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10 Financial Moves for 2021

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2020 7:03 am

10 Financial Moves for 2021

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

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December 17, 2020 7:03 am

This year has been devastating for many, so it will be a big relief to put 20-20 in the rearview mirror. It won’t take much for the new year to be an improvement, especially if you plan now to fine tune your finances. On the next MoneyWise Live, hosts Rob West and Steve Moore sit down with investing expert Mark Biller to find out how to do that. 10 financial moves for 20-21 on the next MoneyWise Live at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central on Moody Radio. 

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Many of us will be glad to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. The coronavirus pandemic has taken many lives and put the economy in turmoil. Will 2021 be any better?

It won't take much for the new year to be an improvement, especially if you plan now to fine tune your finances. Today host Rob West sits down with investing expert Mark Biller to find out how, and we'll take your calls and questions on anything, 800-525-7000, anything financial of course, 800-525-7000. I'm Steve Moore, 10 Financial Moves for 2021, next on Money Wise Live.

Well, Rob, our friend Mark Biller is the executive editor at Soundmind Investing, and he's here today with a hopeful message for the coming year. And do you know, Rob, how I knew? Do you know how I knew that Mark was the guest today? How did you know? I could smell chestnuts roasting whenever he gets nearby at this time of year. That's a tell-tale sign. Is that right?

Well, maybe need to dig into that a little deeper. On the radio. Yeah, on the radio like this. Mark, welcome back to Money Wise Live. Thanks, guys.

Good to be back, I think. Any chestnuts on the grill? Maybe in the backyard?

Apparently somewhere. We've got them cooking somewhere. Hey, I love your team. You guys are always doing great work there at Soundmind Investing.

And this time of year, you've compiled an exhaustive list of important financial moves to make in 2021. And I almost don't know where to begin. There's so many of them. But I guess Scripture is always a good place to look for a hopeful message. So why don't you begin there and encourage us out of God's Word?

Yeah, absolutely, Rob. I mean, our starting point as followers of Christ is we need to look beyond the here and now, and always maintain an eternal perspective. We need to always be looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

That perspective was so vital in 2020. And, you know, moving forward into the new year, we can hold fast to Psalm 46, which tells us God is our refuge and strength and ever present help and trouble. You know, anytime we consider financial matters, it's always healthy to start with a reminder that God owns everything.

He is still in control. Romans 11 reminds us that, for everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. Well, it's such a great reminder. And I love the fact that even in Hebrews 13, when we're told that we should be content with what we have, that's connected to this idea of the promise of God, which is that he will never leave us or forsake us. And as we camp out on these promises, Mark, it is hopeful. It's encouraging. And it's really the beginning point with every facet of our lives, but certainly this area of the financial as well. All right, that brings us to this list of financial moves for 2021. And why don't you begin by just explaining what your team was up to? How does this list actually work?

Yeah, sure. So, you know, we've all had the experience where we read something, we might think to ourselves, you know, that's a really good idea. But then immediately we get swept up in something else and we forget all about it. So the point of this top 10 list article was to give our Soundmind Investing readers and now your MoneyWise Live listeners a chance to easily go through a list that has about 60 helpful financial moves that they can make in the year ahead. Now, you know, everybody's at a different place in their financial journey. So some people are going to be more focused on steps to get started.

Others may be further along and be more focused on the advanced stuff. But wherever a person is in their specific journey, they can easily just go through this list, mark the items that apply specifically to their situation, and then have right at their fingertips, a personalized top 10 list of action steps that'll really, we think, help them make tangible financial progress in the year ahead. And so we've put this article with the full list of all these action items.

We've made it available for MoneyWise listeners at Yeah, that's great. Well, we're going to unpack this right after our first break and begin to dive into some of these steps. But let me just say, Mark, I love that you start off with a section for everyone, regardless of where they are on their financial path, that's spiritually focused before diving into the tangible financial steps, if you will, recognizing God's faithfulness, considering your own generosity.

I mean, those bedrock ideas that come right out of Scripture. And we'll look forward to unpacking the practical next steps right around the corner. That's right. Mark Biller with us today from Your host, Rob West, I'm Steve Moore.

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He always comes prepared with a wealth of biblical financial and investment-related information. In fact, you'll find a top 10 list of action steps and more when you visit their website, Information there to help you make real, tangible financial progress in 2021.

