Eye Opening Stats Showing How Americans Save

Thu, Sep 17 2020

Vanguard’s “How America Saves 2020” report is packed with lots of intriguing stats and findings about Americans and how they save for retirement in the crazy year that is 2020 (most of the recent data is technically from 2019 although some figures are current through the Spring of 2020). Let’s look at some of the top takeaways from the study and how you might compare to the “normal” savings behaviors of Americans.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

How To Build Your Financial House

Thu, Sep 03 2020

For some people, the idea of putting together a financial plan doesn’t sound like much fun. But the idea of building a home sounds like a lot of fun. So let’s find the similarities in building a strong financial plan and a dream home.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Financial Issues Particularly Challenging For Women

Thu, Aug 20 2020

Many financial issues impact us all the same. But, of course, other challenges have varying impacts from person to person because our situations are all unique. Let’s take a look at some of the financial and retirement challenges that are unique to women.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

The Difficulty Of Financial Planning After The Death Of A Spouse

Thu, Aug 06 2020

It is a life event that can be one of the most difficult things to go through both emotionally and financially. When one spouse dies, the remaining spouse is left to wrestle with a mountain of questions and choices. And although it’s difficult to discuss, proper planning can help make it easier to transition through this major life event. Let’s explore what someone should do in the event of a spouse’s passing, but also some of the pre-planning that can take place.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Are You Making These Classic Pre-Retiree Mistakes?

Thu, Jul 16 2020

There are some financial planning blunders that are interesting to talk about but are quite rare in reality. On the other hand, there are some financial planning mistakes that happen far too often. Let’s talk about the mistakes so many people have made in the past it has made them “classic”.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

What Mark Twain Can Teach Us About Money

Thu, Jul 02 2020

Will talk about what is going on in the news, answer an email question and see what can we learn about money by exploring some quotes from the great Mark Twain.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

You Say One Thing, But You Do Another

Thu, Jun 18 2020

We’ve found that—for a lot of people—what they say and what they do don’t necessarily match. Let’s look at some examples in the financial world where you might be saying one thing, but your behavior indicates something different, and you don’t even realize it.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Bear Markets

Thu, May 21 2020

This week we provide a positive spin on bear markets. We discuss the differences in a V and a W recovery type and how the three little bears story can correlate to the various bear markets.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Email Questions

Thu, May 07 2020

We take a break from the coronavirus conversation to catch up on some email questions sent into the podcast. We also have a brand new name but still with the same great content.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Special Announcement - New Show Name

Tue, May 05 2020

Just a quick note to let you know we're changing the name of the show. We are now the "Retirement Success Blueprint Podcast". You can still expect the same great information and financial guidance as before, just with a fresh coat of paint in the form of a new name.

A new episode is in the works and coming to you later this week!

7 Things To Consider During COVID-19

Thu, Apr 23 2020

This week, we'll discuss 7 items to think about during these economic times no matter if you are still working or if you've already retired. Since you've got some down time at home while we wait things out, consider re-evaluating these crucial pieces of your financial plan.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

April Coronavirus Update

Thu, Apr 09 2020

It's time for an update on where we stand with the markets, the economy, and retirement planning as it relates to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Getting Lost In The Financial World

Thu, Mar 19 2020

Have you ever gotten lost? Not that much fun is it? Well, getting lost in the car or in the woods is a lot like getting lost in retirement planning. Let’s look at the reasons that people get lost, and then how to get back on track...

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

The Important Stages Of Retirement Planning

Thu, Mar 05 2020

How far out from retirement are you? 15 years? 10? 5? Is it on the doorstep? No matter which stage you’re in, there are some really important things you should be thinking about as you inch closer to that day you call it quits at work. On this episode, we’ll walk through these different stages to see exactly the kinds of things you should be doing from a planning perspective and how your focus changes as you get closer to the big day.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

How To Account For Emotions In Your Financial Plan

Thu, Feb 20 2020

Most people like to think that they always make decisions based on logic and facts, but the truth is that emotions usually play a role for all of us in the decision-making process.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Everything You Need To Know About Roth Conversions

Thu, Feb 06 2020

The idea of a Roth conversion is intriguing to a lot of people, and for some people it can be a great strategy to enact. Let’s explore the concept.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Lessons From The Retirement Farm

Thu, Jan 30 2020

Let’s pretend like building a retirement plan is like running a farm. There are actually some very cool similarities between farming and building a good retirement plan. Let’s explore them on today’s show.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Lies You Learn In Broker School

Thu, Jan 16 2020

A lot of financial professionals say things that just aren’t true. And it’s not that they’re intentionally trying to mislead, it’s just that they’ve been trained to use certain talking points, which they might even believe to be true themselves. Let’s talk about the statements you should be cautious of if you hear them from a financial advisor...

