- 00:51 – Email: How does the five-year holding rule of Roth assets apply to real estate gains?
- 07:54 – Scott Ford, The Sustainable Edge: proper work/life balance can fuel business growth
- 23:06 – Big Al’s List: 10 Timeless Financial Tips (Knight Kiplinger)
- 41:22 – Can you avoid state taxes in retirement by getting a PO box in a no state tax state?
- 51:50 – Four estate planning documents that make life easier for you and your heirs
I really feel like I’ve been more balanced than ever in my life. More time off, following things that are fun for me, and yet the business is also growing faster than ever. So Ron and I have lived both versions, and now feel like we’re living what we call a Sustainable Edge, where balance leads to growth, and growth leads to balance. – Scott Ford, co-author, The Sustainable Edge: 15 Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life
That’s Scott Ford, co-author of The Sustainable Edge: 15 Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life. Today on Your Money, Your Wealth, Scott tells Joe and Big Al how he and his co-author Ron Carson achieved faster business growth and a better work/life balance on The Sustainable Edge. Can you avoid state taxes in retirement by getting a PO box in a no state tax state? The fellas answer that one, and Big Al Lists 10 Timeless Financial tips and the four documents you’ll want for a solid estate plan. Now, here are Joe Anderson, CFP and Big Al Clopine, CPA.
:51 – Email: How does the five-year holding rule of Roth assets apply to real estate gains?
JA: Thank you for tuning in, got a great show lined up. Well, I don’t know how great it’s going to be, but we’ll figure it out as we go. Big Al is running a little bit late, so I’m going to switch it up a little bit and get to the email bag. I found this interesting. I got this e-mail from an individual, and he was talking about a Roth IRA, and a Roth IRA conversion. He goes, “How does the five-year holding rule of Roth assets apply to real estate gains?” So here’s the question. He goes, “If a Roth account is over five years old, and a real estate asset is transferred into the existing Roth IRA with the appropriate taxes paid upon transfer, and then in four years the asset is sold for a 20% profit, does this profit need to stay in the Roth for five more years in order to be taken out tax free? Or does the five-year distribution rule start on the date of the initial transfer?” So let’s talk about a few different things because there’s a whole bag full of goodies there. Roth IRAs, first of all, is an after tax contribution. All earnings will grow tax-free if it’s a qualified distribution. And what that means is this: first of all, if it is a contribution, it’s first in first out. FIFO tax treatment. So you can take the dollars out at any point, there are no taxes due. So if I put $5,000 in today, two years down the road, I need to take those $5,000 out, no problem. No matter what age you are. There’s no 59 and a half rule when it comes to Roth IRA contributions. The earnings, however, need to season inside the Roth IRA for five years, or until you turn 59 and a half. So let’s say I’m 40 years old, I put $5,000 in, it grows to $10,000 and now I’m 45. Well, I could take the $5,000 contribution out, but the $5,000 earnings that the $5,000 grew to, to $10,000, I could not touch those dollars, tax-free, until I turned 59 and a half. So the 59 and a half rule applies to earnings, but not in contributions. What this gentleman is asking is to say, “Hey, I have some real estate that I transferred into a Roth IRA,” so he had an existing probably self-directed IRA, that he had real estate inside that self-directed IRA, he converted that money into a Roth IRA. Now a conversion and a contribution are two different things. A contribution is an after tax, you have cash in your checking account, you just place the money into the Roth IRA. You let the money season until you’re 59 and a half, or five years, whichever is later. So if I don’t start a Roth IRA until I’m 65, I have access to the principal again, but I do not have access to the earnings for five years. So in that example, if I’m 65 years old, I make a contribution, I have access, total, to the contributions, but do not have access to the earnings until five years later, if I’ve never established a Roth IRA before. A conversion has a
So let’s talk about a few different things because there’s a whole bag full of goodies there. Roth IRAs, first of all, is an after tax contribution. All earnings will grow tax-free if it’s a qualified distribution. And what that means is this: first of all, if it is a contribution, it’s first in first out. FIFO tax treatment. So you can take the dollars out at any point, there are no taxes due. So if I put $5,000 in today, two years down the road, I need to take those $5,000 out, no problem. No matter what age you are. There’s no 59 and a half rule when it comes to Roth IRA contributions. The earnings, however, need to season inside the Roth IRA for five years, or until you turn 59 and a half. So let’s say I’m 40 years old, I put $5,000 in, it grows to $10,000 and now I’m 45. Well, I could take the $5,000 contribution out, but the $5,000 earnings that the $5,000 grew to, to $10,000, I could not touch those dollars, tax-free, until I turned 59 and a half. So the 59 and a half rule applies to earnings, but not in contributions. What this gentleman is asking is to say, “Hey, I have some real estate that I transferred into a Roth IRA,” so he had an existing probably self-directed IRA, that he had real estate inside that self-directed IRA, he converted that money into a Roth IRA. Now a conversion and a contribution are two different things. A contribution is an after tax, you have cash in your checking account, you just place the money into the Roth IRA. You let the money season until you’re 59 and a half, or five years, whichever is later. So if I don’t start a Roth IRA until I’m 65, I have access to the principal again, but I do not have access to the earnings for five years. So in that example, if I’m 65 years old, I make a contribution, I have access, total, to the contributions, but do not have access to the earnings until five years later, if I’ve never established a Roth IRA before. A conversion has a
What this gentleman is asking is to say, “Hey, I have some real estate that I transferred into a Roth IRA,” so he had an existing probably self-directed IRA, that he had real estate inside that self-directed IRA, he converted that money into a Roth IRA. Now a conversion and a contribution are two different things. A contribution is an after tax, you have cash in your checking account, you just place the money into the Roth IRA. You let the money season until you’re 59 and a half, or five years, whichever is later. So if I don’t start a Roth IRA until I’m 65, I have access to the principal again, but I do not have access to the earnings for five years. So in that example, if I’m 65 years old, I make a contribution, I have access, total, to the contributions, but do not have access to the earnings until five years later, if I’ve never established a Roth IRA before. A conversion has a five-year clock with every conversion that you do. So if you do a Roth IRA conversion, you’ve never established a Roth before, and you’re under 59 and a half, you can’t have access to any of those dollars for five years. And each conversion has its own five-year clock. Now, if you already have a Roth IRA that you’ve established five years ago, then you convert dollars into that Roth IRA.
