Most Americans are getting a failing grade in financial literacy, especially revolving around retirement. Victor and Mark share the top topics people are struggling with so you can understand!
Would you rather be healthy or wealthy? Every year more than half a million Americans file for bankruptcy due to medical bills. Victor & Mark will be talking about the importance of Medicare and how good planning can prevent you from having to choose between your health and your wealth!
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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, of course, has two companies, Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth. Victor focuses on traditional estate planning, asset protection, retirement distribution, proactive income tax planning.
Here’s the deal. It’s about the Make It Last plan. You need an income plan. Your paychecks are going to stop when you get into retirement. Where is your income coming from? Your investment strategy is super important as well.
Taxes, we know taxes are getting ready to change at least by 2026 if the Biden administration does nothing. Tax efficient strategy is super important. Then, the estate planning. All of that is a part of the Make It Last plan.
Again, if you want to talk with Victor and the team, they’re here to help. 856‑506‑8300. There’s no cost. There’s no obligation. 856‑506‑8300. Victor, we’re going to talk financial literacy. Now, I am 62, which means I should be financially literate.
Mark: The problem is, I am not. I think a lot of it is that in high school, it was maybe a general business class, right? 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.
The actual stocks and bonds and mutual funds in the insurance world and all those things, I never really was taught that. My dad was a longtime coach, so I didn’t really get that kind of information. I guess, I’m behind the eight ball.
The numbers are out from the American College of Financial Services. 89 percent of female participants flunked a 38‑question quiz. 72 percent of men failed the quiz. I have no doubt I would fail the quiz, and I have no doubt you would pass the quiz.
Mark: What’s your thoughts on this?
Victor Medina: I think I would’ve failed the quiz before I was a financial advisor as well. It should 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 and my middle go‑to, but my oldest is a senior now this year. He has a horizons project. It’s gotten interesting, because at the end of the year, what they try to do is give them some life skills along the way, and so, “This is how you’re going to cook an egg and how you do laundry,” but they have a component of that that is about financial literacy.
I volunteer 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 in 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 off of it and not 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 the 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 debt, and what is it [inaudible 03:03] did.
I got to 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. Then, we actually spent some of the dinners and the drives in between the cities. We did little tour of Texas. There’s about three hours between the cities that we went to. 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, 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 that 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 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 because 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 say. 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 strategies, 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 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 that was not stressed. She came from a lower socioeconomic status. She had been the first person to go to college, and plus her heart because she was wanting to learn. She knew this what I did. She asked [inaudible 05:24] and said, “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. 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 the things that are seen as a function of time down in the future. Staying with that for a long period of time can be very difficult for people that are making this 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 needs some of this 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, “What advanced topics that you’re talking about? Is there anything that I’m missing?” An opportunity for you to come 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. If 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 advance planning strategies.” We can make introduction see if we can help and see what your plan is for you. Like, what can we can 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 maybe 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 with single mom.
Victor: She did get remarried when I was five, so 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 about what we do. We weren’t a big flying family except when we went to Puerto Rico to visit family there. We did some driving.
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.
Mark: That’s how men are. We’re going to get there. That was before obviously we can 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 score.” Women are being more honest about what they don’t know when it comes to finance. What’s your take on that? [laughs]
Victor: Pretty consistent with my experience.
Victor: They’re not always the people that become our clients, but I will find every once in a while I’ve got particularly boastful husband that comes in and absolutely knows everything, and I have to be quite delicate about the way I re‑introduce him to facts as supposed to what his [laughs] opinions are.
There’s overvaluing, this bravado that comes in. My wife would be the first person to tell you that I probably exhibit some of that in the home repair area. I know my stuff around replacing outlets or something along those lines, so I’m probably as guilty as anybody else.
I do appreciate the folks that are honest about what they don’t know because it does gives 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 investing in education so they can get empowered to take action in that part of it, because 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 and so they don’t know those strategies at all.
If we can get some heads up about what they know already, or way 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, is we focus on those areas that they need is always customize to them and spending that time educating people so they understand why we’re making the recommendations of what they need to be doing, and they’re in charge we’re just helping them.
It’s their retirement, they’re the conductors and we’re there helping them play that music. The more that we can do that, the better off the clients tend to be, so I do enjoy that candid transparency and honesty when it comes to that.
Mark: I would think that when your team sit 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. 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 are 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. 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. This is 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 was 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.
We 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, he spent the time in the meetings and you were explaining things.
I said, I understood and I was happy to go forward. 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, “That’s what I’m doing.”
I got [laughs] 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 are factoring in.
With the idea of how you talk to different people and different married couples, I will 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 and 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, and 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 & 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 to 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, it’s all so, so important. Quit putting it off.
We don’t know what tomorrow brings. Call the team, 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?
Mark: It’s maybe an hour of your time or a 15‑minute phone call to see if you should go forward. 856‑506‑8300. We’re getting started today with Make It Last with Victor Medina at Medina Law Group & 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 of Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth, Medina Law Group estate planning. Victor is a certified elder law attorney. It’s about the clients.
What do you need moving forward? Trust, wills and the powers of attorney, and all those kinds of things that are in the elder law world, Medina Law Group can help you with.
