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Bob Carlson: The Essential Guide to Retiring in 2023

Stan Haithcock
January 17, 2023
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About Fun With Annuities Episode #137

If there were a czar of the retirement planning and advice world, it would be Bob Carlson. I was so happy when Bob let me know that his new book, “Retirement Watch: The Essential Guide to Retiring in the 2020s”, was unavailable to all of us, and I had to have him back on the podcast to talk about it.

In addition to discussing the book, we also discussed some key provisions of the newly signed SECURE Act 2.0, which was included in the recent omnibus spending bill. It includes provisions on QLACs (Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts), RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions), catch-up contributions, and more. Only Bob can calmly and rationally explain the details so you can make an informed decision.

After reading his book, I decided to break down the book into nine questions that Bob answered, and then we discussed them in detail.

Question #1: You say that the mid-2020s will be a very difficult time for retirees and people nearing retirement. Why is this likely to be a difficult time?

Question #2: What can retirees do to overcome these obstacles and increase their retirement security?

Question #3: What made you initially interested in helping people plan for retirement?

Question #4: What are the unique challenges to retirement and retirement planning right now?

Question #5: What are the current states of Social Security and Medicare? Why are they not as dependable as they once were?

Question #6: What should people generally be aware of right now if they want to retire in the next five years?

Question #7: What are the top one or two things about retirement planning that you wish people knew?

Question #8: What are some basic steps that anyone could take right now to prepare for retirement, whether they’re of the age to retire or simply thinking ahead?

Question #9: What advice would you give to young people who know they should be thinking about this somehow but aren’t sure what smart planning looks like for them right now?

Brief Bio on Co-host: Bob Carlson

In addition to being editor of the Retirement Watch newsletter I mentioned, Bob has a monthly video series Retirement Watch Spotlight and the weekly free e-letter Retirement Watch Weekly. Bob is also the Founder of The Center for Retirement Security, a research and collaboration vehicle for retirement finances, investments, taxes, and estate planning. As the educational arm of Retirement Watch, the Center for Retirement Security offers retirees and pre-retirees the tools they need to survive and even thrive in the changing landscape of retirement planning. His book, Where’s My Money: Secrets to Getting the Most out of Your Social Security (Regnery Capital:2021), talks about the biggest retirement mistake we can make – not taking full advantage of your Social Security benefits. It’s a mistake that almost every retiree makes. Bob has written many books over the years and has been interviewed by all top financial publications. You can also follow him on the Retirement Watch Twitter page. Bob is an attorney and has also passed the CPA Exam. He received his J.D. and an M.S. (Accounting) from the University of Virginia and his B.S. (Financial Management) from Clemson University. And just to pile on…he is an instrument-rated private pilot.

In this episode, The Annuity Man and Bob Carlson discuss:

  • Changes in 401k and IRA provisions
  • Why you should spend time on income taxes
  • Generating guaranteed lifetime income
  • Be prepared to adapt your plan

Key Takeaways:

  • The Secure Act 2.0 gives provisions that are designed to make employer retirement plans more available and to get more employees participating in the plans. The required minimum distribution’s beginning age has also been bumped to 75, and catch-up contributions are being increased for IRAs and 401ks.
  • People don’t spend enough time on their income taxes. People shouldn’t forget that not everyone pays lower taxes when they retire, some will be in the same bracket, and Congress avoids tax increases but has added provisions that, in effect, work like stealth taxes.
  • Accumulate as big of a balance as possible, then find a way to turn it into cash flow for your retirement phase. Generate guaranteed lifetime income through social security or employer pension, then start looking at putting money into SPIAs or MYGAs to generate that income gap.
  • Be prepared for change. Know that your retirement plan is not set in stone; it’s something that you have to review regularly. See where your assumptions are wrong, where you've changed, where the tax law and other things outside your purview have changed, and adapt your plan to that.

Fun With Annuities® Podcast is hosted by America’s Annuity Agent®, Stan Haithcock, The Annuity Man®. Hear brutal annuity facts with no sales pitches from the top        independent agent in the country, licensed in all 50 states. Author of 7 books, Stan dives deep on all annuity types and strategies. It’s fun, learning the contractual truths on how annuities actually work and if they’ll fit your personal retirement lifestyle.      

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