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BRIAN:  Welcome to Safer Retirement Radio, where you get the transparency you deserve.  With over 35 years of experience in finance and investing, we help you stay up-to-date on market news and retirement strategies.  I’m Brian James Decker, owner and founder of Decker Retirement Planning and host of Safer Retirement Radio.  With me is my co-host and one of the advisers here at Decker Retirement Planning, Clayton Bradshaw.

 

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CLAYTON:  Welcome back.  We’re excited for another episode of our podcast today.  We’re glad you could join us.  Today we’ve got a few things we’re going to be talking about.  There’s been a little bit of craziness in the market, as of late, so we want to talk about kinda what’s, we think’s been causing that and kinda what’s been leading up to it, as well as some of the ramifications and potential outcomes as a result of market decline or this kinda crazy volatility we’ve been having.  But the focus of today’s show is going to be on seven tax strategies.

 

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CLAYTON:  As year-end approaches, we know that everyone’s going to be trying to figure out, their contributions and getting things organized, and, so we kinda want to talk about seven strategies that you can use to benefit from, in terms of tax.  So, at the time of this recording the markets were dropping three percent, right?  So by the time this airs, there will have been a couple of days that have gone by, but Brian, let’s talk a little bit about why is it that the markets are doing this and what ramifications does that have.

 

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CLAYTON:  We know there’s a big decision that’s gonna be coming up next week for everybody to decide who our next president’s gonna be.  So what ramifications does the market and this volatility have?

 

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BRIAN:  First of all, we have a COVID spike.  In the EU  cases are going… just ramping up.  Concern about a COVID spike: number one.  And what that does to economies is: people stay indoors; they don’t shop as much; they don’t go out… it has an economic effect. Number two is the market is giving up on any hopes that that stimulus package is gonna come through.

 

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BRIAN:  Number three: the economic numbers coming in are showing a slowing and a decline.  And number four: earnings from companies are not giving positive guidance.  And then there’s the uncertainty of the election.  So those four things are causing the markets to start to roll over.  But it’s interesting…  We were talking about this before we went on the air.

 

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BRIAN:  With one hundred percent accuracy, the markets have predicted all presidents, and I think it goes back to like 1860-something.  Every time the market has been positive, even by point one six, I think it called one election, the incumbent has won.  Every time the market’s been negative, even if it’s slight, going in to the election, the challenger has won.

 

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BRIAN:  So as it stands right now, with the market down three percent, the S&P is still positive year-to-date by just two, with three days left.  So talk about a nail biter: the markets are saying that this race is gonna be pretty close.

 

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CLAYTON:  Yeah, and that’s-it’s kind of interesting because, I mean, in past years, the market could have been way up or way down, which would’ve been a pretty clear signal of what was going to happen, right?

BRIAN:  Mh-hmm.

CLAYTON:  But, with where we’re at now: we’re hovering right on that-that zero line, so it’ll be a close one as far as the market’s concerned, right?

BRIAN:  Right.

 

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CLAYTON:  So, and we know that there’s been a lot out there for both sides, and so it’ll be interesting to kinda see how this-how this plays out there and ultimately there are going to be different companies that benefit from different aspects of whoever wins the election.  So, things to consider as far as other aspects, with the volatility and with the market are, where we’re gonna be next year and how that can affect your portfolio, and getting lined up with your-make sure your taxes are all in order.

 

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CLAYTON:  There’s a lot of things that you should be doing on an ongoing basis.  One of the things to note is, regardless of who wins, we get a new and-well, we have an election: we could get a new president every four years.  So regardless of if we get a new one this round or if it’s in four years or eight years or twelve years down the road we know that there’s going to be someone new within the next couple elections, and so, because of that…

 

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CLAYTON:  I personally don’t think putting all your stock into the next guy up is the best approach.  Just plan like you have been planning.  Know that there is gonna be volatility, whether it’s COVID, or whether it’s the election, or whether it’s the housing crisis, or whether it’s the tech bubble, right: we have all o’ these different reasons for these crashes, and so, I think to make sure that you are protecting yourselves in your portfolios, making sure that you are dollar-cost averaging, that we’ve talked about before.