Now, if you’re under 59 and a half, then you have the five-year clock on the conversion, even though you’ve already had one established, because of a conversion, if you’re under 59 and a half, has different rules. The reason for that, is they do not want you to bypass the 10% penalty. Because here’s what happened before, when they first established Roth IRAs, is that people would do a Roth IRA conversion. I’m 40 years old. I do a Roth IRA conversion of $50,000. I do not have to pay a 10% penalty, but I do have to pay the tax on that $50,000 conversion. And then the next year, I just take the $50,000 out. There’s no 10% penalty. So they said, “No, we can’t do that. That’s a bypass of the 10% penalty,” so each conversion now has its own five-year clock. So it all depends on age. So are you under 59 and a half or over 59 and a half, to determine the five-year clock on conversions. So I’m just going to assume that this gentleman is over 59 and a half. He’s already had a Roth IRA established, he said, for five years. He converted some real estate inside the existing Roth IRA, and then four years later, the real estate transaction grew 20%. Does he have to wait another five years to take that 20% gain out, or sell the property and get the gain out? The answer is no. The five-year clock starts with the first dollar that hits your first Roth IRA. And as long as you’re over 59 and a half, and it’s been five years since you started the Roth IRA, then you’re good to go. So there’s a lot of confusion, and I probably confused the heck out of most of you, but just know that when you are doing Roth IRA conversions, you have a five-year clock – a waitlist, if you will – if you’re under 59 and a half, for each conversion. And just think of it this way, is that they’re trying to avoid people escaping the 10% penalty. On a contribution, the five-year clock starts again with the first dollar that hits any first Roth IRA. But you can’t take any of the earnings out until you’re over 59 and a half, but you have full access to the contributions at any time.
Remember, Joe and Big Al are always willing to answer your money questions! Email firstname.lastname@example.org – or you can send your questions directly to email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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7:54 – Scott Ford, The Sustainable Edge: proper work/life balance can fuel business growth
JA: Hey, welcome back to the show is called Your Money, Your Wealth. Joe Anderson, Alan Clopine hanging out today. Alan, it’s that time again.
AC: Yes it is, and we have Scott Ford on today.
JA: Yeah, The Sustainable Edge.
AC: Yes. He’s going to tell us how to be better entrepreneurs.
JA: I hope so because I’m awful.
AC: Yeah, because we need help. (laughs)
JA: Seriously, because we had Scott on, we called him early, we apologized for being late. (laughs) The show is just awful. So, Scott thank you for being patient with us, a couple of knuckleheads here.
SF: No worries. I think I might fit right in. We’re all good. (laughs)
JA: So, Scott you wrote this book, The Sustainable Edge, and you wrote that with Mr. Ron Carson. I know Ron. Ron is a great guy, and I’m glad that we were able to get you on.
SF: Yeah, thanks, I did. Ron is a partner of mine, known him since 2001. So long time partners and friends, and was excited to write the book with him and hopefully share what we’ve learned along the way, at least a few things.
JA: Yeah. Well, tell us what’s what’s the genesis of the book, and what made you write it, and what are some of the things our listeners can kind of take from it.
SF: Well, the book was written because both Ron and I have lived both versions of this, and that is, at least early on in my career, so I speak for myself here, and early on it was just all about making a living. You start out in business, and you’re just scratching and clawing to keep your head above water and get it done. And unfortunately, when you do that, a lot of times you end up a bit out of balance. So my example is, I’d come up with a balanced life philosophy and named the company after that. For me, it’s been spiritual, family, health, career, philanthropy, and finances. And we manage money to be that cornerstone, and that financial ability to help our clients focus on the other areas. That said, if you’d look at my calendar in the early years, I was kidding myself. Though they were valuable to me, they really weren’t my priorities, because at the end of the day what’s on your calendar are your priorities. And my calendar was pretty much work. I flipped that, and the kids were young, and I was working more towards 30 hours, and I was dropping off to school, I was the one picking them up, didn’t miss any of their games and activities, and I’m proud of that. However, business would slow down a bit on growth. And so, since then, I would call about since 2009, I really feel like I’ve been more balanced than ever in my life. More time off, following things that are fun for me, and yet the business is also growing faster than ever. So Ron and I have lived both versions, and now feel like we’re living what we call a Sustainable Edge, where balance leads to growth, and growth leads to balance, and we wanted to share that.
JA: How the heck do you do that? Because I’ve been working 80 hours a week for the last 10 years. (laughs)
AC: Joe’s the earlier version of you, Scott.
SF: (laughs) Well, let’s say there’s hope.
JA: (laughs) So this is my little private session.
AC: Yeah, I’ll just be quiet and you get a little counseling. (laughs)
JA: Because I think this is where maybe small business owners have a problem, is giving things up, and trying to delegate certain activities where you can do them better, or you might be a little bit nervous that the quality of what your company’s doing might go down. So, I mean, I know those are my fears.
SF: Yes. That’s not unusual, certainly, I had those as well. I think we all do. So I’ll take a stab at it, and then we can continue the dialogue – and I’ll send you a bill for this, by the way.
JA: (laughs) That’s all right. That’s fine.
AC: Yeah, any amount you want, Scott.
JA: (laughs) Yeah, Big Al’s paying for it.
AC: (laughs) My partner needs help but then you can counsel me, I can use some help too.
