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Retirement Income: 3 Rockstar Tips I've Learned

Stan Haithcock
March 23, 2023
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Tips for Retirement

Retirement income, let's talk about that and the three tips I learned from some of the biggest financial rock stars on the planet that happen to be guests of mine on my great podcast, Fun with Annuities. That's on all podcast platforms, and we even have a YouTube channel called Fun With Annuities that you can check out. But I will share it with you and I had some great guests there. This is not being a negative toward any of my other guests. I mean, it took me a while to drill down to three, but I've chosen three tips from three specific guests on my podcast that you need to understand, and that was a head slapper and a wake-up, an aha moment for yours truly as well when I was doing these podcasts with these people. These guests are brilliant, which is why I do these podcasts. I bring on the guests, and I want to hear their brains. I want to listen to what they're thinking. I want to hear what they're researching. I want to listen to what they're working on. I want to hear what they're trying to do to improve your retirement and the tips they have for you.

Mortality Credits

All right. The first rockstar that I want to point out, and he's a good friend of mine. His name is Tom Hegna, H-E-G-N-A, at If you visit my Fun With Annuities YouTube Channel, search for Tom Hegna, you can listen to the podcasts I've done with Tom, and they're great. He's written one of the best books ever on retirement called Paychecks and Playchecks. But I had him on recently. And we were talking about lifetime income, and he's a big believer in transferring risk for lifetime income using annuities as that income floor. He's on board and right beside me, Stan The Annuity Man, on that message. One of the things that Tom pointed out that was very interesting was he is a firm believer, not just because he believes but because he's researched it. It's a fact that mortality credits are an absolute bargain in your favor at the time of this blog. Now, he does think that will change in the future. So, let's talk about what mortality credits are. It's the pooling of risk with all of the people that are your age. When you buy an annuity for lifetime income from a carrier, they're taking everyone your age pooling the risk, and that's how they are creating life expectancy tables, etc., that payout. It's a combination of return of principal plus interest based on your life expectancy, mortality credits. Interest rates play a secondary role. Don't be some master, "I'm waiting on interest rates to move, Stan." That's not smart because they could go down. Huh? Yeah, they could. But what Tom was saying was mortality credits right now are a bargain. At the time of this blog, we've gone through some tough times in the past few years. It's been horrific. From a global standpoint, from the standpoint of lost loved ones. I personally have lost three friends in my age group to Covid. So, it hit pretty close to home for me and was a kind of a slap in the face, a wake-up call to live life for the day and get it together and get your plans together. What Tom was saying was mortality credits because a lot of people died in their late 70s and 80s, and they died, which is terrible. But from a life expectancy standpoint, they were probably close to passing away anyway. And the life insurance companies and Tom's research, he thinks that they're going to lengthen out your life expectancy, meaning they're going to predict that you're going to live longer. Why is that important? That's important because if they predict you will live longer, there will be more payments. And if there are going to be more payments projected, those payments will be lower. So Tom is pounding the table that you should look at annuity lifetime income stream and transfer of risk payments now because mortality credits are a bargain.

Reverse Mortgage

The second rockstar and this guy is a rockstar. He would be up there if there were a Mount Rushmore of retirement income. His name is Wade Pfau, P-F-A-U. And if you go to my Fun With Annuities YouTube Channel and search for Wade Pfau, you'll see the podcasts I did with him. This guy has written four or five books. He is at the top of the ivory tower from the standpoint of research, a really smart guy, and a very good guy. What he said during our podcast that I was like, "What?" He had written a book a long time ago on reverse mortgages and how to utilize the equity in your homes. And a lot of people think that's the wild wild west. You think of these kinds of aging stars, film stars, or TV stars in these commercials pitching reverse mortgages. It feels slimy a little bit, right? Nod your head. But Wade looked into it. Wade's one of these people, and I love that he'll read something or see something and doesn't make a snap judgment. He looks into it, and he researches it. What he did is he looked into home equity and reverse mortgages and things like that. And here's his tip. He thinks that when you turn age 62 that you should look at your home, your property, homes, whatever, and establish a line of credit. This doesn't mean you need a reverse mortgage for income, but establish a line of credit so that you can pull money from that investment in your homes and lands investment, in case you need to draw from it. And here's his reason, and this is a no-brainer. And I know that we're living in these times where markets go up, and everybody thinks the markets always go up, and they don't think it'll ever go down. And then Wade Pfau is like, the 4% rule is a joke. He's done the research on that to where that doesn't apply in today's markets in a global setting. I've discussed that in one of my recent videos called Why the 4% Rule is Dead for Retirement Planning. But he is saying to establish that line of credit so that if there is another market dip, you're not taking money from your investments. Your non-annuity investment, stock bonds, ETFs, crypto, whatever that is, you're not pulling from that when it drops, which is what most people do, and that's a mistake. You pull from that home equity line of credit at a very low-interest rate to make up for that market hiccup, and you keep your investments intact because it does eventually and historically return and bounce back. That's a no-brainer. If Stan The Annuity Man told you to do that, to take out a home equity line of credit and all that stuff, you'd be like, "Yeah, whatever." But Wade Pfau's telling you that, and that's a wake-up call. That's a backhand to your face saying, "This is legit." This is the legit strategy that if you don't have it in the back of your head and you're not implementing it when you're age 62 and beyond, and you don't have that in the batter's box, baseball analogy, have it there waiting in case you need it, then you're not thinking. Don't believe me? Go to the [Wade Pfau episode, and listen to it. That's the second rockstar tip that blew me away, and I will do that. I'm advising my clients to do that under Wade Pfau's tutelage, telling them what he's written about and to get the book and read it. But it's one more thing that many people out here, because of how that product, home equity line of credit or whatever, your reverse mortgage, however, has been positioned and pitched, everybody's like, "Ugh." Annuities have a bad rap, and that has a bad rap too. Annuities might have a bad rap, but it's the only product on the planet that can provide a lifetime income stream. Wade Pfau's saying yes, he agrees with that too, but also with a reverse mortgage or home equity line of credit in the batter's box in case you need it.