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Managing Debt & Retirement Planning

Thu, Jan 02 2020

Do you believe you need to be completely debt free to retire successfully? Or are you okay carrying some balances beyond your working years? There are many opinions about the best way to handle debt and retirement planning, so we’ll tackle them all on today’s show.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Which Excuses Keep You From Retiring?

Thu, Dec 19 2019

Sometimes people say they don’t want to retire...and sometimes they really mean it. Other times it’s just a defense mechanism to compensate for the fact that they feel like they can’t retire. So let’s explore some of the possible meanings behind the statement, “I don’t want to retire.”

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Finding Silver Linings In Unfortunate Financial Situations

Thu, Dec 05 2019

Not everything goes smoothly in your financial life. We’ll look at some negative circumstances that many retirees and pre-retirees face and help you find the silver lining in the midst of tough situations.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Sabotaging Your Own Retirement

Thu, Nov 21 2019

With all of the things in the financial world that you can’t control, why would you sabotage your own retirement by messing up the things you can control? Let’s discuss some ways that people sabotage their own financial health...

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

It’s Good To Have Awkward Conversations

Thu, Nov 07 2019

Sometimes being a good financial advisor means having uncomfortable conversations. We’ll take a look at how advisors should help clients navigate various tricky situations. If you’re going to be working with a financial advisor, make sure they’re pushing you to address these kinds of topics.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

The Variables That Shape Your Retirement Plan

Thu, Oct 17 2019

If the variables were the same for everybody, retirement planning would be much simpler. But the fact that everybody is different is what makes it fun. On today’s show, we’ll explain why answers to some of retirement’s critical questions vary from person to person.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

The Next Market Crash

Thu, Oct 03 2019

Some people think we’re on the cusp of the next stock market crash. Others predict that we’re just due for a minor correction. And another camp thinks we’ll continue an upward trend. We don’t know who is right or when any of those options will occur. But let’s talk about what the next market crash might look like, even if we don’t know when it will come.

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

The Last Decade Before Retirement

Thu, Sep 19 2019

The last decade of your working life is a very important one from a retirement planning perspective. Let’s talk about some of the things you want to be sure you address during that 10-year period...

Website: https://crystallaketax.fixedincomecounsel.com/

Phone Number: 815-526-3092

Busting The Biggest Financial Myths

Thu, Sep 05 2019

Today’s episode is simple. We’ll look at some of the most widely believed financial myths and try to bust them wide open. The scary thing is that a lot of people base their financial plans on some of these myths. Don’t be like that.

Market Mayhem

Thu, Aug 15 2019

It's been a volatile start to the month of August 2019, so let's take a few moments to consider how to best adapt your investment strategies to handle the ups and downs of the market. When approaching retirement or in retirement, there's no room for heavy losses. Michael will let us know how we can conserve our hard-earned money so we're protected from - and we can make the most of - market mayhem.

You Need To Avoid These Portfolio Disasters

Thu, Aug 01 2019

Between wildfires, hurricanes, tornados and floods, there’s always a natural disaster making news headlines. And while life and limb aren’t at stake when it comes to your portfolio, experiencing a financial disaster can still have a catastrophic effect on your life in retirement. Let’s discuss some portfolio disasters that we’ve seen and how to avoid them...

Exposing 401(k) Weaknesses

Thu, Jul 18 2019

Your 401k can be your most powerful retirement savings tool. But it’s not perfect. Let’s talk about some of the weaknesses that you should be aware of in your 401k (or 403b, or TSP, or 457 plan).

“Fake News” Impacting Your Finances

Wed, Jul 03 2019

The term “fake news” has become synonymous with the political climate of the past few years. But the phenomenon has spread to other parts of our culture as well. What about fake news in the financial space? We’ll look at some recent news headlines to see if they qualify to be labeled as “fake news”.

What Popular Proverbs Teach Us About Money

Thu, Jun 20 2019

There are plenty of proverbs and axioms that aren’t meant to be about money, but we can easily learn a financial lesson from them anyway. We’ll show you the hidden money meanings behind some of these popular sayings...

5 Simple Retirement Questions (That Are Hard To Answer)

Thu, Jun 06 2019

Some of retirement planning’s most important questions seem so simple at first. They can be asked in just a few words and give the impression the answers are a simple “yes” or “no”. But it’s tricky because many of these questions can become overwhelming to answer. Let’s cover some of the important retirement questions that are harder to answer than you might think.'

Plan Your Summer Vacation & Your Retirement

Thu, May 16 2019

If you’re heading out on a road trip this summer, there’s a long checklist of items that you want to be sure you haven’t forgotten. And in retirement planning, some of those exact same items need to be addressed. Let’s look at some of the items that should appear on both your road trip checklist and your retirement planning checklist.