They also figure into the Palante Wealth world. Palante Wealth is about holistic planning. Victor is a certified financial planner professional, a registered investment advisor. Palante Wealth helps create that Make It Last plan. Income, investments, taxes.
Medina Law Group pops in to help with the estate side of it. Both these companies work together to help you make some decisions that are right for you in your situation moving forward. The question is, do you know the answers to some of the questions? [laughs] 856‑506‑8300 is the number if you have questions, 856‑506‑8300. There’s no cost to chat with the team.
It’s medinalawgroup.com to find out more about that side of the business, M‑E‑D‑I‑N‑A, medinalawgroup.com. Palante Wealth, P‑A‑L‑A‑N‑T‑E, palantewealth.com. Victor, I know you’ve done this a long time, so I think you understand this. This is crazy to me every year.
I’ve had a stent put in my heart a year ago. My daughter, of course, had a tragic car wreck almost three years ago now. No, almost four years ago because it was 2018. Her senior year of high school paralyzed from the waist down.
I’ve seen obviously healthcare cost and all the craziness. My heart thing, I was walking on the golf course and my chest was getting really tight and they do whatever tests they do. They said, “It looks like you need to stem.” “OK, fine.” It was an easy procedure, no big deal but the surgery itself was like an hour and it was 55 grand. Good thing I have insurance.
Here’s the stat though, every year, Victor, more than a half a million Americans file for bankruptcy due to medical bills. Healthcare emergency, catastrophic illness, accident. Certainly they can knock you off your feet physically, but boy, they can really knock your feet off financially. Can’t they?
Victor: It’s one of the sad things that happens. I’m not wanting to get into the politics of what we should be doing, but it’s certainly to me as a Christian seems wrong, that we’ve got people getting financially ruined for taking care of them.
I’ve had my own encounter with that not directly, but through my mom who’s suffering from lung cancer, who a lot of our clients know about, and they were kind enough to ask me how she’s doing. She takes a pill once a day that keeps her in pretty good shape. It’s not a form of chemotherapy.
Her quality of life is super high, it almost wouldn’t appear to the outside world that she has stage four lung cancer, but that pill cost $15,000 a month. If she didn’t have the insurance that she has, it wouldn’t be covered or she’d have to apply for some form of forgiveness plan or some leniency with the company and the manufacturer.
There was one month in the transition of the formulary from her former employer. She’s worked for the state of Connecticut as a teacher, where they moved from what they had to some form that was under CVS. For one month in the transition, the wires got crossed, and she received a bill for that.
Of course, what is she going to do with the terminal illness, with this pill being the only thing between her and dying much sooner than could otherwise be prevented, she’s ready to settle it all in order to keep making this $15,000 payments.
I had to calm her down. I said, “It’s probably a clerical error. Don’t send them $15,000 yet. You’ve got 30‑day supply. They’ll send you some more. We’ll square this away.”
You could see how quickly someone’s life turns around when the cost of healthcare becomes something like cutting a check for $15,000 a month, or in your case, having a one‑hour event that looks like its own six, five‑figure transaction, where people probably don’t have the savings to cover that and probably shouldn’t need to have the savings for it.
To me, it’s really staggering that this occurs at all, and I’m very familiar as I know you are about how quickly life can change where some of these things might actually visit on somebody’s head.
Mark: When you think about it, you remember our little games of would you rather. I think this is an interesting would you rather. Would you rather be wealthy or would you rather be healthy? If you had to choose one or the other, I think most everybody would choose health, wouldn’t they?
Victor: I think they would.
Mark: It’s terrible. I’m a baby. If I get, don’t feel good. I don’t get sick hardly ever, which is probably the reason why I don’t like it. I prefer to feel good.
Victor: I was going to say the same thing as funny. I just turned 46 in June. In doing that, everything started to break. [laughs] I was following one thing after another. Another pill having to follow another one and the interactions between them. I thought to myself this is miserable.
I can’t imagine for people ‑‑ I now understand ‑‑ if you’ve got chronic pain, why you’re probably so grumpy all the time and looking for a way out, because this is a horrible place to be in. I think I’m with you, Mark. I think probably health overwhelmed.
It probably sacrilegious to say that as a financial advisor, you know that that wouldn’t be wealthy, but I think I would much rather be healthy. Haven’t been unhealthy just for two or three months. They were figuring things out and being miserable that way.
Mark: My daughter with her car wreck, obviously, messed up her vertebrae in her back and all of that while she’s paralyzed. She’ll have days and the doctor said, “There are just going to happen sometimes where she just can’t get out of bed.” There’s too much pain.
I feel for her, but she’s a trooper, so I appreciate that. That’s really our only options. We have to keep going. We got to keep moving forward.
Healthcare is one of those things that can get really dicey, and you need to have a plan. You need to have the coverage. Don’t forget, Palante Wealth can help you in the investment world, but they can also help you in the insurance world, the world of life insurance, the world of annuities. They have no idea if any of this makes sense for you.
We all have tools in our retirement tool belt. Do we need the banking world? I would think so. Do we need the insurance world? I would think so. The investment world? Absolutely. We really need a blending of all three worlds.
