On the Money with Secure Money: Episode 68

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Video Transcript

Cynthia de Fazio – 00:20

And welcome to On The money with Secure Money. My name is Cynthia De Fazio and I’m joined today by Neil Major he senior investment advisor. How’re you doing today, Neil?

Neil Major – 00:30

I’m well, Cynthia, how are you?

Cynthia de Fazio – 00:32

I am fantastic. Thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure to have you on the show today. Because I know things have been so busy at secure money advisors, you’ve just been running around like crazy, obviously, the radio shows, the TV show, people are coming in from the workshops now. So, I have to ask you, what has life been like in the office for you?

Neil Major – 00:50

It’s definitely hectic, that’s for sure. I mean, we are seeing a lot of people come into the office, a lot of the things that we’re doing is kind of driving our message was just kind of getting a response from folks saying that kind of sounds like what we’re looking for and what we’re after. It seems like with, you know, what’s happened over the past two years with the pandemic, a lot of people are looking at retirement more closely. They want to look at maybe bad things potentially happening to their situation, how they adjust. So really, they’re looking to have a plan, built and developed. And you know, obviously they’re thinking secure money advisors as someone that might be able to help them with that.

Cynthia de Fazio – 01:28

Sure. And Neil, you could have specialized in the accumulation years of life if you really wanted to, but you specifically decided to focus in on the distribution phase, which is the later years of retirement, if you will, when you’re entering retirement. Why did you choose that? Let’s talk about where your passion comes from.

Neil Major – 01:46

Well, yeah, I mean, I think you know, I always call it the financial redzone, right. I mean, you’re in that last 10 years or so from retirement or in retirement, things become especially important, I always say little mistakes cause big headaches. And you want to make sure that you’re looking at not just growing your money from point A to point B, but you’re looking at it in all five key areas and secure money advisors has identified those as income planning, tax planning, investment planning, health care planning, and then legacy planning. So we want to make sure that we’re zoomed in and focused on all five key areas. And it becomes really impactful to folks at this point in their life. Right. Yeah. So it’s, it’s a great profession to be in, because impacting people’s lives each and every day, right? You know, I’m helping them achieve the dream of retirement. And so it’s just a very satisfying role that we play each and every day, and just helping folks achieve their goals and dreams.

Cynthia de Fazio – 02:45

Sure. And when you’re helping someone to decide what their ideal retirement looks like, because obviously, we’re so passionate about making sure that they’re on the right track. What types of questions do you ask your clients to help understand exactly what their plan is for retirement?

Neil Major – 03:00

Yeah, I mean, that’s really the goal of the first meeting is we spend a lot of time basically interviewing them, of what their goals and dreams are, what their hopes are. And we uncover and ask a lot of questions that they probably have never thought about. Or, you know, maybe if they had a broker previously, never stuff never came up like this. But we just have to identify their situation, what their hopes are, you know, are they looking to, you know, have a lot of travel? Are they planning on part time work, you know, all that stuff is really, really important. Some people come in, and their main focus is leaving money to children. Yeah, you know, so everyone comes in with a little bit different story. And, you know, that’s kind of a rewarding part of the job, too. I mean, you’re meeting all these new people, like you had mentioned at the beginning of the show, and we’re getting to hear a lot of different things. And it’s a lot of fun.

Cynthia de Fazio – 03:54

Are you finding that people are retiring at an earlier age? Now, Neil, what does the demographic look like, if you will?

