December 15


All My Secrets


My wife, daughter, and I attended a two-day pickleball camp this weekend. Each seven-hour day consisted of instruction from national pickleball pros. One has been playing since 1981 and is in the Pickleball Hall of Fame (yes, that exists). We learned a lot but ended up absolutely exhausted. I was in bed by 8:30.

The head pro (Kyle "the Cowboy") was very impressed with my daughter and pushed her to consider training to compete in the national pickleball circuit. She plays for hours every day. What a great passion. She has gotten into incredible shape.

I'm starting to dislike my pool. This is my first pool; nobody ever told me how often something goes wrong with these stupid things. I can't believe how expensive this is becoming. We don't even use it that much. Whether it's a new pump, a crack, or a leak, it is a never-ending cycle of pool repairmen.

The temperature dropped below fifty degrees this week, so I had to put all my orchids in the "greenhouse" we created.

This week, I will give you a peek behind the curtain. Let’s look at what happens in my office, behind closed doors, when I meet with people much like you. Most of you have little perspective on other people’s financial lives because, frankly, nobody talks about their own finances to others. It is somewhat of a taboo subject.

I get to see your financial lives laid bare. Here are some of my observations after 20 years and thousands of meetings.

– Everybody thinks everybody else has a bunch of money. They don’t. Through my Social Security classes, I’ve sat down with countless people from every walk of life.

Of the people I've met, the top 5% have over $1,000,000. The top 20% have saved at least $500,000 and the top 40% possess $200,000 or more. A complete 50% have limited retirement savings, but that doesn’t mean they are destitute. Some have pensions, some have equity in their home, and many find that living solely on social security is possible.

This idea that you are surrounding my multi-millionaires is inaccurate (even in Sarasota).

-Most Boomers are anxious about their retirement finances. I would say around 80-90% of the people with whom I’ve met would fall under that category. Studies show retirees worry more about running out of money than death.

-Men underestimate how difficult the transition from work to retirement can be. Women seem more relational and often adapt quickly to their post-work life. Men sometimes lose their identity and find themselves adrift, searching for a way to reinvent themselves. Also, white-collar workers have a much harder time. Blue collar is easy. Retirement is very attractive if you've been putting up drywall for thirty years.

-Do you know that phenomenon where you tell your spouse to start eating healthier? Maybe you’ve been nagging him or her for years. They never do it. Then, you sit down with a doctor, who tells him/her to eat better, and they suddenly agree wholeheartedly and change their eating habits. The financial version of that happens all the time in my office. Bad savers miraculously agree to start building a nest egg (with their spouses looking at them incredulously).

-Relationships matter. I can help you feel secure financially. I can help you live a more confident and empowered retirement. But without building relationships with friends and family, humans struggle. Creating a community is essential to living longer and healthier lives.

-Money means less and less to you as you get older.

-I’ve only heard good things about European river cruises and trips to Alaska. Interest in travel drops dramatically in the mid-seventies.

-Many people say, “I am embarrassed how little I understand all this investing and financial planning stuff.” If you feel this way, it’s okay. You’re certainly not alone.

-People age at different rates. I see some of my clients aging so quickly. Others seem as young as ever. The answer? As an 80-year-old, tan, slender guy told me earlier this week, "You just have to keep moving."

– Whenever I ask someone, “How long do you think you will live?” They invariably think about how old their parents were when they passed.

-99% of the public falls for the “financial news.” Nobody has any idea when the next recession will come. Nobody knows if the stock market is going up or down this year. So many of you watch way too much stock market coverage (anything more than 0% is too much).

-Few people have any historical understanding of investment returns. Suppose I ask people, "What has the stock market returned, on average, over the past twenty, fifty, and one hundred years?" Most look dumbfounded. They don't know if it's three, five, or eight percent. (It's 10% by the way).

-Many people believe day trading works. It doesn't.

-Many people want to retire at 62 because that's when you can start Social Security. This is usually a bad idea.

-The majority of people who buy a single rental property regret it. (of course, the past couple of years is an exception).

-Many have discovered that credit unions are better than banks.

-My happiest clients are generous.

-It is very common to deal with the struggle of caring for a parent in their 90's.

-People with two million or one million in their portfolio live similar lives.

-Many people don't give enough thought to what happens to their money when they die. You need to make strict and clear instructions. Kids get along great until the money shows up.

There is it—all the behind-the-curtain secrets of a veteran financial advisor.

Be Blessed,


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