Again, it's Now, we're taking your calls today for Mark on things like retirement planning or investing for the next 20 minutes or so at 800-525-7000. Hidden financial moves for 2021 with Mark Biller, executive editor of the Soundmind Investing newsletter. Mark, we were really setting the stage before the break with some of God's promises that we need to really refocus our lives on as we think about the whole of our lives, but certainly our financial moves as well. Now we begin to move into some of the practical next steps you're encouraging your listeners, our listeners, your readers to take, and I'd love to start today with that person who is maybe early in their financial journey. They realize they need to shore up their financial foundation.

What are some next steps they might take? Yeah, you know, building on a solid foundation is so crucial. So the first big step would be to start by creating a spending plan if you don't have one already, or if you have one, bring your existing plan up to date. Now, a true spending plan doesn't just track what you've already spent. It needs to enable you to answer the question, how much do I still have left in a particular spending category?

So how do you do that? Well, one item in our list is to investigate the online platforms that can help you develop and implement a budget. And that would, of course, include the new MoneyWise app, which is based on the envelope system of budgeting that SMI has touted for many years. I love it. Yeah. Well, that's a great next step and really, I think, a key piece of that financial puzzle, if you will, and using the MoneyWise app to do it.

Whether you're in the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, you can download it for free. We'd love for you to check it out. Mark, the next category is developing your investing plan. And actually, as the calls are rolling in, Steve, it looks like this first caller is directly related to this particular category. So maybe we ought to go there next. All right, let's jump in.

Cleveland, Ohio. Okay, how can we help you, sir? You're on MoneyWise Live. Hi. Hi.

Thank you for taking my call. I want to know for 2021, the stock market is so high. The interest rates are so low. And in my case, I'm debt-free. I don't have any credit card debt or any other type of debt. And I have monthly savings. And I also have a safety net of up to one year of my income saved up. And I am holding everything in cash. Is stock market still the primary investment venue?

Or is there anything else? And how do you navigate this, especially because you're earning money with your hard work and you really don't want to lose by doing something risky? So can you give any suggestions?

I want Mark to weigh in. But first, Kay, let me just encourage you. You're making some really smart moves here. In terms of the financial foundation we were talking about, you have a really solid one, a year's worth of emergency reserves and no debt, which is great. The surplus that you have, is any of that going into a company-sponsored retirement plan or any type of account like that? Or is it all just being built up in the form of cash?

Yeah. I am already putting about 10 percent in my company-sponsored 401k. And I also max out my IRA every year.

Very good. And what do you have built up in cash beyond the one year's emergency fund? Do you already have some money that you put aside? It would be about $30,000, I should say, in cash. All right. And what do you have in the way of monthly surplus that you can add to that $30,000? About $1,500. Okay. $1,500 a month.

Mark, what are your thoughts? Yeah. I think, you know, any time you're evaluating this type of decision, Kay, I think the starting point, beyond those questions that Rob just asked, is examining what's your timeframe for this money? Is this money that you are planning to invest and then able to leave it invested for several years? Yes.

I don't see any big expenses coming up in the near future. Maybe 15, 20 years. Maybe 15 years, 10 years. Yeah. That's the timeframe, yes.

Well, that's great. I mean, I definitely would say to anybody who's asking a similar question here that unless you have at least a five-year and preferably longer, like more like seven to 10-year type of timeframe, you're right. A lot of investments right now do look expensive. And unless you have that kind of a longer term timeframe, that does present short-term risks to investing with the stock market, for example, at the levels it's at today.

Now, if you've got that kind of a longer timeframe, then you can implement some strategies like dollar cost averaging, which is just starting to put money in on a regular basis, not putting everything you have in right up front, but maybe you decide that whatever of that portion that you want to invest, maybe you say, I'm going to invest a tenth of that each month over the next 10 months or some kind of interval like that that reduces the risk of putting a whole bunch of money in the market and having it immediately drop on you, because that is tough psychologically. And that way also, you know that even if you put some money to work and it does go down in the short term, you're going to be able to add money at those lower prices. And that's where that averaging part of dollar cost averaging comes in.

You're buying more shares at these lower prices as you go through any dips that may come in the years and months ahead. So dollar cost averaging, if you have a long term timeframe can really help reduce that short term market risk that you're worried about, Kay. The only other thing I would add, Kay, is, you know, you're right to consider your financial finish lines.