Neil Major – 04:01

Yeah, I mean, it really appears. So over the past two years with the pandemic, you know, I had a lot of clients that we had kind of mapped out, you know, maybe 67, or 65, or 70. And then all of a sudden the pandemic occurred, and maybe they got laid off. Maybe they just decided that they were going to have to go back into the office and decided, no, no, I experienced a little bit of what retirements like, and I don’t want to go back to the office. Or maybe they just have concerns about health and don’t want to go into an office setting. So yeah, we’ve definitely experienced folks that are, you know, retiring sooner than later. Okay. So, when we work with someone, typically what we want to do is we want to build out different scenarios, right? So, if you tell me that you want to retire at 67, we want to have that in mind, but we want to also evaluate what would it look like it’s 62. Maybe it’s 65. That way we can adjust I mean, what we always like to do at the office is make the bad things happen on the on paper too. So, what if a health event cause you to retire early? Well, we already have a plan in place, we know what things are going to look like, what if you got laid off? You know, at 64 years old, you know, that happens. So those types of things help us adjust our plans.

Cynthia de Fazio – 05:18

I should also ask you any really unique bucket item list that people are coming in with now that once you retire? Because I’m sure you hear a lot of dreams and goals?

Neil Major – 05:26

Yes, certainly. I mean, we’re in western Pennsylvania. So, it’s, it’s a pretty unique, I mean, a lot of people have the dreams and the goals of buying the second hunting camp or fishing boat. A lot of people are interested in travel. You know, Italy is typically something I hear a lot of. And when you work with Secure Money Advisors, our goal is how do we make this bucket list happen? Yeah, right. Because we want to, we want to start to do the things that we’ve said, all along that one day we’ll actually do. And we won’t don’t want to continue to defer those trips to Italy and things like that. We want to make them happen. Because you never know in retirement, things can change very, very quickly. So, we just try and maximize.

Cynthia de Fazio – 06:12

And I love that because we’ve talked about in the past that obviously those first years of retirement typically are the Go Go years for our people, they have all the energy they want to keep going they want to go explore. And then you kind of get into is it called the slow go years, right?

Neil Major – 06:26

Yeah, absolutely. So you know, while health is good, while you’re still energized, we want to get you traveling, like get you to see the family and the grandkids and stuff like that, you know, and then as time goes on, what you what we typically see is even though the cost of living goes up, oftentimes people aren’t requiring more income, because they’re not doing as much I mean, even going out to a restaurant seems to start to become a chore as you get older and older. I experienced that with my grandmother. They had a condo in Miami, Florida. And we they would go down every January and February to Miami. Well, there came a point in time my grandma had about 80 years old. She just wanted to stay in Pittsburgh, close to her family, it was a chore for her to go down to Miami, Florida. Yeah. So that’s the type of things that we see and experience all the time. And that’s why we want to make sure that we maximize those go go years.

Cynthia de Fazio – 07:21

Sure, absolutely. And I know that you have very simplistic, streamlined ideas for helping people understand their retirement plan, you use the bucket approach. Can we talk about what those are?

Neil Major – 07:31

Yeah, I mean, the bucket approach is very, very simple, the way that it’s designed, but it helps people understand the fundamentals of your how your money should be working for you in retirement. So, bucket one is always going to be our bank money now our bank money, it is what it is, right? I mean, we’re not going to earn a lot of money there. But it keeps us safe. And it keeps us warm and fuzzy inside knowing that if we have an emergency, we have quick access to cash, right? Okay, our next bucket is going to be our personal pension. Now, what we want to do there is have principal protection, and we just want to earn a reasonable rate of return on that money. And that’s where we’re going to generate our cash flow from, okay, so what we typically want to do is have enough money in that bucket to last us 10,15, 20 years. Okay. And then we want to have a third bucket that’s more designed and geared towards growth. So, we want to get those real high rates of return. But we’re going to experience market volatility, we’re going to have the ups and downs and flows of the market. But we we’ve purchased something very important on that last bucket, we’ve purchased time by establishing that green bucket. Now that red bucket helps us do a lot of things. It helps us if the cost-of-living increases. It helps us if taxes start to eat away at our income. So, it’s really important to have a well-designed plan with the three-bucket approach.

Cynthia de Fazio – 08:56

Well, Neil, I know that you have a very special offer to present to the viewers at home today. Let’s talk about what that is and then open the phone lines for the very first time.