 

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CLAYTON:  If you’re still contributing to your 401k or to your IRA’s, dollar-cost average those in with your paycheck and take advantage of some of those strategies.  Now, the point that we wanted to get to today is we wanted to talk about tax.  So, we’ve got seven tax strategies for the years.  We’ve kind of come into year-end.  This kind of gets on everyone’s mind towards the end of the year: what should they be doing before the end of the year, and obviously there is some leeway leading in, for a couple of different strategies into the beginning of next year with your IRA contributions and the like.

 

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CLAYTON:  So, let’s kick us off with number one.  The first one is: max your ROTH and IRA contributions if you are working.  So, Brian, can you speak to that a little bit more, on what we’re talking about with that?

 

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BRIAN:  Sure.  One of the best ways that you can prepare for retirement is to maximize your contributions for a couple reasons.  One: if the company gives you a match, that’s free money.  Every two weeks that money just hits and it goes into your 401k.  Ideally, if you have a 401k ROTH option, that means that you’re going to be taxed on those contributions that are going in.  That’s a negative.

 

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BRIAN:  But the positive is that ROTH money does three things: it grows tax-free, it distributes back to you tax-free, and it passes to your beneficiaries tax-free.  If you have the ROTH option make it a priority to maximize that, and then fill in the gap with-as much as you can with 401k to get the match.

 

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CLAYTON:  And we kinda talked about the second one a little bit.  So, with both of these, number one is maxing your contributions if you’re still working, so that’s going to be with your 401k and your IRA.  Number two is add to a ROTH 401k if possible.  So, for those that aren’t aware, some 401k plans offer the ROTH option as a way to contribute versus the traditional, pre-tax contributions.  And if you don’t know what you’re doing, if your plan has this option, best thing to do is contact your HR department and ask them, or your benefits administrator and ask them, and they can help get you switched over to the ROTH contributions.

 

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CLAYTON:  Now, there’s a couple different ways to look at what you do as far as ROTH versus traditional contributions, and the way I like to explain it is it’s your time horizon.  If you’re looking on a one year time horizon, the pre-tax contributions are going to be best for you because that way it’ll lower your taxable income for the year and you get all those benefits in the immediate, but then, and we’re financial planners, so we’re-we lean towards the second one, of looking at a twenty to thirty year time horizon, where you put the money in, you pay tax on the small amount that’s going into it, but then you grow that to a much larger amount that you don’t have to pay tax on.

 

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CLAYTON:  And that’s the benefit of the ROTH.  So, we’re fans of that twenty to thirty year time horizon; that’s how we look at our plans and that’s how we do our planning.  So keep that in mind, when it comes to-your contributions that you’re making.  Now, the next thing I want to talk about is… that we’re going to talk about today is the ROTH conversion strategy with placement.  So, Brian, can you speak to that a little bit?

BRIAN.  Sure.  So the ROTH conversion is something where you take an existing IRA account, and, Clayton, let me just ask you a silly, stupid question: if you give us a hundred thousand, and we grow in twenty years that hundred thousand to a million, you’re happy with us, right?

 

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CLAYTON:  Oh, absolutely.

BRIAN:  Until you realize that you could’ve paid tax on a hundred thousand; now you have to pay tax on a million.  Now, are you still happy?

CLAYTON:  I’m going to be questioning how happy I am when I have to pay tax on a million dollars.

BRIAN:  Right.  So, what if we converted a hundred thousand from IRA to ROTH and then grew it tax free to a million.  Now, are you double happy?

CLAYTON:  Well, yeah.

BRIAN:  You’re double happy. Tax happy and quantity happy.

CLAYTON:  Yes.

 

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BRIAN:  Yeah.  And rate-of-return happy, so you’re triple happy.

