The Relaxing Retirement Coach Blog



Monday, August 6th, 2018

Playing The Odds at Every Turn (with Updated Statistics)

Several years ago, I shared a “spirited” conversation we had with friends over dinner about health which led to some research on my part, and a revelation about the remarkable similarities to “financial health.”

I shared this story with a new member recently and it prompted me to update my research and reveal some new distinctions with you.

This will take a few moments, but I promise …

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Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Does This Sound Like Anyone You Know?

Imagine for a moment that you’re having a conversation over dinner last Friday night with your brother and his wife.  Answering the common question, “what’s new”, he dives right in and shares what he’s been up to.

In addition to the nice home he owns and lives in with his family, he also owns a two-family home in town which he has been collecting rent on …

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Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Don’t Let Your Kids Lose 40+% of Your IRA

A year rarely passes without me hearing another horror story in financial circles about families losing half of their parents’ IRA to taxes due to a careless mistake that was completely avoidable.

In the most recent situation we heard about, over $922,000 went to pay federal and Massachusetts state taxes.

This, and the countless questions I receive from members on this topic, always reminds me to reinforce …

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Friday, May 4th, 2018

The Stock Market is Having its Worst Second Quarter Since the Great Depression

Did that headline get your attention?

I’m sure it did. I’m sure it also rattled a lot of un-suspecting Bloomberg, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and Market Watch viewers as well.

This is the headline that first ran on Bloomberg, with CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and Market Watch following suit right after.

Please pay very careful attention to the words they chose to use in the original Bloomberg story, “U.S. stocks …

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Monday, April 2nd, 2018

How to “Stomach” Market Volatility

During one of those days in February when market prices fell 3 to 4%, or over “1,000 points” as our friends in the financial media choose to refer to in order to embellish the story and capture your attention, one of our Relaxing Retirement members asked me a great question, “how can you be so confident even when markets are crashing?”  (those were her exact …

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Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

BEWARE: “Retire Reassured”

Did you see this headline last week?

On Tuesday, February 27th, in big bold RED letters above The Wall Street Journal newspaper name across the top of the newspaper, was the headline, “RETIRE REASSURED, The fear of outliving your money is real, but has a solution been right in front of us all along? See Page A5.”

In tiny letters in the top left-hand corner was the …

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Monday, February 19th, 2018

Market Corrections and Time

Most Americans walk proudly and carefree when market prices are climbing.

Risk becomes irrelevant. Strategic asset allocation looks boring, and disciplined diversification gets called into question because some asset classes outpace others. Many begin to lament not having all of their money in the winning asset class over the last year.

The fact that markets correct all the time and have experienced many ugly stretches during their …

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Friday, January 5th, 2018

We Begin 2018 With That Word Again

While shooting baskets at the gym with my son Michael down in Chatham last weekend, I observed him do something I’ve seen him do dozens of times over the years. Something we’re all guilty of and can learn from as I will expand on in a moment.

As I rebounded and fed him the ball after warming up for a bit, he went on a roll …

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Friday, December 8th, 2017

The Morningstar Rating Mirage

A couple weeks ago, new Relaxing Retirement members asked a very good question which prompted an important answer that I’d like to share with you. This is a very important issue to understand on many levels.

As we were reviewing their new Retirement Bucket Strategy™, they casually asked, “we assume that we’ll use 5-star rated funds to fill out our allocation” (almost assuming an affirmative answer.)

What …

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Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Should You Buy or Rent a Second Home?

Two Relaxing Retirement members have asked the same question in the same week: we’re thinking about buying a vacation home instead of renting again this winter? What do you think?

I have witnessed this progression with members countless times over the years: rent for a week in Florida or Arizona. Then, two weeks the next year. Then, a month. Then, two months, etc….until they really develop …

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Friday, October 20th, 2017

Happy 30 Year Anniversary

Do you know what yesterday was?

If you don’t: a) that’s a good sign, and b) there is a lesson for you going forward!

Yesterday, October 19, 2017 marked the 30th anniversary of the largest single day decline in stock prices.

On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.6%, and the S&P 500 fell 20.5% in one day.

Yes, you read that correctly. 22.6% in one …

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Friday, September 8th, 2017

What Can We Conclude From This?

An article in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal was titled, “Investors Have Stopped Pulling Money From Stock Market…Longest Streak of Equity Withdrawals in 13 Years Has Come to an End.”

This sounds like a pretty big deal, doesn’t it?

The article goes on to say that Americans withdrew $30 billion from equity mutual and exchange traded funds over a 10-week span this summer, the longest streak …

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Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

How Often Do You Experience Investing Pain?