SF: No worries, I think I have time. So let’s give it a shot. So basically, here is one of the things that worked for me. I mentioned my areas that are most important to me? So taking the time to get clear on those areas certainly is the starting point. So we actually put together a one page document called the I.Q. Grower. So in our case, the I.Q. stands for Implementation Quotient. And you can get it on our website, and it’s a free download PDF, you can get to it, both you and your listeners, and it really starts with “what are your values.” We start with six, doesn’t have to be six. I’ve already what mine are. But then that flows down to, “what are the lifetime goals in those core areas of life that are most important to you.” And then this quarter, what’s out of balance? Because we talk about balance in life. You’re never completely in balance. It’s just recognizing where you’re out of balance. And that’s what this tool is designed to do. So you can spend some time focusing on that. So for me, I mentioned the 6 pillars. Well, one of the things I’m focusing on this quarter is health. And I don’t feel unhealthy per se, but I just haven’t focused on it as far as doctor visits. So I went with my wife and we did a full in depth a blood draw, and just sent it off to have all kinds of tests run, just for data. And that’s how I do it. And then the left side of that form, once we determine what’s the most important area we need to focus on this quarter, we then get it on our calendar. And so, we start looking at, what’s our day look like. So let me give you an example: one of the things on the left side of the form we’ll share is what both Ron and I call The Six Most Important. What are the six most important things I need to get done tomorrow? And that’s been really valuable because it helps us prioritize. But don’t miss my comment earlier. I’m starting with what I value most, like my six things. So when I’m pooling my 6 Most each day, I’m looking at my 6 Most valuable things, that helps me integrate my day with family, with some spiritual things, with some health. It’s not every day, but it keeps the week really balanced out and in check. So hopefully, that form will be helpful. That would be a good starting point, would be that IQ Grower process one page.
AC: So you start with the with your values, and then you kind of think about what are the most important things to get done that day. And that’s probably a really good way to say that, because what tends to happen, you may intuitively know what those things are, but then life gets in the way. You get distracted, and you get to the end of the day and you realize, “Gosh, I only worked on one of them.” So it sounds like if you take the time to kind of schedule this out, and actually make sure you get those things done, then that’s going to help you towards productivity and getting towards your core values, I think is what I heard.
SF: 100%. You nailed it. That’s it. And what’s important, I think what I like about the one pager, just looking at all the other versions of things that are out there, is where we live with technology in the day and age we live in, things change so much. So just getting really clear on what you value most. As you said, core values. Then as Jim Collins would say, your BHAG. Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal, in those six areas. So you’re looking for the future. 25 years out, 20 years out. A long time out. Where do you want to be in these areas, and then let’s just break it down. Looking at quarterly, where we need to focus, and tomorrow, what are the six things that I can do towards that. Because the middle changes so much, right? So that’s what makes sense to me, and that’s what has been working so well.
AC: And then, of course, now you’re going to be doing things, some of those six things are going to be things that are not related to your business. How does that ultimately circle back and help your business grow? Or does it just grow at a slower pace? Or what’s been your experience?
SF: Not at all, which is really what the book’s about. Both Ron and I, our businesses are growing faster than they ever have. Yet we definitely have more time off, more balance in other things. Let me give you a couple of examples. So one would be, the 6 Most certainly is not always business. Some days it is, but most days are not. I almost always try to schedule work out time. That’s always one of my 6 Most. I have a morning routine I go through, extremely important for me to set the tone of the day. One of the things that I think entrepreneurs and CEOs, that we struggle with – so if I had one takeaway I wanted to give to CEOs and entrepreneurs, it’s space and margin. And we gotta schedule that in our day. Whether it’s a walk in the woods, whether it’s a walk wherever you’re at your work, if you meditate, some form of space and margin, where we can let our subconscious go to work, because really, what’s the job of companies? To me, the job of companies, everyone will say make a profit. Really, the job of companies today, I think, is to make clients lives easier. Well then, what’s the job of the CEO? I think our job is to make our teams’ life easier. So it’s tough to do that if you’re just running on this treadmill. So having time for space and margin where you can have creative time, thinking, planning time – that is the biggest missing element in my mind.
AC: I think a lot of entrepreneurs that I’ve read about that have been successful, they get up early in the morning and they have these routines. Is that something you would recommend as well?
SF: It is that’s exactly what I do. I get up – early is relative, I think Ron’s early is 3:30, mine is not so much – but, typically 5:30 to 6:00. So that’s early for me. And I just pretty much automatically wake up at that time anyway, and I start my morning routine. It just sets the day. I’ve already, the night before, written down my 6 Most Important, so I slept on that. And then part of my morning routine is, really, I have a meditation practice, I have a workout practice, and I visualize what my day’s going to look like. And really, the 6 is not key to me. Some days it’s 3. In fact, lot of days it’s 3 Most Important. And sometimes it’s only 2. That doesn’t really matter. I think what matters is the priority, and really going to work and spending some time on really, what is the most important thing to accomplish. And there’s actually research done on that. There’s another book that was written not that long ago on this very subject, talking about Darwin and some other creatives, how they were looked at as slackers! Because they took naps, and they may only have worked four hours a day, but that four hours was really deliberate practice in their craft. And then they had a lot of rejuvenation time where it helped with their thinking and their planning, and it helped with really recharging their batteries.
AC: So I guess that’s where it comes to the balance. If you’re balanced in other areas of your life, it makes your work time that much more productive and focused. And I guess that’s where the growth comes from.
SF: Yes. 100%. It does. And again, it seems counter-intuitive. But what happens, if you think about it, are we more productive if we’re putting in the 12 hour days and our batteries are draining and drained? I would argue no. You would be more productive with the focused time of let’s say four hours or three hours and taking some time off and recharging your batteries. There’s a law of diminishing returns, would be when I’m trying to say.
AC: Yeah, and I would suspect these concepts – it’s not just for entrepreneurs and CEOs. This could be applied to virtually anybody.
SF: Agreed 100%. I am an entrepreneur, a business owner, so feel born to serve them. But you’re exactly right, this concept will work for anybody.
JA: If you relate that, let’s say, to retirement planning, because we’re all advisors, I think just the lack of planning, in any aspect of our lives – people should be planning a lot more than they are.
AC: People plan their vacations more.
JA: For sure. But I mean if they would just write it down, and then holding yourself accountable to that, because once you write it down then you’re more apt to probably act upon that goal, whatever it is. If it’s something that you’re doing in your business, if it’s something that you have to do at work every day, or in your other life too, such as retirement, to say I want to retire at this date, this is the goal, I need to save X, and then try to work to that, and making sure that you remind yourself and talk to yourself. Most people’s retirement is probably pretty important to them, but they don’t take the time to write it down.
SF: Yeah. You’re spot on, in fact, what you said as far as planning vacations are exactly right. We’ll spend so much time planning a vacation or planning to buy a car, yet, how much time are we really planning for retirement? And what’s more important, and what’s going to have a bigger impact? So our priorities tend to get out of whack. I will add to the earlier comment, that is, yes this is applicable to everyone. In some ways, this is a little easier for entrepreneurs and business owners, just because we can control our hours slightly easier. Though that is changing. With technology, a lot of people can work remotely and are having better control over their hours, so that getting easier for all of us as well.
