Financial Forum Podcast

Chris Scalese

Financial and retirement guidance from Chris Scalese of Fortune Financial Group in northeast Pennsylvania. Each show we'll talk about important financial planning topics and tell you great stories about people we've helped to create a prosperous financial future. This is the show to listen to if you want to get ready for retirement.

All Episodes

When it comes to your financial plan, are your plans based on financial expertise or your assumptions? It’s hard to recognize our own weaknesses or deficiencies, but in reality, there are many key areas where people trip up.   Read more and get additional resources here: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-21-things-people-think-they-know-but-dont/    Today's rundown:  1:11 - How much income do I truly need in retirement? 3:15 - How much investment risk should we be taking? 5:44 - How do I address possible long-term care expenses? 7:15 - Won’t I pay less in taxes in retirement?

Apr 2020

12 min 8 sec

Building a retirement plan takes time, but your focus should start to narrow as you move closer to that big day. On this episode, we’re going to look at the different stages of planning from 15 years out all the way until that transition into retirement. Find out what you should be doing at each stage along the way.   Read more and get additional resources here: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-20-the-different-stages-of-retirement-planning/    Today's rundown:  0:18 – Let’s talk about the different stages of retirement. 1:07 – What should you be thinking about around 50 when you’re 15 years out? 3:30 – Now you’re 10 years out. What should you be considering? 5:37 – This is the time you want to start thinking about your potential retirement age. 7:39 – 5 years away from retirement. This is maybe the most crucial period. 10:10 – Keep in mind that inflation and taxes need to be a part of your retirement plan.    11:56 – It’s now your retirement day. Here’s what has to be done. 13:46 – Is planning over now that we’ve retired?

Mar 2020

18 min 5 sec

We all like to check our bank account and see a healthy number staring back at us, but at what point do you have too much cash on hand? Today we want to focus on the benefits of having cold, hard cash but also why it’s important to understand that too much cash will bring your portfolio down over time.   Read more and get additional resources here: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-19-how-much-cash-should-you-keep-in-your-portfolio/    Today's rundown:  0:44 – What are the most common needs for cash that requires you keeping it in your bank account? 2:43 – Then what’s the problem with having too much cash? 3:59 – How do you help clients determine how much cash they need? 6:37 – What makes people obsess over a certain amount of cash? 8:03 – In what ways can clients invest cash but keep it out of the market to avoid the volatility? 8:49 – Fixed index annuities might be an option.

Mar 2020

13 min 1 sec

Mutual funds have long been a popular investment choice for people everywhere for a number of reasons, but is the landscape changing? We’ll explore the basics of mutual funds by explaining the key terminology associated with the investment and talk about the future of funds as a part of retirement strategy.   Show notes and additional resources: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-18-understanding-the-ins-and-outs-of-mutual-funds/    Today's rundown:  0:41 – What percentage of our clients have mutual funds when they first meet us? 1:37 – Tell us what ‘expense rations’ means and why is it important? 3:31 – What about a ‘loaded’ mutual fund? What’s the difference between frontloaded and backloaded? 6:13 – Are there any tax issues that mutual funds can create for an investor? 7:40 – ETFs are becoming more popular. Here’s how they’re different than mutual funds.   9:31 – How often does Chris utilize mutual funds in client portfolios?

Feb 2020

13 min 22 sec

Depending on who you ask, 2020 could be quite eventful. The year has already gotten off to busy start both nationally and globally, and we’ve gotten questions from people wondering how their retirement portfolios will be affected by the events around us. Let’s look at the top headlines for this year and whether they matter for your finances.   Show notes and additional resources: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-17-do-these-current-events-matter-for-retirement-planning/    Today's rundown:  0:17 – Does it matter? That’s our focus today. 0:45 – How much should we be worried about the upcoming election? 2:48 – The health insurance marketplace. 4:25 – The trade war with China. 6:16 – Social Security and the uncertain future. 8:01 – The future of the market.