Is it possible that two different individuals can have the exact same investment allocation over a 43-year period of time, yet one experiences almost three times more investment “pain” than the other?

At first glance, you might think this is impossible. If two individuals have the exact same investment allocation and they don’t buy or sell anything for forty three years, shouldn’t they both experience the …

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Friday, July 21st, 2017

Put It in a Drawer

A few weeks back, I shared the discussion I had with a new Relaxing Retirement member who asked, “What is our strategy if we have another big market correction?”

You may recall that my first recommendation was to replace the word “if” with “when.”

If history is any indicator of the future, it’s not a matter of “if”; it’s a matter of “when”. In addition to the …

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Friday, June 16th, 2017

The Next Big Market Correction

With the current bull market in its 8th year since the March, 2009 bottom, a week doesn’t go by without someone in the financial media trying to make a name for themselves by predicting the next big stock market correction.

Actually, if you tune into CNBC, you can find one of these predictions nearly every day!

Given all of this talk, it didn’t surprise me when I …

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Friday, May 12th, 2017

Taking Probate Seriously

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate job of settling an estate for a family member or friend who didn’t have a proper plan in place, then you know just how awful the probate process can be.

Unnecessary delays… never ending trips back and forth to the attorney’s office and the courts…. and, of course, fees.

Whenever this subject comes up with a new Relaxing Retirement member, it …

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Friday, April 14th, 2017

Pay Off Your Existing Mortgage?

One of the questions I receive all the time, predominantly from new Relaxing Retirement members, is “should we pay off our existing mortgage”?

That’s a really good question which has no clear cut answer.

My answer always involves asking a lot of questions, so I thought I’d share those with you today in the hope of helping you arrive at a good answer given your unique set …

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Thursday, December 15th, 2016

How to Support Your Cash Flow Needs

We’re now in the second week of December, so it’s a perfect time to tie together a few strategies to accomplish multiple goals you have.

One of the questions I receive quite often is, “how do you determine where we should draw funds from when we need money from our Retirement Bucket™”.

It’s a very important question.

All other variables held constant for a moment, I’m always looking …

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Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

“Postelection Blues” and Forecasting

The lead article in the Investing section of Monday’s Wall Street Journal was titled, “Postelection Blues: Stocks Rise Before Elections, Then Often Slow.”

The article then goes on to cite:

“The Dow Jones Industrial Average does show definite patterns over the last 120 years that are now worth heeding. The main one is that the stock market tends to be more buoyant preceding presidential elections, but usually …

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Monday, October 10th, 2016

Clinton vs. Trump

They sure have lit a fire! Over the last two months, a day doesn’t pass without one of our members asking me what I think will happen to “the economy” or “the market” if Donald Trump wins, or if Hillary Clinton wins the election!

Many of the questions have a bit of tongue and cheek mixed in, but some of them stem from genuine, deep seeded …

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Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Beware: Political Season Pitfalls!

Unless you have been living in a cave over the last six months, you are very aware that we’re right in the middle of “political season”. And, quite possibly the most remarkable I’ve witnessed in my lifetime.

In keeping with past presidential elections, I’ve received well over a dozen inquiries about my thoughts on the election, and how I see markets reacting if Donald Trump gets …

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Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

We Can’t Leave It Up To How We Feel

You’ve built your foundation and you’re now there!

You’ve determined just how dependent you are on your Retirement Bucket™, and you’ve forecasted out how dependent you are each year going forward (at least the next five years).

You’ve determined the investment rate of return you must earn in order to have your Retirement Bucket™ remain intact for the rest of your life, despite your withdrawals and inflation.

You’ve …

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Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

The focus of many individuals I meet with for the first time is in several different directions. They engage in what is known as “bright shiny object syndrome”.

Bright shiny object syndrome refers to the phenomenon of allowing focus to wander away from the necessary, yet potentially less exciting task at hand to anything that glitters enough to capture and divert attention.

The simplest example of this …

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

The Magic Bank Account

** The author is not known. This was found in the billfold of Coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, Alabama, after he died in 1982.

Imagine that you had won the following PRIZE in a contest:

Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use.

However, this prize has rules:

Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you….

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

$29.5 Billion in One Week!

Earl Nightingale, famous personal development author and speaker from the 1950s whom I studied intensely right after I graduated from Holy Cross, made a statement that had enormous impact on me. To paraphrase, he said:

“Whenever you’re looking to achieve anything in life, take a look around you at the individuals who are getting the results you want. Model their behavior and you’ll get …

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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Blindsided by the Market Correction?

It took almost 4 full years to the day, but we’ve finally experienced a 10% correction in market prices.

And, the majority of that occurred in three trading days!

Were you blindsided by it all as the financial media is portraying?