The team at Palante Wealth and Medina Law Group can help walk you through all of this, because there’s new tools all the time being created in the insurance world, in the investment world.
We think about the old tried and true. My Blockbuster stock probably is not ‑‑ I’m going to hold onto it because I know it’s going to come back ‑‑ the best idea. Things change. We’ve got to change with it. 856‑506‑8300 is the number. Victor and the team would love to help. 856‑506‑8300. It’s about having that plan.
Now, when you think about it, the annual election period for Medicare Advantage Part D and all that is every year October 15th through December 7th. If you have Medicare supplements/Medigap, you can move into the Medicare Advantage world.
Medicare supplements, if your health is good, you can change at any time during the calendar year, because you need to have the doctor’s approval that you can do that. You’re healthy enough to do all that.
I think a lot of people think, Victor, once I hit 65, and I’m Medicare eligible, and I sign up for Medicare, I don’t have to worry much about any healthcare issues anymore. Do you think that’s…? Are people more educated?
Victor: I think it’s probably common. No, I don’t think…Oh, jeez, you’re going to put me in that position where I’m going to have to say the words, “No, they’re not that educated.” [laughs] That’s not where I want to go with this. I do think that people are unfamiliar with what healthcare looks like in a retirement.
Unless you worked for an employer that’s going to grant you the same healthcare that you had while you were working in retirement, which happens for some public school employees. My parents have basically just continued on with the same kind of healthcare that they had. Nothing really changed. You’re going to have to make the switch.
When you make a switch, things are going to change because it’s not going to be exactly the same care that you had from before. When you’re on Medicare, there are a host of things that aren’t going to get covered that you would probably think are going to get covered as part of your normal healthcare. Especially if you had a more robust plan, working for an employer that granted you that.
For example, if you needed something like hearing aids, or needed to visit an eye doctor and get an exam from there, those things aren’t going to necessarily be covered by Medicare. If you had some issue overseas and you needed something catastrophic over there, likely not to get covered unless we add a supplement for what you’re doing.
It’s one of those things where people need to go in with their eyes open. It’s one of the things that we do for clients is walk them through that transition, when they turn age 65, and they’re making their election to get on to Medicare Part A at the minimum. Even if they’re still working.
When they eventually retire and are thinking about what kind of care that they need, either helping them in‑house or making sure they are in the right hands to get a supplement in place so that they can enter retirement with a complete peace of mind around their healthcare. Their routine day‑to‑day healthcare that they [inaudible 23:14] are going to be covered and there aren’t going to be any surprises.
Another thing that happens when you’re in retirement and most people don’t have to do or can’t do while they’re working is, you get to shop for your prescription plan. You don’t necessarily shop for something other than something called Part D, but you get to shop on a formulary based on your specific medications that you’re taking and where you get those pill.
When you go onto the government site, you login, and you put in your prescriptions and dosage that you get, whether you’re getting them by mail order or you’re getting them from one of the multiple different places that you might pick up your prescription, you might change pharmacies based on the cost in there. It’ll get you the opportunity to shop for that.
That is a change for people too to know that they can go a little shopping on the cost of their plan to make sure that they’re paying less for their prescription plan overall. When those things come together and you’re entering this retirement phase, it is something that I find that most clients aren’t super prepared for.
They know something’s coming and they aren’t often prepared for the changes because they tend to be definitely different than what people were getting when they were working.
Mark: All right. I’m going to use your experience. Sitting down with thousands of individuals and families talking retirement, what do you think most people overlook when it comes to healthcare cost in retirement? Do you think that’s part of it that Medicare covers most of everything or is there any typical thing, do you think?
Victor: Probably breaks down into three areas if I’m drawing on experience and thinking about these meetings that I’ve had where we’re encountering questions around healthcare. One of them is one that we talked about already, that there is some form of coverage that is not in place unless you go and elect it, like a form of a Medicare supplement.
Navigating through, making sure that you’ve covered all of the circumstances. That’s the first one and that’s probably pretty common. The next area that is one of these things people don’t plan for or they overlook when it comes to their healthcare, is in the area of their catastrophic healthcare needs.
If they needed something on a long‑term basis because they get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or they get diagnosed with Parkinson’s or MS. What they’re going to need is persistent and regular care, and they don’t know how to fund that or they haven’t done things to fund it.
The bad thing that happens that people don’t recognize until it’s too late is that the longer that you wait to do that planning, the fewer options that you have. Because as you’re getting older and potentially getting sicker, the less attractive you are [laughs] for companies and for how you’re going to fund this like a long‑term care insurance policy or something similar.
Also, we do legal planning for people where we use legal tools to help them protect their assets. Those have a time horizon that are associated with them. We need five good years of health before the plan that we can put in place from the legal side will help you protect the assets and help you fund for your care. That also is something that’s time dependent.
The third one that I see happen from time to time in terms of overlooking their healthcare is the…I’m going to fudge the definition on this, but the cost of not discussing this with your family ahead of time.