I mean, we should all be thinking about this, but certainly somebody in your situation, you've already got a year's emergency reserves, you got no debt, 10% going to company sponsored plan, plus fully funding your IRA with $1,500 a month surplus beyond that. You need to be asking yourself, what is my financial finish line, both in the form of lifestyle and accumulation. Lifestyle is your income.

Accumulation is your balance sheet. So how much is enough with regard to how much you're spending on your lifestyle and what is that cap beyond which you'd say, I'm going to give everything else away. And I think the same is true in terms of how much you're accumulating in terms of your investment goals, how much is enough there and at what point do you say, I'm going to stop saving and accumulating because I have enough and that's between you and the Lord.

And then I'm going to give that away because I think ultimately we begin to simplify our financial lives when we pay off our debt and we cap our lifestyle, we're not paying any more taxes, you know, and then it's just a matter of continuing to increase our giving at that point. So I think these are great thoughts for you on the investing side for Mark, but also I just challenge you on the finish line conversation as well. Okay, we're glad that you called today. Thank you very much and we hope that helps you. Sandra, Marguerite and Rose, we are coming in your direction, so please stay with us.

Have a little patience and we'll get there as quickly as we can. We're speaking with Mark Billard today from Rob West, of course, your host, our phone number 800-525-7000, back with much more right around the corner. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. We'll be right back. We'll be right back. We'll be right back.

We'll be right back. And our topic today, of course, is investing. Whenever Mark Billard joins us from soundmindinvesting, we're also addressing a list of financial moves for 2021, which is just a couple of different articles available to you as a MoneyWise listener when you visit them online, which is Yeah, Mark, you were just sharing with Kay, our caller in the previous segment, some of the keys to investing God's way, and that is creating a written investment plan, making sure you have the appropriate asset allocation, making sure you're properly diversified, not taking on too much risk, and even thinking about the types of accounts you're opening as well. You know, one thing we didn't talk about, but I know you mentioned in the article is just being careful what you're consuming in the way of financial media and input that perhaps might move you up on that emotional level, if you will. And talk to us about how we need to be thinking about the media we're consuming.

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, in addition to the nuts and bolts of creating an investing plan, we talk quite a bit about that at Soundmind Investing and really on these MoneyWise programs as well. We touch on that quite frequently. You know, we've got a number of steps in our list that deal with the mental side. So you've got the practical investing plan side, but then you've got this whole other mental side of being an investor. And, you know, an example there would be training yourself to take market turbulence in stride.

We certainly saw in 2020 how difficult that is and how hard it is to stay calm and stick with your plan when the stock market is so volatile like it was earlier in the year. But, you know, to the specific point of what you're consuming, you know, none of us are immune to the inputs that are coming at us. And so if we're constantly focusing on things like, not to pick on any particular spot, but, you know, the CNBC type content, you know, you have to understand that you're the product with that financial media content. You know, they are trying to keep you riveted to that screen so that they can fill the 24 hours a day, seven days a week of programming that they need to put out there.

And so they can sell their ads and all that. So just understand the dynamic and don't be naive to it thinking that they're there to help you as an investor. That's really not the game. The game is to keep you there. And what keeps you in that seat is either really exciting greed-oriented content on one hand or really scary, fearful type content on the other.

So they're going to push those fear and greed buttons to try to keep you coming back and keep you riveted to that content. So you just have to be aware of that because that's kind of the enemy of that inside out process that we're really trying to encourage you toward as an investor. You know, you don't want to be an outside-in investor where you're taking all that input and then reacting.

You want to be an inside-out investor where you know where you need to go and you have an investing plan based on what your needs are. And then you're executing that plan in an inside-out fashion. Speaking of riveted, we keep you riveted by virtue of great biblical information and our own dynamic personalities. That includes you, Mark Biller.

Let's go to Akron, Ohio. Sandra, what's on your mind today? Yes, I was just curious. What's your opinion? Does any of this apply to churches?

Like, would you give the same advice to a church who wanted to invest their money? Is that even? Yeah. Sure, Sandra. Let me ask you just, do you know any specifics on this or is this just hypothetical?