I fully understand and empathize with how unsettling any market correction can be for you to experience. Especially when you’re at the stage in your life when …

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Thursday, August 6th, 2015

What to Do Without Work in Your Life

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to watch dozens and dozens of Relaxing Retirement members make the transition from the set schedule of work life to the open, blank slate day once their work ends and they retire.

I’ve had this intimate discussion with many of you. It’s a very real problem.

When free time is suddenly in abundance after keeping to a very strict schedule, …

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Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Your Long Term Care Dilemma

In the first five months of 2015, we’ve already had (3) Relaxing Retirement members who have required long term care services, i.e. assisted living or nursing home, and another who will enter an alzheimer’s specialty facility later this year.

I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly sad it is to watch individuals, whom I’ve known and had an intimate relationship with for years, reach this …

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Monday, June 1st, 2015

Reasons to Have a Mortgage in Retirement

In our last discussion, we evaluated the often asked question: “should we pay off our existing mortgage”?

As I suspected, I received a lot of comments about that issue. Most of them centered around the long held belief that carrying ANY mortgage into retirement is bad!

Or, even worse, that you can’t retire if you still have a mortgage.

I have a few general thoughts on those …

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Friday, April 24th, 2015

Should You Pay Off Your Existing Mortgage

One of the questions I receive all the time, predominantly from new Relaxing Retirement members, is “should we pay off our existing mortgage”?

That’s a really good question which has no cut and dried answer to it.

My answer always involves asking a lot of questions, so I thought I’d share those with you today in the hope of helping you arrive at a good answer given …

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Friday, March 27th, 2015

Have You Overlooked This?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve outlined the first few steps in The Relaxing Retirement Formula™ and you’ve gotten crystal clear on just how dependent you are on your Retirement Bucket™ today.

If you’ve come this far, and you’ve diligently discovered this critical number for yourself, you’re in the teeny tiny minority because the overwhelming majority of American retirees are too lazy and unfocused to perform …

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Put ‘Rules of Thumb’ to Bed!

As we begin the new year together, it’s a the perfect time to integrate and install each step in The Relaxing Retirement Formula™ so you can continue to maintain the financial confidence you need to live exactly the way you want without worrying about money.

Before we do that, however, I have to share a conversation I recently had with a very nice couple who was …

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Monday, October 13th, 2014

Celebrating 27 Years of Being an Owner
(and Not a Trader)

27 years.

It’s not quite 30 years, but it’s a significant amount of time.

If you’re an actuary studying life expectancy, you would know that the average joint life expectancy today for a non-smoking 62 year old couple is age 92 (30 years).

That’s right. If you’re 62 years old and you don’t smoke, actuarial statistics indicate that you or your husband/wife will live …

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Monday, October 6th, 2014

Progress

In our world of minute by minute news flashes across our TVs, computers, radios, and smart devices, it’s easy to get distracted and lose track of the incredible level of progress going on.

The United States, and the entire world, have never been, and never will be, perfect.  There are always challenges and misfortunes to focus on which have a tendency to reduce our …

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Monday, September 29th, 2014

Are We Experiencing a Market Bubble?

It’s pretty difficult these days to flip through financial media talk shows or websites without hearing and seeing the phrase “stock market bubble”, i.e. the idea that market prices are wildly overvalued for a variety of reasons.

And, as all “bubbles” do, they will burst and stock prices will come crashing down without any warning.

Given the trajectory of stock market prices since March …

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Friday, September 5th, 2014

Social Security Before Age 66: Part II

Let’s continue our discussion from last week about our new Relaxing Retirement members, Jim and Linda (names changed to protect their identity).

I’d like to expand on the second major factor they need to consider when deciding if they should begin collecting social security now while they’re age 63 vs. waiting until they’re 66 and have reached social security’s definition of “Full Retirement Age” …

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014

A $367,000 Mistake

I was recently referred to a gentleman who was in a lot of pain.

His situation is so important that I’ve decided to share it with you because it will reinforce a very important strategy and potentially help you and your family avoid a catastrophic mistake.

Although they were both in their late 80s, he lost his father and then his mother in less than 13 months.

That’s …

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Monday, July 7th, 2014

Do You Still Need To Insure THIS Risk?

One of the responsibilities that we tackle for all of our members in The Relaxing Retirement Coaching Program™ is managing risk.

You can’t avoid all risks completely.  Nor can you insure yourself against any potential loss because you’ll go broke and become “insurance poor”.

The key to the game is objectively evaluating and then “managing” risk.

When you were younger and raising a family, the financial risk your …

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Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Avoiding “Surprises” and “Deal Killers” When Selling Your Home

39 years ago, you purchased the home you raised your family in.

