Ben Green is back, this time talking to Melissa about how to financially prepare for retirement. The COO of Insurance Advantage discusses retirement portfolios, social security, medicare, and if you're already retired, how to stay there with as little worry as possible.


Video Transcript

- Hello everyone, and welcome in to Senior Living LIVE. My name is Melissa. I hope you're having a fantastic day today, and as always, thank you so much for joining us. My friend, Ben Green, is here with me this afternoon to help all of you not only prepare for retirement, but if you're already there, he wants to keep you there as worry-free as possible. Ben, how are you today?

- Melissa, I'm doing fantastic. And thank you for having me on.

- Of course, as always your information is on-point and fantastic. And I know it will be with this topic here today. So before we get into retirement, tell us a little bit about you.

- Sure, so Ben Green here in Columbia, South Carolina, with Insurance Advantage, we're happy to serve folks really all over the country, especially on the East Coast. And I have a BA in financial Morehouse. MBA from the University of South Carolina. And worked several years for the Department of Commerce in South Carolina representing the State, and bringing in new business. And really happy to do that, proud to do that. But I am happier now to be able to represent our clients and then help folks really across the state and across the country with their health insurance needs. And, you know, I was fortunate enough to live overseas for several years in Japan and Spain and Brazil and great that I can speak some some other foreign languages, but the language I speak the most these days is insurance, which is maybe as difficult as learning as is Chinese actually. So happy to be able to break things down in English with folks whether or not the affordable care act plans Medicare, long-term care annuities or anything else.

- Yeah, I think there are 80,000 characters in Chinese. So if you're gonna pick the most difficult language that one would probably be it, so very good comparison because it is so true. You really got to get into the information here and read all the fine print and that is what you were there to help your clients do. So as it relates to retirement we all can't wait to get there right? If someone is between the ages of say 55 and 62 that desire to retire gets real tempting. What should people start doing within that timeframe to prepare?

- Yeah, I actually started about five years ago really digging into this because we found, I found that my parents, my cousins, you know, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents even were not fully prepped for retirement and beyond. And so we partnered with the financial education partnership which is the 501 that really works with financial literacy and provides that consultation for free to help folks across the country, to dig into these issues. And there, when it comes to retirement planning first thing is congratulations, if you're on this video, looking at this and you're thinking about planning, cause that is, that is the first step. The second step is looking at four big concerns or issues for retirement. The first one is income. What is your income gonna be? And then what are your bills gonna be? And then taking a look at your retirement budget, if you will. The second thing is, and it gets overlooked, is taxes. So, even if you have a large 401 that's a tax qualified plan, if you will. And when you start taking distributions whether it's at age 59 and a half, or at age 72 when you're required to start taking some distributions that money may be taxable but very likely it is gonna be taxable. And so you need to do some planning around that. You may also grow in your portfolio wildly but you do have to take a look at the fees that are associated with your investments, your mutual funds, et cetera, to make sure that that's not eating away at your wealth and also at your income potential. And then the last thing. And it's a great problem to have, but it's also a challenge that a lot of folks are starting to deal with now is longevity. We're living much longer these days. And so it's a, you know it's really important that you've got a game plan for that and you make sure you have enough money to last the entire ride and make sure you can enjoy that entire ride.

- Yeah and it may be a good idea to kind of if you are prepared 401 , pension, social security that you sort of take these in timely chunks and that's gonna lead me to social security, right?

- Yes.

- People look at that and they choose 62 to retire because, "I can now start drawing on my social security that I've worked so hard for all these years" But should they at that age? And if not, what is the optimal age for social security?