Feb 2020

11 min 59 sec

When it comes to money, there are so many things that we have no control over. So why would we not take care of the things that are within our control? Today we talk about the ways people sabotage their own retirement and what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes.   Show Notes and Additional Resources: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-16-are-you-sabotaging-your-own-retirement/    Today's Rundown:  0:17 – We’re talking about self-sabotage and how we get in our own way. 1:00 – First thing we do is obsess over the short term ups and downs of the market.   3:33 – Social Security is another major one. We sabotage ourselves by turning it on at the wrong time. 5:21 – We don’t think we’ll need nursing home care or feel it’s too far down the road.   7:01 – You assume you’ll love your job forever just because it’s great now. 9:32 – Final one is not identifying how much you’ll need to spend in retirement to maintain your desired lifestyle.

Jan 2020

13 min 15 sec

Retirement will look and feel different for everyone because each of us have different variables to consider. These variables make it a little more difficult to plan but that what makes the process more fun. On today’s show, we’ll explain why answers to these critical retirement questions vary from person to person.     Show Notes and Additional Resources: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-15-5-variables-that-shape-your-retirement-plan/    Today's Rundown:  0:17 – Let’s talk about retirement variables today. 0:43 – Variable No. 1: How much income do I need? 2:53 – Variable No. 2: How much will we have to pay in taxes? 5:01 – Variable No. 3: How long should we expect to live? 6:46 – Variable No. 4: When should I start Social Security? 8:12 – Variable No. 5: How much money should I have at risk in retirement?

Jan 2020

11 min 16 sec

Think about those fortune cookies you crack open at the end of a Chinese dinner as you await that small bit of wisdom inside. We always apply those fortunes to our life, but what if we took those and used them for financial guidance?   Show Notes: https://fortune-financial.org/financial-fortune-cookies/    On This Episode:  0:17 – What we do for lunch around the office and why it relates to our topic. 1:48 – First fortune: Crisis is opportunity riding on a dangerous wind. 3:47 – Next fortune: A feather in the hand is better than a bird in the air.   5:27 – Next fortune: Accept something that you cannot change and you’ll feel better. 6:47 – Next fortune: The greatest danger could be your stupidity. 8:10 – Next fortune: A foolish man listens to his heart. 9:46 – Next fortune: Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

Dec 2019

13 min 48 sec

Even for people who have been very responsible with their money over the years, entering retirement can still be a challenge because it’s such a different stage of life. Let’s discuss some of the areas where savers might make a few missteps so you’ll be better prepared in retirement.   Show Notes: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-13-a-message-to-the-good-savers/    On this episode:  0:17 – What we’re talking about on this show and why. 1:00 – First mistake: Too much in cash. 4:45 – Next mistake: Taking on too much risk. 6:43 – Next mistake: Not being prepared for the ticking tax time bomb. 9:14 – Final mistake: Savers don’t spend enough.

Dec 2019

12 min 57 sec

Some of our earliest life lessons came from stories passed down from generation to generation. These classic fables have stood the test of time because the moral of each story can be applied to nearly every aspect of our lives to teach us what’s most important. We’re going to take four classic fables and find out how they apply to financial planning on this episode.   Show Notes: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-12-financial-lessons-learned-from-classic-fables/   Today's Rundown:  0:17 – Today we’re taking classic fables and applying them to financial planning.   0:41 – First fable: The Miser and His Gold 4:02 – Next fable: The Man and His Two Wives 6:46 – Third fable: The Tortoise and the Hare 10:26 – Final fable: The Dog and His Shadow

Nov 2019

14 min 41 sec

Retirement planning is a lot like a road trip. It takes careful planning, strategy, research, and execution. We’ll explore the similarities between the two and explain what you need to do to reach your final retirement destination on time and as planned.   Show Notes: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-11-the-retirement-road-trip/   Today's Rundown:  0:42 – First thing you need to decide is where are you going? 2:46 – Next thing is you have to determine what route you want to take to get to your destination.   4:18 – The best way to determine your route is by answering these questions. 5:38 – On that road trip, you have to pick out what you want to listen to. 8:26 – Last road trip item, are you using cruise control along the way?