It’s been a great home.  You know every inch of it, and you’ve taken miraculous care of it over the years.

The memories of your three children being born and taking their very first steps here will be etched in your mind forever.

But, now they’re all grown up and have families of their own.

You’ve been …

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Monday, May 5th, 2014

The Stock Market is Rigged by High Frequency Traders

This was the headline streaming across all financial media recently after 60 Minutes devoted an entire show to this claim.

In case you missed it, what started it all was a book written by Michael Lewis titled Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt which made several claims:

Human decision making in markets has been completely replaced by high speed computers,
The ‘complexity’ of the systems is so great …

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Monday, March 31st, 2014

#1: What NOT to Invest

If you pick up a copy of the January issue of Money magazine, or Kiplinger’s, or even Fortune, you’ll find all the 2013 “winners” in the mutual fund game.

Every January, each of these magazines ranks the highest returning funds in various asset categories over the previous 12 months.

Celebrations begin at the companies on the top of the list because they know what’s next: a huge …

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Monday, February 17th, 2014

Why We Invest

Over the last few weeks, we’ve outlined the first few steps in The Relaxing Retirement Formula™ and you’ve gotten crystal clear on just how dependent you are on your Retirement Bucket™ today.

If you’ve come this far, and you’ve diligently discovered this critical number for yourself, I sincerely applaud you.

You’re in the minority already!

However, there’s a key missing factor to your number.  And, that is what …

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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The Challenge of Retirement

Good Morning Relaxing Retirement Member,

There’s a direct link between your level of confidence on a day to day basis and the quality of your life.

When you’re in a state of fear and unrest, how easy is it to relax and enjoy yourself?

Not very easy at all.

Specific to money, which is the means with which we all support our desired lifestyle, developing and maintaining supreme financial …

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Monday, December 16th, 2013

“Profit Taking” vs. Performance Chasing

If you listen to, watch, and pay close attention to financial news right now, you hear two different sentiments out there, both of which are deadly destructive to your relaxing retirement.

Given the stock market’s growth this year, the overwhelming majority of voices are on one of two distinct sides of the fence.  The first are those who see that market prices are now at all …

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Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

‘Tis the Season: Should You Buy or Rent?

‘Tis the season!

I’ve recently had in depth discussions with two different Relaxing Retirement members who are weighing buying a much desired second home vs. renting one.

This happens every year around this time so I thought I’d provide you with the same checklist I shared with them to help them evaluate and arrive at a rational conclusion based on their individual desires.

This is the same evaluation …

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Thursday, October 17th, 2013

26 Years Later: The Lesson is Even Greater

A great example of everything we’ve talked about this month took place 26 years ago on October 19, 1987.

Do you remember what it was?

It was Black Monday: The value of the 500 companies that make up the S&P 500 Index dropped 25%.

Yes, you read that correctly:  25% in one day!

Not a very fun day!

Imagine if that took place today where minute by minute …

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Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Making a Sizable Gift Without Paying Taxes

After our recent discussion about using a revocable living trust to help your family avoid the sizable cost and delays of probate, questions have come up about the tax implications of making a gift during your lifetime.

A lot of this has changed in the last few years, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to clarify some things surrounding the issue of ‘gifting’.

What’s …

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Monday, August 26th, 2013

Capital Gains Taxes When Selling Your Home

Times change.

When you were younger and you had a family, having a lot of space in your home made sense.

Multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a finished basement, a big yard, etc.

However, now that the kids are out on their own and you’ve moved into the “retirement” phase of your life, your big house, and all the physical responsibility that comes along with it, is not as …

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Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Know What You’re Buying!!

I recently received a very difficult phone call from a couple who was referred to us by one of our Relaxing Retirement members.

Difficult because of the predicament they’re in right now after retiring a year ago.

The reason they called was they keep getting investment statements showing they’ve lost money even though they’re supposedly earning a guaranteed interest rate.

Perplexed by their description over the phone, I …

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Monday, June 17th, 2013

Far and Away

Sitting on the couch with my daughter Caroline the other day, we stumbled
across the movie Far and Away starring a very young Tom Cruise and Nicole
Kidman.

Without getting into too much of the plot, it depicts mid 1800s Irish immigrants coming to America and their experiences of landing and working in Boston, and culminating with them claiming “land” in Oklahoma!

As we observed how primitive life was, …

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Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

What Is Your Plan If…

It’s a bright “blue skied” morning.  You’re driving home from the grocery store with a car full of food for the dinner you’re preparing for your friends tonight.

As you enter your neighborhood, your cell phone rings and you reach down to pick it up.  It’s one of your friends who will be at your home tonight.