JA: Hey Scott, any last parting words of wisdom for our audience?
SF: You know, number one, I hope he could hear the dog barking in the background, he’s a big boy so I was hoping you couldn’t, but…
JA: No, we definitely heard it. Definitely heard the dog. (laughs)
AC: But we liked it. (laughs)
SF: Sorry about that. He’s a 150-pound mastiff and so normally it’s quiet up here in my office. On Fridays, I work from home so that’s what’s happening. And I guess the U.P.S. guy he wasn’t so happy with.
AC: Well, he’s doing his job there.
SF: Well he is. I guess, parting words of wisdom is, don’t let my dog get a hold of you, he’s a big boy.
JA: (laughs) The book is called The Sustainable Edge. Where can they find that book, Scott?
SF: You can go Amazon, of course, our website is TheSustainableEdge.com, you can also download that PDF, the I.Q. Grower process, which I would recommend everyone do, on TheSustainableEdge.com
JA: TheSustainableEdge.com That’s Scott Ford, folks. We’ve got to take a break, the show is called Your Money, Your Wealth.
After you achieve the perfect work/life balance, stress test your portfolio and make sure you’re retirement ready! Visit YourMoneyYourWealth.com and click “Free Assessment” to meet with one of our Certified Financial Planners. How much money will you need in retirement? How much income can you get from your portfolio? What Social Security strategies are available to you? Make sure your retirement strategy is aligned with your retirement goals. Sign up for a free two-meeting assessment with a Certified Financial Planner. Just click “Free Assessment” at YourMoneyYourWealth.com
It’s time now for Big Al’s List: Every week, Big Al Clopine scours the media to find the best tips, do’s and don’ts, mistakes, myths, and advice to improve your overall financial picture – in handy bullet-point format. This week, 10 Timeless Financial Tips.
23:06 – Big Al’s List: 10 Timeless Financial Tips (Knight Kiplinger)
AC: This is kind of written almost like The Gospel or the Ten Commandments – just one one sentence each. But they’re good things. I mean I think every single one of these is important.
JA: You’re getting very spiritual.
AC: I am, now as I’m getting older. And I just I just went on a very, very long hike, and I actually survived the hike.
JA: Did you think you were going to die?
AC: No, but there was definitely several spots – this is the Kalalau trail in Kauai, where it’s very dangerous – most dangerous like I’ve ever been on, by far. And I’ve been on Half Dome, and that’s nuts, that hike. But anyway, there’s this one area called Crawler’s Ledge at Mile 7, where you’re basically exposed on a cliff, and if you slip you’re dead. And the trail ranges from two feet to one foot wide. (laughs) Your holding onto the rock with one hand, trying to get a handhold, you got your hiking pole on there, trying to get some foundation, so as you take the next step, your center gravity, you go low… anyway, but we made it through. My son Ryan and I. A wonderful hike, beautiful hike, perhaps the most beautiful hike I’ve ever done in my life. But that’s a one and done. That’s – I’ve done it. (laughs) Because I would say, it’s like… maybe there shouldn’t be a trail there. You’re hiking on cliffs the whole time.
JA: How many people have died?
AC: I don’t know. But every year, several. (laughs)
JA: Oh jeez. No thanks.
AC: And you with your tall frame?
JA: Yeah, I’d much rather be sitting with a cold Coors Light than doing that. (laughs)
AC: Anyway I divest – but, this is 10 Timeless Financial Tips from Kiplinger. Number one: wealth creation isn’t a matter of what you earn, it’s how much you save.
JA: No, I agree with that 1000%.
AC: How many times do we see people that make a lot of money, they don’t have a penny saved?
JA: Well, the problem is that so many people are so tied to the return because they haven’t saved enough. So they’re taking on way too much risk –
AC: – with what little savings they have –
JA: Yeah, and then they think that there’s some magical potion out there, that’s going to get them a giant rate of return. And it’s like it’s an addiction to the return. They’re always unhappy, and they’re always moving in and out of the markets. They’re always getting subpar returns, just because they need this high return. No, if you would’ve just saved more, you would have ten times more wealth.
AC: Yeah. It’s true, and we know that, from all kinds of analysis, that a good goal to shoot for is at least save 10% of your earnings. Really, 15% is probably a better number. In some cases, maybe more. We’ve talked to some podcasters on this show, they encourage people to save 50, 60, 70,% so that you can retire when you’re in your late 30s.
JA: Yeah that’s the FIRE, Financial Independence Retire Early movement.
AC: Right. And so if that’s your deal then GREAT, and that can be done, and people are doing it. But for the rest of us, 10% is kind of a minimum, but 15% really should be the goal, I would say. So what that means is, if you make $100,000, 15% of that is $15,000. So live off of $85,000 and save $15,000. Simple as that. Easy to say, hard to do. (laughs) Number two is, your biggest barrier to becoming rich is living like you’re rich before you are.
JA: What, is it not fake it till you make it? Isn’t that the secret?
AC: Keeping up with the Joneses.
JA: You’ve got to think, “I’m rich,”. Believe, “I’m rich.” Then you will be rich? Isn’t that how it works?
AC: Well, there is some truth to getting your mind in order, but no, this is talking about, if you’re spending like you’re wealthy before you’re wealthy, you’re spending more than you’re making, and a lot of times, you go to, particularly neighborhoods of young professionals, or maybe middle aged professionals for that matter, and they’re living this lavish lifestyle, and you’re living next door to them, going, “Gosh, I don’t know how they can afford these cars and these vacations.” And it’s because they’re borrowing, and they’re one paycheck away from total disaster. The market takes a downturn, or they get fired, or whatever – something happens. This is related to the first one, which is, it’s not what you earn it’s what you save, and alongside with that is, live under your earnings. Your lifestyle should be less than your earnings, not more. Not greater than. I’m OK faking it till you make it, but not when it comes to material goods. (laughs) The third is pay yourself first. Have retirement and other savings deducted from your paycheck. If there isn’t enough money left over for your bills, cut your spending. Simple as that.