Nov 2019

13 min 21 sec

When it comes to investing, conventional wisdom guides a lot of our decisions and strategies. While it usually benefits it, conventional wisdom isn’t always black and white. Following this advice on real estate, debt, and retirement lifestyle might not be in your best interest. We’ll explain on this episode. On this episode: 0:18 – We’re talking conventional wisdom today.  0:34 – Conventional wisdom says you can’t go wrong with real estate.  2:38 – Conventional wisdom says there’s good debt and bad debt to take on.  5:06 – Conventional wisdom is retirement gives us a chance to relax after a long career. 8:17 – Conventional wisdom says if your investments aren’t doing well you should change it up. Show notes: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-10-should-we-…irement-planning/

Oct 2019

11 min 38 sec

Chris has been a fan of The Beatles for a long time so we decided to make the connection between the Fab Four and Finance. Join us as we take song titles and explain how they apply to retirement planning. On today's show: 0:18 – Let’s stick to the Beatles them we’ve talking about recently. 0:51 – Song: The Long and Winding Road 2:12 – Song: Taxman 4:09 – Song: Tomorrow Never Knows 5:55 – Song: When I’m 64 7:40 – Song: Help To get the show notes and additional resources, click here: https://fortune-financial.org/beatles-songs-as…nancial-guidance/

Oct 2019

10 min 10 sec

Everyone wants to feel more informed about their options when they’re making financial decision, but not all information is valuable. Let’s discuss the different types of research people are using to stay informed about retirement planning and whether it’s right for you.   Today's rundown:  0:18 – Let’s talk research on today’s show.   1:08 – Who are the primary media voices that people refer to? 3:11 – What are the pros and cons in using the internet for financial research? 5:50 – Is it possible to do TOO much research? 7:02 – An example of someone that’s been influenced too heavily by their own research.   See the show notes and get additional resources by clicking here. 

Sep 2019

11 min 16 sec

Much like chess, retirement planning utilizes multiple strategies to reach an end goal. Think about the way you use each piece and consider how that would compare to your different investments. On today’s episode, we’ll tell you what we think each piece represents in your portfolio. Check out the full show notes by clicking here. ----more---- Today's rundown: 1:25 – Introducing why retirement chess is our topic this week. 2:12 – The Pawn: those monthly contributions you’re adding to your retirement account. 4:49 – The Knight: your conservative investments. 7:36 – The Queen: your high-risk money. 10:05 – The King: retirement income.

Sep 2019

14 min 31 sec

We see and hear a lot of things in our everyday life and in financial planning that people believe to be true, but that’s not always the case. From cheesy pick-up lines to longterm care in retirement, we spend this episode discussing whether these five specific actions actually work. Check out the full show notes by clicking here. ----more---- Here's the rundown for today's episode:  0:58 – Anticipating your life span based on how long your parents lived. 3:53 – Trying to change someone’s mind by posting your opinion on Facebook or other social media platforms. 6:00 – When spouses say they’re not going to worry about longterm care because they’ll take care of each other. 7:27 – Cheesy pick-up lines: do they work? 8:48 – Trying to time the market just right.  

Aug 2019

12 min 43 sec

Picking the right financial advisor can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to reach your retirement goals, but not every person is created equal. In order to find someone that fits your personality, pay attention to these five red flags. Check out the full show notes for this episode here. ----more---- Take a look at the full rundown below: 0:28 – Introducing the red flags and why they lead to the wrong fit with a financial advisor. 1:12 – Red Flag #1: An advisor that has a long resume. 3:08 – Red Flag #2: One size fits all approach that you might find at larger firms. 4:08 – How Chris Scalese and his team come up with a risk number and plan using that. 5:03 – Red Flag #3: An advisor that seems to always be selling you something. 6:55 – Red Flag #4: When they don’t seem to listen to you as much and end up doing most of the talking. 8:07 – Red Flag #5: When you don’t get a lot of feedback after beginning your relationship.

Aug 2019

11 min 17 sec

Have you ever been told to put your emotions aside when it comes to money? Well, that’s not always the case for retirement. Your opinions – or financial feelings – can play a big part into your plan. By factoring those feelings into your future, you can set yourself up for a retirement that fits you best. Listen to today's episode to learn more and click here to read the show notes. ----more---- Take a look at the full rundown for this episode: 1:05 – Where are you going to live after retirement and should you downsize? 3:05 – How important is it for you to leave behind a legacy to your family or a charity? 4:15 – Are you someone that wants to be involved in the details of the retirement plan? 6:26 – What’s your feeling about the market? Are you comfortable with volatility and risk? Mailbag 9:17 – Once my 401K is maxed out, where should my savings go next? 12:46 – Confusion about Roth conversions and my eligibility. 15:42 – Is it foolish to considering at 57 to take care of my parents?