The radio is a little loud and you can’t quite …

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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

How to OBJECTIVELY Rebalance

You’re now there!

You’ve determined just how dependent you are on your Retirement Bucket™. And, you’ve forecasted out how dependent you are each year going forward (at least the next ten years).

You’ve determined the investment rate of return you must earn in order to have your Retirement Bucket™ remain intact for the rest of your life, despite your withdrawals and inflation.

You’ve begun to tackle the 3rd …

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Friday, March 8th, 2013

What a Difference Four Years Makes!

Does March 9. 2009 have any significance for you?

Does it even ring a bell?  If it doesn’t, that will be very meaningful sign for you in a moment.

March 9, 2009 marks the day that the value of the broad stock market index, the S&P 500, hit its bottom during the recent housing crisis led market “crash”.

To be specific, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in …

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Monday, February 11th, 2013

How Much and When?

If you pick up a copy of the January issue of Money magazine, or Kiplinger’s, or even Fortune, you’ll see all the winners in the mutual fund game in 2012.

Every January, each of these magazines ranks the highest returning funds in various asset categories over the prior year.

Celebrations begin at the companies on the top of the list because they know what’s next.

What’s next is …

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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Living and Functioning with Uncertainty

Last week, we left off with a very important question (actually three) that I’d like to dig a little deeper into today.

To refresh our memories, let’s quickly review the Lesson of 2012 Questions:

At various points in time during 2012, it was widely reported that any one or all of the following were at crisis levels that could lead to a market crash and threaten your …

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Friday, December 28th, 2012

Liberate Your Travel Plans If You Fear Being Away From Your Doctor

If you’ve been a Relaxing Retirement member for a while, you’ve probably noticed that many of our members do a significant amount of traveling.

Everywhere from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia…. to Alaskan or Caribbean cruises…. to long “escape from winter in New England time” in Florida, California, South Carolina, and Arizona.

You’ve reached the point in your life where you’ve earned the right to “own” your …

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

2012 Closeout Checklist

We’re now in the home stretch for 2012. Less than 30 days to go! When December 1st arrives each year, the number of questions I receive triples as the pressure brought on by the end of the year deadline mounts. In the overwhelming majority of situations with our Relaxing Retirement members, if we’ve all been properly strategizing and implementing throughout the year, these year-end checklists …

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The Double Edged Sword: Euphoria and Panic

This month, we’ve broken down the horrifying results revealed by the Dalbar Report and we’ve begun to delve into the reasons why they exist so you can potentially avoid them.

Today, I’d like to reveal a major contributor to these awful results, the ‘the double edged sword”, so we can begin to get to the root of the problem and help you confidently spend what you’ve …

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Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

What We Can Learn From the 2012 Dalbar Report

As you’ve heard me report before, there’s a financial research firm located here in Boston by the name of DALBAR. And, every year, DALBAR performs a quantitative analysis of investor behavior and results in contrast to the performance of markets.

Their findings are extremely important, and there’s a lot we can learn from them, so I wanted to share them with you today.

Unfortunately, the results revealed …

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

The World Didn’t End: 25 Years Later

This month, we “celebrate” the 25th anniversary of the largest single day decline in stock prices. Yes…celebrate! But why?

On October 19, 1987, market prices fell almost 25%. Yes, you read that correctly. 25%!

Imagine, at the end of one random day, a quarter of your equity holdings are gone.

How vividly can you recall that day? Do you remember the network news channels reporting it and how …

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Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Solving Your Children’s IRA Tax HAZARD

Previously, we talked about the IRA Tax HAZARD awaiting your family when they inherit your IRA.

Now, I’d like to share with you exactly how to solve it!

To revisit our story for a moment, we were talking about Charlie and Barbara who have been married for 40 years. They have 3 children who are all out of college and in the workforce.

After Charlie retired, he rolled …

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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

The IRA Hazard Awaiting Your Children

If there’s a thought that drives a lifelong saver crazy, it’s the specter of his or her lifelong savings ending up in the hands of the government!

There’s a reason you’ve foregone the purchase of all the unnecessary toys, that the majority have fallen prey to, in favor of disciplined savings all these years.

You wanted to reach a stage in your life when you were completely …

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Monday, September 17th, 2012

Should You Buy or Lease Your Next New Car?

I’d be willing to bet that a week doesn’t go by without me receiving the big question surrounding buying a new car.

Recently, I’ve received even more than usual so I thought I’d walk you through my thought process on this all important question because I think it’s really important.

To begin with, I’m going to leave the debate of buying new vs. pre-owned for a future …

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Friday, September 7th, 2012

Taxing Your Social Security Benefits

Thousands and thousands of Americans got to experience what it feels like to be on the ‘other side of the fence’ for the first time over the last twelve months.