With the ability to work as both a lawyer and a financial advisor for our retiree clients, we get to not only put the great retirement plan in place around their finances for their dollars, their money and what they’re doing, but also help them put a great plan in place for their family and the care that they’re going to receive.
What I think happens is people will sign a healthcare directive or financial power of attorney as one document that they know that they need to have in place, but they won’t have a conversation with their family. The cost that comes up is this issue where there is something that’s written on the document, but not communicated to the family, so that there’s family squabbling and you’re incapacitated.
Thankfully, you’re not around for that, but you didn’t understand or appreciate the impact that you’ve had on your family members and the fighting that they were having.
I know people don’t want to engage with their mortality. I know that it’s difficult to have a conversation about what would happen if I got struck by a car and I’m in a comatose state, or if I get diagnosed with an illness where I’ve lost my mind, and here’s the things that I would want to do.
That’s an uncomfortable place to be. We’d be foolish not to recognize that that’s a difficult place to be, but it’s an essential conversation to have. One of the things that I would encourage is, look for a major holiday, like a Thanksgiving or a Christmas or some gathering where family is going to be around and you’ve had a good time so far.
If you are the matriarch or patriarch of that family, and you have yet to have a conversation with the rest of your family about the kind of care that you would expect to get, or who you put in charge and what instructions you’ve given to them, you don’t want to miss that opportunity.
Because like many things in life, by the time it’s relevant, it’s too late, you can’t go back and have that discussion with them. I would absolutely encourage people to have conversations with people, and avoid the cost of all of these negative effects of not having communicated this stuff ahead of time.
What we can do to help you address some of these issues is that, we’ve created a website where you can download information that is relevant to this. It’s at 920elderlaw.com.
If you go to that website, what you’ll get is, you’re going to get a white paper that’s going to help you understand how to avoid letting your health destroy your family’s wealth when it comes to healthcare costs and long‑term care costs.
It’s a great resource to use, because if you’re not ready to have that conversation with people because you don’t know how to discuss it, you can use that download, that information on there as a guide to having those conversations.
If you go to 920elderlaw.com and put in your name and email, you’ll get that automatically delivered to you and it’ll set you on the path to being able to have that conversation.
Mark: There you go. 920elderlaw.com. Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth serve the Pennington, the Greater Mercer County area as well as Bucks County, so Victor’s got clients in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania. They’re here to help you.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can certainly pick up the white paper, that would be great just to do your own due diligence. You can go to the website, medinalawgroup.com, palantewealth.com, but you can always give them a call, too. No cost, no obligation, no pressure.
Why wouldn’t you when you think about it? It’s half an hour to an hour of your time to get some big questions answered. I think it’s super important, and it’s a great opportunity that we’re giving you. 856‑506‑8300. You have to take advantage of it.
Mark: The door is open, walk in. 856‑506‑8300. All right. One of the challenges for all of us, hopefully we never have this, but they say 70 percent of us will need it at some time that’s long‑term care. Medicare doesn’t cover it. We’re going there next, stay with us. This is Make It Last with Victor Medina.
Mark: Welcome back to Make It Last with Victor Medina. Victor’s got two companies that are here to help you. Medina Law Group, that’s estate planning. The certified elder law attorney is Victor. Palante Wealth holistic planning for your retirement.
They work together because the Make It Last plan that Victor creates along with you, if you want a retirement plan, you’ve got to have a lot of say [laughs] because it’s your retirement. Victor and the teams have done this before.
They understand some of the missteps that people make. Some of the mistakes that people make. Some of the expectations, “Woah, I didn’t expect that to happen.” That’s pretty common, that can happen. Just to open your eyes a little bit about some of the challenges of retirement, because we want you to enjoy your retirement.
The Make It Last plan, income planning, investment strategies, tax efficient strategies, estate planning. Super, super important taxes. You’ve got to understand all of this stuff, and you really don’t. I’m going to go play golf. Victor is going to tell me, “Mark, you can’t play golf this week, you’re running out of money. Let’s start it again next month.”
That can happen but I don’t want to worry about all the X and O stuffs, that’s where Victor and the teams come in. There are a lot of people that like doing.
Do you have that, Victor? Do you have a lot of people that enjoy the do it yourself stuff? Then maybe the spouse says, “What if something happens to you? I need to have somebody that knows what we’re doing here.” Do you have that?
Victor: Yeah, I do. I don’t know necessarily that always it’s the spouse that’s saying something, although it probably is an unspoken concern of theirs. We get the opportunity where we’re blessed to work with the financially savvy spouse that wants to do it themselves.
I’m sorry. They are concerned themselves about what happens to their spouse if something happens to them, they’re driving that conversation. It’s not where we have to go in and say, “Hey, don’t forget, I know that you like doing this but you ought to consider giving this up because if you die early, this other spouse is going to be not in a great position.”
We’re blessed that the clients who are working, they’re thinking about that on their own. They’re the ones often driving that decision. You might be at home saying, “I’ve been managing my stuff and probably very successfully for a period of time, but I’m going to start the relationship earlier than necessarily a need for that.”