And here's why I ask. You know, typically, I mean, I've been on the finance committees over the years and, you know, we wouldn't entertain investing with church dollars. I mean, these are gifts from the congregation and others to be used for ministry purposes. So apart from, you know, operating the church budget and having appropriate reserves, which I think, you know, the church needs to consider carefully. And I'm talking about reserves beyond what the mortgage company would require.

I'm talking about perhaps, you know, six months or more of operating expenses. And that's something that I think there needs to be guidelines and principles established by the church to determine what that reserve amount is, how many months worth of reserves. But beyond that, you know, God's people are giving to get that into programming and ministry activities to reach the lost and and build up the body. And so taking risk with that money for the purpose of trying to seek a return, I think for most churches, I would say, you know, really wouldn't apply unless there's an unusual situation.

They have a school or there's some sort of endowment there or something like that. So is there a unique situation here that we need to know about or is this just more general in nature? No, I actually you've made me feel a lot better because that's kind of like what I was thinking. But, you know, I just kind of want a confirmation. I there's I think we just have an excess right now and we've been blessed with an excess. But I feel like we need to find a way to use it, you know, to.

To use it, you know. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

I think I mean, obviously, you've got to take into consideration all of the factors. Is there something coming that, you know, is there a building plan coming down the road? Well, obviously, if there is and it's short term in nature, you wouldn't want to take any risk with that anyway. Or is there a potential problem?

Or is this money coming from just a few individuals? And if they were to leave, that puts the church at greater risk. I mean, there's just a number of things you've got to look at before you just automatically deploy that into more programing and ministry.

But, you know, investing would certainly not be high on my list for a church in terms of deploying the gifts that have been given for the purpose of ministry, unless there's a really unusual situation. So we appreciate your call today. Hopefully that's helpful and encouraging to you as well.

Thanks very much, Sandra. You're listening to MoneyWise Live with Mark Biller as our guest today from When we come back, we have questions about Bitcoin, gold, retirement annuities and more.

I hope you'll stay with us. How should we as Christians think about investing? What if we could invest our money in a way that aligns with what we believe? At Eventide, we believe it is possible to love God and love our neighbor in the very practice of investing. We design investments for performance and a better world so you can invest for the future with a sense of wholeness and purpose. We call this investing that makes the world rejoice. More information is available at When it comes to investing guidance, you want advice grounded in God's Word. That's the approach offered by Soundmind Investing. SMI has helped tens of thousands of Christians acquire investing wisdom and confidence.

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The Dow gained 148 points, the NASDAQ up 106, and the S&P 500 picked up 21. This is SRN News. Hey, thanks so much for joining us today. It's MoneyWise Live, your host, Rob West. Well, Mark, we've been talking about 10 financial moves to make in 2021.

We're just scratching the surface. So, folks, if you haven't already, head over to and check out this article for a really helpful list of things you can do to put yourself on a better footing financially as you head in to the new year. And, Mark, one of the sections that you all address is this whole area of retirement. A lot of specifics like revisiting your Medicare choices and looking at long-term care and potentially the newer short-term care insurance options, a lot of that is covered. But what else do we need to consider as we look at retirement? Yeah, so there are a lot of items on the list in this general area.

Another kind of big, broader area is the idea of setting your house in order, which means getting your affairs set up so that your spouse or other loved ones can handle financial decisions, investment decisions, that sort of thing if something were to happen to you. One of the biggest items on the list for our SMI readers related to retirement planning is considering whether to use the financial planning software tool that SMI members have access to. You know, we have a lot of members that fall into the category where they don't necessarily feel like they need to have an advisor managing their investments, but they recognize they benefit from going through the type of retirement-oriented financial planning process that an advisor would often take someone through. And so the software tool is kind of a nice option for those folks who aren't working with an advisor. And it can be really helpful, and a lot of SMI members use that. So the top 10 list article has an item in it for this tool, which contains a link to more information about that, if that sounds appealing to anybody who's listening on MoneyWise today.

I love it. Mark, just one quick thing on what you mentioned here about short-term care insurance options. I know that's covered in the article.

Would you just give us 30 seconds on that? Yes. So long-term care policies have been prevalent for quite a long time, but a lot of folks don't qualify because either a medical condition, that type of thing, can exclude a lot of folks from the more traditional long-term care options. So more recently, these short-term care insurance options have come along, and they get around a lot of those obstacles.