- That's great. Great question Melissa and so the statistics are actually surprising. It's great, but it's also a challenge. So first of all women are going to outlive men typically by five to 10 years because us men, you know we sometimes, we're not necessarily taking care of ourselves or you know we may do some more dangerous things sometimes. So that's a big thing to consider. The average 65 year old male, once they hit 65, they're gonna live on average to age 84. The average female is gonna live to age 87. And there's a chance that one spouse there's a 25% chance that you'll live to age 97 for one spouse, if you hit age 65. So that's a long time and game plan. And then the other kind of a retirement challenge is that the average American dies with about $62,000 in debt. So based on your bills that you have your current obligations, your mortgage, your car payments so forth, that's a you really kind of have to game plan for those things. And so, as we're taking a look at social security and kind of the overall bucket as you mentioned, social security, pension, your 401 s, maybe even some life insurance, we wanna take a look at, we wanna do a sort of first of all asset and debt inventory. We wanna create a budget, we wanna take a look at your overall revenue plan kind of the buckets that you're gonna be pulling from for your, you know for this ride. And then we wanna also figure out how you want to retire. And so what income do you need? Where are you gonna be living? Are you gonna be living in Chicago? Are you gonna move down to sunny Florida which a lot of people are doing. Are you gonna move in are you gonna live in California? Are you gonna move to Texas where there's no state income tax for example, and or are you gonna move to Costa Rica? Which some folks do. So you know, what sort of income do you need for that? You also need to think about your kind of the estate planning, leaving a legacy. So things like your wills, like your power of attorney, copies of life insurance policies, not only you have, but also your beneficiaries have. And then as we'll get into, you need to think about you know, how much it is gonna cost for health insurance, your Medicare and so forth. Or your life insurance long-term care costs. And then you need to take a look at, you know your overall investment portfolio and when it comes to social security, that is actually part of your portfolio if you will, that's part of your portfolio for investments. And so it's really important to take a look at that and then I'd like to share one little side with you on that. So at age 62, you can start actually taking social security. And the pro of that is being able to receive benefits earlier. The con of course, is that you're gonna get less money. It's gonna be a smaller cheque. So that may not be an optimal time. If particularly if you were healthy and you have a, you know, healthy family history a full retirement age typically is 66, 66 and a half. And that's where you're gonna get a higher monthly check from age 62 to up to age 66 that every year that you can wait, you're gaining about 8% a year really guaranteed on your cheque, and so that's a nice, you know, investment return if you will. To wait for social security and then full retirement age if you can wait that long to age 70 as part of your overall portfolio, if you will for retirement is gonna give you a high monthly check. So for example, you may have started out at $1,800 at age 62, but if you can wait till age 70 that 8% a year that may get you to about $3,000 on your social security check. And so that can have a really, really high impact really big impact on social security in your overall retirement plan.

- Absolutely, big difference. Now we did talk about, we mentioned the word legacy. So when we talk about that, and if we have a spouse, we wanna make sure that they're taken care of or even our children are taken care of. Usually in most families, you have one spouse that handles the finances that handles the life insurance, that handles all things financial. So can you tell people watching why it is imperative that both spouses and even some family members know exactly what they can count on in the future?

- Yeah. So, it's really important for spouses to understand what the mortgage is, what the mortgage situation is, how much longer you have to pay it off to understand, you know, what all the bills are and what the obligations are to understand how much life insurance your spouse has. So that if you're dependent on that income if you're not, you know, a millionaire, or you have $10 million in the bank and you are dependent on that income to pay the bills, to pay the mortgage, et cetera, you are taken care of or your spouse is taken care of in the event that you're not gonna be there. And then it's also really important to understand, because, you know, as I said, women a lot of times you're gonna live longer than men and they may be writing, they may be counting on their spouse's income to you know, to kind of help with retirement. And if that spouse passes away your entire retirement plan can get blown up. So it's really, really important. And just had a pretty sad story with a 47 year old 47 year old fellow who passed away in our community this past weekend with three children and a wife, and they were not prepared. And they did not, he did not have adequate, he didn't have any life insurance. They did not have a lot of savings. He was the primary breadwinner. And that, you know, they're doing a GoFundMe right now, but that obviously is not a good strategy a good plan for your family. And so it's really, if I don't say anything else it's really important for both spouses to know what's going on and they have a game plan, should something unexpected happen.

- Yeah and I'm really sorry to hear that, that is, it's sad. And it is, it's one of those things that we don't know when it is our time, and it's always best to be prepared.

- Yes.

- So that those who are left behind are taken care of.

- Yes.

- Great example. Thank you so much for that. Now you had mentioned state income tax and maybe people wanna move to a place that's a little cheaper or it doesn't have a state income tax. What are some options you can give people to sort of expand that portfolio safely?