Neil Major – 09:05

Yes, Cynthia, what we’re offering here today is our right track financial review what we’ve experienced at secure money advisors, most people just don’t have a plan. So what we’re going to go over when you come in is we’re going to go through and discuss the five key areas of retirement planning. Those are income, taxes, investments, health care and legacy. We’re going to go through a lot of different things and uncover if you’re on the right track. So I would ask that you pick up the phone right now because we’re only offering it to the first 10 callers. It’s a complimentary Financial Review. 888-382-1298 Pick up the phone today.

Cynthia de Fazio – 09:44

Neil, thank you so much to the viewers at home. The phone number to call is on your screen. That number is 888-382-1298. As Neil has mentioned, you’ve worked your entire life to get to the retirement years. You deserve to have the retirement of your dreams to retire with clarity and to make sure that you’re on the right track, what Neil is offering you today is the chance to call into the first 10 callers only. And book that complimentary consultation. Again, the number is 888-382-1298, we’re going to take a very short commercial break. But when we come back, I’m going to ask Neil to kind of unpack those five areas that he talks about. So frequently, we’ll talk to you soon, thank you.

Brian Quaranta – 10:23

So, everybody can tell you how to invest your money. There’s not a lot of people out there and a lot of firms that can teach you how to use your money. Most people also tell you that they’re scared. And the reason they’re scared is because they’re afraid of running out of money.

Neil Major – 10:37

The last thing you want to do is have a really good job and you’re in your 60s retire, the looking for work again, in your late 70s.

Brian Quaranta – 10:45

The average person might say, well, a good portfolio would be a good mix of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can have a good portfolio is all designed around the five key areas, income, taxes, investments, health care and legacy planning.

Neil Major – 10:59

Because we’re not just product pickers here, what we do best here as we build retirement plans,

Brian Quaranta – 11:05

nine out of 10 people, when they walk through the door would ask us, we just want to know if we’re on the right track. And I always say if you’re not on the right track, when would be a good time to know it.

Neil Major – 11:15

Probably now, people can actually see a vision once we start to really build out their plan.

Brian Quaranta – 11:21

This is about you, if you’re not getting what you need. And you feel that when you walk out of the advisors office, it’s time to get a second opinion. And you can’t get a second opinion from the person that gave you the first the difference at secure money advisors, as a fiduciary firm, we help you manage the risk, build the income and give you the retirement withdrawal.

Cynthia de Fazio – 11:53

And welcome back to on the money with secure money. My name is Cynthia De Fazio and I’m joined today by Neil majors, he is actually the senior investment advisor at secure money advisors. Neil, a great show that we’re having today and obviously talking about such an important topic planning properly for retirement. So, people that are coming in for their review, we talked about five key areas. Can we unpack that just a little bit further?