JA: Yeah. I think you’ve got to add to that too: how much are you paying yourself first? I guess I could pay myself a couple of bucks first. But then, that goes back to your first statement, is that you have to figure out – let’s say you’re in your 50s, and you want to retire in the next 15 years. You need to figure out: “What is my lifestyle today? Do I want to maintain that lifestyle? What is “And then what else do I need on top of that, to provide my lifestyle?” And work that number backward, to figure out exactly how much you should be saving today. And then save that first, then spend everything else. And instead of saying, “Well, I’m paying myself first, Al. I’m saving $3,000 a year.” It’s not going to cut it. No, you have to do a little bit more than paying yourself first. How much do you need to be paying yourself?
AC: Yeah, I mean how many times – you teach a lot of classes around San Diego and Southern California, and a lot of people have a sense that when they retire, they might need to spend a little bit less because they haven’t saved enough. And so a little back of the envelope calculation, you take Social Security, maybe you got pension income, maybe not, maybe you got some savings, and you do a little analysis, and you go, “Well OK, I’ll be ok if I spend 70% of what I’m normally spending right now. I can certainly do that in retirement. I can cut my spending by 30%.” So then you ask the question, “Well what if you got a 30% reduction in your pay right now?” “Oh, there’s no way I could ever manage that.”
JA: Or could you save 30% of your income? Not a chance. But in retirement, you’re going to live off of 70%?
AC: Yeah. It’s the same math.
JA: Right! And some of you might be thinking, “Well, my mortgage is going to be paid.” No, I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about living expenses only. Living expenses only. So yeah, you might have a mortgage payment, you might have this and that whatever, but your living expenses are X. Can you save 30% of that? Not a chance. But you’re going to live off of 70% of it in the future? The math doesn’t jive.
AC: Yeah. Number four is, no one ever got into trouble by borrowing too little. (laughs)
JA: I like that. No one ever got into trouble by saving too much.
AC: That’s right. That’s the corollary to that one. OK here’s one. Number five, conspicuous consumption will make you inconspicuously poor. So if you want to know what conspicuous consumption is, its expenditure on, or consumption of luxuries, on a lavish scale, in an attempt to enhance one’s prestige. That’s almost the same as number two. It basically is, if you’re spending to try to increase your status, if you will, that’s not a good way to create wealth, and to be in a sound position by the time you get to retirement.
JA: So what is it? Give me an example, what would someone do to be in that position?
AC: Well, I know exactly what they would do. They would they would drive a Jaguar. (laughs)
JA: (laughs) Okay, got it.
AC: Maybe they buy a 5 bedroom home and they only need one. Something like that.
JA: Got it. Oh, I see. Thank you. Thank you for that. Good thing I live in a condo and drive a Toyota. (laughs)
AC: You are so lucky, but your brother, on the other hand, he’s messed up. (laughs)
JA: Yeah, my twin brother. (laughs)
AC: He looks a lot like you too. (laughs)
JA: He does. We’ve got time for one more here. (laughs)
AC: Number six is the key to stock market success isn’t your timing of the market, it’s your time in the market. The longer the better. Agree or disagree?
JA: Yeah. That’s investing 101. I guess it’s that need for that return and that Holy Grail investment that people are looking for because they haven’t saved enough. And so they’re looking for it to get the best return, or highest return possible, with very little risk. And so they pick this investment, and then it’s like, “Oh it’s not performing what I thought” because they’re looking at past performance thinking that it’s going to continue to do what it did in the last three, four, five years. And then all of a sudden goes down, they’re like, “damn it, got in too late,” so they sell that, they buy something else, and they’re buying high every single time because they’re looking at past performance. And I’m not saying you can predict the future by any stretch, but you have to have a diversified portfolio across all sectors and get the timing BS totally out of the picture.
AC: Yeah which is number seven, diversify because every asset has its day in the sun – also its day in the doghouse. And the thing is, you never know when. Real smart people will sit around and say, well I’m sure that this sector or maybe an asset class, emerging markets. Emerging markets are going to do well, and it’s for the same reason you just said because it’s done well the last two or three years, but everything cycles. And sometimes emerging markets might go up for one year, and then down for four. Sometimes it may go up for four years, and it’s like, “Well, which one is it” And you don’t know until it actually happens. Hindsight’s 20/20, but when you’re looking forward, it’s virtually impossible.
JA: Right. How we look at the world of the markets and investing is, we act after it happens, in a sense. And that’s rebalancing. If you’re trying to predict what’s going to happen tomorrow, versus being very proactive on what happened yesterday, those are two different things. Because as a certain asset classes go up, you want to make sure that you keep them in balance because eventually, they’ll potentially go down. And so you don’t want to be overweighted in a particularly hot sector, even though it’s counterintuitive of what most people do with their money, or what they think about what they should be doing with their money. Because you’re selling your winners and you’re buying your losers. But that keeps you diversified, that keeps your risk parameters in check. Versus the opposite of saying, “Hey, this has done well, I believe it’s going to continue to do well,” or, “this asset class has not performed, so I’m going to believe that it’s going to continue not to perform, so why would I want to put my money there?” I get it with everything else in life. That’s a good way of looking at things. If you’ve got a buddy that you’re counting on for a ride, and he doesn’t show, you can anticipate he’s probably going to do it again. But if you look at the markets, because if the markets are going down, or a particular area of the market is going down, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to continue to go down. In most cases, it’s the opposite.
AC: Yeah, and you can really illustrate that with just a single company like Apple, which I think a lot of us would agree, and maybe Google, these are, maybe, the strongest companies in the world right now. Are they the best investments right now? Well maybe, but maybe not. And you’d think, “Well, wait a minute. The strongest company has to be the best investment.” And the reason it may not be is that it’s the strongest company, it’s already very expensive. And to make money at it, it means that it needs to go up in value and keep paying big dividends. Well, neither Apple or Google pay gigantic dividends, so you’re counting on capital appreciation. If the stock is already expensive when you got into it, you’re banking on some great things to happen in addition to that, which may or may not happen, and you see the same thing with people that say, well, I’m going invest in Germany this year or Austria or whatever and it’s like, certain countries have stronger companies than others, but they’re already priced higher. So in a lot of cases, if you end up looking at companies in countries, some of the worst countries outperform because they’re cheap.