The other side of the fence I’m referring to is collecting social security income instead of paying into it!

It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or what your expectation levels have been. Getting that first …

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Friday, August 24th, 2012

Removing The Confusion Surrounding SPOUSAL Social Security Benefits

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been answering all the questions new Relaxing Retirement members (Ron and Rita) posed to me.

In this blog entry, I’d like to share the answer I gave to Rita surrounding when she should begin collecting her benefits.

I wanted to isolate this question for you because there’s lot of confusion about “spousal” benefits.

To begin with, Rita did work over her lifetime, …

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Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Are You Certain That Your Social Security Benefit Amounts Are Correct?

I recently began working with new Relaxing Retirement members who had a host of questions about social security that they never thought about until now.

They just worked and continued to pay their payroll taxes.

Now, however, it’s on the top of their mind for a good reason.

Ron and Rita, as I will refer to them to protect their identity, are both 63 and contemplating retiring in …

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Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Some Great “Independence Day” Habits for Your Children and Grandchildren

Parties and parades were on the schedule for millions of Americans earlier this month.

July 4th recently passed and talk of “Independence” is in the air!

The type of independence I’d like to share with you today, however, has a little bit of a different slant than what you’ll hear bandied about on television.

As a parent, one of my goals is to have Caroline and Michael grow …

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Friday, June 22nd, 2012

How You Can Help Your Grandchildren

It’s always fascinating to me how certain topics dominate the questions I receive during certain times of the year.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve received a rash of questions from so many of you surrounding one topic: College Tuition!

“What’s the best way to help my grandkids with future college costs?”

In this case, I believe it’s due to the fact that we’re now in “graduation” season.

This …

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Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Part II: Why Placement Matters

Recently, we talked about how important it is to make your investment planning decisions simultaneously with your tax planning decisions during this critical phase in your life.

Otherwise, it’s highly likely that you’re going to part ways with a lot more of your hard earned money in taxes over the course of your lifetime than you are legally required to pay.

In blog entry, let’s talk about …

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Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Is This News or Is It Normal?

Extra…Extra…read all about it!  The stock market’s in turmoil (again).

After its 12% sprint until it peaked on April 2nd, the S&P 500 has retreated 5% or so as I write this.

And, you know what’s coming next.  We’ve seen it before.  Things were just too good.  The bubble’s now going to burst and we’re in for a major market freefall!

Okay, hold the presses for a minute.

What …

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Friday, May 4th, 2012

The “Marathon” Mindset

Over the last four months, I’ve had a front row seat watching my wife Colleen train for, and then finally run the Boston Marathon in the grueling heat this month.

What a day!

There is so much we can all learn closely observing the Boston Marathon. The analogies to the retirement stage in life you’re experiencing right now are so compelling, and the lessons from studying it …

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Rebalancing Guidelines

Last month, we introduced Principle and Guideline #4 which is, once you have your investment system in place and your allocation correct, you must objectively evaluate and rebalance your investments (if necessary) on a pre-determined timeframe.

In other words, you can’t leave it up to a whim. Top 6% retirees schedule their dates and hold themselves objectively accountable.

The next question is what criteria and guidelines should …

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Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Part IV: “Objective” Rebalancing

You’re now there!

You’ve determined just how dependent you are on your Retirement Bucket™. And, you’ve forecasted out how dependent you are each year going forward (at least the next ten years).

You’ve determined the investment rate of return you must earn in order to have your Retirement Bucket™ remain intact for the rest of your life, despite your withdrawals and inflation.

You’ve begun to tackle the 3rd …

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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

How To Confidently Spend AND Invest

Over the last month, we’ve dissected The Relaxing Retirement Formula™, and most recently begun to answer the final question which is where do you position your investments to produce the long term rate of return that you need to earn while experiencing less volatility and paying less taxes to the government?

Principle and Guideline #1 was knowing what NOT to invest, i.e. the amount …

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Monday, March 5th, 2012

How You Determine Your Rate

As we discussed in a previous article, investing in your retirement years without first knowing the investment rate of return that you MUST earn is the equivalent of taking a new potent drug because it’s popular and everyone’s talking about it!

When we use the medical analogy, it seems ridiculous. Yet, this is what the overwhelming majority of retirees do.

They blindly read a magazine, watch a …

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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Are You Forgetting Something?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve outlined the first few steps in The Relaxing Retirement Formula™ and you’ve gotten crystal clear on just how dependent you are on your Retirement Bucket™ today.

If you’ve come this far, and you’ve diligently discovered this critical number for yourself, I sincerely applaud you.

You’re in the minority already!