- Yep. So the number one option we just gave, which is almost guaranteed. It will, it is guaranteed, as long as the US government can continue to pay it is a social security. A lot of folks don't think of that as part of your, you know, your retirement portfolio but it is a really important part of that you know kind of three legged stool, if you will or two legged stool of your income. And so option number one is, social security strategy and extending it for as long as makes sense for you and your family. Option number two obviously is to make sure you're maximizing Roth IRAs which are, you know, kind of tax-free you know upon withdrawal, once you qualify for that, or, you know maximizing your 401 s and making sure that you minimize the fees that are involved with those 401 s and other, you know, other investments through your job, your 457, 403 s and TSP and so forth with folks that have federal, you know federal retirement accounts. Another option that we take a look at is annuities. Now, there are a lot of different types of annuities and you have to be really careful. You have to be really aware of which ones you're getting into, variable annuities, typically have higher fees for example, but there are annuities called indexed annuities, which are with life insurance companies. That can be interesting ones to take a look at to increase the overall portfolio and also provide a bit more of a guarantee in terms of your principal. And also a little bit more, a little bit more kind of stable income, if you will you know in your golden years. And then there are also annuities called MYGAs or multi-year guarantee annuities, which are essentially like CDs from life insurance companies that have, they provide lower rates, but they're, you know, they're consistent in terms of their returns. So that's another opportunity for some growth. And then the last opportunity that a lot of folks do not look at, but it's becoming more popular now especially as they try to tie in long-term care insurance with it, is a permanent life insurance otherwise known as whole life insurance, for example. And there are also some variable and universal type of life insurances that are in place. But we, at our firm, we prefer to take a look typically at the whole life insurance, also known as cash value life insurance that provides can provide some tax exempt type of opportunities in retirement. And it can also provide long-term care benefits as well and chronic care benefits as well. So those are a couple of options that expand their portfolio.

- Yeah, fantastic. And if you are of age at 65, Medicare can add some extra or keep some dough in your pocket so to speak...

- Yes.

- In terms of health insurance, and you've got a fantastic video that we do have up online at, but tell us a little bit about how that can save you money, when you are of age.

- Yeah, so the typical, you know typical person's you're 63 years old you're working for a law firm, you know working for a hotel or working in the restaurant, the price of your health insurance through your job maybe a $1000 a month. Okay. And you may pay half of that. So that's, you know, $500 per month that you're having to pay on your health insurance and those deductibles may be low, but sometimes those that those may be pretty high. You may have a $6,000 deductible per year to meet. there are a lot of Medicare plans that can really drastically reduce those deductibles and you can, there are plans with premiums that start in the, you know $50 per month range, even up to 100, you know, $120 per month range along with your part B plan, which is this year gonna be about $148 where you can get much better coverage actually at a lower rate, at a rate that is 30, 40% lower than what you were paying at your job and what certainly what your employer was paying at the job. And so it can be kind of a win-win for all involved if you're eligible for Medicare.

- Yeah. Love that. And if you just say, "You know what, I don't even want to watch that video or any more that Ben has because I just wanna call him up and utilize his services. How can they do that, Ben? How can they get in touch with you and your office?

- Sure. So they can give me a call at 803 509 3394 or they can email me at And I'll just put my email up here on the screen and wanna thank you for bringing me on. I'm really always excited to come on and talk about this stuff. We do all this for free. obviously, I think you can tell I'm a bit of a nerd with this stuff. I love doing it and love helping folks out. And so they can feel free to contact me at any time. We love to help folks out.

- Yeah. And that is okay. It just means that you know your stuff and you know exactly, when you're excited about something, you wanna continue to learn more about something. So I'm telling you people, this is the man that, you know anytime a law changes or rules change, when it comes to this kind of information, Ben is your guy. He can help you navigate it. Ben Green, thank you so much for joining us again today.

- Melissa thank you so much.

- We appreciate you. Great tips to help with retirement. Ben has several tips about social security benefits, long-term care insurance, bridging the gap between Medicare and social security benefits. It is all on Take a look there, or you can contact Ben directly. As always, we appreciate you watching Senior Living LIVE, have a great day everybody.

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