Table of Contents

099 Terry Savage: 5 Ways to Get Out of the Financial Mess You Don't Even Know You're In

Stan Haithcock
March 8, 2022
099 Terry Savage: 5 Ways to Get Out of the Financial Mess You Don't Even Know You're In

About Fun With Annuities Episode #99

Financial royalty joined my “Fun With Annuities” podcast when Terry Savage agreed to share her financial tips for 2022.  Below is her direct outline and insight into those five financial nuggets.

1. Open an IRS account at  Note:  that’s not as easy as it sounds!  But it gives you the latest info from the IRS about your tax return – since you can’t speak to an agent. How to do it – Well there’s no place to sign up!!  Here’s how to get there!

2. Check your Beneficiary on every single life insurance policy and a retirement account – and the very old pension funds you left behind.  Strange things are happening. One bad thing:  Your ex-spouse gets it all –instead of your current spouse or your children.  Named beneficiaries of IRAs to get the money – you signed the form!  But 26 states have passed laws called “Revocation Upon Divorce” laws – and more are passing this law.  It says that you probably didn’t mean to leave your estate to your ex – so instead, the state can turn it over to the legal next heirs, your current spouse, or maybe your kids.  And how about this one, which applies to pensions and other ERISA plans such as a 401(k).  The divorced man named his kids as beneficiaries on the plan documents.  BUT, when he remarried, state law said his spouse must be the beneficiary of ERISA plans – unless the spouse signs a waiver.  She didn’t – so the second wife got all the money – not the kids!  Here’s the form to use:

3. Check your Credit Report – free at  You don’t have to sign up for anything, no protective services.  But read your report.  It may not seem like anything could be wrong.  But what you’re looking for is an unrecognized account – or INQUIRIES from a bank made in the last year.  Someone could have established an identity using your credit information and SS number.  You wouldn’t even know because they gave a different address.  The only way to find out is to carefully review at least one bureau’s credit report:  TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian.  And, while you’re at it, FREEZE YOUR CREDIT – unless you’re about to buy a new house or get new life insurance.  You can always unfreeze it with a PIN.  And this way, no one can use your ID to open new credit.

4. Consider “what if.”   So seriously, what if you got hit by the proverbial bus today?  A terrible accident.  Or you’re in a coma?  Who would know how to deal with all of your stuff?  AND be empowered to do so?? Where are your accounts?  Even worse, what are your passwords??  Did you make a list and keep it somewhere?  Do you have a password vault, and have you given someone trusted access to this info in case you cannot act for yourself.  Does anyone know or care that your dog is home alone starving???

Time to make plans, organize, and give someone authority and access.  Start with the Personal Financial Organizer on my webpage.

5. The BIG Issue – Do you have a will – or better yet, a Revocable Living Trust? Find an estate planning attorney – this is not a do-it-yourself issue.  Establish a Revocable Living Trust…THEN CHANGE TITLE to ASSETS  (house, investments etc.).

OK, file all these tips under the idea that I’m very superstitious – if you leave mething undone, don’t plan, aren’t organized, you’re TEMPTING FATE!

And that’s THE SAVAGE TRUTH from Terry Savage.  Enjoy the podcast!  This one is a keeper.

"Consider the what-ifs… think about the possibilities. If you leave this stuff unplanned, you’re really tempting fate." —  Terry Savage.

Brief Bio on Co-Host: Terry Savage

I have spoken with Terry for years about annuities. She started her career as a stockbroker and became a founding member and first woman trader on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. She was also a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's International Monetary Market, where she traded interest rate futures and currencies. She now serves on the Board of Directors of CME Group, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange parent company. She has also served on the boards of McDonald's Corporation and Pennzoil Corporation.

Her Friends Talk Money podcast snagged a spot on US News' Top 10 List, and she is also the author of four best-selling books on personal finance, including her most recent book, The Savage Truth on Money. The first edition was named one of the top ten money books of the year by
You can check out her Q&A on her "Ask Terry" blog at or follow her on Twitter @Terrytalksmoney, her Terry Savage YouTube Channel, on Facebook at The Savage Truth on Facebook and LinkedIn.

PS- Click here to catch her first episode with FWA "058: The Moneylady Terry Savage Holds Nothing Back."

In this episode, The Annuity Man and Terry Savage discuss:

  • Responding to the IRS return delays
  • Managing your beneficiaries
  • The opposite of tempting fate
  • Setting an example

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t go refiling your returns. Just be patient; your refund from last year will come eventually with 3% interest. Go to IRS.GOV and look for "sign in to my account," even if you don't have one yet. Scroll down until you see "create an account" and take it from there.
  • Take time to manage the beneficiaries of your IRA, insurance policy, and other funds. Make sure that your money goes to whoever you want it to go to when you die.
  • Imagine that you get hit by the proverbial bus, think about all the things you wanted people to know or take care of. Who would take care of your dogs? Does anyone else have a key to your house? Where do you store your important passwords?
  • Create your will and your revocable living trust. Think about all the what-ifs while you still can. Set an example for your family so that they’ll be encouraged to practice being responsible with their affairs and finances.

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.

Listen in on how you can be livin’ the reality, not the dream®. Listen and subscribe on Libsyn, Stitcher,Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, and Spotify.

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