Neil Major – 12:17

Yeah, I mean, Cynthia, we always start with income. That’s, that’s the first of the five key areas and think about when you no longer get that paycheck every two weeks, what’s the most important thing to you in retirement? You know, we just talked about accomplishing that bucket list, we’re going to have need income in order to accomplish that bucket list. Sure. You know, we talk a lot about how to, you know, in retirement, every day, Saturday and Sunday, so it gives you a lot of opportunity to spend money, right, so true. So, number one is always going to be income, we want to identify, you know, when we’re going to take Social Security, we want to understand if they do have pensions, how they work, are they going to transfer to the spouse, if you pass away, and then the gap there is going to need to come from somewhere. So that’s obviously why we’re saving some money in 401k’s and retirement accounts and things like that. So income planning is going to first and foremost really drive people to retire and give them the peace of mind that it’s that it can be accomplished, right? I mean, I’ll give you I’ll give you an example of some folks I just had come in recently, and they’ve been worth a broker for a long, long time. Really like him, he’s done a good job, I review their portfolio has done a good job for them. And what they didn’t have, there was peace of mind, they had no idea what the income plan was set up and designed to do. So here was his advice, spend down your bank money, and let me know when that runs out. I’m going to grow your portfolio for you. Oh, my God. So you know, think about that, like, we talked about bank money is kind of near and dear to people, right? I mean, of course, it gives us our safety net. And the income strategy was to spend that down, let me know when it runs out. And I’ll start to send you money from the portfolio. And it just wasn’t satisfying to them at all. They wanted to have peace of mine. And we uncovered and went through those five, the other four areas of the five key areas with them. It really started to make sense that that probably wasn’t the right strategy and approach for them. So we kind of flipped everything upside down. And once they saw the plan that we built for them, things really clicked and they had that peace of mind. So, income planning is always going to be the start. Okay, next is tax planning. Okay. Obviously, right now, folks are a little bit concerned about increased tax rates, I mean, stimulus packages, things like that. We’ve been putting a lot of money over the past few years and people are saying, gosh, what can I do now to help my situation? So, we’re looking at the right strategies for folks. Sometimes that means Roth conversions for folks Sometimes that means Roth contributions, a lot of times people don’t know and understand that within their 401 K’s, they have the ability to make a Roth contribution. So that can be a strategy. We also dealt with a new tax law change. It’s the start of 2020, the secure act. So that changed a lot of things for our clients and changed our planning methods. Now, the secure act did really two things of note for retirees, one, they changed the required minimum distribution date from 70 and a half to 72. Not much of a factor. But the main thing was they changed how you can inherit a beneficiary IRA. So beneficiary IRA used to be able to be inherited over a lifetime. Now, they’re saying you only have 10 years to inherit the money. 10 years, 10 years? Yeah, so change. Absolutely. So if you inherit mom and dad’s money, and there’s a million dollars in an IRA, now you have to have that million dollars out of the account within 10 years. So you’re going to have to pull out at least $100,000 a year, add that to your income and your spouse’s income. And now, potentially, maybe you’re going up to a 24, or 32, or 37% tax bracket. And now Uncle Sam is getting more of a cut. So the things that we’re guiding and assisting our clients with are so thorough, I think they really appreciate the type of planning that we do. And we really have a great team to kind of assist and guide in all those areas.

Cynthia de Fazio – 16:27

Sure, absolutely. And then what about estate planning in general? Is that very important for people to be thinking about all the time, because I know a lot of times people kind of put that one aside because they don’t want to think about their own passing, if you will.

Neil Major – 16:41

Yeah, for sure. I mean, we never like to plan our own death. Right. Right. And it is massively important to get those the least basic legal documents completed. Yeah. You know, basic Well, powers of attorney, you want to be able to make decisions for your spouse, you want to make sure that you’re able to pay bills, things like that. Sometimes you might need a little bit more. As far as estate planning goes, maybe you need to protect some money or put an asset in a trust or something like that. We work directly with estate planners; we want to make sure that there’s synergy between the financial advisor and the estate planner. So, we work together to make sure that we’re assisting and guiding the clients in the right direction.

Cynthia de Fazio – 17:21

Neil, I should ask you if you’ve had someone come into the office recently, who had been talking to other financial advisors, but they specifically chose to work with you. Can we talk a little bit about that for a bit?

Neil Major – 17:33

Yeah, I mean, it’s very common. I mean, I think, folks, I mean, this money that they’ve saved has taken them 30, 40, 50 years to accumulate. So they want to interview a few different folks. And I think, you know, why secure money advisors, often will come on top on those sorts of meetings is just our planning approach. Yeah. You know, they, they appreciate the way that we plan that we look at five different areas. We’re not just solely focused on your investments. We’re licensed fiduciaries, all the advisors at the office are licensed fiduciaries. So we want to do what’s in your best interest at all times. The law says that we have to Yeah, so it’s really, really important that we do and without looking at the income, the taxes, the legacy, the health care, you know, all you have as an investment plan is just not enough, not retirement.

Cynthia de Fazio – 18:26

Yeah. How long does it take you to construct a retirement plan for someone?