Jul 2019

20 min 24 sec

Perhaps you’ve been building your nest egg for quite some time, but have you realized that retirement is about so much more than just your investments. Chris will talk us through five areas that require a bit of thought and some careful decisions to prepare you for a thriving retirement. Full show notes: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-3-retirement-decisions-more-than-just-investments/ ----more---- Key Takeaways From This Episode: The Mailbag 0:52 Woody: Selling a home Woody is retiring in two years and has plans to move to the beach. With home values so high in the neighborhood, should he sell now and rent for a couple of years? This is a similar question to when people are trying to time the market at an all-time high and sell at just the right moment before a crash or downfall. It carries with it similar risks. Two years is not a long timeframe in real estate, so Chris doesn’t think it will be that big of a change in that time. Do the math to figure out what you could get the house for today as well as what the rental costs would be. Talk to a real estate professional to find out the best answer for you. More Than Just Investments 4:15 Lifestyle When was the last time that your time was truly yours to dictate without a pre-set schedule dominating most of your decisions? Kindergarten? Realize that you have a gift of control over your time and think about how you want to spend it. Do you want to travel more? Pursue hobbies? What will it cost you to live this way? 5:59 Social Security When are you going to start it? For most people, the earliest age to start is 62. But that isn’t always the right time to begin. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t assume you should start Social Security as soon as you are eligible. Consider also when the best time us for your spouse to start Social Security. Consider your tax implications because your Social Security may be taxed. 8:03 Pensions Fewer and fewer employers are offering pensions but if you do have that then you may be presented with a few different choices. Should you take the monthly pension or a lump sum buyout? Depending on the offer, sometimes the lump sum is better, but sit with a financial advisor to weigh out the decision. If you are married, find out if you should take a reduced pension to get a spousal option. 10:09 Home-related issues Sometimes if you had kids and they are out of the house now, downsizing may free up some of your spending income. Do you want to stay in the area or relocate? If you relocate, will the cost of living be higher or lower? Reverse mortgage may be an option, but it depends on the situation. 12:38 Health questions You can’t ignore the cost of healthcare, it’s the single biggest expense that most people are going to have in retirement. If you are retiring before age 65 when Medicare starts, where will you get insurance from until then and can you afford the payments? If you or your spouse had any type of chronic illness or long-term care event, how will that be paid for? Be prepared ahead of time so nothing pops up that can derail your retirement.

Jul 2019

17 min 4 sec

A lot of investors (and advisors) fall victim to fuzzy math in retirement planning. We’ll make sure you aren’t one of them on today’s show. Plus, we’ll answer two questions from local listeners about how to retire when you’ve done no previous planning and trying to understand the spousal Social Security benefit. Full show notes: https://fortune-financial.org/ep-2-fuzzy-math-in-retirement/     Key Takeaways From This Episode: The Mailbag 1:01 Hannah: Ready (but not really) to retire Hannah in Moscow says she’s supposed to retire next month but hasn’t done any planning yet. She needs to figure out Social Security options, pension options, Medicare options, as well as what to do. Should she push her retirement date back until she figures this stuff out? Perhaps she should, depending on how official her retirement date is. Talk to someone who is well-versed in all the elements of retirement. Run the numbers and consider these benefits and how they also impact your spouse. Looking at it only a month ahead of time is cutting it a bit close. You want this to be a time of joy and anticipation, not stress. So, make sure you take your time to get the answers right. 4:50 Tom: Spousal Social Security benefit Tom in Plymouth doesn’t understand the Social Security spousal benefit. His wife worked about five years before they had kids and hasn’t worked since. What will she be entitled to? This is a common question people have for Chris. When you are married, you are entitled to collect a Social Security benefit either on your own work record or a percentage of your spouse’s work record--whichever is higher. The maximum she could collect would be 50 percent of her spouse’s benefit, depending on what age she starts collecting. Chris explains some of the different ages and benefits possible when you take Social Security. 8:42 Fuzzy Math 9:25 “The mutual funds that I’m invested in have averaged 7% annual growth for the last five years, and I’m perfectly happy with that return moving forward.” Psychologists call this the recency bias. People have gotten used to almost double digit returns over the past decade. Don’t just focus on what’s happened recently because if markets turn down, it could do a lot of damage to your retirement portfolio. Make sure your plan is built to handle downturns while still taking advantages of these upward periods in the market. 11:10 “It’s definitely best to wait until 70 to start my Social Security to get the biggest monthly amount possible.” This is not fuzzy math--if you look at the numbers there is a stark difference between starting the benefits at 62 vs. age 70. Waiting until 70 is going to give you the biggest possible check, but is that right for you? Some people start at 70, that is the right decision. But if you have no other resources or can’t wait until 70 then starting sooner might be right for you. It’s not just about the biggest paycheck when you have all sorts of other factors in the equation. 13:35 “They say that I can take 4% out of my portfolio every year without running out of money, so if just follow that rule, I’ll be fine.” The 4% rule is a good guideline to find out if you are close or not to retirement. Take a look at what your nest egg is and withdraw 4% a year and increase that withdrawal a little bit each year to account for inflation then you should be okay. Chris gives an example of what this looks like. The Host: Chris Scalese - Contact