CLAYTON:  Right.

BRIAN:  Kay, so, you’re triple happy with us, right, because it’s growing tax free, it comes back to you tax free, and-and you’re happy with the rate-of-return of a hundred thousand growing to a million, right?

CLAYTON:  Yes.

 

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BRIAN:  Okay.  So, what we wanna do is convert enough money so that we’re at the top of your bracket, but we don’t bump you to another bracket.  So, each year we look and see what your adjusted gross income is, we look at your bracket and we see how much room there is without bumping a bracket, and that’s how much money we convert from IRA to ROTH.  Now, let’s say it’s 24 percent.  So, you’re in the 24 percent bracket.  The managers that we’re using, and by the way this is a whole ‘nother podcast…

CLAYTON:  Right.

BRIAN:  Have… ‘cause we go through, and we look at the databases to find the best performing managers.

CLAYTON:  Sure.

 

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BRIAN:  We look at Morningstar, we look at Wilshire, so when I say the number, it is very high.  They’ve averaged net-of-fees north of 24 percent.  So, if you’re in the 24 percent bracket, and you have managers that are averaging 24 percent, it only takes you a year and change to make up for that tax, and then all of that growth is tax free.  So, it makes sense to convert from IRA to ROTH.  Many CPA’s just will tell you, will say, don’t convert IRA to ROTH until you retire thinking that your AGI, your adjusted gross income, will go down.  For most of our clients, it doesn’t go down, and so we want to make sure we’re on the same team with the CPA, and looking at mathematical approach to making sure that they’re not bumping a bracket, which is what the CPA is concerned about.

 

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CLAYTON:  Right.  And so to sum up kinda what you just talked about, when doing a ROTH conversion you wanna make sure that you’re converting not too much, but also that you’re getting an appropriate rate-of-return, to offset what you paid in tax for the year.

BRIAN:  Correct.

CLAYTON:  So…

 

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BRIAN:  Now, the placement part is important to. So let’s say that you have fifty-fifty, fifty-fifty qualified retirement money, and fifty percent of your investable assets are non-qualified.  lready tax money.  So when you pull a thousand dollars out of non-qualified money, you don’t owe any tax on that; you’ve already paid tax on it.  When you pull a thousand dollars out of your IRA it’s taxable, so what we do, in the planning, is we place the already-taxed money in the front part of your plan, so in the first ten years, yes, you’re pulling serious money out of your portfolio, but most of it is already tax money.

 

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BRIAN:  So we can lower your AGI, your adjusted gross income, during those first ten years.  This is the brilliant part.  And those ten years: that’s when we focus on converting your IRA to ROTH, to get that done in that 10 year window.  Does that make sense?

CLAYTON:  Right, ‘cause you gave the example of doing it all in one year given the rate-of-return, and also given the tax bracket, right?

BRIAN:  But we couldn’t keep you-if we converted a hundred thousand in one year, we couldn’t keep you within that bracket.

 

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CLAYTON:  Right.  So, for a lot of people it’s gonna take a few years…

BRIAN:  Right.

CLAYTON:  To get it all converted, just do it in chunks.  And that’s something that we look at with all of our clients on an ongoing basis, with our clients, when they come on board, we make sure that we’ve got that ongoing relationship to help them sort through those conversions, and we help calculate it all for them.  As a side note for this, too, we do help when RMD’s become an issue, we help manage those as well, so for anybody down the road that needs help with that, let us know, ‘cause we can help.

 

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CLAYTON:  But, as far as the ROTH conversion strategy with placement, we want to make sure that the money’s put in the right spot, you’re getting an appropriate rate of return on the money that you’re converting, and that you’re not being kicked up into the same tax bracket.  We’re happy to look at that.  That’s why we do our one-page plans, so you can see, “okay, here’s where it is.  This is my number; this is what I’ve gotta convert; this is how much I’m gonna be paying in tax; here’s my income.”  We’ve talked about this before with our distribution plans.