JA: Yeah, the human mind is not equipped to invest. I’ll leave it at that.
AC: 10 Timeless Tips from Kiplinger. The next one is, when others are selling investments, that’s usually a good time to buy. The foundations of great fortunes are laid in bear markets, not bull markets.
JA: Isn’t that the truth. But we’re freaked out.
AC: We’re paralyzed.
JA: There’s no way. 2008, forget about it. I’m not going to invest. Scary times. I’m going to wait until the market goes up. That’s when I want to get in.
AC: Right. How about this one, Joe, see if you agree with this. Money cannot buy happiness, but it can make unhappiness easier to bear.
JA: Anyone that says money can’t buy happiness doesn’t have money.
AC: (laughs) Well that goes against the Beatles song.
JA: What, Can’t Buy Me Love?
AC: Yeah, You Can’t Buy Me, Love.
JA: (laughs) Sure you can, in some areas of the country!
AC: I suppose, depending on what kind of love you are talking about (laughs) But I agree with it. I mean, money is not the root of happiness.
JA: What did that survey say, once you reach a certain level of wealth or certain income – wasn’t it? Or was it dollars, or was it income?
AC: I don’t remember, but the conclusion was that it doesn’t really matter.
JA: It plateaued.
AC: It was $75,000. I remember now. On average. Once you hit $75,000 of income, you’re not any happier if you make $150,000. That’s what it said.
AC: But if you make less than $75,000, you’re kind of miserable, because you can’t even afford rent and food I guess. (laughs) Anyway, that’s what it said. I’m over simplifying since I don’t have it with me. But I think, Joe, let’s get philosophical. If you have money, it just helps you with some of the issues of life.
JA: It can help pay the bills. (laughs)
AC: Well, we’ll move on. This is the last one. Number ten. Sharing the wealth with others is more fun than spending it on yourself. Agree or disagree?
JA: (laughs) I don’t know, I got a Jaguar and a five bedroom house and it’s just me. (laughs)
AC: So you haven’t tried the other one yet. (laughs)
JA: No I’m kidding. I believe in that statement. I believe in that statement a lot. I think giving is – a lot of people should try it, (laughs) and see how it feels.
AC: But then they’re getting rid of their money, then they’re not going to be happy. (laughs)
JA: No, generosity, you and I know this very, very well, with a lot of our clients. The more they give the happier.
AC: There’s no question. Now that I’m older, and I have been older than you for ever. (laughs)
JA: Yeah, imagine that it’s weird how you just kind of catapult yourself. (laughs)
AC: Now that I turned 60, recently, yes. I wholeheartedly agree with that. I think when you’re giving back, whether it’s money or time, that truly is when you’re happiest. You have to have a certain amount of money so that you’re not sad. But once you’ve got that level, whatever that is for you, I think giving back time and money, I think that is an obvious key to happiness.
JA: Al, you and I both know individuals that have millions, that will blow through their millions, and are miserable. And we know people that have a couple of bucks, and they’re the happiest people that you ever want to be with.
AC: You bet. And they’re giving like crazy. And they’ve they’ve studied this list and they followed
it. And there you go.
JA: Yeah, they’re big advocates of Big Al’s List.
AC: That’s right.
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41:22 – Can you avoid state taxes in retirement by getting a PO box in a no state tax state?
AC: I got something I want to talk about, Joe. I think this is important for some of our listeners, and that’s state taxes. Because we live in California, which is one of the highest tax rates in the nation, and honestly, many of us that live here want to stay here through retirement, probably the majority but not all, and there are legitimate reasons to move to other states. I mean, typically it’s because you enjoy – like maybe you enjoy the Pacific Northwest, so you want to move to Washington. Or maybe you like that the tropical places like Hawaii or Florida, but there are taxes to be considered. And I think, in my view, this isn’t the main reason you would move, but it’s good to know what different tax rates are.
JA: Yeah, but here’s the deal. Most people say they move for tax reasons, and they don’t.
AC: True. I’ll get into that too. But I think I want to start with the basics first of all. California, the highest tax rate is 13.3%. That’s when you make over a million dollars of income. So not all of us are in that bracket, but that’s the highest bracket. Arizona, our neighbor to the east…
JA: California is higher than New York?
AC: I don’t have New York right here. I think it’s I think it’s either higher – I mean, they’re like neck and neck. I’m not sure which is higher.
JA: What do you have, a list of the top?
AC: I just did western states. This isn’t the list of all. This is news you can use type stuff.
JA: (laughs) Or not use.
AC: Yeah, you may not be interested, but my listeners are riveted. (laughs)
JA: Yes they are. They’re like, “Anderson to shut up.”
AC: Arizona is 4.5%. 4.54%, that’s the highest rate. Oregon 9.9%. Washington State is zero, there is no state tax. Nevada is zero, there is no state tax. And Hawaii, where I like to go, the highest the tax is 8.25%.
JA: But they get their taxes somehow.
AC: Well they do. And that’s kind of what I want to get into because there’s actually a bunch of states that don’t have any taxes. Arizona being one, Florida another, I’ve mentioned Nevada and Washington, South Dakota is a tax-free state. Texas, Wyoming, to name a few. But like Washington, for example, people move to Washington, there are no state taxes. Pacific Northwest, beautiful weather. You have to like gray weather and clouds and all that sort of thing. But what they don’t realize is Washington State has very high gas taxes, and you’re right. Your comment is right. They got to get their taxes somehow. Texas, we all know what that is. Texas, the property taxes are about triple what they are here. So they’re getting more of their revenue from property tax.
JA: Yeah but property values are lower. I mean, you buy an average house in California. I don’t know, Southern California is what, $500,000? You pay 1% on 5 hundy, versus 3% of $100,000…
AC: You’re still doing better. You are right about that. But I think what I want to get into, Joe, is where you’re going with your comment, which was: how many people ask us about, “well I want to stay in California, but what if I just get a P.O. box or a condo in Nevada Does that count for residency?” And the problem with that is you’ve got to establish what’s called domicile. So this is, basically, the place that you intend to remain indefinitely, or whenever you’re away, where you come back to. Because sometimes people live in multiple homes, maybe they have a California home, a Nevada home, and a Washington home – whatever it may be. So, typically, it’s the state that you will you will spend at least 183 days there, which is more than half a year. So you could potentially be living in two different states. But it’s that state that you’re spending the majority of the time, is the one that creates domicile. And really, to get the domicile, you kind of have to change everything, like your driver’s license, you register to vote, you’ve got your library card, joining churches or clubs. All that.