However, there’s a key missing factor to your number.  And, that is what …

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The Relaxing Retirement Formula™: Step II

In a recent article, we talked about your level of Retirement Bucket™ Dependence, and the first step in The Relaxing Retirement Formula™ which is what your desired lifestyle costs to maintain.

The next step is figuring out how you’re going to pay for it all without having to depend on the income from work to do it.

And that’s what we’re all after. Discovering that you have …

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Putting “Rules of Thumb” To Bed

Before we begin to install all the pieces in The Relaxing Retirement Formula™, I want to share a conversation I recently had that I believe will be very instructive, while also serving as a great starting point for our discussion.

This past Fall, I was referred to a very nice couple by one of our Relaxing Retirement members.

They were very well read and brought a lot …

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Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Non-Crisis Planning For Terrific 2012

We’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t wait for a crisis in your life to motivate you to prioritize and do what you really want to do.”

It would be great if it didn’t take a crisis to get us to think and prioritize differently.

For me, one of those crisis events occurred when my mother got sick and passed away at the very young age of 57 …

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Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

An Alternative to Long Term Care Insurance

If you haven’t purchased long term care insurance up until now, why haven’t you done so?

In most cases, if you really boil it down, it’s because you can’t stand the thought of paying all of those long term care insurance premiums and never collecting on the benefits if you don’t get sick and require care.

If that’s true for you, I don’t blame you. It is …

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Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Panic!

Recently, we discussed the analogy of a scuba diver becoming “blissed” out the deeper they dive, and the investor who falls into the Riskless Euphoria Zone after market prices rise sharply.

Both lose all sense of potential loss which leads them to do things they never would have done intelligently, like loading up on technology stocks in 1999 with price multiples of 75 to 1, or …

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Monday, November 28th, 2011

Euphoria!!

After reading and digesting the devastating results revealed in the DALBAR report, I want to do everything in my power to help you avoid being part of that horrific statistic.

To quickly refresh your memory, and to ingrain these numbers and their effects in your mind, here’s what DALBAR’s study on the results for the 20 year period ending in December, 2010 revealed:

The Average …

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Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

The Good (and Bad) News I Shared

It just happened again!

I’ve recently had the opportunity to share some good news with a very nice couple who was referred to us by one of our Relaxing Retirement members.

But, then I had the obligation to share some bad news as well.

Their story is so important that it led me to do some more research that I will be sharing with you in the coming …

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Monday, October 24th, 2011

When to Consider vs. Question Annuities Part II

Previously this month, in an effort to bring some clarity to the many questions I receive concerning annuities, I outlined a few examples where annuities might be appropriate for you.

As promised, here are some examples of situations where I believe the use of an annuity is inappropriate.

Buying a Variable Annuity Inside of Your IRA or Roth IRA

A classic example of a situation I see way …

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Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Pros and Cons of Annuities

Previously this month, in an effort to answer many of the questions being asked, we sifted through and dissected the basic characteristics of annuities.

This included immediate vs. deferred annuities, fixed vs. variable annuities, and the accumulation and distribution phases of all annuities.

Now that we have this basic understanding, let’s take it a step further and delve into some of the pros and cons of using …

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Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

A Few Words About “Experts”

We can’t help it!  We all crave certainty.

During periods of turmoil and volatility (and thus uncertainty), each of us seeks to understand what’s really going on, and how it relates to our well being.

That’s an innate trait among all fully functioning and responsible adults.

It’s actually a built in defense mechanism hardwired in our brains.

The first question to ponder today during this current period of uncertainty …

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Friday, September 9th, 2011

Avoiding Probate: This Missing Link

In my last blog entry, we discussed avoiding the costs and delays of probate, and we concluded that the best method to pass on your assets to your children and other beneficiaries is with the use of a revocable living trust.

However, did you know that the overwhelming majority of individuals who establish living trusts still do not avoid probate?

Why?

Establishing a trust alone does not avoid …

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Monday, August 22nd, 2011

How Your Family Can Avoid Probate

As you wake up and drink your first cup of coffee this morning, I’m fairly certain the first thing that pops into your head to add to today’s “to-do” list is not arranging your affairs so that your estate avoids probate for your heirs.

Interestingly enough, however, when it comes to the questions I receive each week, take a guess what many of your questions relate …

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Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Landmines When Inheriting Your IRA

Having to deal with the emotional and psychological effects of losing a spouse or parent is always difficult.

Having to also deal with their financial affairs and the tax implications is enough to put you over the edge.  The consequences of making a wrong decision are enormous.

Landmines are everywhere, especially when your family inherits your IRA and 401(k).

I’d like to walk you through an example of …

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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Recovering What You’re Entitled To

Earlier this month, we talked about the misery of coming home from vacation to find that your home has been robbed and vandalized.