 

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CLAYTON:  That it’s all laid out in a simple one page plan, and we put those together for folks every day.  It’s what we do.  We love doing it; we love seeing how people can see that they can retire and have these other questions asked, like “how much did I convert, am I gonna have enough, is it going to last me the rest of my life?”  We can help answer all these questions.  So, let’s, anything else on that one or can we move on to the next one?

BRIAN:  Let’s move on to the next one.

CLAYTON:  Kay, so the next one, the number four…  This is what’s referred to as an indexed universal life policy, or we’ll call it an I-U-L.  So, Brian, tell me a little bit about IUL’s.

 

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BRIAN:  Kay.  Well, as far as tax-free income, you can buy municipal bonds where the triple-A, seven to 10 year rate right now is one and a quarter.  Or, you can put funds into a principal-guaranteed account, where if you fund it over three to five years, the agreement between the IRS and the insurance company is that when you pull money out, it’s not deemed as a withdrawal; it’s deemed as a loan.

 

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BRIAN:  Loans are tax-free. So you can grow these funds with a principal-guaranteed base, and a crediting which, ours, the one we’re using, is averaging 10 percent for the last 30 years, and you can grow that account very quickly.  And then you pull those funds out and we’re seeing a lot of people that, when, if they die off at age 85 or 90, their, their net-of-fee return is well over seven percent tax-free, from a principal-guaranteed account, versus a seven to 10 year rate right now, for municipal bonds of one and a quarter.

 

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BRIAN:  So, if you don’t know much about this option, this is something that they should talk to us about, because there’s a fantastic way to generate a principal-guaranteed tax-free income.  No, on top of that, we want to generate the ROTH contribution, which isn’t principal-guaranteed.  That’s a growth account, that’s also producing tax-free income.  Ideally, we want to see both of those in a person’s plan.

 

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CLAYTON:  Right.  Now, with the IUL, these are pretty complex, and there’s a lot of them out there, and so, this goes back to things that-something that we’ve mentioned before in our other episodes, where we’ve talked about the research that we do on all of the different investments and products that we offer.

BRIAN:  That’s a good point.

 

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CLAYTON:  Because we do the research, we know where the highest-yielding options are for principal-guaranteed accounts as well as two-sided models, and through all of that research, we can have confidence that when one of our clients does end up with something, because they pick it; because it works for their situation, they’re gonna get the best and the highest returning option that we can find.  Now, that being said, IUL’s can have some downsides to them, and so that’s one thing to be cautious of.

 

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CLAYTON:  Some things to consider are: your health; how the policy is funded and created, because you can lose that tax benefit if you fund these policies the wrong way.  And so you want to make sure that that’s set up.  And so if you’ve got questions about them, you want to make sure you understand how it works, we can help walk you through it and talk you through kinda the pros and cons of how it work, and-and really to see if it fits for your specific situation, because they’re not for everybody.

 

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BRIAN:  But if you do qualify, I don’t know of a higher-earning principal-guaranteed tax-free source of income.  Superlative intended.

CLAYTON:  Yeah.  When set up the right way I the benefits far outweigh the…  I guess the pros far outweigh the cons.

BRIAN:  Yep.

CLAYTON:  So, something to consider.  Anything else on an IUL?

BRIAN:  Nope.

CLAYTON:  Kay.

BRIAN:  But people should contact us on this topic.  So, this is one where, maybe you give our number…  We’ll keep-we’ll keep talking about the other points, but…

CLAYTON:  Yeah.

BRIAN:  This is something that they should jot a note.

 

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CLAYTON:  So, just make a note of this.  Our number is 833-717-3030.  Again, 833-717-3030.  Give us a call: we can talk you through if it’s a-if it’s a viable option for you or not.  Typically within about 15 minutes we have a pretty good idea of-if it’s something that would work for you, or not, and that way we can kinda ask the questions, you can ask the questions that you’ve got, about your situation.  So, again, that number: 833-71-3030.

