Will my money lasts as long as I do?" Then does it start with that holistic retirement planning? Does it start with income?

My grandparents that retired in the '70s, they had a pension plan. They had social security. They had high-interest rates at the bank, double-digit interest rates at the bank, put money in a CD, rattle them and their income was fine. They had other issues. My retirement income is not going to be as easy.

I don't have a pension. I don't have high-interest rates at the bank. It's a different retirement period. Is that maybe the first thing you solve for is income? Where's it coming from? How are we going to create? How much do you need? That type of thing?

Victor: Yeah. Listen. There's only one kind of client that doesn't start with that as the person that doesn't want to spend any money in retirement. They don't have to worry about any income for them, but for everyone else, we're going to have to look at the income that we need to generate.

Because as you mentioned, the world of pensions being the way that you navigate through retirement, that's pretty much over. We're self-savers. We're people that have got these IRAs that we've put money together. We have to generate our own income. We have to take a look as we have to take a look at a couple of different things.

The first is take a look at what your expected budget is and what would you like to spend money on and tell you whether or not that's something you can do and give you a plan for that.

Sometimes we might be able to tell you what you're limited in what you're doing. You might have great expectations about what you're going to be able to spend, but sometimes it's our job to let you know that this is what are your portfolio can withstand in terms of generating that income.

You're right. We've got to take a look at the last remaining pension that all of us have, which is Social Security, for as long as it lasts. That's going to help us fill a bucket.

We've got to do something in a way that we do our planning to help you bridge the gap between the money that's going to be provided for you every month from the federal government and the money that you need to live off. You need to that in a way that can withstand market forces, that can withstand the cost of inflation over time.

That whole plan is come together. She's absolutely right, we start with that income. By the way, there's also behavior finance reasons for that's too, Mark, which is if people know that they have safe income coming in, it allows them to sleep better at night. They get greater peace of mind. We can solve for that.

I just remember, there's a client that came in recently and he was suffering some health concerns and what he want to do is retire early. Maybe a little bit earlier than most people would have thought about retiring, but he'd been a great saver. He also had a kid, sometimes the great saver is of no kid. They don't have many expenses. He had kid and he had great saving.

What we're able to do is show him that he had the opportunity to retire now. That's to him was such a great weight off of his shoulder, because what he was faced with was perhaps working to the detriment of his health because he didn't understand he could retire.

By the way, the reason why he had that all the answer from another adviser that came off of the fact. They were slowly looking at it from one perspective of other way that they did their planning which all these investment choices off of it.

Once we look at it from our retirement plan, we said, "Can we generate an income check for you that way it's secure, safe, and lasting for the rest of your life?" The answer became yes, then it became a happy meeting for them because he finally realized that he doesn't have to sacrifice his health for the sake of his potential retirement.

We had a way to get him through there and he was able to manage that very well, made a great decision off of it. It's a very important step to start with the income.

Mark: We're getting a bigger picture of the Medina Law Group, a Palante Wealth and what they can do for you when it comes to your retirement or estate planning. All of it's tied together.

856-506-8300 is the number. If you'd like to get started, remember there's no cost for this. It's a couple meetings before you got to become a client to pay them anything. At this point, they're trying to figure out can they help you and are you a good fit for each other?

I look at it like if I'm sitting down with Victor and the team, I'm the CEO, it's my money, it's my retirement, it's my hopes and dreams but I don't understand all the areas that Victor and his team worked with day and day out when it comes for my retirement.

I never retired before, I don't want to make or cause some mistake that in five years I got to go back to work because I messed up. I need somebody to guide me so I look at Victor's teams as my chief financial officer, here to help guide me. 856-506-8300, if you like touch-base. Learn more about your specific situation. 856-506-8300.

Glad you're with us today for "Make It Last" with Victor Medina, we're going to comeback, we're going to talk about some of the legal terms. Some of the financial terms that we hear about, and why are they important to us or are they? Victor will explain right after this. This is Make it Last with Victor Medina of the Medina Law Group in Palante Wealth.

[commercial break]

Mark: Glad you're with us today for Make it Last with Victor Medina of Medina Law Group in Palante Wealth, you can find out more about the estate planning world with Medina Law Group, but of course, Victor's also a Certified Elder Law Attorney.

Got to get our ducks in a row. The estate plan, the legacy plan, how are we going to leave things, what about the transfer on death? What about the worry you have, the...what's that called when we're doing the provision for somebody that could make a decisions for us when it comes to healthcare or our finances because we can't do it anymore?

I'm missing the term, what is it Victor?

Victor: The provision like you name an agents to help you make decisions?

Mark: Thinking of we need somebody that we can say, "Hey, when I have a medical issue, I was in the car wreck, I can't make a decision..."

Victor: You want a healthcare proxy on somebody make decision for you.

Mark: Right. There are a lot of moving parts in this so we need the guidance. Medina Law Group can certainly help you in that area. Palante Wealth is about holistic planning for your retirement. Victor, is a certified financial planner professional, registered investment advisor and that is the income, investment, tax world, the estate world, obviously at the Medina Law Group.