It’s not that you’re doing anything wrong with the investment management, but you want to create a relationship between let’s say, a firm like ours and the entire family. You, your spouse, the kids might be inheriting this because if you’re gone and if you leave before you had an opportunity to do that, then they would be left in the lurch.
Our clients sometimes often drive that on their own as being something that they’re concerned about, is making sure that they’ve done the right thing for the people that they love and care about by establishing a relationship with a trusted advisor.
Again, that’s where our value of having both legal and financial under one umbrella makes it easy for a family to have one phone that they can pick up, no matter what comes up in life. Something happens on the legal side, something happens on the financial side, they’ve got one relationship they can turn to, and one that knows their entire family to help them through that.
As I said, we’re in an incredibly lucky position to be meeting families where the savvy spouse that may have been managing it on their own the entire time is leading the charge and saying, “I need to do this, I need to establish this relationship with you because I’m concerned about what happens if something happens to me.
I don’t want to leave this person feeling like they are uncovered in any way or scrambling if I check out sooner than I have an opportunity to control.”
Mark: I like that. That’s good. That’s great, because we’ve talked about it before. If you hate your family, do no planning, but if you love your planning, do some planning. [laughs] Estate planning, legacy planning, retirement planning, all of that, the better off you’re going to be. Again, that number is 856‑506‑8300.
One thing that people don’t like to talk about as well as estate planning and all that, because that’s my demise, and if I talk about it, then I’m going to die sooner rather than later. [laughs] Some people do think that.
The other challenge that we don’t want to talk about is long‑term care. Long‑term care is not covered by Medicare. Now, it covers certain aspects, hospice, for example. If you’re going to a nursing home for the final five years of your life or whatever, there’s certain challenges when it comes to long‑term care.
I guess, how do you broach that? I would imagine you bring it up probably. Maybe if the couple’s gone through that with their own family. “Holy cow, grandma was in this situation and we had to pay $8,000 a month for her care for three years.” They’re going to be more aware of the challenges of long‑term care, I would imagine.
Victor: Yes. It’s interesting because you think about the families that you see most often. One of the ones that we see most often that come on full on board and having us work as retirement planners both in the financial and legal sense end up being the children of the parents for whom we do crisis elder law planning, like their mom or their dad needed to go into a facility, and they started writing a check.
We helped them manage that crisis. We helped them get to a point where they had saved as much as possible even though their parent didn’t necessarily do planning ahead of time.
Then, the next very logical conversation that flows from that is how can I avoid this becoming a problem for my own kids? We will begin a plan that will help them cover all of those circumstances but proactively, preemptively, where what we’re doing is we’re setting up the conditions, since we have the time and the health in our favor, to avoid having a problem like the one that we cared for with their mom.
I guess, good or bad for what’s going on with grandkids, it’s often not like, “This is what happened to grandma. I know that happened to my grandma.” It’s most often, “This is what happened to my mom.” Where they’re actually dealing with the child that is principally responsible for caring for that parent. Then they take the next step, and they say, “Well, how can I avoid this becoming a problem for my own kids?” We’re able to do that.
In a couple of cases, while it is tragic that our client ended up getting sick, it was very fortunate that they did the planning. Because we get to have a conversation with their kids and say, “When we met your mom or dad, we were actually caring for grandma.” It was a problem, but now that this is happening to them. What often happens with like an Alzheimer’s situation, which is hereditary, you’re actually going to be OK. They’re going to be OK.
They’ve got greater options. You have more flexibility. That’s a really great conversation to get to have with a family in a set of really tragic circumstances that you’d otherwise want to avoid.
Mark: That’s really well said. I think it’s so important that we handle some of these things that we don’t want to talk about, but we really need to talk about. The number again to chat with the team of Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth is 856‑506‑8300. It might be one of the more important phone calls, I think, you’ll ever make, 856‑506‑8300. There’s no cost. How can you beat that?
Victor, one of the things I think a lot of people when they get ready for retirement, they’re nervous, right? Do I have enough? Can we really retire the way we want to retire? We need a retirement plan, the income, the investment, taxes, those types of things. Then, I think, we think of long‑term care or estate planning, those types of things. We tend to think we could put those off a little bit farther down the road.
Maybe when we hit 70 or 75 or for health starts to take a turn, and maybe we need to start thinking about that. When do we start thinking of estate and legacy planning? Do you put all that together when it’s retirement planning time?
Victor: It depends with somebody comes and does retirement planning time. As soon as some people are thinking about retirement in their early 50s, that’s probably a little too early to think about long‑term care planning. Although, there are some solutions that may be better utilized when you’re younger.
I would say that for the most part, we really start thinking about that kind of planning in their early 60s. There’s different options the older that you get. Meaning to say that there’s actually fewer options the longer you wait.
For people that are in their mid 70s, there are still plans that we could put together, they just look different than the ones that we put together for their early 60s. It’s never too early to have the conversation.
I will tell you that depending on someone’s experience with it, it’s like having a parent or a grandparent gone through a long‑term care crisis. They’re going to be more concerned about it. For example, if you’ve got a situation where you knew that your grandmother or your parent had already had Alzheimer’s, you’re going to come in.