So sometimes people, even that may have been rejected from a long-term care policy, find that they can get coverage with these newer plans and that they are more affordable as well. So we had an article on that recently. People can find that on our site. Okay. Let's move along phone-wise. Marguerite, we sure do appreciate you holding on, and what's your question? Good afternoon.

Thank you for taking my call. I was listening to a financial advisor a couple nights ago who was issuing a warning about how there's been such massive debt in this country, just $1.6 trillion student debt alone, on top of what the government all has debt-wise. And he said there's just a change coming, and that it will not be back to how it was, and sort of suggesting people to switch investments and have at least part of your investment go to gold and Bitcoin, because they would be more secure than the traditional investment places. I was wondering what you thought about that. Mark, your thoughts?

Yeah. Well, Marguerite, we actually did a program several months ago, I guess it was earlier this summer, where we covered some similar territory and talked about investing in gold. We had written a fairly in-depth cover article on investing in gold back in, I believe it was June, in our newsletter.

That article and other articles on gold are on our website for folks to check out. But I guess the brief summary there is, there are a lot of concerns about the government's policy responses this past year, and really this is something that's been going on for many years. A lot of people are concerned that with the type of policies we're pursuing, that we are debasing the currency.

And it's not just us, governments around the globe are kind of pursuing these paths. And so if that does end up being the type of problem that a lot of people think it might be, having some investments in real assets like gold, and we'll talk about Bitcoin in just a second, will be really helpful because they are a traditional store of value. So our cover article on gold earlier this summer in the SMI newsletter discussed that whole issue, as well as how do you go about investing in gold?

What are the best ways to do it? And we laid out some of the options there. Now, I would draw a little bit of a distinction between gold and Bitcoin. Gold has been around for 5,000 years as a form of money. Bitcoin has been around for 12 years. We don't really have time to go into what Bitcoin is.

And I don't want to sound too negative because I'm not one of these people who say it's ridiculous, it's going to fail, all of these types of things. But I would just caution folks that Bitcoin really falls into the category of being a speculation. And I say that because the ups and downs of Bitcoin have been so extreme through its history that you really need to be able to weather a lot of volatility, much more than in the precious metals or even frankly the stock market. So that is definitely, I wouldn't say everyone should stay away, but I would say that you should only be looking at Bitcoin through the lens of this is more speculative money.

If I were to lose all of it, I would be okay with that because I'm taking an asymmetric risk with a lot of upside, but also recognizing this could actually lose everything that I put into it. And that's not where most people are coming from when they look to invest for the future. So I hope that helps, Marguerite. It's not that it's completely forbidden.

It's appropriate for some folks who can take the risk, but you just really need to understand what you're getting into there. And Marguerite, if you want to find that program we did with Mark about gold that aired on June 15th, visit our website and look into past radio archives. Thanks very much, Rob. Well, Mark, we really appreciate you stopping by today. We've covered a lot of ground, but there's a lot we didn't get to as well.

So I know folks can check out your article. Just one quick word on bonds, especially in this low interest rate environment. What about for those folks who are in that retirement season? Can you give us just 30 seconds or so on what they should be looking at in terms of fixed income options? Yeah, unfortunately, it's a tough area right now.

Rates are very low. We've seen in the past month or two, we've seen rates starting to rise, which is bad for bond prices generally. So fixed income is a tough area right now. We still need bonds in most portfolios to give us some stability there, but it is hard to see them earning the types of returns they have in the past.

So it's worth entertaining some other options as alternatives, dividend paying stocks, those types of things, so we can lessen our reliance on bonds. Very good. Well, Mark, as always, incredibly practical and biblical. Merry Christmas to you and the team, my friend. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks, guys. Merry Christmas. God bless and thanks to you.

We'll be right back. Many people are experiencing financial challenges such as credit card debt, downsizing, dead-end jobs and depleted savings. In fact, more than half of all divorces are the result of financial pressures at home. But there's hope in your money counts. Biblical financial expert Howard Dayton shows that the Bible is a veritable blueprint for managing your finances, and you'll discover the profound impact it has on your relationship with God. Your money counts is available when you click the store button at Have you ever taken a wrong turn when it comes to money?

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Break free from the familiar and learn something new with The Characters of Christmas at Hey, if you're just tuning in because you just missed your exit, we're sorry about that. We were talking with Mark Biller. If you'd like to find the articles mentioned today that Mark was discussing along with Rob, you'll find it when you visit Even if you're not a full-time subscriber, they've put some recent articles up there just for our MoneyWise Live listeners.