Jun 2019

17 min 56 sec

It’s not uncommon for your expectations about retirement to be out of whack from reality. Some people have unreasonable expectations while others set the bar way too low. On today’s podcast, Chris describes what reasonable expectations look like for most people in retirement. We’ll also answer some great listener questions about rental properties, estimated tax payments in retirement and what to do about being trapped in “golden handcuffs”. Show Notes: 0:42 – Mailbag Question From Jack: Rental Property For Income Jack wants to know if he should cash out investments and pay cash for the property, take out an equity loan to raise the cash, or just have a normal mortgage on the rental. Chris views the equity loan vs. mortgage part of the equation as kind of the same because both are strategies that take on debt. However, sometimes mortgage rates have better options for this purpose than going the equity route. Using investments to pay cash for the property would probably be most ideal. However, you have to make sure you aren’t going to cause a tax issue or hurt your overall financial & retirement plan.  3:59 – Mailbag Question From Kathy: Estimated Tax Payments Kathy’s income is going to be different when she retires in a few months. She wants to know what she’s supposed to do about taxes since she figures she’ll be in a different tax bracket. Does she need to pay estimated taxes throughout the year now? Chris says this is a common question because this transition is a first-time experience for everyone. It’s usually a good idea to have 10-15 percent withheld for taxes in your first year of retirement to help create this buffer. Then you can adjust appropriately after the first year. And Chris can look specifically at your plan to help create a more accurate estimate on the front end. But generally, you don’t have to worry about making quarterly payments that first year.  7:01 – Mailbag Question From James: Frustrated With Job Every time James is about to quit his job he gets sucked back in with the yearly bonus. He feels like he’s in “golden handcuffs”. What can be done? Chris says the answer to this question is really pretty simple. Do the math to see if you can indeed retire comfortably now. If you can, don’t worry about missing out on future bonuses.  10:31 – Quote Of The Week “The trouble with retirement is you never get a day off.” – Abe Lemons (basketball coach)  11:59 – Setting Expectations For Retirement Some people have unreasonable expectations for what they can achieve in retirement vs. what they’ve saved. One of the most intriguing conversations revolves around someone’s expected rate of return on their investments.  14:30 – Not Everyone Is Unreasonable – Sometimes Your Expectations Are Too Low These are actually pleasant conversations. People might only expect to make 1-2 percent on their money. These kinds of folks are typically very risk averse.  16:32 – So What Is A Reasonable Expectation? 4-5 percent is reasonable. But realize that can fluctuate quite a bit year-to-year. You need to be able to understand the short-term volatility you might be exposed to.  18:16 – What Is A Reasonable Withdrawal Expectation? Chris discusses the merits of the old-school 4 percent rule. Remember that we’ll need to account for inflation as part of the equation.

Jun 2019

22 min 50 sec

A quick preview of what's to come on the Financial Forum Podcast with Chris Scalese of Fortune Financial Group in northeast Pennsylvania. https://thefinancialforum.org/

Jun 2019

1 min 51 sec