Defining The Buzzword “Safe Money”

Thu, May 02 2019

It seems that people have different definitions of “safe money” as it relates to their savings. Let’s discuss some of those varying explanations of the term and why it’s an important conversation for any retiree or pre-retiree to have.

When Is It “Safe” For You To Retire?

Thu, Apr 18 2019

We get a lot of questions from listeners wanting to know how they can determine when it will be “safe” for them to retire. Let’s look at some of the key factors that help a person define what “safe” means and when they can indeed pull that retirement lever.

The 5 Most Common “Pain Points” In Your Financial Life

Thu, Apr 04 2019

When it comes to financial planning, everybody has some kind of pain point. Those pain points are different for each person, but everyone has something that bothers them. Michael tells us about some times where he's helped clients through these frustrating areas.

The 6 Things Wasting Away In Your Financial Junk Drawer

Thu, Mar 21 2019

Most people have a junk drawer at home. It usually contains things like rubber bands, clothespins, highlighters, glue sticks, a tape measure, a label maker, and a pair of scissors. But most people have a financial junk drawer too. Let’s talk about some of the things that end up there and how they might be put to better use…

Episode #27: Retirement Planning: When DIY Works (And When It Doesn’t)

Thu, Mar 07 2019

In many areas of our culture, the do-it-yourself mentality is really popular. There’s even a DIY Network where you can watch shows about home renovation, landscaping, or interior design, and how to do those things without professional help. Let’s talk about what the DIY mentality looks like in retirement planning.

Episode #26: The Pros And Cons Of Being An Informed Consumer

Thu, Feb 21 2019

You want to feel informed about your options when it comes to making financial decisions. So, you probably turn to a lot of different sources to gather that information. Let’s look at some of the most popular areas from which you’re getting your financial education and evaluate whether these are wise areas from which to grow your financial knowledge.

Episode #25: Little Missed Details

Thu, Feb 07 2019

Let’s talk about some of the details that people often fail to consider when they’re planning their retirement.

Episode #24: 50 Shades Of Gray Area

Thu, Jan 17 2019

Not everything in financial planning is black and white. In fact, most things aren’t black and white—there’s usually a lot of gray area. Let’s identify some of the issues that usually require a nuanced discussion…

Episode #23: How To Spot A Bad Advisor

Thu, Jan 03 2019

How do you know if your financial advisor is a bad fit for you? What about an advisor that you’re thinking about working with? How can you tell the good ones from the bad ones?

Episode #22: Risk Tolerance

Thu, Dec 20 2018

Any advisor worth his or her salt is going to have a conversation with you about risk. But what in the world is “risk tolerance”? It’s a buzzword that gets used a lot in meetings with financial advisors, but we’ve found that a lot of people don’t have a great understanding of how their risk tolerance truly impacts their financial and retirement plans. Let’s fix that and give you the 411 on risk tolerance.

Episode #21: Real Financial Advising Is Solving Problems

Thu, Dec 06 2018

Most people think that a financial advisor’s primary job is picking investments. That’s only a small part of it. The reality is that the primary job is solving problems. Let’s look at some situations that have happened over the years where the financial planning became less about picking investments and more about solving problems.

Episode #20: Are You Asking The Wrong Financial Questions?

Thu, Nov 15 2018

A lot of people have questions about their retirement plan, but we find that they’re often asking the wrong questions. We’ll cover some of these common questions and learn about the different questions you should be asking instead.

Episode #19: Settle The Debate - Right Or Wrong?

Thu, Nov 01 2018

Depending on who you ask, you could get very different answers to some of retirement planning’s most important questions. Let’s see where our opinions all stand on issues like insurance, mutual funds & annuities. And we’ll try to answer why there are so many different opinions on these concepts.

Episode #18: 5 Hidden Expenses You Need To Know About

Thu, Oct 18 2018

Just because you can’t plainly see all the expenses you’ll incur during the retirement planning process doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Let’s cover 5 important areas where you’ll want to watch for hidden expenses.

Episode #17: The Complications Of An Early Retirement

Thu, Oct 04 2018

An early retirement sounds fantastic to most people. Who wouldn’t want to kick off the extra travel, less stress and more freedom that retirement can often bring a little earlier than planned? However, a lot of people don’t realize the additional complications presented when you retire early. Let’s tackle what early retirement means for most people and how you can best set yourself up to achieve that goal.

Retirement Planning: More Than Just Investments

Thu, Sep 20 2018

There’s a lot more to retirement planning than just picking investments. Is your advisor helping you navigate
all the other essential areas?

Are You A Victim of Doing Fuzzy Math?

Thu, Sep 06 2018

A lot of investors (and quite frankly a lot of advisors) fall victim to fuzzy math when it comes to their retirement planning. Let’s explore some of the areas where someone might be employing fuzzy math.