You really ought to check them out, Let's go to Chicago. Rose, thank you so much for hanging in there and what's your annuity question today? Hi, Rose.

You with us? Oh, Rose. Rose has put us on hold and she's making cookies or something. Are you there, Rose?

Oh, she's not. Okay, we'll come back and try to get to Rose. Let's go to Laurie in Winter Haven, Florida. Hi, Laurie. What's your situation?

Hi. I was just, thank you for taking my call. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I am widowed. I have two young adult children, 21 and 23, that are in college. So, praying for the best but wanting to prepare for the worst. I was wondering, I owe about $70,000 on my mortgage. Should I use my 401k money to pay off the house to make sure the children have somewhere to be?

Yeah, Laurie. First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your husband's passing and your diagnosis. None of this obviously caught the Lord by surprise, so we're going to ask him to be near to you during this season that you're walking through and to really just give you a clarity and a vision for what he has for you in the future.

But I know you're in a difficult one right now. I appreciate that you're thinking about really wanting to have a strong financial foundation under you and that's certainly what we should always be thinking about when it comes to managing God's money. Although your assets are what they are, whether they're growing in a 401k on a tax-advantaged basis or paid into your home where you own that asset outright.

At your passing, they would be available in whatever form they are for whatever beneficiaries are listed on the accounts or however your will and estate is set up. So I don't know given the situation that it's really particularly beneficial to you at this point to go ahead and pull this money out because money in a 401k is expensive money to tap into. Now, there is a provision this year that would make it slightly less expensive if it's COVID related that you're pulling it out. So individuals affected by COVID-19 can withdraw up to $100,000 from a 401k and the 10% penalty that would normally be applied would be waived.

Again, you'd have to be able to make that attestation though about COVID. But even then, the money's roughly $70,000 you'd be pulling out for the mortgage would all be added to your taxable income, which is what again makes it expensive money to access. So as long as everything is set up, the documents are up to date, healthcare surrogate and power of attorney and wills and beneficiaries on 401ks, the ability for the home to be paid off if it is going to stay in the family, you know, and for your kids to be cared for, you know, even if you wanted to set up a trust is still there. And if we, you know, you are the Lord heals you and you're, you know, he doesn't call you home anytime soon you this money is still growing for you and available down the road to be used from that 401k, which would be a much better place for it to be in terms of its growth potential, and in terms of not having to pay the taxes on it anytime soon.

So react to that, though, what are your thoughts? Right, because I do also have like life insurance, but only 230,000. So I wasn't sure whether I should pay it off or would they use the insurance money to pay it off? I didn't know how that actually got handled. You know, it's going into the kids name. Yeah, I wasn't sure how that worked.

Yeah. So I mean, both would be available. Obviously, the death benefit would be paid to whoever the beneficiaries are listed on the policies. The same would happen with the 401k with the listed beneficiaries. And so I think what perhaps might be your next step is to visit with a godly estate planning attorney, perhaps somebody from your church.

If you don't know when you could contact a certified kingdom advisor there in Winter Haven and ask for a referral to an estate planning attorney who's a believer who could just really help you understand making sure everything is set up properly, the will is up to date, all the beneficiaries are up to date, and then walk you through the process of how that probate process and the assets passing outside of probate would work so that affairs could be taken care of, including paying off the home. But I don't know that you need to prematurely access funds from a 401k at this point. You know, let's assume the Lord has a lot more for you and your assignment here before he calls you home. And that's where we'll all ultimately be.

And given that let's make the best decisions we can today with the assets that you have and having your affairs in order. I think perhaps we'll give you a lot more peace of mind. Lori, we hope that helps you. Thanks so much. And please know that our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your children this Christmas season. Thank you very much and God bless.

Cleveland, Ohio, our good friends at WCRF doing wonderful work up there and Edward, what's your question for Rob West? Oh, thank you. Thank you for taking my call.

Sure. Okay, so I'm at the age at 59 and a half where you can withdraw from your 401k without any penalties. I'm worried about the market and how it, you know, I lost a lot of money in the beginning of the year, but it all came back.