Both of these companies are really geared to help you moving forward into retirement to feel a little bit more confident about things. 856-506-8300. If you'd like to learn more, how can the teams help you? Give you a little bit more confidence. Maybe a little bit less stress in your life. That would be nice. 856-506-8300.

Now, here's the deal, Victor and the teams at Palante Wealth and Medina Law Group they get a lot of questions. People come in because they have questions. "Hey what should I do here, what should I do there?"

This is going to lead us right into the mail bag segment. This is kind of fun. Victor and the teams go out and do things in the community. They might put on a seminar here or there. They got people come in, they got people email them questions or call with questions, and we just steal some of these questions.

We're going to use them right here on the radio show. Are you ready to handle some questions from some different people from the area?

Victor: I am limbered up and ready to go, Mark. Let's do this.

Mark: That's why I wait till the last segment, so your voice is well limbered by the time we get here.

Mark: All right, first question comes from Donna, in Princeton. "Victor, will social security be there for me in the future? If I listen to the news, I'm not sure if I should count on it for my retirement or not. What do you think?"

Victor: That's a good question. Thanks for sending it over, Donna. I will tell you that there's a lot of people who have the similar concern. Like you, they're worried about social security because what they hear about in the news out there is how social security is being raided. The way that we are increasing the debts, that the government is running up and how are we going to pay for those.

The concern about where that money is going to come from when we they need to get through retirement. Historically, when they made changes to social security, what they've essentially done has stretched out the time period, or made it later when you could go ahead, and start to claim that amount.

They've adjusted the timing of it, so they didn't have to pay for as many people, for as long because there's this compounding effect not only, is there less money in the trust fund for paying the social security. We have people that are living longer and longer.

While my crystal ball is broken and I can't tell you exactly whether or not social security will be there, or what it will look like in the future, I'll tell you it's a valid concern whether or not they can make good on its original promise to help you fund your retirement and protect you against being poor when you are retired.

What can you do about that? First of all, you can plan around needing it exclusively, which a lot of people are already doing. They're already saving for their retirement because they know that social security will not cover a 100 percent of it.

The other thing you can do is start to think about how much you are going to need for your retirement. Include having that portion of social security for a shorter period of time. What we will see is the true impact on social security might be coming up on the next generation, or the next kids, that's where we're really going to see the significant impact.

If you're on the verge of retirement you may see a one- or two-year delay before you can claim it. It may go longer than that depending how old you are -- I'm not going to ask you because my wife and mom have raised me the right way. You may need it for a longer period in which case it might actually be delayed even longer than the one or two years we are talking about.

What you need to do is plan on needing it for a shorter period of time, so you can make sure you're not overly reliant on social security. That's where the fault comes. We start thinking about it too much, too strong or important of a leg in the way that we design our income plan for retirement.

Mark: The other part of this Donna, is Social Security Administration says 70 to 80 percent of Americans take social security the wrong way for their situation. It doesn't mean you're wrong at 62 or 70 or anywhere in between, it means you took it wrong. That's why Palante Wealth looks at the holistic plan. That means, they're looking at the entire picture not just at social security question.

We know if we wait, we get more but if we take it early, we get less but you might need to take it at 62. Maybe you should wait until 66, 67, or maybe wait until 70. Everybody's situation is different. The team at Palante Wealth can help walk you through this decision and give you some educated reasons for why you should do this or why you should do that.

Just give them a call Donna. 856-506-8300. Appreciate the question. Again, it's 856-506-8300.

Next question, Victor, comes from Roger in Feasterville, PA. He says, "Victor, I was just reviewing my pension plan and the option I chose when I was a new employee might not provide much for my wife if I die before her. Is there anything I can do to make this right or is there anything I can set up so she can still have income if I pass away before her?"

Victor: It's a good question, Roger. Thanks for sharing it. It's great, by the way, that you've got a pension option because so few people, so few companies really have that as a defined benefit of employment.

It's great that it's there, but your question is valid because if you made and election when it was irrevocable when you set it up that doesn't provide as much for your wife when you retire. There's this concern that your death will leave her with less income to spend in retirement and that is a really serious concern.

It's one of the things that you should be worried about, going forward. I'm going to give you some good views about ways that you can think about this to help you with your planning retirement and your comfort level that it'll be OK no matter what election you made, whether it's irrevocable or not.

To set the context for this, both of my parents are teachers so when they retired, they each had a pension. Super unusual, talk about a double unicorn. They each had pensions and they had to come up with a plan about what would happen when one of them died.

What they did was start to equalize the number, so that when one of them died, didn't matter who it was, it was the same amount of income coming afterwards. The way that we would do that for somebody that doesn't have a pension, we're going to assume ,Roger, that your wife doesn't have a pension of her own.

You didn't say that in your question. I'm going to assume that's the case. The way we think about doing that is making a pension out of your savings using an insurance product to do that. That is called an annuity.

What you would do is you would take a portion of your investments that you've been saving for retirement and you would purchase an annuity that would give a guaranteed lifetime income stream that would be pegged to a date your wife would be able to trigger that after you've passed away.