 

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CLAYTON:  Kay, so again, we’re talking tax strategies.  We’re through four, um, so we’re gonna do five, six and seven over the next few minutes.  The next one, number five, is: prune your portfolio of gains to offset with losses in Q4.

 

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BRIAN:  Kay, so this is important, and a lot of investors know about this, but at the end of the year, you want to look at your portfolio and see if you have any dogs, or any loss-carry-forwards.  I will just tell you, in the history of the markets, we’ve never had a trillion-capitalization company.  Now we have four of them.  Four companies that are over one trillion when you multiply price by shares outstanding.

BRIAN:  Do you know how hard it is, Clayton, to have that continue to grow at 20 percent?

 

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CLAYTON:  Yeah, it’s a…  I mean, so…

BRIAN:  It’s-it’s never been done.  It’s never been done.  This is uncharted territory.

CLAYTON:  How long did it take?  ‘Cause I know Apple’s one of those companies, and they hit their first trillion how long ago?  Was it last year, or two years ago?

BRIAN:  Two years ago.  And they doubled from there.  They’re a two trillion dollar company.  Apple, mathematically, has to break up like the AT&T, the Baby Bells of the 1970’s and 1980’s.  They’ll have to break them up to have them have a chance to grow from here. You can’t grow a two trillion dollar company.  Mark my words: ten years from now, Apple, unless they do divide themselves up…  It can’t continue to grow like it has been.

 

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CLAYTON:  Yeah.  It’s been an anomaly and interesting to watch.

BRIAN:  But even a one trillion dollar company: to grow 20 percent is creating a 22 hundred billion dollar company every year.  And by the way, a large cap company is anything over 50 billion, so they’re creating-an Exxon is a 40 billion dollar company.  It used to be a large cap.  Now it’s a small cap.  But anyhow, I just am saying, mathema-going into year end, if you’ve got huge gains on Google, Apple, Microsoft…

BRIAN:  Those are three of the four, um, Google, Apple…  Amazon is the fourth one.

CLAYTON:  Yep.

 

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BRIAN:  Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft: those four are trillion-dollar-capitalization companie-you should probably trim those back.  Cut them in half; take the house money; take chips off the table and offset those huge gains with some losses so you can minimize the taxes or the capital gains.  Point one.  Point two: do you think that Joe Biden gets in, or do you think, number two, that capital gains rates go up?  ‘Cause if so, you should proactively be taking chips off the table and paying those capital gains now, instead of waiting to pay a higher rate later.

 

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CLAYTON:  Right, well, and one thing that’s important to note is, and this has been the case for the last several years, that taxes-I like to say that taxes are on sale.  Taxes are real inexpensive right now.  Tax rates are close to historic lows, so as a result some of these strategies we’re talking about, about paying tax on the money you’re putting in to your ROTH accounts, and taking these losses-these capital gains losses, to offset your gains for the year…

 

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CLAYTON:  Now is a great time to do it, regardless of who’s in office, just because of the low cost of taxes, because if taxes jump way up to 50 percent in 20 years, right, that’s gonna be a much bigger problem and a lot more expensive, and there are people that are doing those pre-tax contributions, into their traditional accounts, that are going to have to pay that higher tax rate when they pull money out; that are going to be wishing they would’ve done things differently.

BRIAN:  Right.

CLAYTON:  Kay, so, anything else on that one?

BRIAN:  No.

 

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CLAYTON.  Kay, number six: charitable giving directly from your IRA to a 501c3 entity.

 

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BRIAN:  So, if you give money to charities.  Any 501c3.  There’s a way that you can have it go straight from your IRA to the 501c3 and not count it as taxable.  Just saying.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is: you don’t get the charitable deduction.

CLAYTON:  So you have to look at what’s going to save you the most if that’s ultimately what your goal is.

BRIAN:  Right.

CLAYTON:  Or if you just want to get the warm fuzzies, that you contributed to a charity, then, go ahead.