You’re going to have a conversation with those, trying to avoid that circumstance, because it’s going to be present on your mind. It’s something that you live through. If you didn’t have that in your family, then it’s really our responsibility as we go through Make It Last plan for you, where we are looking at the income investments in taxes.
When we get to that last section about estate and legacy planning that we bring it up as a consideration. What we’re going to do is we’re going to put a pin in it if you’re in your early 50s, saying, “Listen, this is something you want to consider. Here are your options that are available now. If you don’t do it, then as we continue in our relationship, we’re going to remind you of that.”
It becomes a to‑do that you may take on a little bit later. Having lived the majority of my career as an estate and elder law attorney, that was the first part of what we did. Then, we added financial services. What ended up happening is that’s the thing I turned back to. That’s like a little battle‑scarred. They help so many families through that.
When you’re in that situation, it’s like you never forget about the impact that long‑term care crisis can land on someone’s head, and in a family’s head. I never fail to bring that up in conversation with our clients.
Mark: Let me give you the scenario, then. Three minutes left in our segment before we get to our final segment. We’re going to play a little trivia game. Give me two scenarios, and I’ll give you the two scenarios. You tell me how it differs.
First, is you’re dealing with a married couple, and then second, you’re dealing with a single. It could be a single man, could be widow or widower, could be divorced but single. You got one…
Victor: The married couple, the big focus on there is maintaining quality of life of the non‑sick spouse. While we’ve put in place something that will help the sick spouse manage their own care, what we’re thinking about when we do planning there’s how do we make sure that the terrible thing that visited your spouse doesn’t have a secondary effect of limiting your quality of life, limiting the money that you have available.
Somehow, just impoverishing you by having done nothing else wrong but being married to this poor sucker that something happened to. We think about the married couple as a planning for both of them with a focus on that healthy spouse, and making sure that they’re going to be OK.
The single individual has an important plan to do as well, because for them there are two elements that they can’t necessarily get when they’re in a situation when they’re married, the first is a built‑in support system to make sure that there’s somebody there to help them manage that care crisis.
They might have a child. Does that child live nearby? Who’s the backup for it? They don’t have that built‑in caregiver like they do when they’re married, so we want to think about putting in the kind of normal support.
The second thing that we’re doing from a financial planning perspective, or an asset protection planning perspective, is we’re building in flexibility in their options so that they just don’t pay out of pocket watching doors close along the way.
Because a single individual wants to make sure that they’re maintaining their dignity, that they’re getting care in their home, that they’re getting care in a facility, but they chart their own course of care, and it’s not dictated by what’s in their wallet at that time. That’s our focus for a single individual.
Mark: You think about it. You can have a major illness. We all know people that have gotten sick, certainly. A car accident, something that happens suddenly, and those kind of things.
If you don’t have a plan in place, you don’t have coverage set‑up. Boy, it can cause you to have a lot of angst. I think about moving forward. How in the world do we go forward after that happened? Boy, it could sink our ship financially, and causes so many difficult scenarios could be ahead.
The idea is about being proactive. Are you a fan of proactive planning or do you want reactive planning?
Victor: I definitely believe in proactive planning. We’re here for people that have to react to what’s going on, they didn’t get the opportunity to go proactive planning, but it’s always the better option. You always get better options, more flexibility, more control, and what you can do if you take the bull by the horns and you’re on top of it than if you wait for something to happen.
We can still help you there, but which is not going to be as great of an outcome as if we could control it from the beginning.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. I think we all understand that none of us are promised tomorrow. The idea is, let’s get a plan in place. Victor and the team at Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth will sit down with you for no cost to talk about all of this, and I would think it would ease little a bit of stress that you may have as well.
When you know, OK, I got a plan. Victor can’t guarantee you perfect health the rest of your life. That’s not how this works. It’s about having a plan just in case. What if, right? 856‑506‑8300, again, is the number. 856‑506‑8300.
No cost for this, and I still think it’s one of the more important phone calls you could make. 856‑506‑8300. Back with our final segment of Make It Last with Victor Medina right after this.
Mark: Glad you’re with us today for Make It Last with Victor Medina, Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth. They’ll help in conjunction with you create your retirement plan, the Make It Last plan. Income strategies, investment strategies, tax‑efficient strategies, estate planning, it’s all part of the Make It Last plan.
If you’d like to learn more, you can always give the team a call. 856‑506‑8300. There’s no cost for this team. They’re here to help. They don’t know if they can help you until they hear from you. 856‑506‑8300.
I’m Mark Elliot. Glad you’re with us today. There are some quotes that just stick in our mind. It could have come from a grandparent, a parent, a coach, a famous person who offered a bit of wisdom for you to hold on to.
Some words of wisdom stand the test of time. We’re going to go over some timeless advice. These are quotable quotes that can relate to retirement.
I’m going to give Victor a quote, and then he’s going to tell me the significance or what it means for our retirement. Are you ready to tackle some of these?
Victor: I always love when you surprise me with some quiz that we have to go through it.
Mark: It’s always good.
Victor: I always get performance anxiety. Let’s go for it. Let’s do it.