And, that one of the best ways to insure that you receive everything you’re entitled to under your homeowner’s insurance policy is to hire your own public insurance adjuster.

One of the challenges, however, is that even with the best public insurance adjuster, you’ll …

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Monday, July 18th, 2011

A Lesson Learned From an “End of Vacation Nightmare”

Imagine for a moment that you’re driving home from the airport after one of the most memorable vacations of your life.

The “haze” of being on vacation is beginning to lift.

As you begin to deal with an annoying case of “back to reality blues”, your mind can’t help but begin to plan when you can get back there again.

You turn down your street and pull into …

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Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

What You Must Think About BEFORE Thinking About Long Term Care Insurance

Insurance companies must be doing one heck of a job out there stirring the pot!

I don’t think a week goes by without me receiving a question about long term care insurance.

And, all too often, individuals and couples are beginning at “Point Five” when they really need to take a giant step back to “Point One”.

One of the reasons why they begin at Point Five is …

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Is Your Dental Insurance Really “Insurance”?

In addition to the obvious question about the best health insurance option to choose, one of the questions that comes up while helping a new Relaxing Retirement member transition to retirement is “should we continue our dental insurance from work?”

The answer may seem obvious to you, but I recommend giving it some serious thought to make sure that it is “insurance” you’re buying. After all, …

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Monday, May 16th, 2011

What Will You Focus On?

Assuming today is just an average day in the decade 2011 through 2020, 10,000 Americans will turn age 65.

This is extremely significant right now because 2011 is the year that the first baby boomers (those born in 1946) began celebrating their 65th birthdays. And on average, ten thousand Americans will achieve this milestone each and every day for these next ten years!

There has never been …

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Friday, April 29th, 2011

Should You Buy or Rent a Vacation Home? – Part II

In our previous blog entry, we discussed the pros and cons of buying a vacation home.

This came about because of all the inquiries I receive right around this time of year about purchasing down South or out West.

The big question always centers around buying vs. renting.  And, because there are so many factors involved, there is no correct ‘rule of thumb’ answer.

Let’s now weigh the …

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Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Should You Buy or Rent a Vacation Home? Part I

Have you thought about buying a vacation home?

Recently perhaps?

If you have, you’re not alone.  Every year, I have dozens of discussions with Relaxing Retirement Coaching Program members about the prospect of buying a vacation home, especially during winters like we just experienced this year when it’s freezing…and snowing…and sleeting up here in New England, and warm down South and out West.

However, buying a second home …

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Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Rebalancing Guidelines

Earlier this month, we introduced Principle and Guideline #4 which is, once you have your investment system in place and your allocation correct, you must objectively evaluate and rebalance your investments (if necessary) on a pre-determined timeframe.

In other words, you can’t leave it up to a whim.  Top 6% retirees schedule their dates and “objectively” hold themselves accountable.

The next question is what criteria and guidelines …

continue reading


Friday, March 18th, 2011

Invest and Spend With Confidence

Over the last few weeks, we’ve dissected The Relaxing Retirement Equation™, and most recently began to answer the final question which is…

Where do you position your investments to produce the long term rate of return that you need to earn while experiencing less volatility and paying less taxes to the government?

Principle and Guideline #1 was knowing what NOT to invest, i.e. the amount …

continue reading


Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

How Fast Do You Need to Go?

As we discussed in a recent article, investing during your retirement years is drastically different than during your ‘working’ years when your spending needs were supported by income from work.

It all starts with knowing the rate of return you must earn in order to have your retirement savings provide the lifestyle you want without running out of money.

Once you’ve calculated the rate of return you …

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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The Relaxing Retirement Equation: How Am I Going To Pay For This?

Previously, we’ve talked about you clearly identifying what your ideal lifestyle costs.

That was the first step in the Relaxing Retirement Equation™.

Now, the next step is figuring out how you’re going to pay for it all without having to depend on the income from work to do it.

And that’s what we’re all after. Finding out that you’ve built up enough money to support your lifestyle without …

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Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Discover YOUR Number

If you’ve done any reading on the topic of retirement, you’re familiar with a term that is used in many circles known as “the number”.  In other words, “what’s your number”?  What this refers to is the amount of money you need in order to support your lifestyle without working.  In many instances, when I meet someone for the first time, one of the things …

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Thursday, January 20th, 2011

THE Way To Define Retirement

Imagine for a moment that you have your grandchild sitting on your lap, and you’re telling stories about when you were younger…when all of a sudden, out of the blue, your grandchild asks, “what’s retirement?” After you get over the shock of hearing that question from your grandchild, and wondering where he or she ever came up with “that one”, stop and think about how …

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