Monday, October 27, 2014

What's The Biggest Mistake That Will Affect Your Retirement?

What's the biggest mistake that will affect your retirement?
This past week I found myself in a conversation with someone who, upon learning about my line  of work, asked what I believe to be an extremely crucial question. I’d even venture to say that, in my humble opinion, it is the most important question every single person accumulating a retirement nest egg needs to ponder:

What is the one prevalent mistake
most folks make to hurt their retirement aspirations?

I’ll admit that the question came as a bit of a surprise to me, because the line of questions I usually hear in such settings has more to do with which stocks/funds people should own or what my thoughts are about folks’ current investment allocations.

That said, here is my answer to the current – and crucial – question.

Most folks spend their entire working years believing that all it will take to have the retirements of their dreams – moneywise, of course – is to focus on saving as much money as they possibly can.

Make no mistake: I’m not saying that saving as much money as you can is not a good thing. It is very important, but it’s not all you’ll need to do if you intend to hit a financial home run. The KINDS of investments you’re pouring your contributions into is far more important, in the sense that if you have a bunch of lousy underlying securities/funds, no amount of money is going to change that reality. Instead, you are likely going to end up wasting most or all of the money and the effort you put in.

What if you discovered that your investment vehicle had unusually high fees that were draining your money? Should you (or would you) still contribute as much money as you could to it?

While the virtue of saving the most you can is definitely a great idea without any reservations whatsoever, I’d suggest that WHERE your money is actually is much more crucial. What I’m trying to tell you here is that before you make the next contribution into your retirement nest egg, make sure it doesn’t have any holes you’re unaware of. One of the most devastating things anyone can face is discovering that they’ve been financing someone else’s lavish lifestyle, instead of supporting their own retirement, only after it’s too late to do anything about it.

Happy retirement!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Real-life Question about Social Security Benefits

Real-life question about Social Security benefits

The following question was submitted through the "Ask Your Question" portal of our website,

Dear Mr. Asare:

I’ll be turning 66 in three months and my wife will do the same in seven months. We both have good-paying jobs that we love, so we are postponing our retirements until we’re each 70 years old. Social Security tells us that I can collect $1,900 now or $2,500 when I’m 70. My wife’s estimates are $1,500 now or $1,900+ at age 70. I’m not sure if there’s anything else to this, but our good friends [names redacted to protect their anonymity] suggested we seek your advice, so we’ll appreciate your thoughts.


John & Carol [last name withheld]
Hello, John and Carol –

First of all I’d like to wish you each a happy 66th birthday. It’s good to know that you both feel healthy, happy, and have careers that you enjoy – hence your decisions to delay retirement until age 70. I think it calls for a great big birthday bash!

Specifically regarding your Social Security, based on the general information you’ve provided, I see an opportunity for you and Carol to begin collecting approximately $950/month (which comes out to $11,400/year) for the next four years as you wait to reach age 70, for a cumulative total of $45,600.

No I’m not kidding! Actually, I don’t think that’s even the best part of the story, because you’ll be delighted to know that collecting this $950/month will not reduce either your or Carol’s future benefit amounts, the ones you’re expecting at age 70. You’ll still get to collect your $2,500 and Carol her $1,900+. Basically, this $950/month is a complete bonus, so to speak. However, if you fail to collect it, it will not increase either your or Carol’s future benefit amounts.

It may sound strange, but it’s true and a perfectly legitimate benefit under Social Security rules. I explain this claiming strategy in great detail on page 11 of my Social Security strategies special report, which you may download for free at

Here’s the gist: Upon reaching your full retirement age of 66, you will need to file an application with Social Security, but immediately – and simultaneously – turn around and suspend it so that you won’t actually collect checks. That will open the way for Carol to submit a restricted application for “spousal benefits only,” based on your record, so that she can begin collecting one-half of the $1,900 that you would have collected now (which is about $950/month).

Because your application is “suspended” you’ll still continue to accrue your annual 8 percent increases through age 70. And since Carol will be collecting only her “spousal benefits” – and not her own retirement benefits – she, too, will continue to accrue the full 8 percent yearly increases. Long story short, you and Carol will still get to collect $2,500 and $1,900, respectively, at age 70. This strategy will simply bring in another $11,400 a year, beginning right now for the next 4 years. I’m pretty sure that you and Carol don’t mind collecting a $950/month bonus, for lack of a better word, from of all the people on this planet, Uncle Sam!

Now here’s an extremely important caveat: Choosing this option requires that you give very specific and detailed instructions/requests when you visit your local Social Security office, and you want that to go smoothly. I strongly recommend that you schedule a time to come and meet us or talk with us on the phone so that we can break down the process for you. You can schedule this appointment through our website or call us at 877.656.9111.

My warmest regards to you both.