What Makes You Cry?

The final rockstar tip. And boy, it was hard to narrow it down to three. I mean, come on, man. It's tough. We put out these podcasts every other Tuesday, and you need to check them out because I have some superstars on. One of the superstars I had on his name was Jamie Hopkins, a young kid. You can listen to this episode here. And we were talking during the podcast, and it was freeform, as you know, I'm just riffing it with these guys and trying to pick, and ladies, by the way, like Christine Benz and Terry Savage have been on my podcast at well, just phenomenal, smart. But with Jamie, I was saying, "Jamie, how did you get here?" I mean, he's a young guy, he's smart. He's got all these degrees and all these letters behind his name, and he's a leader and a thought leader in the retirement income and retirement space. And I said, "Jamie, how do you do that? How did you come to the fork in the road? What made you passionate about this?" He said something that floored me, and it should floor you. We all have a story like this, probably not as tragic as his, but a story. And it was the why that makes you cry. I want you to think about that for a second. What in your life is the passion, the why that makes you cry? So, when he said that, I said, "Okay, you got to tell me more." When Jamie was eight years old and growing up, his father was painting or doing some scaffolding on his house, and I think they lived in Pennsylvania, and it was cold out and sleeting. His father slipped off that ladder fell, and died. And from that moment on, for whatever reason, Jamie was interested in retirement and money and planning because he watched his mom struggle with him and his brothers and sisters. That was the why that made him cry. That made it passionate for him to be a researcher, understand retirement, and help people make good decisions about their retirement planning. That was the why that made him cry. I have my own stories of growing up in rural North Carolina, and I always wondered why everyone else had tons of money, and we didn't. Why didn't we buy stocks and bonds, and my why was the struggling. My parents did a great job. Bless their hearts, they worked so hard. But that was the why. So I go into the financial services business, not knowing stock from a bond. Why? Because I wanted to know. I wanted to understand why some people have money, and others don't. Why do some people inherit money and some people don't? Why do some kids have it really easy and some kids don't? I was passionate, so my kids would never have to worry again as long as I was alive. And when I'm dead, they never have to worry. Is that being a good parent? I don't know. That's for you to decide. But for me, that's the why. That's the why that makes you cry. So, Jamie, in part of his retirement planning approach, is finding out that why? Finding out the motivation that's driving you to do what you're doing, that's driving you to read blogs like this, and do your own research, and manage your own money, and make sure things are set up and to engage. Maybe set a appointment with a guy like me to talk about annuities of all things because that might take care of people you want to take care of or accomplish a goal you want to accomplish—the why that makes you cry.


Those are the three things that hit me like a ton of bricks and have motivated me to continue to do my Fun With Annuities podcast and have these smart people on and to dig in and pull some things out of them that they might not want to talk about, but that's beneficial to you. I think these three things I talked about today benefit you. The why that makes you cry from Jamie Hopkins. Mortality credits are at a bargain basement level and a reason to look at lifetime income stream. And that comes from Tom Hegna. Then Wade Pfau stepping in and saying, "I know you might think that reverse mortgages or tapping into a home equity line of credit doesn't make sense to you, but it does." It makes sense from a research standpoint, and it makes sense from a math standpoint. I want to thank those three guests, and I hope they're on my podcast again. And I appreciate you for joining me and reading along.

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