Neil Major – 18:32

Well, it all depends, you know, the scope of work is really dependent on the client and their needs and their goals and what’s what they need to accomplish. I mean, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Right. And so we want to make sure that, you know, I always say it’s amazing to me, you know, people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do the next 35, 40 years of their life. Yeah. So, you know, I think people should really start to zone in on their retirement plan. 510 years out from retirement becomes really, really important when you get in that financial red zone.

Cynthia de Fazio – 19:11

Sure. Well, Neil, I know you have a very special offer to present to the viewers at home. Let’s talk about what that is, again, before we reopen the phone lines.

Neil Major – 19:18

Yeah, what we’re offering here today is our right track, financial review, come into the office and see if you’re zoned in in those five key areas, income taxes, investments, health care and legacy. Our approach is going to blow you away at the detail that we provide you complimentary right track financial review, it’s only available for the next 10 callers so you’re going to have to pick up the phone right away and give us a call. The number is on the screen. 888-382-1298

Cynthia de Fazio – 19:50

Neil, thank you so much to the viewers at home. The phone number call is on your screen. That number is 888-382-1298 We know you have a lot of questions for Neil about how to plan your perfect retirement, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call in today. That number again is 888-382-1298. We have to take a very short commercial break, but don’t go anywhere. When we come back, I’m going to talk to Neil about what it feels like when you first come in to secure money advisors. Stay tuned.

Brian Quaranta – 20:20

If I could help you increase your income, if I could help you pay less taxes, if I could help you potentially maximize the returns of your investments while reducing risk reducing fees if I could help you prepare for a health event, or more importantly, when the good Lord decides to take you home to make sure that the money you’ve accumulated over your lifetime goes to your family and to your charities rather than the IRS. Would that be worth the time to come in and get a second opinion.

Cynthia de Fazio – 20:50

And welcome back to on the money with secure money. My name is Cynthia De Fazio. I’m joined today by Neil major. And Neil is actually the senior investment advisor at secure money advisors. Neil, a wonderful show that we’re having today, obviously talking about such an important topic and one that you’re so passionate about planning properly for retirement. I know the viewers at home are so excited to take advantage of that complimentary review, if you will. Let’s talk a little bit about what it feels like when someone first comes into the office.

Neil Major – 21:20

Well, you’ll smell fresh baked cookies. Founder and President Brian Quaranta is usually got the oven going on with some cookies.

Cynthia de Fazio – 21:27

He’s an awesome Baker.

Neil Major – 21:31

But yeah, so when people come in, we try and make it as non threatening as possible, right? First of all, we’re not there to sell you anything. When we don’t do business on a first meeting. All we’re there is just to really listen, we’re there to listen to, you know why you’re in our office, you know, what is it about your current plan that’s not making sense to you that brought you into the office. And we’re just trying to sit down and understand some of your concerns. And typically some of the responses that you’re giving us, help us ask more questions to get a better feel and understanding for your situation. And then we’re able to really kind of take the data you’ve provided to us and go back and create that plan and solve those things that are concerning to you. Give you a second opinion on your current portfolio. I mean, that’s important, too.

Cynthia de Fazio – 22:21

Absolutely. And people are always so enthralled with the fact that you’re so caring that you take the time your entire team obviously does that, and you do it so well. The other question I have is how often do you keep in touch with your client’s meal?

Neil Major – 22:36

Yeah, so we have what’s called a 411 servicing model. So, there’s a lot of things that we do throughout the years to help make sure our clients are staying on the right track. First of all, we do a mandatory yearly review. Okay, so we just want to sit down with our clients at least once a year, some require a little bit more throughout the year. But let’s sit down at least once per year, we want to go over those five key areas, we have a pretty detailed checklist to make sure that we’re accomplishing everything that we want to accomplish in that annual review. But throughout the year, you’re getting numerous different emails from us things like that we do send out videos to our clients about trending topics that may apply to their situation. And if they want to take action on them, give the office a call. All of our clients are offered unlimited financial planning meetings throughout the year. So, we see that a lot too with folks that are just about to retire newly retired, sometimes we need to meet three or four times throughout the end to make sure that we’re kind of you know, crossing the T’s and dotting the eyes that we’re getting into the income, maybe we have to change the income increase a little bit. Sometimes we need to decrease it a little bit. Yeah. So, there’s a lot that goes on with, you know, assisting our current clients. And we’ve built a really great team to make sure that we have the ability to continue to provide world class service. And Brian has done a really great job of making sure that he hires way before the company needs more staff.