JA: Library card.
AC: It’s right here in this article. Do you have one? (laughs)
JA: I haven’t had a library card since like… a long time ago. 80s.
AC: Well you need one. You’re missing out on all that great literature. (laughs)
JA: So I’m going to move to Nevada. I’m gonna be like, “dammit!” I failed to get my library card!
They’re going to tax me to death, the franchise tax board. (laughs)
AC: Taxes, penalties, late payment, interest. (laughs)
JA: So that’s my first stop. That’s why that’s why I’m telling you instructions. (laughs)
AC: Anyway. But then there’s all this confusion. I’ve got two homes, one California, one in Nevada. So that’s the common thing. So I’m going to spend 184 days in Nevada and 182 days, whatever, in California. And that, theoretically, does work. It’s just that most people don’t really do it. They say they do. And that’s the problem. And then you think, “well how would anyone ever know?” And well, first of all, they don’t know unless they audit you, but it turns out, Nevada and California are in communication with each other on a lot of stuff. And so California Franchise Tax Board, in particular, is pretty savvy on people that are trying to pretend that they’re not California residents, by living in another state. How do they know that? Well, they can see you have property in California, and there are other ways that they can sort of trace that you have California roots. So they audit you, and they’ll say, “Show me your six months and a day of grocery bills in Nevada,” and you’ve only been there for four days. You’re kind of stuck. (laughs) Or, show me your, I suppose your cable bill would be the same, that wouldn’t necessarily matter. But your utility bill. So in California, you got a $400 utility bill every month, in Nevada it’s $39 to keep the appliances going. (laughs) Your California home is a $3 million home with an ocean view, your Nevada home is a one bedroom condo that cost you $104,000. (laughs)
JA: With views of Shell gas station. (laughs)
AC: But it does have a 7-Eleven nearby (laughs) And they’re pretty good about catching you.
And when they catch you, the Franchise Tax Board can go back four years.
JA: Four instead of three?
AC: Yeah, four instead of three. Unlike the feds. The IRS can only go back three years. So they go back four years, and they reassessed for California income, they do what’s called substantial underpayment penalties, which are like 25% penalties. Then they charge you a late payment and interest on top of that. It’s not the path that you want to go down. And sometimes, some of these Internet sites will say “send $50 a month for your P.O. Box and we’ll make it look like you’re in Nevada resident.” It doesn’t work.
JA: There are internet sites that are doing that?? Shame!
AC: There are because I get asked by people, “how about this? This one looks really reputable.” (laughs)
JA: It’s fraud.
AC: But then, because of this rule about 183 days, there’s all this confusion on, “so I have to spend 183 days in Nevada before I am a Nevada resident.” No, actually one day, if you truly move. There’s a difference between where your domicile is. So if you actually move, you’re a Nevada resident from that day on, as long as you do all the stuff correctly, and then maintain the 183 days a year after that. But if you got two homes, then it’s a little bit different and if you haven’t re-established your domicile, then that’s where there’s a problem. So understand there are two different rules – if you actually do move to a place, you become a resident of that state immediately. The way you typically prove it is you have a moving bill showing your belongings. Actually, there’s a date on it, as to when you move. Usually, it says where you moved to right on that receipt. So that’s a pretty good one. It’s also the day you can start showing consistent grocery bills, and pharmacy bills, whatever it may be. Entertainment, whatever you like to do. That’s going to start showing up on your on your ATM card, or your credit card, or however you want to spend money. But yeah, that is a question we get all the time, Joe, which is, what if I just pretend I’m a Nevada resident. And I’m here to tell you that’s not a very good idea. And I’ve even heard of cases where people did everything right. They moved to Nevada. I mean legitimate, they did all the stuff right, and then they had a big stock transaction like maybe they had company stock that they sold out to a public company, and eventually then they sold the public company. They waited until they were a Nevada resident to sell. And it actually legitimately could be Nevada income if they’re a Nevada resident. California has no claim to it. But then they moved back before the four year period, and the Franchise Tax Board came in and said, “Well you weren’t a Nevada resident.” And you said, “yes I was. Look, I did the registrar of voters, I got the library card. I’m set.”
JA: Yeah, “I went to the library, look at my card.”
AC: “I checked out books. I got all my receipts, look at my grocery bills. I was a Nevada resident,” and then they’ll say, “No, your intent was to come back to California, so, therefore, you went for tax reasons, so it does not count.” And Franchise Tax Board can win that.