Plus some now I'm kind of worried about is it going to keep growing or should I do something different? Um, the second part of my question is, is I do have a loan out on my 401k for like 17,000 that I'm paying back. Um, and I just want, I should take money out to pay that off.

Yeah. Well, as long as you're continuing to pay that back, you know, I'm not a big fan of borrowing from a 401k. If you separate from the company, that's all taxable to you. And obviously when it's not in the account, it doesn't have the potential to grow. And so I'd prefer, you know, we not do that, but given that that's already happened and you're on track paying it back, I would just continue to do that. Um, you know, rather than take any other more drastic measures to pay that back. Um, I think beyond that though, Edward, you know, as long as time is on your side, we were just talking about this with Mark Biller, as long as you have that seven to 10 year time horizon or more, you know, being invested is probably still the very best place for you to be to grow wealth over the long haul. Uh, do we have some challenges ahead of us?

Uh, yeah. I mean, clearly we've are reaching a pretty high debt levels in this country. And you know, we've responded to this pandemic with all kinds of monetary policy and fiscal stimulus and, uh, in the form of additional debt for this nation, uh, that was very appropriate and needed the challenges during the previous decade of the greatest, uh, economic boom we've ever seen, we were still spending beyond our means as a country. And so, uh, during the good times, we need to be, you know, getting our financial house in order so we can deal with times like this in the way that we did. Um, will we face an immediate, uh, threat, uh, economically?

I don't think so. And I think there's clearly ways that we can address even the debt levels. If, uh, the policymakers will get serious about it. Uh, we have still a largest economy in the world and, uh, it's continuing to grow at a good clip. So you moving out of the market, I don't think is the right move. In fact, when we look historically, we'll see every decade has its own challenges and many of them were unexpected and very, very severe, but the stock market was still the very best place to be over the last hundred years. And I think that will be the case moving forward. So I would just say, make sure your allocation is properly diversified. Make sure you have good time horizon. Don't try to pick the top and the bottom and try to move in and out of the market.

Just dollar cost average in and uh, unless something changes, I think that's still the best place for us to be with our longterm money moving forward. So hopefully that's helpful to you. Edward, thanks very much. Jeff in Bloomington, we'll have to be brief about it, but what's your, what's your question today?

Hey, I'll, I'll do my best. I'm, I'm 64 years old. I'm currently collecting social security about 1100 a month.

My wife, we've elected to wait for 70 till she turned 70 to collect hers to let it grow a little bit more. But I've heard a little about spouse benefits and I'm getting conflicting information even from and phone calls to them about spouse benefits. Yeah.

Yeah. Well, when you file for retirement benefits, your spouse then is eligible based on your earnings for a spousal benefit. Um, and as long as their, their spouse is 62, um, then the spousal benefit can be as much as half of the workers, in this case, your primary insurance amount depending on the spouse's age at retirement. So, uh, if you begin receiving benefits before full retirement age, your spouse would receive a reduced benefit. Um, now you always have the choice of this, your spouse collecting the spousal benefit. Um, you know, once you file or claiming the spouse's own benefits based on, uh, their own eligibility and when you qualify for both, then your spouse would get the higher of the two, either their own benefit or the spousal benefits.

So, um, you know, I think that's the decision point to be made. I like the idea of waiting on her taking her benefit so it can continue to grow. In the meantime, uh, she would then qualify as a spousal benefit. So I think perhaps you need to go back to They are doing virtual meetings and see if you can get just a little bit more clarity as to what that amount would be so you can decide how to proceed.

But clearly there is a spousal benefit right now that she should be eligible for based on you collecting your benefits currently. And, uh, Jeff, I'm afraid we're going to have to leave it there. I've found that visiting these folks in person can be a highly beneficial and very understandable. And, uh, you might want to give that another try, but thank you very much for calling in today and for staying with us on hold for as long as you did.

And Rob West, I think that kind of does it for this day, sir. Always a pleasure. Mark Biller, always a great pleasure to have as a guest and we'll come back tomorrow and do it again. That sounds great, Steve. I appreciate it. All right, good. Uh, our thanks to our technical staff, Amy, Deb and Rich. Also with us today, none other than Gabby T. That T of course stands for toboggan, which she might get to use in Chicago here in Georgia. Not so much. MoneyWise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and MoneyWise Media. Drive safely. Join us again tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-14 03:15:43 / 2024-01-14 03:34:57 / 19

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