When we talk about guarantees, that's based on the financial strength of the underlying insurance company, which is one of the reasons why you want to get great recommendations for great companies. Not pick anything that's out there that might be blaring on a commercial.

You really want something that's tailor-made, really working with the best products we can find for this solution. What you're essentially doing is you're creating the missing part of the pension that you missed out on by not selecting the money that stayed constant when you died.

That's the whole idea is that we've made up for that decision by using some smart strategies to commit. It's absolutely something that you can do assuming all the rest of the circumstances are in place. You've got a big enough nest egg and all works out. It's something we can correct, Roger, if we have the chance to do that before you die, which is where you're looking for.

Mark: Yes, we would like you to come in, Roger, before you pass away [laughs] to make these decisions. It's about planning, it's about being proactive not reactive.

856-506-8300 is the number, 8565068300. Roger, there's no cost to chat with the team. They're here to help. Just don't know if they can in your situation, but I think in this situation they probably can give you some options.

856-506-8300. Glad you're here with us for "Make It Last," Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. I'm Mark Elliot. We're going through some mail bag questions. It might come from people that have called in and asked a question or people sent an email or around town or what have you, but these are always interesting. They're always all over the place.

Next one, Victor, comes from Allison. Allison is in Skillman. Allison says this, "Victor, I found a box of statements when I was cleaning out our closet and I realized I have no idea just how much money is in our account. I just managed a checking account because I pay the bills, but I really don't know much about what else my husband is managing. What should I do?"

Victor: Allison, you sound a lot like my mom after she ended up getting divorce from my dad, and not understanding all the financial implications that was out there. In fact, it's the whole reason why I wrote my most recent book, "Make It Last: Empowering Women in Retirement." I'm going to do this for you. Allison, I'm going to do the same thing for anybody else that's listening.

If you'd like a copy, if you are a woman, and you would like a copy of the Empowering Women in Retirement book, go to the website, reference the radio show, and we'll make sure that we'll send that out to you.

To answer your question, Allison, I will tell you this. First of all, it is super important for you to be as involved in the financial planning and picture as your husband is in terms of what's going on. I'm going to assume for a moment that there's nothing bad going on, you have a great relationship with your husband, and things are going well, he's not hiding anything.

You do have to have a discussion and say, "Listen, if you if you love me, if you care for me, what you have to do is make sure that you don't leave me scrambling if you die before I do." There's always these divisions of labors and marriages where "You're going to handle this, and I'm going to handle that and their areas of expertise."

Don't ask me to do laundry and not because I think it's a woman's job, but because my wife has taken that over, it probably to make sure that I don't run the reds with the whites and everything has worked out. We've had this division of labor, it's probably OK. She has taught me how to use our high sophisticated washing machine.

In case she dies, I can start take that over and I can continue to do it. Same thing would be in the finances. If your husband loves you -- you need to tell him this -- he needs to make sure that he is providing you with the same level of information and education as he so that if he passes before you, you'd have to take over that work, maybe you're not even interested in taking over that work.

In case something happens, you are on equal footing, because I've seen too many widows come through my door, scrambling for all kinds of things, how to make the next payment on their bills that they're owed, try to figure out where the investments are, scrambling to figure out what kind of goes into the box and collecting all the things together.

That's just not fair way to leave somebody behind. It is super important that we put everybody on It is super important that we put everybody on [inaudible 55:51] specifically around finances because we can cause a lot of damage if we don't have the money hopefully, going in.

Mark: Great question Allison, we appreciate it. Donna and Roger as well. Again, the numbers 856-506-8300. There's no cost, no obligation, no pressure. The teams in Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth certainly here to help. 856-506-8300.

Alison, or whomever would like a copy of the book that Victor gave to you, available, no cost, no charge, no nothing, no obligation, no nothing. He'll send it right to you. He said you go to the website. Medina Law Group. M-E-D-I-N-A.

I would say that's an easier place probably for the book. P-A-L-A-N-T-E. It's part of the three books, right? The Make It Last series?

Victor: I'm off to five now, Mark.

Mark: Five now?

Victor: Yeah. Five published books all available on Amazon. All available in our office, if you came in. I know, I'm a little surprised myself that I'm that high.

Mark: Pretty impressive. When you got a lot of knowledge, you want to share with people. That's Victor Medina of Medina Law Group and Palante Wealth. Again, the website If you like a copy of the book, P-A-L-A-N-T-E,

Mark: Again the number, 856-506-8300. Appreciate you being with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina. Victor enjoyed it. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Have a great week. We'll do it again next.

[commercial break begins]

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 to get your free copy of Victor Medina's tax guide. That's the numbers,

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. Investment advisory services offered through Palante Wealth Advisors, LLC in New Jersey and Pennsylvania registered investment advisor.

Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Investing involves risk, including a potential loss of principal. Any references to protection, safety, or lifetime income generally referred to fixed insurance products, never securities or investments. Insurance guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing carrier.

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Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth Advisors are not permitted to offer, and no statement made during the show shall constitute tax or legal advice. Our firm is not affiliated with or endorsed by the US government or any governmental agency.

The information and opinions contained here and provided by third parties have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth Advisors.

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