BRIAN:  Yeah.  So, anyhow, check with your CPA on that: we’re not CPA’s; we can’t give tax advice.

 

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CLAYTON:  But it is a possibility, and if you haven’t brought it-if your CPA hasn’t brought it up with you by now, maybe time to look for another CPA that can help you with all of that stuff.

BRIAN:  Right.  These are strategies that have been out there for a long time.

CLAYTON:  Right.  And any CPA that’s worth their salt  should be bringing these up and talking about it so…

BRIAN:  Right.

CLAYTON:  Right.  That was number six.  All right, the last one: tax deferral.

 

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BRIAN:  Okay.  So a part of your account-IRA’s, for example…  The growth part of your account should be tax-deferred.  Why not grow as much as you can: have part of your money in a ROTH; have part of your money in an IRA, so that the gains in those accounts are either tax-free in  the case of a ROTH, or tax-deferred until you pull them out, in an IRA or a 401k?  Makes total sense: that tax-deferred ingredient should be part of a retirement plan, because those gains are not taxable each year, and you can shelter those gains until you pull them out, and they’re taxable as income.

 

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CLAYTON:  Right.  So, just bottom line: make sure you’re taking advantage of, this is back to the first one, that you’re maxing out those contributions and taking advantage of tax deferrals, right?  That for anybody, saving money is gonna be-for anybody that is kinda starting out, trying to figure out how they want to best approach, “well, I’m gonna retire in 20 years…” Save money, do your contributions, max out your contributions that you’re making-your 401k’s and your IRA’s.

 

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CLAYTON:  You’ll get a tax advantage one way or the other.  It’s gonna be a heck of a lot better than saving it in, a, in your bank account that’s gonna be paying you point one percent right now, or point oh-six percent right now, and, so, make sure you’re saving, make sure you’re doing this and talk with your CPA about these tax strategies to make sure you know what’s right for you.  As far as where it should be invested, if you’ve got questions about it give us a call.  Again, our number is 833-717-3030.  We like to just start off with a-just a free, quick 15 to 30 minute call.  It doesn’t cost anything; there’s no obligations.

 

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CLAYTON:  That gives you a chance to talk to us, and find out kind of a… if the right fit for you.  You can get your questions answered, even if you’re happy with your current plan, you can-we can just be a sounding board to make sure that you are on the right track.  Because I can promise you that you-that the person who gave you the first opinion on your plan, that set your plan up, shouldn’t be giving you the second opinion.  Go get a second second-go get a different second opinion that isn’t from your advisor, because they’re gonna tell you everything looks great.

 

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CLAYTON:  But we’re happy to look at it, poke holes in it if we need to.  Um, that way you can make sure that you’re getting, from a fiduciary’s point of view, the best investment advice possible for you.  So, again, give us a call: 833-717-3030.  We’d love to hear from you.  Next week we’ll kinda give a follow-up and recap on the markets and how things are going, so, we look forward to talking to you next week.

 

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CLAYTON:  Investing involves risk.  Including the potential loss of principal.  Any references to protection, safety, or lifetime income generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investments.  Insurance guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims paying abilities of the issuing carrier.  This radio show is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual situation. Decker Retirement Planning is not permitted to offer, and no statement, and no statement made during this show shall constitute, tax or legal advice.  Our firm is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the US government or any governmental agency.

 

RR S4 E25 7 TAX STRATEGIES YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM [00:26:44]

CLAYTON:  The information and opinions contained herein provided by third parties have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Decker Retirement Planning.

 

RR S4 E25 7 TAX STRATEGIES YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM [00:26:55]

Decker Retirement Planning Inc. is a registered investment advisor in the state of Utah. Our investment advisors may not transact business in states unless appropriately registered or excluded or exempted from such registration. Decker Retirement Planning Inc. is an investment advisor registered or exempt from registration in each state Decker Retirement Planning Inc. maintains client relationships. We can provide investment advisory services in these states and other states where we are registered or exempted from registration.