Mark: [laughs] All right, there you go. First one is with Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, Victor. I’m going to ease you into this. Warren Buffett, “Rule number one, never lose money. Rule number two, never forget rule number one.” I suppose that’s a little easier said than done, right?
Victor: It is. There are a couple of behavioral things that affect that. There are investment strategy concepts that affect it. What he’s saying is, listen, you’re in the best position when you…This is the way that I’ve translated is, when you take the money that you have earned, and you keep it safe.
By the way, there’s a great chart out there that shows the amount of cash that he has on hand at any point in time. You can see him holding cash positions before he invests in two different things. That will be great by the way if you can find that chart.
What it means for our retirees is that you spent a lifetime accumulating assets for your retirement, and one of the best things you can do is start to take some of the powder off the keg. You don’t want it to ignite and explode.
What we will do for clients in the same situation is that, entering retirement, we’re going to take a portion of assets, and we are going to put them in a protected status. There’s going to be the assets that we’re going to need for that short period of time let’s say, one to seven years or so.
We’re going to secure them in investment strategies that can’t lose any money. Then as they live through retirement, the other stuff that actually might be in the market and growing, we’re going to be reviewing that on a regular basis.
Again, taking some of the powder off the keg, some of the winnings off of there so that if there’s a downturn in the market, we didn’t lose what we gained.
That idea about never losing money, I don’t think that in terms of the account balances, you can never be in a situation where you are never down but you can certainly employ a strategy that as you were climbing and moving up, you are taking that stuff away from being at risk of being lost in the future. That’s how we would apply that in a retirement situation.
Mark: That makes a lot of sense. You think about, we’re not in our grandparent’s world of pension retirement, there are still pensions out there, obviously. Most of us are a 401(k), IRA retirement. That means we’re sitting on that ticking tax time bomb, it’s all tax deferred money.
The government was pretty wise, they didn’t want our money on our seed, they wanted it on the harvest. Now it’s about how do we make that money last? How do we have some growth side? We got to still grow because of inflation, and things will cost more down the line, but we need some safety and protection.
You have questions about any of that and how your portfolio is set up? Are you taking too much risk? Or the opposite side of that. You’re not taking any risks, you win all the cash? Now you’re losing money safely because of inflation, seven, eight percent, you’re not making anything, so you’re losing money safely.
There’s a happy medium somewhere in there for you, 856‑506‑8300. The next timeless advice comes from American playwright, Tennessee Williams. This one is, “You can be young, Victor, without money, but you cannot be old without it.”
Victor: I think that that phrase is not to say that you can’t be old if you’re poor, probably old poor people, but probably means that in terms of the applicability to retirement, that the best position you’re going to be in is, having money when you’re older as opposed to not.
I would say that one of the best things that we do is put together an income plan, where we make sure that people have enough money to live the whole full life expectancy. Sometimes it’s done with investment products that have got long‑term guarantees. They’ve got to be appropriate for people, they’ve got to be things that are right for them.
Sometimes it’s with different strategies that are time segmented and how we apply that. It’s true, I absolutely agree with the idea that when you have a retirement plan in place, you should be putting that retirement plan together as though you are going to live a very, very long time because you’re going to need money that whole time that you’re there.
There’s never going to be a point in time where your stuff is going to be free, you’re going to need to continue the money as you get older. The longer you live, the more money you’re going to need not just in terms of a starting balance, but as things get more expensive.
We’ve been hearing about inflation for a long time now and we know that the effect of that is that things are more expensive. Your milk is more expensive, the gas is more expensive. For that reason, you’re going to need to plan for needing more in the future than you need today as a monthly income number.
As you get older, one of the things that you need to do is think about changing your investment strategy. The strategy that brought you here, may not be the strategy that you need to get you the rest of the way, because your goals in retirement is to make sure that you never run out of money. Do I save it? That you make it last, Mark, that you make it last.
That’s what our entire plan is about. Anytime that somebody reaches out to us and starts a process, we’re looking at the retirement, we’re putting together a Make It Last plan, that helps them focus primarily first. First thing we look at is their income, and making sure that we have enough income.
We talk about investments, taxes, and estate planning as well, those are the four pillars, but to this quote about making sure that you are not old without money, we’re focusing on making sure that our retirement plan is one that has got a great longevity protection. No matter how old you get, you’ve got enough money to last the rest of your days.
Mark: You think about your money for retirement. A lot of us would think about the go‑go phase of retirement. The trips you wanted to take, where we’re going to go, what we’re going to do, all those kinds of things, we’re excited about that part of retirement.
We need money for that but we don’t think about the end of time when we go from the go‑go phase to the slower go phase, we can still go but we don’t want to as much anymore. Then you get to the no‑go phase where you’re not physically able. That’s where health care and long‑term care and all those things start coming in.
We know those prices are not going down anytime soon. All of this ties together. 856‑506‑8300 if you’d like to talk with Victor and the team at Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth to come up with your Make It Last plan, 856‑506‑8300.
Here’s another one. This one comes from personal finance author, Nathan W. Morris. He wrote this, “Every time you borrow money, you are robbing your future self.” We do need to borrow money at times, I suppose.