JA: Even if you rented books! (laughs) Shame, what a shame. Speaking of taxes, we’re told that the biggest federal tax cut ever is getting closer, but the President and the GOP remain divided on a number of key policy questions. How might income tax, estate tax, and business tax change? Visit the White Papers section of the Learning Center at YourMoneyYourWealth.com and download the white paper, “Tax Reform: Trump Vs. House GOP” to find out. Are your tax strategies at risk? Get year end tax-planning tips that can help you stay on track in the midst of uncertainty. Download the Tax Reform white paper to find out more. Visit the White Papers section of the Learning Center at YourMoneyYourWealth.com
51:50 – Four estate planning documents that make life easier for you and your heirs
AC: I actually missed the first part of the show, we had a kind of weird schedule conflicts today. Joe’s missing the end, but that’s ok you still got me. I want to spend just a little bit of time talking about estate planning, mainly just because there’s just an awful lot of confusion on what should you do when it comes to your estate plan. And there’s even confusion about the term, because a lot of times when people hear estate plan or estate planning, they’re getting it confused with estate tax planning, which is something completely different. Estate tax planning is when you have an estate, right now, over about $5.5 million, or if you’re married, it’s about $11 million. If you have estates over those amounts, then your estate, when you pass away, is going to have to pay estate taxes. And to the tune of 40% of everything that’s over that amount. And so there are all kinds of advanced estate planning, there are family limited partnerships, there’s grantor retained annuity trusts, there’s charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and the like. Those are things that you would do if you’re in that situation. But for most of us, that doesn’t necessarily apply. Estate planning, on the other hand, applies to virtually everybody. That’s the documents that you need when you pass away, as to what’s going to happen with your assets. And it’s actually more than that – it’s certain documents that you need while you’re living. Based upon if you’re incapacitated, or there are medical issues, and you’re unconscious and can’t be consulted. So basically, I want to start with what are the components of an estate plan, what are the things that you really need to have. And the first one is a will. A will is simply a document that’s generally in a legal format. But even if you hand write it, that’s certainly better than nothing. But usually, it’s a legal document that indicates where your assets are going to go, what beneficiaries, oftentimes it’s your kids. If you don’t have kids, maybe it’s your nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, friends, whatever it may be. It’s designating where your assets will go. That’s, of course, a key one, because if you don’t have at least a will, then what happens is, your assets when you pass away get divvied up in accordance to whatever state law is. The second document in need is called a financial power of attorney. And that gives somebody else power to handle your assets, pay your bills, make investments should you become incapacitated. If you’re disabled and not able to do that. And this happens sometimes, either husband or wife will be incapacitated, and the assets are in an IRA, say the husband is incapacitated, assets are in his IRA, and the wife has no access to those assets because it’s an individual retirement account without this financial power of attorney. Sometimes you may want to have a trusted son or trusted friend. And there are all kinds of ways to do this. You can have a general financial power of attorney that gives rights to do virtually anything, with regards to your estate, or it could be a specific power of attorney, which means, like, maybe there’s a real estate transaction that you want your son to be the one making the decision on, whatever it may be. But that’s an important document. The medical powers of attorney are really important too because the HIPAA laws require certain documents to be filed and valid so that the doctors then can talk to your spouse and other family members, depending upon who’s on those documents. The fourth thing, which is not necessarily a requirement, but most financial planners, myself included, highly recommend is a living trust. And a living trust is, it’s kind of the next level above a will, if you will, a living trust is kind of a living, breathing document that designates where your assets go to when you pass away. The primary difference between the living trust and the will is, the living trust allows the executor, you designate an executor, allows the executor to distribute your assets in accordance with the trust without having to use the court system. Now, the court system, otherwise known as probate, is what happens with your Will. You pass away with a will, and it’s above certain dollar amounts. I don’t have those figures right in front of me, it’s like $150,000, I can’t remember exactly, but at certain asset levels, if you’re non-retirement assets are above those, and you have a will, your heirs, your executor is going to have to go to court, and that’s probate court. Sometimes that’s a matter of months, sometimes that can take years for assets to be settled.
The living trust allows the executor to distribute assets immediately, and the living trust can do a lot of things the will cannot. For example, a will can say, I want half the assets to go to kid number one, and half the assets to go to kid number two. But I don’t want that to happen until age 25, or 30, or 40. Or maybe half of the assets go to the child at age 30, the other half doesn’t happen till 40, and maybe before age 40, those assets can be spent for education and health. But maybe that’s it. You specify in the will. You could also specify which charities, you could put various conditions on. And a lot of times, when it comes to a will, nowadays a lot of attorneys are recommending, which I think is a great idea, by the way, is you have the living trust becomes a trust that stays around after you pass away. The assets stay in the trust. You have more than one kid, it becomes to sub-trusts, so each kid has their own sub-trust. They have full access to the assets, in accordance with how you’ve designated it, based upon whatever restrictions you have set up. But now, even though they have full access to the assets, they don’t actually own the assets. And so, if they have a lawsuit if they get divorced, or whatever, the other party has no claim to those assets, because they don’t actually own the assets. Your kids would have the right to receive the income, even the principal, potentially, but they wouldn’t actually own the assets. So that would be something that you might want to consider. And when you have a living trust, you still need a will. It’s called a pour-over will, and the pour-over will is simply there if you forget to put assets inside your trust. Like sometimes, you own a home, and you actually have to go down to the county, and you have to change the title from your name, or you and your spouse’s name, to the name of the trust. If you forget to do that, it didn’t get funded into the trust. And so, therefore, that asset may still have to go to probate. And I would say, honestly, I’m not an estate planning attorney, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes that I have seen happen, is people spend all this time and money to set up a living trust. Everything is really good, well thought out, but they forget to put the assets in the trust. They forget to fund the trust, and so that would be something that you want to check. If you have a living trust and you’re not sure if your assets are in there, take a look at your investment statements, your non-retirement investment statements, they should be in the name of the trust, not your name. Take a look at your property tax bill. That should be in the name of the trust, not your name. If it’s in your name, it’s actually not even in the trust, so you want to make that change. It’s very easy to do. You go down to your custodian for your investment account or your bank. You make that change, or you file a form with the county. We’re in San Diego, this would be a county of San Diego. They keep track of all this for you, very simple to do. It’s a mistake that’s made often, and it kind of negates the whole thing. So anyway, that’s probably six minutes or less on estate planning things that you really need to know. So that’s all the time we have for today. Appreciate you guys listening. And this is Your Money, Your Wealth. Bye bye.
So, to recap today’s show: Before you make any money moves in your Roth IRA, make sure you know the difference between the rules for contributions vs. conversions. Being domiciled in a no state tax state for at least 183 days a year is the way to avoid state taxes in retirement – and you’ll want to make sure you have that all-important library card to prove domicile. Money can’t buy you happiness, but for Joe’s “twin brother,” a Jag and a five bedroom house might ease the pain of loneliness. Special thanks to our guest, Scott Ford, co-author with Ron Carson of The Sustainable Edge: 15 Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life. To get their book and learn more about being a better, more balanced business person, visit their website at TheSustainableEdge.com Subscribe to the podcast at YourMoneyYourWealth.com, through your favorite podcatcher or on iTunes, where you can also check out our ratings and reviews. And remember, this show is about you! If there’s something you’d like to hear on Your Money, Your Wealth, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen next week for more Your Money, Your Wealth, presented by Pure Financial Advisors. For your free financial assessment, visit PureFinancial.com Pure Financial Advisors is a registered investment advisor. This show does not intend to provide personalized investment advice through this broadcast and does not represent that the securities or services discussed are suitable for any investor. Investors are advised not to rely on any information contained in the broadcast in the process of making a full and informed investment decision. Your Money, Your Wealth Opening song, Motown Gold by Karl James Pestka, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.