Sales Pitches vs. True Planning – How To Tell The Difference

Thu, Aug 16 2018

It’s important to be able to recognize the difference between an advisor who actually has a planning process and one who just gives sales pitches all day. Let’s go over how you can identify the difference.

What Demographics Can Tell Us

Thu, Aug 02 2018

Statistics can sometimes make your head spin. But sometimes they give us some helpful insight into how
others approach financial and retirement planning. Let’s look at some intriguing demographics and see what
they tell us about retirement these days.

Unique Planning Challenges

Thu, Jul 19 2018

Creating a customized retirement plan for any individual can mean addressing some unique challenges. With each of these scenarios, let’s discuss the challenges presented, as well as the solutions you might come up with…

Your Money Mission Statements

Thu, Jul 05 2018

Mission statements give our dollars a purpose. They help us to develop a sound strategy in our portfolio. Let’s find out whether you’re effectively putting your money to work for you.

Getting Started: A Financial Plan’s First Steps

Thu, Jun 21 2018

For some folks, the idea of putting together a financial plan can be overwhelming. But it’s less threatening if you just focus on a first step to get you started. But depending on your situation, your most logical first step could be one of several things… We'll also answer Samantha in Lake Zurick's question about how she can empower her mother to live a little in retirement. Plus, is carrying debt past age 75 the new normal? We'll ask Michael on this week's edition of Retirement Matters with Michael Stewart.

Risky, But Popular, Investments

Thu, Jun 07 2018

It’s probably common sense when you think about human nature, but some of the riskiest investments are also the most popular. At least the risky ones generate a lot of interest, even if most folks don’t end up actually making an investment. Let’s look at some of these popular and risky investments. We'll also answer Marie's question about having too many life insurance policies. And does Michael agree with Greenspan's assessment of an "out of whack" US economy? We'll find out on this edition of Retirement Matters with Michael Stewart.

Five Counterintuitive Pieces Of Financial Guidance

Thu, May 24 2018

Some advice just makes good sense. But sometimes the guidance we get doesn’t align with our expectations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing - that type of advice can be just as helpful. Let’s talk about some of the counterintuitive financial advice you may, or may not, receive.

How Do You React To Market Corrections?

Thu, May 10 2018

Any time the market is moving in a downward direction, or even just wavering, we see people react in various
ways. Take a listen to see if you identify with one of these common reactions to market corrections. Do you
over-trade as a response? Do you stick your head in the sand or run around like a chicken with your head
cut off? We’ll give you ways you can avoid becoming your worst enemy and show you how to keep
particular emotions and reactions in check during times of market turmoil.

An Important Question: How Do You Know?

Thu, Apr 26 2018

One of the most important questions you can ask is, “How do you know _____?” The blank is where we fill in the most crucial elements, the building blocks, of financial planning. On this podcast, we’ll cover what items you need to put in that blank and provide the guidance to help answer the different questions that arise. Michael will also give his opinion on the minimum wage debate. Would raising it be a good or bad thing for the economy? And we'll answer Richard's question about the recent tax changes. Will they impact his (and your) retirement funds?

Storytime: Ripped Off

Thu, Apr 12 2018

It’s one of the things we’re all afraid of in many aspects of life. Nobody wants to get ripped off. Michael has seen it happen to people. Let’s hear about a time that happened with someone and if they were able to fix the problem. We'll also answer Lynne's question about working with big financial companies vs. smaller offices. And what should we learn from the recent market hiccups? Michael will help us navigate the news landmines that tend to spark market volatility.

His And Hers Retirement Planning

Thu, Mar 29 2018

If you’re married, then this will come as no surprise. It takes two to complete a successful retirement plan. On this podcast, we’ll look at how husbands and wives have different financial goals and how that creates conflict. We’ll, of course, also explore how to resolve that conflict to establish a solid financial plan.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Thu, Mar 15 2018

We’re not trying to be mean at all, but it’s a good idea to be blunt when it comes to this topic. You see, retirement planning doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly complicated. It certainly doesn’t have to be as complicated as some people make it. On this podcast, let’s explore why people make things harder than they need to be and what we can all do to keep the process simpler and easier to understand.

The Financial Grocery Store, Employee Bonuses, And Robots

Thu, Mar 01 2018

You probably have a specific routine for how you like to go grocery shopping. Some of us are list-makers, others kind of wing it. Some put everything neatly in the cart while you might be one of those folks who just tosses it all into a big pile. Let’s discuss how retirement is a lot like shopping for groceries. Try not to get too hungry while we do this. We’ll also cover news about big bonuses and robots! Who doesn’t like talking about robots?

Financial Resolutions And Rising Interest Rates

Fri, Feb 16 2018

You’ve probably made some resolutions for 2018. You’ve probably already failed at some of those resolutions. So, maybe take a stab at starting some very attainable financial resolutions. Also, the Fed has been raising interest rates a little bit. We'll discuss what it might mean for you.