Certainly, back in the day, my grandparents, they were pretty much a cash, they paid cash for everything. Then we got into college. When I got into college, “Hey, here’s this credit card. This is great for you.” [laughs]
Little did you know that you’re going down the wrong path. That’s an interesting one because people do…I don’t know many people that just pay cash for a house, especially right out of the gate. How do you look at that one?
Victor: It’s an interesting one, isn’t it? Generally speaking, the great advice to not carry debt. I don’t know that it’s practical for everybody that’s involved right here. I know that there are plenty of financial gurus that are out there that’ll tell you never have debt and pay cash for everything.
I don’t know that that’s particularly practical, but I do want people to be wise about the debt that they carry. I can’t imagine buying a house these days without one. I don’t know that there’s anybody who can buy a new car that’s at any younger age. Even these used cars, with the used cars prices these days are going to be pretty big ticket items.
We want to be smart about that where I think the quote has got some value specific around retirement planning is, anytime that you’re in a position where you’re carrying debt, you’re allocating a portion of your money to go to pay someone else rather than pay for yourself.
The more you can do to keep more money in your pocket and less of it enriching somebody else paying off this debt, the better off that you’re going to be. If you think about it from the retirement perspective, if you carry debt into retirement, you’re going to carry an obligation to manufacture income to service this debt, which is going to have a bigger demand on the nest egg that you have saved.
You would do better in retirement not having as big of a burden in terms of paying this stuff off at. It may require more short‑term sacrifice to get to a point in time to have a better long‑term benefit.
We see this all the time, by the way. It’s not a cookie‑cutter set of recommendations. People will ask us “Should I pay off my home going into retirement? Should I pay off my home equity line of credit, the thing that I might have opened to either pay for college or do some repairs on the home?”
What we found is that that’s a very case‑specific situation. When we look at what the benefit would be to taking a lump sum out of their retirements to pay that off versus carrying the monthly amount, in which is more sustainable. It is done on a case‑by‑case basis.
Generally speaking, you should carry as little debt as you possibly can. I don’t know about robbing your future self, but if you think in retirement, you place a higher burden on the nest egg that you’ve created, the more that you have an obligation to pay somebody else and not reserved that money for something that you can use.
Mark: Absolutely. We’d all love to be debt‑free. Is it realistic? We certainly start thinking the closer we get to retirement trying to lessen some of that debt. Certainly, credit card debt would be number one at the list. You don’t want to pay 20 percent on a credit card.
There’s certainly things that Victor and the teams can certainly help you with when it comes to this. We’ve got just two minutes left so I want to finish with this one because I like this one. This one’s from Will Rogers. “Too many people spend money they earned to buy things they don’t want. They’re trying to impress people that they don’t even like.”
Victor: I love that quote, by the way. It’s a great one. One of my favorite things to talk about ‑‑ this is where I get to put on my coaching hat to coach other lawyers and I feel like, at times, I’m coaching my retirement clients ‑‑ you have to run your own race. There’s too much involved where people are comparing themselves against their peers or their neighbors.
For me, it devolves into the discussion about playing a game of achievement versus a game of greatness. Usually, when we play a game of achievement, we are playing with somebody else’s scoreboard.
We’re looking at, it’d be like, “Oh, you know what success is? Success is having this car. Success is having that vacation. Success is having that secondary home.” It’s not really what you need. You’re just using their measuring stick to figure out whether or not you’re being successful.
I really encourage everyone that I talk to, whether it’s a lawyer that I’m helping build their practice or it’s a client of mine that I’m helping with a retirement plan, you’ve got to run your own race. You have to figure out what is important for you. What is your great life going to look like? How are you going to be measured at the end?
It could be something much grander than your neighbors. It could be something that’s a little bit more modest. Whatever it is, it should be yours, and you should own it alone. This is one of the things that we can help you marry these two things together. If you can design what a great life is going to be for you, we can help design a retirement plan that matches that and helps you get there.
Your plan is going to look very different from the person that’s right next to you. It’s going to look very different from your neighbor’s, your sibling’s, what your parents had, or what your kids are going to need. It’s going to be yours and yours alone. You should have a plan that’s been designed specifically for you.
The way that you do that is you sit down, talk about your goals, and get a plan together that focuses on all of the things that are going to support that.
Victor: Your income, investments, your taxes, your estate planning, all of these things jumbled together that help serve the goal that you’re trying to get to. You’ve got to take the first step to be able to do that. We can help you, but you’ve got to reach out to us. You do that by giving us a call. You call 856‑506‑8300.
Raise your hand and say, “I want a plan that helps me lead a great retirement life where I’m not comparing myself against my peers, but I’m just living the life that’s great for me.” You pick up a phone, 856‑506‑8300, start the process. We would love to meet you and help you get a fantastic plan in place to help you lead your great life.
Female Announcer: 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 9‑2‑0, taxes.com.
Male Announcer: 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 the potential loss of principal. Any references to protection, safety, or lifetime income generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investments. Insurance guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims‑paying abilities of the issuing carrier.
This radio show is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual situation.
Medina Law Group & Palante Wealth Advisors are not permitted to offer and no statement made during this 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 herein 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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