Cynthia de Fazio – 24:08

That’s fantastic. Because I know that you’re so passionate about proper communication with your clients. I should ask you if there’s a major life event in someone’s life that you’re working with, how important is it that they pick up the phone and call you or Brian, one of the team members actually, immediately?

Neil Major – 24:24

Yeah, and there are major life events frequently, you know, in the fact of the people that we deal with that after we you know, acquire new clients, one of the first things that we tell them you know, we want to we want to be there for you and help you kind of make the right decision if you’re buying a new home. Let us let us talk it out. Let’s talk through it and make sure that we’re making the right decision. If you’re buying a new car, let’s talk it out. We’ll sit down and discuss the best ways to go about purchasing that vehicle. If your spouse passes away, you know, typically we’ve created those bad things to happen within the plan to make sure that We identify and understand how that will work. But, you know, obviously, we’re one of the first calls usually, you know, when something bad like that happens.

Cynthia de Fazio – 25:08

Yeah, yeah. Because you have to have everything just be readjusted, if you will. Also wanted to ask you, is there one specific area that people fail to plan for more than anything else? I know, we talked about estate planning, but what about inflation? Or people not thinking about that going forward?

Neil Major – 25:24

Well, what I’ve noticed is that people solely focused on the investments. Okay, that’s it. So the other four areas just really aren’t being looked at all. It’s just point A to point B. Now, the good news is over the past 12 plus years, the market has gone straight up. Yeah. So there hasn’t been much concern on the investment side, when you start to see market volatility, will all of a sudden that changes people’s tunes, and they start to say, you know, they start to watch shows like this, they start to come out to educational events that we do throughout the year, because they want to learn more, and maybe they’re missing something. So yeah, I would say those are a few examples.

Cynthia de Fazio – 26:05

Okay. If someone is in the viewing audience sitting kneel, and they don’t have a plan in place, right time right now for retirement, what kind of advice do you have for them?

Neil Major – 26:14

I would just say it’s never too late. It’s never too late. You know, a lot of people come into our office and say, you know, it’s amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish, because we’ve never, we didn’t start saving till 50 years old, 55 years old, 60 years old, you know, we were focused on the kids and getting them through college or, or whatever the reason was, or maybe they didn’t have the, the income that they had toward the latter part of their career. So just take small steps, and you’re going to be able to achieve your goals and it’s never too late.

Cynthia de Fazio – 26:45

Well, Neil, we only have a little over a minute left of the show this week. What final words of advice and wisdom do you want to give the viewers at home before we reopen the phone lines for that final time,

Neil Major – 26:56

I would just say, you know, if you don’t have a financial plan, now’s the time to get it. Okay. And I think secure money advisors really specializes on helping folks get prepared for retirement. And I think it’s a great way to get that peace of mind as you get into that financial red zone.

Cynthia de Fazio – 27:12

So basically never too late, pick up the phone and call in. This is the perfect opportunity for time. Well, Neil, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone this week, especially just having you on the show and talking about everything. So thank you for another amazing week.

Neil Major – 27:24

Thank you, Sophia.

Cynthia de Fazio – 27:25

You’re welcome to the viewers at home. Most specifically, we would like to thank you for spending time with us today. That number to call is 888-382-1298. You deserve to know if you’re on the right track for retirement. All you have to do is call in today to book that complimentary consultation. Again, the number is 888-382-1298 Be safe, be happy, be blessed. And we look forward to seeing you back here again one week from today. Take care.